Monday, February 28, 2011

Ramble: The Great Book Purge of 2011

I spent the weekend purging my books. Not all, mind you - I left non-fiction and women's studies alone. I did purge Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Classics, Christian and Biography. It was exhilarating. You'd think I'd feel differently, and I expected to myself, but instead found it strangely freeing. I got rid of 164 books. Against the 2,232 that I keep, it seems little, but it's a big step for me. I was finally able to be honest with myself about books I've purchased that I think I'll read, but really will not. Others, like the classics, are books I picked up to read so I could say I read, but truthfully hold little interest for me (Kafka? really?). I let the idea of reading them go along with the actual book. That, I think, is where the real freedom lays.

The best part is giving away the books. I have several piles, stacked and labeled, ready to package and send on their merry way. Other will garner me credit at a used book shop and others will be donated to a local thrift store.

Have you ever purged your books? If so, why?

Review: Candle in the Storm by Morgan Howell

Synopsis: The malign shadow of the Devourer has darkened the land, extinguishing life and hope. The followers of the benevolent goddess Karm are hunted mercilessly and cut down by an army of bewitched slayers led by Lord Bahl, the Devourer’s flesh-and-blood incarnation. Only two people stand in the way of an apocalyptic bloodbath that will literally bring hell to earth: a man and a woman linked by a love as strong as it is unlikely–Honus, a grim-faced warrior dedicated to Karm, and Yim, a beautiful former slave with the divine power to stop Lord Bahl.But that power will prove a terrible curse as Yim is called upon to make a costly sacrifice–a sacrifice that will not only put her love for Honus to the test but call into question her very faith. As the evil storm descends, can the flame of hope endure? (from the back of the book)

Review: This is the second in Howell's The Shadowed Path trilogy, and I advise you to have all three on hand when you begin. Each book ends the book's story, but the larger story arch is left open and will drive you crazy. I found this book hard to read, but for a good reason: I'd come to care about the characters and was heartbroken when events tore them apart. Yim and Honus struggle to remain faithful to a goddess who leaves them in harm's way, or even calls them to sacrifice what they most want and love. I can't say more without giving away the plot. The imagery is rich, the dialogue is well-crafted and the plot is twisted, dark, well-layed and enthralling. The characters, major and minor, offer a range of humanity and responses. My only complaint is some bits felt contrived, but this didn't detract from the novel overall.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-26-2011
Pages: 384

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: A Woman Worth Ten Coppers by Morgan Howell

Synopsis: Seer, healer, goddess, slave–she is all these things and more. Yim is a young woman suddenly cast into slavery, a gifted seer with a shocking secret–and a great destiny. Honus is a Sarf, a warrior dedicated to the service of the compassionate goddess Karm. A Sarf’s sole purpose is to serve a holy person called a Bearer. But Honus’s Bearer has been killed by the minions of an evil god known only as the Devourer. Masterless and needing someone to bear his pack, Honus purchases Yim for the price of ten coppers–and their fates are forever entwined. (from the back of the book)

Review: My interest in the book came from two sources: 1) I enjoy Morgan Howell and 2) I was intrigued by the slave part of the story. I was not disappointed. Yim is a complex character, struggling to stay faithful to a goddess who calls Yim to a destiny overrun with hardships, a goddess who seem powerless to allay those hardships or even protect her people in them. Howell does an excellent job of showing the conflict in Yim. Honus is also a well-constructed character, facing his own past, internal conflict and waining faith. Together, they journey physically and metaphorically towards the truth.
Howell's plot and dialogue are well-crafted and he has an uncanny ability to create horrific villains, dark and evil and creepy. The romance and love in the book is handled delicately but not weakly, and I enjoy the way it dawns on the reader about the same time it does the characters, despite having been there the whole time. It's a rare talent to build in such subtlety to the story. Word of warming - don't get attached to any secondary characters: they tend to die with little warning. While the books ends as it should, the story doesn't stop, but flows into the next book (which I'm already three chapters into). I'm excited to see how things turn out.

Booksmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-24-2011
Pages: 336

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aquisitions: Thrift Shopping

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Zack's Alligator by Shirley Mozelle

Believing God: Day by Day by Beth Moore

Voices of the Faithful ed. by Beth Moore

Strangers and Neighbors: What I Have Learned about Christianity
by Living Among Orthodox Jews
by Maria Poggi Johnson

The Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and
Spirituality into Your Daily Life
by Steve Rabey

Holy Week Sonnets by Philip Rosenbaum

Mr. Jones, Meet the Master: Sermons and Prayers by Peter Marshall

And the Shofar Blew
by Francine Rivers

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson

Stories to Remember ed. By John Beecraoft and Thomas Costain

Wild Magic
by Tamora Pierce (The Immortals Book I)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story by P. L. Travers

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

Foundation
by Isaac Asimov

New Chronicles of Rebbecca by Kate Douglas Wiggins

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis

The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse

Carry On, My. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

The Wish by Gail Carson Levine

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwaters

When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne

True Adventure Stories for Girls
ed. by Basil Deakin

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

A Separate Peace
by John Knowles

Truckers
by Terry Pratchett

Treasure Island
by Robert Lewis Stevenson

Hunting for Hidden Gold: A Hardy Boys Mystery
by Franklin Dixon

Out of the Crescent Shadows: Leading Muslim Women

into the Light of Christ
by Ergun and Emir Caner

Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the
Holocaust's Long Reach in Arab Lands
by Robert Satloff

All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs
: by Elie Wiesel

A Year in Provence
by Peter Mayle
In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Spirituality for the Rest of Us: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Knowing God by Larry Osborne

Synopsis: If you don't fit the mold. If you're tired of adjusting to other people's definitions of spirituality. If traditional spiritual disciplines just aren't working for you. If all the standard answers aren't enough. But you deepest desire if to know God More...

Review:
I read this book for the book club at church. I was pleased with what it had to say - mostly it gave some relief for the relentless pursuit to be spiritual. Osborne points out that much of what we do as Christians is self-imposed and does nothing to move us closer to God. Most of it is based on our values, not God's. His writing is clear, easy prose filled with Bible verses and stories. His work would be easy to read for almost anyone. I recommend if you are having a problem "keeping up" with all the things that "Christians are suppose to do". Some of his thoughts need to be taken with a grain of salt, but he makes execellent points worth pondering.

Bookmarks:
7 of 10

Awards:
none

Date Finished: 2-20-2011
Pages: 254

Review: The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

Synopsis: The Gales of southern Ontario can change the world with the charms they cast, and the prefer to keep all this power in the family. The Gale Aunties are in charge of this clan, or like to think they are. Alysha, like all her cousins, often finds herself beset with too many Aunties trying to run her life. So when a letter from her missing Gran arrives telling her that she's inherited a junk ship in Calgary, Alysha is ready and willing to honor her grandmother's last request to keep the shop open and serve "the community." The Aunties, of course, want her to find out what really happened to gran and come right back home, where they have her future mapped out for her. It isn't until she arrives in Calgary that Alysha realises it's the fey community she'll be serving in the The Enchantment Emporium - and that one person's junk may be another person's magical treasure. Finding out what happened to gran will not be easy, especially since Alysha has no way of knowing just how much otherworldly trouble is brewing in Calgary. And even calling in family reinforcements may not be enough to save the day... (from the back of the book)

Review: First, let me stipulate: I believe Tanya Huff is a good writer, but I don't always like her work. In particular, what bothers me is the liberal sex her characters engage in, and the way sex is often a central line in her books. This, I suspect, is a combination of my own prudishness and my beliefs about right and wrong. This book was no exception. I experienced the same nagging uncomfortableness I often get reading her work.
Outside of that one general complaint, I find her work imaginative and her characters complex and anything but flat. The stories are fast passed, engaging and I enjoy the worlds she creates. I sometimes find her sentences and syntax odd, but not in a bad way. I will continue to read her works, but cautiously, and I know my hesitation is due to personality and beliefs, and not Huff's writing.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: none

Date Finished: 2-19-2011
Pages: 473

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Aquisitions: Borders

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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum

The Iron Palace by Morgan Howell

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge

In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Review: Hank Zipzer, The World's Greatest Underachiever: Niagra Falls, or Does It?

Synopsis: On the first day of fourth grade, Hank's teacher assigns a five-paragraph essay, "What I did on my summer vacation," and he knows he's in trouble. It has always been difficult for him to read, write, and spell so he decides to "build" his assignment instead-to "-bring Niagara Falls into the classroom, water and all." With the help of his friends, he creates a working model, complete with water pump, Saran-wrapped tubing, and a paper-mech‚ mountain. Predictably, his "living essay" comes to an unfortunate end when a leak leads to a flood and chaos in the classroom. Hank's creativity is rewarded with two weeks' detention and grounding, but his friends are counting on his help for their upcoming magic show. Just when the boy's self-esteem is at its lowest, the new music teacher suspects that he has "learning differences" and suggests that he be tested. Eventually, the misunderstood protagonist convinces his parents to let him perform in the show, which is a big hit, largely thanks to Hank's ingenuity. (From the back of the book)

Review: This was recommended to me by a friend who has excellent taste in books. And she once again, proved correct. I found Hank's observations on school, family and adults to be humorous and close-to-my-heart. I understood how it's frustrating when adults "punish you for trying your best" as Hank put it. This is an excellent book for kids who have trouble learning in conventional ways, who struggle in school or who feel stupid for reasons they can't understand. This is the first in a series and I will be on the lookout for more.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: none

Date Finished: 2-19-2011
Pages: 133

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Synopsis: The novel is set in a village in Puritan New England. The main character is Hester Prynne, a young woman who has borne an illegitimate child. Hester believes herself a widow, but her husband, Roger Chillingworth, returns to New England very much alive and conceals his identity. He finds his wife forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as punishment for her adultery. Chillingworth becomes obsessed with finding the identity of his wife's former lover. When he learns that the father of Hester's child is Arthur Dimmesdale, a saintly young minister who is the leader of those exhorting her to name the child's father, Chillingworth proceeds to torment the guilt-stricken young man. In the end Chillingworth is morally degraded by his monomaniacal pursuit of revenge; Dimmesdale is broken by his own sense of guilt, and he publicly confesses his adultery before dying in Hester's arms. Only Hester can face the future bravely, as she plans to take her daughter Pearl to Europe to begin a new life. (From the back of the book)

Review: I read this book after seeing Easy A, which has become my favorite movie. I was apprehensive going into this book because Hawthorne's verbiage can be a bit much for me. However, once I applied my mind to it, I rather enjoyed his vocabulary and wordy prose. As for the story itself, I enjoyed it. Hester is an engaging character. My only complaint is Dimmesdale, who from the beginning impressed me as a weak, cowardly man. Hester was described as someone with intense passion and strength - why would she want someone so delicate as Arthur? It seem improbable and a bit contrived. Chillingworth was a convincing, if somewhat odd, villain. By odd, I mean the whole "devil got him" thing. Considering the era when the story takes place and when it was written, I will allow liberty for the crazy demon talk. Sometimes I read classics and wonder how they got to be elevated to such a pedestal, but not this one. It's worth the praise it received.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: none

Date Finished: 2-17-2011
Pages: 203

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ramble: Bookshelf Love

We have stairs in my house and I think turning them into bookshelves would be a wonderfully economical and space-saving project. My husband does not agree. Silly boy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Aquisitions: Barnes and Noble

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Voodoo: Strange and Fascinating Tales and Lore by John Richard Stephens

Shades of Dark
by Linnea Sinclair

Hope's Folly by Linnea Sinclair

Rebels and Lovers by Linnea Sinclair

A Woman Worth Ten Coppers by Morgan Howell

Candle in the Storm by Morgan Howell

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Specials
by Scott Westerfeld

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Aquisitions: Thrift Shopping

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These High Green Hills by Jan Karon

Out to Canaan by Jan Karon

A New Song
by Jan Karon

Inkheart
by Cornelia Funke

Gifts
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Briar Rose
by Jane Yoken

Under God
by Toby Mac and Michael Tait

Sarah, Plain and Tall
by Patricia MacLachan

The Search for Holy Living
ed. by Marvin Hinten

In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: Skellig by David Almond

Synopsis: I thought he was dead. He was sitting with his legs stretched out and his head tipped back against the wall. He was covered with dust and webs like everything else and his face was thin and pale. Dead bluebottles were scattered on his hair and shoulders. I shined the flashlight on his white face and his black suit."
This is Michael's introduction to Skellig, the man-owl-angel who lies motionless behind the tea chests in the abandoned garage in back of the boy's dilapidated new house. As disturbing as this discovery is, it is the least of Michael's worries. The new house is a mess, his parents are distracted, and his brand-new baby sister is seriously ill. Still, he can't get this mysterious creature out of his mind--even as he wonders if he has really seen him at all. (From the back of the book)

Review: This is a short, intense book told from the viewpoint of a child dealing with complex changes in his life. It's part coming-of-age, part mystery, part fairy tale. I enjoyed it. Simple prose painting a wide colorful picture. The characters are multi-dimensional and well-crafted. I connected with them. In the end, this is an excellent book.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: Carnegie Medal in 1998

Date Finished: 2-11-2011
Pages: 182

Review: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Synopsis: As this is the Norton Critical Edition, it contains Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, the Hunting of the Snark, essays on the Background and Critical Essays. The stories tell the adventure of a child names Alice who enters into a place of nonsense and backward rules called Wonderland, and tells of her many adventures there in.

Review:
Having seen the Disney version, the recent Tim Burton version and some shadowy version from the 1980s, I am familiar with the base story. I figured it was time to read the source and discovered something I figured all along. I do not like Alice in Wonderland. As a child, the constant changing of the rules terrified me. It's not much better as an adult. As for the prose, it's been described as "whimsical and innocent" but I found it boring and bit confusing. It could be said I feel this way about the story because I don't have the "heart of a child" but considering I didn't like it as a child, I suspect it's a personality quirk.
There is something a bit prentenious about denouncing a book long held as classic children's novel, a superb example of nonsense prose and a wonderful puzzle. I'm not say it's not all those things; I'm saying I don't like it.

Booksmarks:
5 of 10

Awards: Several older ones

Date Finished: 2-11-2011
Pages: 430

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair

Synopsis: After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit–and shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows. Gabriel Sullivan–alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom–for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line–but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all. (From the Back of the Book)

Review: Science Fiction-Romance is a niche genre, to be sure. To pull it off, an author must create a rich and believable interstellar world and fill them with deep, complex characters. Sinclair does this in a remarkable and delightful way. I enjoyed the story, the characters, the twisty mystery and eye-bugging revelations, as well as the delicate and tasteful way she handled the sex scenes (I'm not a fan of explicit detail). The highest praise I can give this book is that after reading it, I ordered 3 more from the same author. If I liked it enough to spend my gift cards on more, that's a good book.

Booksmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: RITA Award for Best Paranormal Romance 2006

Date Finished: 2-9-2011
Pages: 447

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ramble: Book Roulette

I catalog my books in an excel program I created several years ago. A few months ago, my husband commented that I buy books and then forget to read them. He's not entirely wrong. My answer was to play Book Roulette using the excel program. I numbered the unread books and used a web-based random number generator to choose 5 books from my collection. I stack them on the table and read my way through. It was spectacular. I read the oddest assortment and enjoy it immensely. I intend to do that again at some point - not now, as it would derail my current self-imposed reading plan. However, I'm curious. If I were, what books would I be reading. I'm going to run a tester. Here goes!

1. No Man Knows My Grave: Sir Henry Morgan, Captain William Kidd, Captain Woodes Rogers in the Great Age of Privateers and Pirates 1665-1715 by Alexander Winston

2. Nineteenth-Century Stories by Women: An Anthology ed. by Glennis Stephenson

3. Black Trillium by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May & Andre Norton

4. The Cat Who Turned On and Off by Lilian Jackson Braun

5. Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron

Not bad, actually. I'd rather like to read these. What do you think?

Review: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Then We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

Synopsis: According to Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, the mind makes food-related decisions, more than 200 a day, and many of them without pause for actual thought. This peppy, somewhat pop-psych book argues that we don't have to change what we eat as much as how, and that by making more mindful food-related decisions we can start to eat and live better. The author's approach isn't so much a diet book as a how-to on better facilitating the interaction between the feed-me messages of our stomachs and the controls in our heads. In their particulars, the research summaries are entertaining, like an experiment that measured how people ate when their plates were literally "bottomless," but the cumulative message and even the approach feels familiar and not especially fresh. Wansink examines popular diets like the South Beach and Atkins regimes, and offers a number of his own strategies to help focus on what you eat. (From the Back of the Book)

Review: I've read several books about nutrition and eating, and this is a new favorite. Wansink's overall message is simple: We eat more then we should due to cues and habits around us. Each of us has something called a “Mindless Margin” - a range of 200-300 calories that we could do without and not miss. The key, he says, is to find small ways in our diet to eat less – use a smaller plate, use a tall glass, set the candy dish across the room, eat slower, don’t put the food on the table etc. The goal is to trick yourself into eating less in ways you won’t notice it until your pants are a bit lose. His prose is clear, concise, amusing and interesting. Each chapter ends with practical ways to incorporate what he’s telling you into your life - he even has a free website! If you are a chronic dieter, need to lose a few pounds or just want to be more aware of your eating habits, this is the book for you. It’s a quick read and highly interesting.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-8-2011
Pages: 284

Aquisitions: Amazon / Dollar Store

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A Great and Terrible Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Attributes of God by Mark Galli

Little Big Man
by Thomas Berger

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime
by Phyllis Tickle

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle

In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: Whittington by Alan Armstrong

Synopsis: This novel interweaves animal fantasy and family story with a retelling of the English folktale Dick Whittington and His Cat. A battered tomcat named Whittington arrives one late-fall day at a New England barn, where he gradually befriends the equally ragtag group of animals already adopted by the barn's taciturn but soft-hearted owner, Bernie. When the year's first big snowstorm traps the bored animals in the barn, Whittington begins telling the story of his namesake, Dick Whittington, to an audience that grows to include Bernie's parentless grandchildren. The feline continues the story as winter grinds on, and the children and animals together absorb Dick's tale of good fortune, which he earned through trust in the advice of his dear friend, a remarkable cat, and his own hard work and struggles. The tale parallels that of Ben, Bernie's grandson, who learns to read once he trusts the advice of his friends and takes extra classes to help him overcome his dyslexia (From the back of the book)

Roughts: I enjoyed this book. The animals were well done characters, the prose strong and simple, the story engaging. I like the story in a story concept and the historical aspect was rich in detail without being overwhelming or dry. The author did immense research and it should in the accuracy and adventure. Side note, I'm always a sucker for books that promote reading. Of course.

Booksmarks: 7 of 10

Awards
: Newbery Honor 2006

Date Finished: 2-5-2011
Pages: 191

Aquisitions: Goodwill-C Thift Shop

I'm still haunting the thrift stores for items for a party, and I always stop at the book section. I wasn't suppose to buy anything, February being a book-free month, but that is going to be impossible. I have a Bithday Trip to B&N and several thrift shopping days coming up. I am pushing off the book-free month until perhasp April. or June. Maybe September.

Anyway, this is what I bought:

Christmas After All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift
by Kathryn Lansky (Dear America Series)

A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin

by Karen Hesse (Dear America Series)

Brooklyn Bridge by Karen Hesse

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In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Review: The Personal Heresy: A Controversy by C.S. Lewis and E.M.W. Tillyard

Synopsis: In his brilliant essay The Personal Heresy in Criticism, Lewis attacked the widely held belief that poetry is, or should be, the expression of the poet's personality. His attempt to supplant this assumption with an objective or impersonal theory of poetry was challenged by Dr. Tillyard whose interpretation of Paradise Lost he had called into question. So began a courteous but searching series of exchanges between two of the most learned and original scholar-critics of their day. This controversy sheds invaluable light on a problem as complex as it is central to the understanding and appreciation of poetry. (From the back of the book)

Roughts: I read this for my Lewis reading project. It must be understood that while Lewis' Christian works are something I can grasp, his literary works are far above my intelligence level and I often completely miss the point. I had precisely that trouble with this work. It's brilliant, intense and amusing at points, but I didn't understand most of what they were talking about. I can see if one was a poetry or literary scholar, this work would have immense value, but as a lay person with little to no training in this area, I was lost.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: none

Date Finished: 2-5-2011
Pages: 150

Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Synopsis: Penny Falucci lives with her mother and grandparents, but close to her dead father's large Italian family. The summer of 1953, the summer she turns 12 her life changes - her mother starts dating the milkman, her arm gets caught in a washing wringer and she finally confronts her family about her father's death.

Roughts: This is an excellent book. The daily life of Penny, her questions, confusions, joy and growth are seemlessly woven into the larger picture of life after WWII, the idea of Italians in America and the presecution they faced during the war, the ideas of what makes a family, secrets, grief, guilt and healing. Having married into an Italian family myself, I laughed at several of the scenes. Being the product of a broken home, I understood Penny's concern at her mother moving on. Over all, I found this book to be like a plate of rich lasagna - warm, satisifing and worth every minute.

Booksmarks:
8 of 10

Awards:
Newbery Honor 2007

Date Finished: 2-4-2011
Pages: 274

Review: Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, ill. by Hudson Talbot

Synopsis: This is the story of a line of African-American women who sew Showway quilts, quilts that have pictures and symbols of the moon, stars and roads that show the way from the slave states to the free states. This line starts with the author's grandmother's grandmother's grandmother, who first taught her daughter to sew the quilts. It is a simple picture book, told in poetry.

Roughts: First, the pictures in this book are fantastic. They are draw to resemble quilts, but with vibrant color and movement. I got lost in the pictures and forget the words. That being said, the words themselves are poetical and have a sing-song rhythm. They make use of the vernacular of the African-American experience. The simplicity of the work only adds to the message - the idea of heritage, of family wisdom, of the connection we have to our past and the strength it can give us for the future. I have personal knowledge of this, as my mother quilts and my grandmother quilts. I have quilts from both of them and they are more then just bedclothes. There is a connection, a reminder of the love they have for me and the strength they bequeathed to me. I hope someday to quilt for my children.

Bookmarks:
7 of 10

Awards: Newbery Honor 2006

Date Finished: 2-4-2011
Pages: 22

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ramble: Book Shelf Love

I amused myself by googling bookshelves and book nooks, saving favorite imagines and scheming how to get my husband to consent to convert our house into a library. I have many favorites. Today's is the one below:

Secret Room + Books = AWESOME
Oh, I covet so much.