Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Normally I agree with the school of thought that feels any books beloved by children are worth supporting but I must make an exception here. While Ramona Quimby's malapropisms are charming: "Turn on the dawnzer's lee light," for example, this series leaves me cold! There are lots of other books with more likeable characters than the verging-on-obnoxious Junie, and I am sure booksellers (although perhaps not Random House, publisher of this series) and librarians can help these readers find something better!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
• Four tickets to 10 games in 2008
• A ceremonial first pitch before a game in 2008
• A suite for one regular season game in 2008
• A trip to Spring Training with a guest
• Official business cards
• A credential to allow entry for all 2008 regular season games
• Periodic appearances on NESN/WRKO
• Periodic meetings with Red Sox senior executives
• Official spokesperson reacting to Red Sox news
And maybe I would get to meet my favorite players, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Janet Lambert's books about the Parrish and Jordon families and Lenora Mattingly Weber's books about Beany Malone and Katie Rose Belford are definitely among my favorites but I caught both authors, so to speak, in their last years when the quality of their writing was not as strong. One author I do recall eagerly anticipating new books from was Ruth Arthur - in particular, The Autumn People, which has some parallels to Mabel Esther Allan's Time to Go Back. In addition, Ruth Arthur was published in the US by Atheneum, then under the auspices of Margaret K. McElderry. Her imprimatur was almost a guarantee that I would like a book in those days, from Susan Cooper's Over Sea Under Stone to Nancy Bond, L. M. Boston and Elizabeth Enright (and more recently, Hilary McKay's books). I am sorry I have never met her because not only am I a huge admirer of her work in publishing but she was married to one of my grandfather's closest friends, Storer Lunt (former president of WW Norton).
If you asked me which authors I most eagerly anticipate now, at the top of the list might be my request for another Damar book from Robin McKinley, and she is clearly tired of that question. I also look forward to new books from Diana Norman, Katie Fforde, Suzanne Brockmann, and Shannon Hale, to name a few. My sister Clare probably awaits Michael Connolly's books with equal enthusiasm.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
And here is a great article from the Washington Post on Pottermania. While I have been a fan since November 1999 when Joe Monti summoned me from the hallway outside his office and said he had a treat for me, then carefully handed me my own copy of Sorcerer's Stone, I know others came to the books later or through their children. Thank you, Joe!
(above, left, the North Drumlin, Spectacle Island; below, Constance and Carolynne on Spectacle with Boston skyline behind)
(above, view from the top of Spectacle Island; Carolynne contemplating the path to the South Drumlin)
(view of distant Downtown Boston from the top of the North Drumlin, Spectacle Island)
As has often been told, my mother collected all the Maida books growing up. After she left for college, my grandmother gave away all her books, including the Maidas (along with a complete set of the 1954 Giants team baseball cards).* Once my mother introduced me to the books, I too became a Maida fan. It took us years to reconstruct the collection, and admittedly the first book is by far the best. Still, if one is a completist, as is yours truly, then one cannot simply own just the first book in a series of this importance.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
As this group of Mormons travels towards Salt Lake City, a young woman dies in childbirth, and Charlotte surprises herself by offering to take care of the baby Rose while the grief-stricken husband Thomas Owen recovers. Cannon does well at describing the difficulties of carrying and tending to a baby as the group struggles along the trail. In particular, Charlotte, who still misses her mother and finds it hard to be taken seriously either by adults or peers (although she has a great relationship with her father), pours her emotions into baby Rose, and the pain of eventually returning Rose to Thomas was movingly depicted (in a different type of book, perhaps, Thomas would have proposed to Charlotte but this outcome was better). There is a strong sense of the difficulties and isolation of the long journey, as well as the physical obstacles encountered as members of this group push small carts containing all the personal belongings each was allowed to bring for the new life. It is made clear that this life in the New World does not offer an easy solution from the problems encountered in the Old World, and some are rightly apprehensive of what lies ahead. An interesting thread was Charlotte's longing to be able to read, contrasted also with her fear that she was losing her memories of her mother. Cannon delicately implies that reading and writing are the way to capture memories permanently (obviously, I agree), and a sorrowful young woman, part of the Mormon group, eventually promises to teach Charlotte how to read after they reach Salt Lake (if there were a sequel I predict this woman would eventually marry Charlotte's father).
I think my favorite frontier book continues to be On to Oregon by Honore Morrow, which was read to my fourth grade class by Miss Barnes many years ago, but this book gave a vivid picture of the exhausting struggle to Salt Lake and provided a sympathetic portrayal of Mormon settlers (not surprising, since the author is a descendant of Mormon pioneers herself), and I recommend it to an audience of 8 - 11.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Please let me know if you hear that See's is asking for volunteers, although it is really just their Scotchmallows I adore.
I do not usually like travel memoirs but I think I can find some novels that fit the bill just from the armful I brought home from the library today or my TBR pile.
1. That Summer in Paris, Abha Dawesar (this might not have been my choice but my friend Mandy selected it for our next book group) (Paris)
2. Charlotte's Rose, A.E. Cannon (Mormon trail, Iowa City to Utah)
3. The Sparks Fly Upward, Diana Norman (Paris and, I think also, England)
4. Fever Hill, Michelle Paver (Jamaica)
5. Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky (France)
6. It's Perfectly Easy, Mary Scott (New Zealand)
Hmm, more France than I would have expected but perhaps I will add some variety later on.