May Carnival of Children's Lit
Reading Fest

The Week in Books, or Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading!

Egypt is in, amoebas are out. Junior's library haul this week included David Macaulay's Pyramid, from 1975. He's also poring over Make It Work! Ancient Egypt, by Andrew Haslam and Alexandra Parsons. Every once and a while he drops a few random facts about biomes, which they're studying at school. "Ah, savannas," he said with a sigh the other night, "the grassy plains." 

I've been doing some reading about reading, and delved into Maureen Corrigan's Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading! and Nick Hornby's Polysyllabic Spree. Corrigan, the book reviewer for NPR's "Fresh Air," combines literary scholarship (very readable, don't worry) and autobiography in a series of essays. Inveterate readers will relate to how much Corrigan, a Sunnyside, Queens, girl with a Ph.D in English, filters her experiences through books.

I made a long list of recommendations from Leave Me Alone, and have already finished  Anna Quindlen's novel Black and Blue, which I avoided when it first came out. I don't remember why. It's a suspenseful tale of a Brooklyn police officer's wife fleeing domestic abuse and starting over. Quindlen, who once wrote the "About New York" column in the New York Times, nails the milieu—the Brooklynese, the cops' wives' talk, the love and fear in the family affected by domestic violence, and especially the repercussions.

The Polysyllabic Spree, Hornby's short, funny book about reading, gave me even more titles I wanted to track down, like  Charlotte Moore's George and Sam, written by a mother of two sons with autism. Melissa Wiley mentioned this one, too, on her blog Here in the Bonny Glen, where I first heard of Hornby's book.

Finally, Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life, by Jenna Woginrich, has me wanting to learn the fiddle. Hey, why not! Only in her mid-twenties, Woginrich wrote the book to help people get started on living a more self-sufficient life. Chapters cover raising chickens, beekeeping, canning, and more. The author blogs at Cold Antler Farm.


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Oh, I just read George and Sam, after seeing it at Melissa's place. Very interesting and very gripping.

That's good to hear another endorsement, Charlotte. I'm going to request this one through inter-library loan.

I am going to have to get these at the library this summer. Yay for summer reading lists! I can hear Corrigan's voice in my head when I read this post. :) I really want to read George and Sam. Thanks for the recommendations!

Sure thing, Cloudscome. Don't you just love the library?

I really enjoyed Black and Blue, although it was also kind of painful. Quindlen's like that. Have you ever read her little book about books, How Reading Changed My Life? It's one of those I reread every couple years, although it just winds up giving you more books to read. Speaking of which, I put Made from Scratch on hold...

Isn't Hornby a delight? I'm so bummed he isn't writing that column anymore; I've read all three collections now. I think Spree was my favorite, but all were terrific reads.

George and Sam. I'm working on a longer post. Truly excellent book. My about-to-turn-14yo is reading it now. Here's a link to a recent-ish interview with Charlotte Moore (including updates on George and Sam), if you're interested:

Adrienne, Black and Blue was sad, especially in regard to the legacy of abuse--and the end, of course. (I did hold out some hope, though.) I think I read Quindlen's reading book long ago, but will have to take another look at it.

Lissa, I look forward to reading what you wrote about George and Sam, and will check out the interview after I finish the book. I went looking for High Fidelity at the library, too, but it was checked out. Can't believe I've never read it. Gads.

Corrigan's book sounds great. Gonna see if my local pubalic liberry has it. Thanks for the rec.

Any time, Jules. I also read Dennis Lehane's Mystic River, which Corrigan recommended. Good book. Creepy, though. That's the problem with murder mysteries--the murder.

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