Thursday, June 29, 2006

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith

Listened to this on the way home from New Orleans June 27, 2006.

In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant (2006)

Listened to this on my way to New Orleans June 21, 2006.

Awakening and Other Stories by Kate Chopin

This was an author covered in one of the English lit. classes I tought. Interesting powerful woman writer, who wrote about themes not acceptable in her time - late 19th early 20th century. Awakening was definitely one, where she looked at a woman realizing her own strengths, sexuality, creativity, and the fact that motherhood is not the most important thing to her. Plus, as I was getting ready to go to New Orleans, I enjoyed the fact that this was set in New Orleans.

School Days by Andrew Clement

Another young adult book I bought for the relative in Latvia. This is a wonderful book, simply written, but a bit more complex, and if I took on translating it, it would take a long time.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Wonderful young adult novel in poetry form, where a boy has to write poetry for his English class and feel stupid doing so. Over the year he starts sharing things with his teacher and he learns not only about poetry, but himself. I sent this to a 13 year old relative in Latvia, who is learning English and have been having a good time translating it into Latvian for her. The language is simple, but engaging.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White

Our neighbors sold their house and told us we were free to take any leftover books in their garage for ourselves or the library or wherever. We were busy, and the next day the books were in the dumpster. My son and I went dumpster jumping and grabbed quite a few. I think the history books and bestsellers will do well in a Friends of the Library sale. But I couldn't resist and kept a pile for myself. Some books I've read before and want to pass on to others or reread, some were totally new, so expect an eclectic selection of reading in the next months.

Bailey White is a regular commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, lives down in Georgia with her mother and teaches first grade. These are short, delightful vignettes of the South, her life, her mother, her classroom. A very quick read, I especially liked the story of the wild turkey eggs. Ornithologists were trying to protect pure-bred wild turkeys, but had scared a mother off her eggs right before they hatched. The author was a 6 year old with measles and a high temperature. The ornithologists put the eggs in bed with her and she woke up next to a bunch of baby turkeys, which followed her around for a while.

I liked this woman, who drove her car until it was considered an antique, and while almost intimidated by used car sellers, stood up to them and got a good deal. She is a great combination of old and new, rural and sophisticate, not unaware of the greater world. She takes a three week vacation every year "up north." She uses trains and busses, knows a wide variety of folks, relates to the lush nature around - be it snakes or alligators, worked hard to create a wildflower garden, uses common sense in teaching her kids, and has a sense of humor that appeals to me.