Monday, April 30, 2012
Among Schoolchildren, by Tracy Kidder
Read in 1990
Tracy Kidder received permission to "sit" in Mrs. Zajac's 5th grade class at Kelly school in Holyoke, CO - where she grew up to become a teacher - for a whole school year. We are introduced to all her pupils, their backgrounds, their personalities, pleasures, pain and problems. One child in particular becomes not only Mrs. Zajac's "cross to bear", but the one she simply refuses to give up on. All the children become family and dear to the reader. It is a very sad day for the reader, author and teacher when Clarence is sent ot another school - one wonders what became of him.
Tracy gave us yet another well-paced, well-written book ---- good insights into terrible teaching conditions nationally at that time. Have teaching conditions changed for the better or worse? Maybe someday he will revisit this theme.
Two Against the Sahara, by Michael Asher.
Due to having lived on the Sahara Desert as a child, I find reading accounts of folks trekking the Sahara very interesting.
Only married 5 days, Tom and his new wife, Mariantonietta, begin not only a new journey of marriage, but the journey of a lifetime, that few will ever experience, to cross the Sahara Desert from west to east. Passing through many obstacles, man-made and nature-made, crossing on camels, the drifting sands come and go, as do various guides and government regulations. Some of the tales told by Michael are frightening, some life threatening, some humorous, but put altogether they make a strong statement for the inner strength one finds when faced with insurmountable odds, and the joy one feels with accomplishment. One can taste the sand, feel the heat, savor the cool of the shade, this was a great journey.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Read in 2008
Marvelously woven tale of Marina, "then" a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, during the WWII German siege of the city. "Now" an aging woman, whose family must face the tragic fact that she is a victim of Alzheimer's.
"Then", an intricate history of the many art treasures of the Hermitage, how they were "rescued" before the Germans stormed Leningrad, with glimpses of how Stalin's regime "stole" works to fund the Communist party.
"Now", a loving look at how 2 people fled Soviet Russia, WWII and Europe to come to America for their children, and how they never want to be parted.
"Now" sequences set in the Seattle/ San Juan Islands of Washington state, "then" in Leningrad, Russia.
Lovely story of love both for individuals, and for one's heritage.
Hope you will consider this book. Happy Reading.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
A grim look into the future, when (and if) society and civilization fail. Sisters, Eva and Nell, have been "left" in what is remaining of the Northern woods in California. Before the phones and the electricity failed, they lived in this "paradise" with their parents, their mother died of cancer before the failures started, after things started failing, their father died from a horrible accident in the woods.
Eva had dreams of being a dancer, Nell had her sites of attending Harvard, however, with the failures both girls must come to grips with what the future really holds for them.
This is obiviously NOT a light and fuzzy read, however, the writing is excellent. I read this title in March of 2000. It seems to still be a popular book, as I see it go in and out of the library frequently. Consider this one when you need something with a bit of "meat" to it.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Author was on Diane Rehm's show this morning, he makes some VERY interesting points about religion in America. Whether or not you are a "believer" this is a book that I think most Americans should read. His demeanor on the program was one of calm, intellectual insight.
Hope you will consider this one.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
I read this book several years ago. It was a fun read, however, I don't know if it is still available.........
Unprincipled, Sir Giles, has plans to do away with his wife, Lady Maude, who has brought to their marriage her family's sizable estate. Lady Maude is a "large, overbearing" woman who deeply loves her family's estate and will go to any means to save it from the unsavory, powerful lobby who wish to run a highway straight through the village and the estate. Bring on the "heavy guns" - large equipment, lions, giraffes, a rhino or two, and Blott, the gardener who loves Lady Maude, will build a fortress to save her and her estate. Watch out for LIONS, especially hungry ones, Sir Giles............. You may have "bitten" off more then you can chew.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Thank YOU Anne!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anne's signature location is Baltimore. Aaron's family has owned a "vanity" press publishing firm, that more or less fashioned books on the "dummies" series books, hence the titles always begin with "the beginner's"...... Consequently, "The Beginner's Goodbye" deals with how to say farewell to the dearly departed. Aaron's wife, Dorothy, a physician, dies in a "freak" accident when the huge tree next to their house falls and crushes the room she was working in. Aaron can no longer abide in the house, especially after the rains come, so he moves in with his sister, Nandina who resides in the house where they both grew up. Walking one day near his and Dorothy's home, he sees her on the street. Aaron's sightings of Dorothy continue over the course of time, until one day she seems to be finally saying "goodbye". The ending was simply Anne Tyler at her best.
Hope you will read this one.