Wednesday, March 31, 2010
It seems that birds have been a very important part of her life, as they are in mine.
These are passionate poems and essays that will precipitate within you deep reflections on the marvelous mystery of life. Pick up this slim volume of pleasurable reading and you'll see why Mary won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Here's the beautiful kickoff poem in her book:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thomas Mallon's book discusses the loss of these social and historical artifacts. I don't know if his book is truly as he says an "elegy to the genre" (I hope it is not truly dead), but it does make you think. What are the implications of losing such a rich connection with history? It has been said that letters are the lifeblood of history and the beating heart of biography, so what do we do without these tools that help us monitor the interior climate? One thing is certain, we won't be re-reading old emails or text messages or blog posts in our golden years, and our children won't be able to browse our emails after we're gone to gain any insight into what their parents were like when they were younger.
Mallon's book is a delightfully wide-ranging chronicle of this lost art. He organizes his material thematically and jumps around a lot, but if you are the sort who deplores the absence of salutations and polite closings in electronic correspondence, chances are you'll really like this book.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Preschool (These are books they still remember fondly)
The Bunny Planet books by Rosemary Wells
The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg
A-Hunting We Will Go by Steven Kellogg
The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
The Mitten by Jan Brett
The Little Polar Bear by Hans de Beer
Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
The Blueberry Pie Elf by Nancy Thayer
Owl Babies by Martin Waddel
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osburne
The Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Tale of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
The Percy Jackson and the Olympian books by Rick Riordan
Geronimo Stilton by Stilton Geronimo
Maximum Ride by James Patterson
The Hunger Games and Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Half-Magic by Edward Eage
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
Enjoyed by Ages 8-12
The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Yankee Years by Joe Torre
Heat by Mike Lupica
Siren Song by Anne Ursu
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
One Hundred Dresses by Elanor Estes
Land of the Lawn Weenies by David Lubar
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Walk Two Moons (and anything she writes) by Sharon Creech
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred Taylor
Tom's Midnight Garden by Rosemary Wells
No Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt
Crispin: Cross of Lead by Avi
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson
The Giver by Lois Lowry
A Jar of Dreams by Yoshika Uchida
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Hope was Here by Joan Bauer
Thursday, March 25, 2010
So here's my prescription to heal what ails you. Read this book! The New York Times has called Dave Barry the funniest man in America. In his latest book Barry tackles the challenges of adulthood, from technology and the battle of the sexes to parenting and unmentionable medical procedures. I guarantee you will laugh out loud on just about every page. This book is pure (sorry) unadulterated fun. (He rubs off) Don't miss it.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jillian Foster Knight at the Glasgow Highland Games last year. Her website is Lady of Letters
Monday, March 22, 2010
As the book jacket says, "Wise Women is a celebration of the power and beauty of women in the third phase of their lives." The author traveled throughout America to photograph and interview the women in this book, whose ages range from 65-100. These women were eager to show what it means to be an "elder" in this new millennium. Instead of being the frail stereotype of aging that our society has promoted in the past, these black and white portraits show women who are vital, energetic, and beautiful; inside and out. Some of the photographs are of celebrities, but most are of ordinary women who could be our mothers and grandmothers or even ourselves. Many confided that they have never been happier or more in touch with their deeper powers. I don't think you can pick up this book and read these women's stories and think the same way about aging.
Here's an example of some of the wisdom contained within these covers, from Polly Kline, age 97: "I still don't dye my hair. My advice is follow your conscience. I've had several lives. I'm not the same person I was at twenty, forty, or even sixty. Now I'm a role model for women in their seventies and eighties! When you're this old you can reconsider your whole life. You can relive your life and understand it with a pleasure and perception not available when you first experienced it. People are extremely nice to me now, because I am no longer a threat to them."
From Elva Azzara, 93: "I can still remember what it feels like to love with all my heart."
You know, many of us fear growing older. We think it is a time of degeneration when physical and mental abilities are in sharp decline. We fail to recognize the energy, vitality, and yes wisdom, that is possible in later years. This book should help us dispel some of the negative attitudes we have about aging and is full of magic moments of revelation. It is truly a celebration of the courage, wit, strength, and beauty of these extraordinary women.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
This is a close-up of one of the bookshelves above my desk. This one contains books by my two favorite authors, Pat Conroy, and Rick Bragg...as well as an assortment of signed books that I've obtained from authors and a few books on top that I'm reading at the moment.
This is the other shelf with a mixture of books, each and every one of them telling a story about me and my life at the time when they entered it.
I don't know. I think I need a little more kitsch. Maybe a sock monkey or a robot.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Someone is killing the beautiful silver faced wolves on Olivia Harker's property in depression era Kentucky, and she intends to find out who, and put a stop to it. In the process, we learn about Olivia's childhood with a mother who rejected and ignored her, then slipped into madness and had to be institutionalized, and a father who she adored. Her life is composed of taking care of her grandson and working very, very hard to make ends meet. She is friends with the blacks of the town at a time when segregation ruled and lynchings were very common. This book has so many different themes, expressed so beautifully--racism, family and community, poverty, coming of age, standing up for what you believe in, all brought together in a powerful character study of real people, told so well that you can practically smell their sweat and experience their stuggle right along side them.
I highly recommend this very engaging story that delivers a huge emotional wallop.