Showing posts from April, 2013
Several friends sent me the recent article in the New York Times "Critic's Notebook" series titled, Memories of a Bedtime Book Club by staff literary critic Dwight Garner,wanting to know if I approved of packing away the picture books and other readaloud favorites when the children have moved on to texting and YouTube to make connections and satisfy their curiosity about the world.  Reluctantly but determinedly, Garner had boxed up the final stack of his children's most cherished titles for retirement to the attic, awaiting perhaps a new generation of readers in the years to come - or not.  What does that say about the value of the stories that were read over and over again, night after night, whose characters became almost family members (e.g.Curious George), and whose favorite lines would pop up as part of a shared family vocabulary (e.g. "Back to bed!" yelled Fred, "Back to bed!"…

Kite flying is one of the most exciting activities for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Every spring, children fly their kites, often on flat rooftops,  and especially during a festival called Besant.  During Besant, competitions are held where the kite strings are coated in fiberglass and each contestant tries to break the string of his opponent's kite to the sound of beating drums and blaring trumpets.  In Lahore, Pakistan this festival is  particularly special and the old city is strung with lights to illuminate the spectacular array of colorful kites bobbing above the old buildings.  Both of the featured books this week are closely connected to Afghanistan and Pakistan and provide a bridge to understanding the people and cultures of those little known countries.
As Mary Anne Schwalbe begins treatment for pancreatic cancer, her son Will decides to engage her in an ongoing book discussion about favorite books, old and new.  As a book reviewer,…
Wander the Labyrinth of Literature  with THEBOOKJEANIE
On exhibit last summer at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank in London, this vast maze of books was created by Brazilian artists Marcos Sabaya and Gualter Pupos and assembled by an army of volunteers.  Titled aMAZEme, this unique installation was designed as a tribute to Argentian writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges -  in the shape of his fingerprint. 

Discover your local public library - an amazing free resource!  Most of the books that I review for this blog have been obtained at my neighborhood library. I usually reserve a book online once I hear about it and the library requests it from another branch in the county if it is not part of the local collection.  The Pima County Library buys more that 100 DVDs each month, including British TV series and foreign language films.  I have recently been watching Kingdom, a current British series about a country lawyer and his unusual practice.
It would be hard not to admire a writer who…

Spring is the time for new beginnings and every book you open takes you on an adventure, somewhere that you have never been before.  Get out your hammocks and settle into a lazy day of reading.

The House Girl by Tara Conklin.  Every now and then you come across a book that makes you catch your breath and stop, go back and reread a passage, and then just marvel at the beauty of the language and the strength of the imagery.  This amazing first novel weaves the stories of a two young women:  a "house girl" who attends to the mistress of a once-grand but failing tobacco farm in Virginia, and an ambitious first year litigation associate in a prestigous Manhattan law firm.  But it is with Josephine, who has spent her seventeen years of life in slavery and degradation, that Conklin gets it so right.  With her cheek still stinging from her master's sudden blow, "something shifted in Josephine then, a gathering of disparate desires …