Raisin Reads: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (first published 1924)  is the first in a series for children about four orphaned children striking out on their own. I haven’t read the others in the series since I was a child and I don’t remember them very well, but the first book was a fun trip back to the innocent days when children solved problems for themselves.Continue Reading

RIP Short Story Friday: “The Horla” by Guy de Maupassant (Brief Thoughts)

“The Horla” is the term for the invisible ghost-like creature that haunts the unnamed narrator in Guy de Maupassant’s short story of the same name (written 1887). Maupassant’s story is a journal of this man’s decent into madness. Maupassant captures panic in a real way, and the ending is simply wonderful. When I first read it, I called it “wonderfully weird” and it’s held up to that description. Continue Reading

Kids Corner: Big Brother Books

Since I was sick for a while this summer, for a time, Raisin’s only understanding of Mommy’s having a baby has been “Mommy is sick a lot.” But now that I’m feeling better and we’ve seen the little Monkey on an ultrasound and all that, Raisin is getting quite excited. I’m currently 17 weeks pregnant and Raisin is almost 4. I don’t look huge yet, but Raisin loves to talk to the baby through my belly and sometimes pretends “baby” is crying and needs a hug. I don’t mind the extra hugs. He also prays, at random times through the day, “to please bless Mommy to not throw up again.” I don’t mind the extra prayers either.

Some big brother books have been quite a hit around our house.Continue Reading

Germinal by Emile Zola

Germinal by Emile Zola (first published in French, 1885) is so much more than I can capture in a summary or in an opinion post or review or whatever it is I write. Germinal is 500 pages that immersed me in a world of starving and ill people in an obscure mining town living a life of dire poverty and violence, and it certainly must have happened, given the ways I was drawn in to the story of these people.

Although Germinal is packed full of sexuality and violence, tragedy and despair, Zola somehow caught me in his trap and I couldn’t put the book down. Once I was deeply engaged in the story of the desperate strikers trying to grasp on to some life purpose, it seemed I felt their pain and mourned with them as their never-ending tragedies took away all semblance of hope.Continue Reading