Discussion: How to Choose Your Next Read
3 hours ago
"They have showered on her all the traditional gifts, as if this is her first baby, their first child. ... But no one acknowledges this, not even Jasu. Only Kavita has an aching cavity in her heart for what she's lost. ... She prays she will be a good mother to her son, prays she has enough maternal love left in her heart for him, prays it didn't die along with her daughters" (p. 65).I'm reading Secret Daughter, a 2010 novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. I can hardly wait to see what happens to the daughter who is adopted by a couple in America and to both mothers, the one who gives her up and the one who raises her.
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove by Susan Gregg Gilmore was published this week (2010). I told you already that I attended a book signing by the author. Donna has already finished reading this one and says it's good. I reviewed Gilmore's first novel last year: Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.
Have you read any of these books?(Thank you for reading to the end of this post. Now you have my permission to go to Sheila's blog.)
What are you reading these days?
"Hey, girlfriend," Cynthia yelled from about three feet away.That is not a typo. This Cynthia character is constantly challenging me to see the world with new eyes as she comes up with one malapropism after another. (The word malapropism comes from a character in Sheridan's 1775 book, The Rivals -- Mrs. Malaprop was noted for her misapplication of words.) Here's another malapropism from Cynthia in Seven Year Switch, page 12:
I jumped. "Geez," I said. "I didn't even see you."
"I know. I could have knocked you over with a fender."
"God, you never seem to amaze me."
This second edition "includes revised chapters on technology and the writing process and focuses on topics relevant to non-native speakers of English in the developmental writing course. Classic scholars from the field such as Mina Shaughnessy and June Jordan, along with several new voices, offer practical, sound insight for instructors both in and outside the classroom."I have a degree in English and have taught writing classes, but I've never had occasion to read a book like this -- and I look forward to it. The fall semester starts in a week and a half, and I'm fired up and ready to go. Tonight I'll start reading this 464-page book on Teaching Developmental Writing: Background Readings, by Susan Naomi Bernstein, 2004. (No, I'm not racing to finish every article before classes start.)
"Over his shoulder Fishtail carried a blanket, meaning that he had much to say and planned to spend the night" (p. 193).Okay, now I have a question for you, my readers: If I show up at your house with a blanket over my shoulder, will you allow me to talk late and then stay overnight?
"I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening. when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster" (p. 3).
In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?
If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
"At the beginning," Bell says, "I was just concentrating on playing the music. I wasn't really watching what was happening around me . . . It was a strange feeling, that people were actually, ah . . ." The word doesn't come easily. ". . . ignoring me."Watch and listen to 35 seconds of his playing by going to the video in the article Pearls Before Breakfast in The Washington Post. (I do hope you caught the "pearls before swine" allusion.) But as the article also says, "Context matters." Later in the article, you can watch 58 seconds of the first person to stop and listen, at the 6-minute mark above. The reporter caught up with some of the people and asked them about their experience, and I really enjoyed reading their responses. Altogether, there are four short videos of people's reactions to the musician, along with their stories.
"An international team of researchers using computer time lent to them by Google has found every way the popular Rubik's Cube puzzle can be solved, and showed it can always be solved in 20 moves or less."Oooookie dokie, I can't do that. Also, according to the article, my time is way off from the best puzzlers.
"The current world record holder is Dutch Erik Akkersdijk who successfully solved the puzzle in just 7.08 seconds."I used to amuse myself by making patterns on every side of the Rubik's Cube, like putting a contrasting square of color in the center of each side, using the color from the opposite side. It's been years since I picked up my Rubik's Cube, and I discovered I no longer remember how to do it. I wonder if this is the usual memory loss of old age or if the anesthesia from my heart surgery erased some of my memory. Maybe if I had continued to practice solving the Cube every day for the past thirty-odd years it would still be in my memory bank. What do you think?
For as long as Omakayas can remember, she and her family have lived on the land her people call the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. Although the chimookoman, white people, encroach more and more on their land, life continues much as it always has. Every summer the family builds a new birchbark house; every fall they go to ricing camp to harvest and feast; they move to the cedar log house before the first snows arrive, and celebrate the end of the long, cold winters at maple-sugaring camp. In between, Omakayas fights with her annoying little brother Pinch, plays with the adorable baby, Neewo, and tries to be grown-up like her beautiful older sister, Angeline. But the satisfying rhythms of their lives are shattered when a visitor comes to their lodge one winter night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever.
Her name is Omakayas, or Little Frog, because her first step was a hop, and she lives on an island in Lake Superior. It is 1850 and the lives of the Ojibwe have returned to a familiar rhythm: they build their birchbark houses in the summer, go to the ricing camps in the fall to harvest and feast, and move to their cozy cedar log cabins near the town of LaPointe before the first snows.The Porcupine Year (2008) has already helped me -- I happened to flip it open to the glossary and learned that n'dawnis means "my daughter." The word was used several times in Four Souls, but if there was a definition, I had forgotten it by the next time I ran across the word. From the dust jacket:
Satisfying routines of Omakayas's days are interrupted by a surprise visit from a group of desperate and mysterious people. From them, she learns that all their lives may drastically change. The chimookomanag, or white people, want Omakayas and her people to leave their island in Lake Superior and move farther west. Omakayas realizes that something so valuable, so important that she never knew she had it in the first place, is in danger: Her home. Her way of life.
Here follows the story of a most extraordinary year in the life of an Ojibwe family and of a girl named "Omakayas," or Little Frog, who lived a year of flight and adventure, pain and joy, in 1852.Now I discover this: "The Porcupine Year continues Louise Erdrich's celebrated series, which began with The Birchbark House, a National Book Award finalist, and continued with The Game of Silence, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction."
When Omakayas is twelve winters old, she and her family set off on a harrowing journey. They travel by canoe westward from the shores of Lake Superior along the rivers of northern Minnesota, in search of a new home. While the family has prepared well, unexpected danger, enemies, and hardships will push them to the brink of survival. Omakayas continues to learn from the land and the spirits around her, and she discovers that no matter where she is, or how she is living, she has the one thing she needs to carry her through.
"There has never been an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Currently only 35 of the required 38 votes have been garnered. A little insulting when we are busy passing laws to ensure that women's health choices with respect to abortion are radically curtailed; when women still earn less than men for the same job; when women make up more than half the work force, yet we have no meaningful childcare, healthcare, or dependent care measures. Yet, despite this, women are not marching on Washington, burning bras, carrying signs, picketing corporations. . . why?"Back in the 1970s when Second Wave feminists were trying to get the ERA passed, another group of women filled a bus going to Texas to protest. My former husband, who had come to pick up our children for the weekend, thought he could get my goat by saying he was proud of those Texas-bound women for standing up for what was right. He thought it was ridiculous that anyone would want to insist on women and men using the same rest rooms, women being drafted, and all that. I asked him, "Do you know the actual words of the amendment?" He didn't, of course. I happened to have a little card about the size of a business card with all 24 words on it. "Only 24 words?" He didn't believe me. I told him to wait a minute while I ran inside to grab the little card, which I have in hand as I type this blog post. Here's what it says:
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."