Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Latvian National Costume: A Guide for Families by Liena Kaugars (2011)

Other title: Mūsu tautastērps: Ieteikumi valkāšanai.
This book should have been published years ago. When I was growing up and we had all these discussions about how the Latvian folk costume should be worn. Wonderfully illustrated by Linda Treija, this book is in Latvian and English, providing guidelines for all the pieces of a Latvian costume that should or should not be worn. I like the simple suggestions for clothing children - it is unnecessary to gear them up in full blown national costume. The folk costumes differ greatly in the different regions of Latvia and many of these regional differences are portrayed in the book. If someone decides to make a costume, they will still need to look at other reference materials, but if someone is looking to buy one, this gives enough guidelines on what is needed. A folk costume is a major invenstment, and usually you have one in your adult life. My mother made my mine in 8th grade. I have obviously grown out of it and have little opportunity to wear one, but I did some fantasizing this month about making a new costume for myself - kind of a 10 year project.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2010)

The last of the Hunger Games trilogy was great. I really like the main character Katniss Everdeen, a reluctant heroine, who seems to never do what people expect of her and spends a lot of time in this book recovering from various injuries and traumas. I am not going to try to retell the plot or even explain the alternative future world that Collins has created, just that it is a nice commentary on our world today and I understand why Hunger Games gets chosen as a common read or discussion book. In the audio version there was an interview with the author at the end where she explained where she got her ideas. I had not picked up on all the green mythology this series is based on, but definitely her criticism of reality TV. Turns out that some of her ideas came when watching news scenes from the Iraq war juxtaposed with reality TV programs. Powerful.

Paris Wife by Paula McLain (2011)

Another incredible historical novel told in the voice of Hadley, Hemingway's first wife. They met in Chicago in 1920 and spent their short married years in Paris. 

One of my favorite books of the year, but have to find time to describe it. Ended up reading Hemmingway's Sun Also Rises because of this.