For my summer picture book reading with Raisin (age 3 years, 8 months), I’m aiming to include some “units” of nonfiction subjects that he may be interested in. In the past few weeks, we’ve done a “unit” on the moon. These are the books that stood out for us. Please note that I know this isn’t a comprehensive list of books about the moon. Yet, these are the ones we returned to again and again and kept checked out long enough to have to renew.
At first, The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar reminded me of The Help. Obviously, given the very different settings, the book was very different as a whole from The Help. But I loved reading about the friendship and lives of two very different women. The book was beautifully written, and although the realistic issues it portrays are not happy ones, the ultimate message of positive self-worth was hopeful. (more…)
In 1955, a mother of five took a vacation to the beach. For two weeks, she had no husband or children seeking her, no hot water, no telephone, and no obligations, other than to reach inside for much needed rejuvenation as she wrote, searched for pretty shells, and pondered life. In Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh examines some special shells and how their unique beauty relates to personal relationships, a modern woman’s distractions in the midst of an increasingly busy America, and the personal search for inner peace. (more…)
As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been struggling to post thoughts on the books I’ve read recently. But I saw this article and knew I needed to get these thoughts up now. The topic is an interesting one, and that article about the book I just read reminded me to get in gear and gather my thoughts.
Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms by Carmela Ciuraru was an enjoyable collection of miniature biographies about various literary figures throughout more recent history that have written and published under pseudonyms. Ms Ciuraru explores their personal and writing lives, and for our sakes she seeks to answer why each chose to write under an assumed name. Either they had secrets to hide, or they felt they had different identities, or they didn’t wish to embarrass their families, or … the list goes on. Although only about nine of the sixteen highlighted authors were ones I have read or heard of in the past, learning about all the authors was interesting.
I love biographies, but I rarely get to them. Also, by the end of 400 pages on one person, I usually feel a bit tired of the person. Ms Ciuraru’s snippet biographies were just right for me: I enjoyed the look at the authors’ personal lives, but I also finished each chapter still curious about the given author, and still intrigued to give their novels a try (for the classic authors at least).
Yesterday evening I returned home from my classics book club meeting very sad. We read Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and when I last read it, I remember wishing I could read and discuss with other classics readers. My classics reading group (last year, a total of four of us) agreed to give it a try this year.
Alas, the people in my group, different people from those who gave input on this years’ books, were nothing but scathing in their thoughts of Mrs Dalloway. It was too much work, there were no chapters, nothing happened, the characters were flat and boring (!). In short, they got nothing out of it.
I can relate to that feeling. I recently read The Red Badge of Courage and felt only joy when it ended because I was not enjoying it at all. But this was particularly hard since I so enjoyed my reread.
This post contains thematic spoilers for Mrs Dalloway.