Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Diane Rehn show on NPR

Today on the Diane Rehm show, her guest, author Peggy Orenstein, was discussing her book
"Cinderella Ate My Daughter"
Peggy's book centers around what Disney and "the Princess" theory is doing to young girls in our American culture. It is a sad comment on what the movie industry, advertising, and even parents are letting their daughters evolve into.
Sounds like a really good book for grandparents and parents of young girls should really read.
Sno-Isle has ordered it, and I have placed a hold on it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Rose in a Storm" a novel by Jon katz

"Rose in a Storm" a novel by Jon Katz.

Jon Katz, of Bedlam Farms, has written a very powerful novel, using his very own Border Collie, Rose, as the narrator of this tale. Surely, based on one or more storms that they have encountered at Bedlam Farm.

Rose is focused on the sheep, during lambing season, when a storm of immense proportions hits the farm that she lives on with her farmer/person Sam.

Sam does all he can to prepare for the oncoming storm, but injures himself after falling off the barn roof. Painfully, and slowly, Sam is able to drag himself back to his home, with some assistance from Rose.

Rose's main purpose on the farm has always been to herd the sheep, but now with Sam injured she realizes that she is the only one who can gather all the other animals to safety, a chore made difficult by the fact that the animals are hungry, thristy and scared of what's going on.

In a surprise move, Rose accepts "old dog" who has been wild since his owner (a friend of Sam's) died several years before - Sam had tried to care for "old dog", but "old dog" never trusted humans after his owner's death. Rose realizes that she needs an ally to fend off the coyotes, who will eventually attempt to attack all the animals for their survival when they realize that the human, Sam, is not there to scare them off. At some point, Rose realizes that "old dog" is her father, they bond and work together as best as they can to keep the animals safe. But some things are just part of nature, not all will survive.

Don't know how he did it, but while reading this, I did feel as if Rose really was narrating this story. Boy, was it cold!

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Twelve Little Cakes, a memoir"

"Twelve Little Cakes, a memior" by Dominika Dery

Dominika, born to Czech dissidents in the mid-seventies, when Russia still dominated Czechoslovak, was a free spirited child, who wanted to be a ballerina, but sometimes dreams are difficult to grasp. Dominika's parents made many sacrifices to get her into the state-run ballet school -- her grandparents (on her mother's side) could have thrown open many doors for her, but her grandmother was an important Communist figure, grandfather a prominent doctor, yet they refused to help Dominika, as they had disowned their "dissident" daughter.

Dominika, however, grew up surrounded by much love, and a very famous St. Bernard (Barry) who had been a movie/TV star, so her entire family always received much attention whenever Barry was around - due to his status, Barry was able to help open doors for Dominika and her family. Then Soviet Russis fell and a whole new page of history was written.

Really enjoyed this memior. There were some funny situations, and some sad, but a very good read.

Hope you will consider this one.

"Babies" a movie

"Babies", a movie.
This is a great movie for everyone of all ages. We watched this the other evening, what a joy! James and I laughed at the boys' antics much more then the girls' antics. Ponijao and Bayar are real scene stealers........
Enjoyed that their is no real dialogue to follow, just wonderful visions to watch. Mongolia's vastness was amazing. Namibia was fascinating. The amount of flies in the African scenes brought back many memories of living in North Africa.
After the movie was over, we watched the director's section, that was really fun to watch, as the Babies were now 4 years old.

Friday, January 21, 2011

NPR funding "rant"

As you know, most of my postings are book or movie related, with just an occasional rant about something.
This is a rant.
Your government at work, it wishes to cease all funding to NPR, PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Of course, our country is in trouble financially, but whose fault is that? Certainly not NPR or PBS!
If you follow this blog at all, you know by now that so many of the books I post are ones that I have heard discussed or reviewed on NPR......... If you listen to NPR or watch PBS, it is time for you to take the gauntlet and toss (figuratively only) it in the direction of our Federal elected officials. Let them know that you support even handed, both sides of the issue reporting and broadcasting., and you sure don't get that on any of the commerical supported radio or tv stations.
Please consider supporting your local NPR station or PBS station. I am a member of 2 NPR stations NWPR and KPLU. You don't get in-depth reporting on any other American radio or tv stations. What you don't know will hurt you in the long run.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"We Were Not Like Other People" a novel by Ephraim Sevela

"We Were Not Like Other People", a children's novel by Ephraim Sevela

I read this book in 1997, during a time of reading books about WWII.

A young Russian boy, Jewish and the son of Red Army officers, is separated from his parents, and their privilege and protection, he spends the 6 years of World War II traveling from Siberia to Germany. Along the years and miles, many events bring him to learn how to survive during this time. With the apparent defeat of the Nazis and their allies, our young man travels back to where he believes his family's home should be, to only be met with many surprises. Will he find what he is looking for?

I believe that some of these events were auto-biographical. This is just one of many fictionalized accounts of WW II that are worth looking at with children, as so many of the authors recounted first hand from their life experiences during this time frame.

"The Mennyms" a children's novel by Sylvia Waugh

"The Mennyms" a children's novel by Sylvia Waugh

I read this book in 1996, this is the first in a series of four books.

At Number 5 Brocklehurst Grove live the Mennyms family, a rather large family with 5 children, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather and Miss Quigley. At first glance, a typically normal family, but not so, as the Mennyms and Miss Quigley are life size dolls that have had the breath of life given them - they never age nor eat. Their existence has never been questioned by any of the neighbors because they keep to themselves, but now their very existence is likely to be exposed when a letter arrives from an Albert Pond of Australia. What will happen?

This series of books was enjoyable, but now with so many digital devices, one wonders if children would still see the wonder of such a tale.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Blindside" a movie and book

"The Blindside" a movie.
Well, this one has become one of the favorites to watch when I am ironing in the morning before work. What can I say? It's nice to know that some people really are loving and "color blind", and care for what happens to other people.
I received the book for Christmas, but have not started it yet.

"Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" a novel by Tom Franklin

"Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" a novel by Tom Franklin.
I heard the author on NPR one morning, and thought I really want to read this book. After waiting for it for several weeks, I took it home over my end of year week off.
This one went in the pile that I did NOT finish. I knew that there would be some sort of violence, but by page 40 I just couldn't take the violence.
The author states in the very beginning of the book that children in the south are taught to spell "Mississippi" "M-i-crooked letter, crooked letter,-i-crooked letter, crooked letter,-i-humpback-humpback- i". Well, since James grew up in the South, I asked him if he knew what "crooked letter" was, and he said, "of course". Then I asked him if he had been taught to spell Mississippi that way, and he said "of course". Hmmmmm.
Anyway, I am sorry that I could not continue to read this book, but that's the way things go.