Greetings to you all! We are still on Twin Watch 2013. Caroline is definitely in the Home Stretch and these are her final days with us before she goes on Maternity Leave. Please no wagering, no questions, no direct eye contact and don’t get in her way. This week we have some little things, beloved old friends of the literary kind, some prisoners, cheese, magic, a dingy bog, a castle and of course, a Frank E. Campbell reference.
Let us begin!
The Amazing Amanda has just finished Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown. “The premise of the Brown’s book is to tell you all the little things you need to know to be a (semi) successful adult. While I’m now past graduate school and am working in my field as a librarian, this book would’ve been perfect when I left home for library school. In fact, that list I annoyed my chef friend about what kitchen stuff I need for living on my own? It’s in this book. Should one date a coworker? Brown and experience both say no! Brown is fresh, funny, and her steps make this book the guidebook that should be packed in all college and post-graduate adults’ suitcases. “
Barbara M. has been listening! To me! “Jen has been praising the Betsy-Tacy books for years so when I read in a recent article that they were Anna Quindlen’s choice for a “great book that changed her life” I knew I had to read them. I started with Betsy and the Great World and am now reading Betsy’s Wedding. Although the books were written about the early part of the twentieth century, a more gracious era than today, Betsy is ageless. She’s a determined young lady and can still serve as a role model for young girls. I wish I had read these books when I was young, but it’s never too late, and I am thoroughly enjoying them. On another note, no pun intended, I'm watching Defiant Requiem, an incredibly moving documentary about Rafael Schacter, a Czech conductor, who taught prisoners in the Terezin concentration camp to perform Verdi's Requiem. “
Abby is just about finished. “I am about 2/3 of the way through Michael Paterniti's The Telling Room and I want revenge. The Telling Room is Paterniti's quest to learn about a now extinct cheese that was made in small Spanish village. The cheese has an epic history and the events that led to its demise are the stuff of legend. To write this book, Paterniti injects himself into the story and moves his young family into the Spanish village where the cheese was made. There he spends time at the knee of Ambrosio the cheese maker. A master storyteller, Ambrosio allows the story of the cheese to unfold and capture our imaginations. By immersing himself in the story, Paterniti does something I love which is share with us how he came to be obsessed by a wedge of cheese. In Rin Tin Tin, Susan Orlean explains how her interest in the famous dog came about because her grandfather had a Rin Tin Tin figure in his stud. Both books serve as reminders that we don't always choose the things that fascinate us and drive our curiosity. Sometimes, they to choose us. The Telling Room shows us how great it can be to pursue a subject we feel passionately about and have our curiosity sated. I hope by the time I reach the end, the cheese is avenged.”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is delving into what sounds like an Adult Fairy Tale. “This week I’m reading The Golem and the Jinni, by Helen Wecker. I really, really enjoyed it! It’s an adult book, but parts of it reminded me of the Junior One Book One Community book from last year, The Inquisitor’s Apprentice. Both take place in turn-of-the-century New York immigrant communities, and both involve ancient, cultural magic. Chava is a Golem, a Jewish creature of protection made of clay, designed to be the wife of a squirrely little man who dies shortly after awakening her while immigrating across the ocean to America. Jinni is a jinni from Syria, imprisoned in a copper jug and accidently taken to America by an unsuspecting family. This book had it all – history, magic, murderous fiends, and something that might be love. I highly recommend it. “
While Miss Elisabeth dips in to a grown-up story, Miss Keira of the CL is revisiting a classic of Kid Lit. “This week I'm reading a classic of children's literature, Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. It won a Newbery Honor in 1958 and is a perfect summer story. It's the tale of two cousins, Portia and Julian, who spend their summer picnicking, hiking, and exploring the countryside. They soon discover an abandoned and crumbling old lakeside resort. Now the lake is a dingy bog and the once stately homes are weathered and infested by vermin. That is, all except for the last two remaining residents who are the only people left who can tell the story of Gone-Away Lake. Enright's writing is lush and descriptive and it is easy to see why this book was honored by the committee back in 1958.”
Stephanie is in full blown summer with her reading choice. “Look, pretty much everything Eloisa James writes is great, but Once Upon a Tower is some next-level romance writing. Seriously. Hot as blazes, sob-worthy ending, and I’m pretty sure this book is so wise that it’s a licensed marriage counselor. Plus: a Scotsman with his own castle!”
I was gifted this week with an Advance Reader Copy of the new Donna Tartt novel entitled The Goldfinch. I have to say that the first 50 pages did not grab me and as you all know I am not above abandoning a book and moving on to something new. But Stephanie urged me on and she was right. Theo Decker is a 13 year old boy who survives a terror attack but loses his mother. With no one else to care for him, he ends up at the Park Avenue home of a school friend. Yes, there has already been a Frank E. Campbell reference so you know I need to stick with it now. This one comes out in October.