"Let’s hear it for older women who read. Without their wisdom, curiosity, and lust for life, their humour, loyalty and pride of place, we would be nowhere." O.K. so this is Canadian...but it doesn't make it any less true.
According to Shelf Awareness, they're in your town, they're on your street, and they're headed for your bookshelves. Literary monster mash-ups cannot be stopped. Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life blog reported on a discussion held last week with Alcott scholar and Pulitzer Prize-winner John Matteson; Porter Grand, author of Little Women and Werewolves; and Lynn Messina, author of Little Vampire Women.
Unless you've been under a rock lately, you've probably heard about this book. It has garnered rave reviews from a variety of sources. It was on the Today Show's list of the ten must read books for Spring, People Magazine gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars (saying "you'll catch yourself cheering out loud"), and Entertainment Weekly said "graceful and real, a compulsively readable story." It is even soon to be a major motion picture from Dreamworks.
So, what's it about? It's set in the rural south of the 1960s era, in Stockett's native Jackson, Mississippi. It was a time when black women raised white babies, but couldn't use the same bathroom as their employers. Skeeter, who is 22 years old, has just returned home from Ole Miss with her degree. She is a naive young woman with a domineering mother who's primary goal is to make sure she gets a ring on her finger. Skeeter is an aspiring writer who wants to create a book of interviews with local black maids and publish it anonymously. The risk of a book like that is great for all involved, but she manages to talk two local maids into participating: Aibileen and Minny. These three very memorable women are the backbone of the book. Aibileen is a wise, regal woman, raising her 17th white child. Minny is a wonderful cook, but has a bad habit of sassing back her employers, so has a hard time holding on to a job. And Minny is so hilarious. She just can't help but say what she thinks, with absolutely no governor on her mouth.
If you don't know much about the Jim Crow laws of the south, you'll be an expert in them by the time you finish this book. The historical background and setting is well drawn. You can't help but feel anger and outrage as these characters try to navigate within the constraints of their time. But some boundaries are just made to be broken.
This is an amazing first novel. It's a beautiful story that will break your heart and have you laughing all at the same time. The relationships between the women (mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends) rings authentic. It will pull you in from the first page, and you'll heave a sigh of sorrow when it's over. This book is a must read. I can't recommend it highly enough.
This is just too cool. And lest you wonder what this has to do with books or libraries, just look for the dress made from cards from the card catalog. And I just love the shushing she does to the audience before she takes her hair down out of the bun and struts her stuff!
This book was released in 1998, the same year Sonny Bono died in a tragic skiing accident in Lake Tahoe. The last seven pages of the book, titled simply "Son", deal with his passing and the enormous hole it left in her life.
The book is written pretty much stream of consciousness, with Cher jumping around in her life recounting memories with not too much rhyme or reason. The only theme tying it all together is the cue from the title--they were first moments. There are pictures sprinkled liberally throughout, both black and white and color, and Cher's distinctive personality shines through on every page.
She covers her early life firsts, her first marriage to Sonny, first divorce (from Sonny), first child ("The first angel that called her Mom", Chastity), her first bad boy (Gregg Allman), etc.
These are the events that shaped Cher's life, a life lived entirely in the spotlight from the age of 16, when she first met Sonny Bono. It is a completely honest book about a sometimes outrageous lady. A fun read.
I love Anne Lamott's books. She is a strong writer with the heart of a poet, so I always find them enjoyable.
I noticed the comment by David Sheff (author of Beautiful Boy) on the back cover of this one: "Heartbreaking and delightful, moving and hopeful...reminds us how our children are connected to and independent of us, and that no matter how difficult our struggle is with them, love underlies it all and saves us." That kind of spoke to me. I happen to be the mother of a 19 year old who is trying to find his way in the world, and kind of doing a sloppy and imperfect job of it, so I thought this might be a good read for me at this moment in time.
Rosie Ferguson is in her senior year of high school. Outwardly she seems perfect. But she is an addict. The book is primarily about the relationship between Rosie and Elizabeth, her stay-at-home-Mom, who is a recovering alchoholic. There are some delightful secondary characters that add to the charm of the story; Rosie's stepfather James, his best friend Lank, and Lank's wife Rae (who is also Elizabeth's best friend). James is a little harder for Rosie to fool, and Lank works with kids and is a realist, saying at one point "I work with them every day, and even the good kids break your heart. They can be so wonderful, then just diabolical. They'll all lie, even when the truth would work." And Rae, well she's the resident "Earth Mother", who thinks love is the solution to everything.
Lamott really captures the experience of parents who fear for their children with great insight and humor. Her character Elizabeth says at one point in the book "life with most teenagers was like having a low-grade bladder infection. It's hard but you just have to tough it out." I found myself jotting page numbers down as I read the book, because there were passages that were stated so beautifully, they just had to be read another time or two.
It is a tough yet tender book that will break your heart, and yet mend it too. The slow and painful process the parents go through in peeling away the lies and deception involved in addictive behavior is beautifully rendered. And without giving away what happens to Rosie at the end, Lamott manages to use these imperfect characters to show us what it means to be a family, to bring home some lovely life lessons, and Rosie learns that there is a wilderness inside of her, yes, but there is a banquet too.
Good books. Good times. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good beginnings. Good ends. Good people. Good friends. Good fiction. Good facts. Good adventures. Good acts. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good books. Good times.
Yeah, Reading is Sexy
A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat
All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
River of Earth by James Still
Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs
The Mitford series by Jan Karon
The Stand by Stephen King
This quote from Eudora Welty captures perfectly how I feel about books and reading
"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
Get Caught Reading
Want to find time to read? Fall in book love. Seek out the books that fire your passions. Follow your intellect and your heart. Then time will find you. ...Steve Leveen
Stop thinking this is all there is...
Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral.
Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel.
Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious...there's your opening!
And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.
...Mark Morford, Newspaper Columnist and Yoga Instructor
CONAN THE LIBRARIAN
I read as if time were running out, because technically it is. As I grow older, I find I'm increasingly impatient with mediocre entertainments: I want books that will take my breath away and realign my vision...Barbara Kingsolver
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill...Barbara Techman (Writer)
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul...Samuel Ullman
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order...John Adams, 2nd President of the U.S.
Every page allows me to live in the main character's thoughts and marvel at how all of us who grew up poor and female are bonded, regardless of where we were raised or who raised us. I not only feel I know this person, but I also recognize more of myself. That's just one of the great joys of reading. Insight, escape, information, knowledge, power. All that and more can come through a good book...If you're going to binge, literature is definitely the way to do it...Oprah Winfrey
"I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved."
Asking a Librarian her favorite book is like asking a Mother her favorite child
So you want to become a librarian? Welcome to a vibrant and exciting profession. Click here.
The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen. Health and strength may fail. But what you have committed to your mind, is yours forever...Louis Lamour
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.Just get people to stop reading them. ..... Ray Bradbury
I LOVE NEIL GAIMAN
Do yourself a favor and read American Gods, Anansi Boys, Fragile Things, Smoke & Mirrors, The Graveyard Book, MirrorMask, or Good Omens
Love the Fantasy/SciFi genre
Many good authors to try, John Scalzi is one of the newer ones
Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, interesting...Aldous Huxley
The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent read!
I was an adult before I read these books...how sad...
BOOKS: The Other Channel
My lifelong love affair with books and reading continues unaffected by automation, computers, and all other forms of the twentieth-century gadgetry. — Books in My Life Robert DOWNS (1903- )
A room without books is like a body without a soul. .....Marcus T. Cicero
To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry. ......Gaston Bachelard
The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries. — Cosmos Carl SAGAN
The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life. — Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475 Norman COUSINS (1915- )