Saturday, March 25, 2006

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GIlbert

This book is a gem. Gilbert worked her way through the sadness of divorce by traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia. I was interested in her experiences practicing yoga at an ashram in India and her lush descriptions of the Indonesian countryside. Her book, which is divided into 108 section to represent the 108 beads of the japa mala , is a celebration of eating, meditation, friendship and love.

So Long See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

Our book club selection this month was this slim novel by William Maxwell. I had read A Folded Leaf by Maxwell a bunch of years ago, and I don't remember much about it. This novel opens with the murder of a farmer that is narrated by a young boy who is a neighbor. Clearly a post-modern novel, the point of view shifts several times to present the events leading up to the murder and the years afterward. I enjoyed the style, although the characters are sometimes hard to keep straight through the shifting perspectives, which even include the point of view of the farm dog.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Female of the Species by Joyce Carol Oates

I read a few of the stories in this new short story collection by Joyce Carol Oates. Disturbing - as usual. One particular story, "Doll: A Romance of the Mississippi" about a child prostitute reminded me of Southern Gothic stories. I'm still trying to be faithful to Oates and bring home every new book.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

I dismissed this book when it first showed up in huge displays at the bookstore with a choice of pastel cover colors. I thought it looked too "chick lit" for my tastes. But after reading Marjorie Williams' essay in The Woman at the Washington Zoo, I got it from and have been listening to it while I run and laughing out loud. First the reader has a great British accent that brings the flighty character of Kate Redding to life. Secondly, Kate has two children whose names are Benjamin and Emily - the same as the names of my two children. This novel is fun, fun, fun and plenty close to home for any working mother who has tried to do it all.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Woman at the Washington Zoo by Marjorie Williams

David brought home this lovely book of essays by the late Marjorie Williams, a correspondent for the Washington Post who died of cancer last year. These essays cover a range of topics from politics to motherhood. One of my favorite was a satiric piece about Real Simple magazine. She also had a great essay about the novel I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. It was so funny, it inspired me to go out the get the book.
There is a wonderful website for the book -
The Woman at the Washington Zoo
I have recommended it to journalism teachers and mothers who like to read.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Are Men Necessary by Maureen Dowd

Honestly, I am reading bits and pieces of this book. Dowd's satiric edge is pretty sharp, but I am finding myself frustrated by all of the references to pop culture that she uses to talk about men. Like name dropping movies that I have not seen. It is more "Cosmopolitan" than "Harpers" in its treatment of the battle of the sexes. Very entertaining, but I am glad it is a library book.