I thought I’d be able to settle into 2019 focused on a year-long daily art project I am undertaking with any leftover time devoted to more frequent blogging. Ha! Turns out I’ve been spending most of my free time helping one of my children secure their very first ‘grown up’ job. That said, no matter how busy I am I always find time to read every day… Continue reading “Oh I talk too loose…..”→
Do you have a gift you receive every year? Some item which if not received taints the occasion just a bit? For me, that gift is a book, or even better, books. Each Christmas my momma gifts me with a selection from my‘2b or not 2b read’list (past gift selections can be found here and here). My mom was a little under the weather over the holidays and so her 2018 gift was delayed, but no less appreciated when I finally opened my box of books this weekend. Thanks Mom.
I know I’ve been complaining about not having enough time to get it all done so it might surprise you to learn I have gone and joined a book club, because why not? Even if I get nothing else done – and a LOT is not getting done at the moment – joining a book group which meets once every few months isn’t the time commitment it might seem, especially since I read a few chapters of a book every night anyway.
Our club is interested in exploring utopian/dystopian perspectives and chose The Powerby Naomi Alderman as our first read. Set five thousand years in the future, The Power explores an alternative reality in which women become the dominant sex as the result of a latent genetic trait which suddenly becomes active. Most of the book is presented as a manuscript which follows 7 character story arcs over the 10-year period from when the ‘power’ first emerged until the revolution occurred, ending in a matriarchal society. The rest of the story involves an exchange of letters between the manuscript’s male writer (Neil Adam Armon) and his female colleague (Naomi) in which they discuss the manuscript and their latent feelings for each other (because no matter who is in charge the love – and hate – shared between the sexes is timeless.
Ms. Alderman’s novel centers around the question of power: who has it, how do you get it, what does it do to you when you’ve got it? And when you wield the power, how long will it be before the power wields you? She also writes that two of the illustrations in the book are the key to the entire story. I haven’t researched those but hope to have done so in time for our discussion in two weeks.
How about you? Have you read The Power? What did you think? Whose story line did you like the most? And the least? I’d love to know your thoughts…
When I was little I spent a large part of every summer reading. My sister and I would ride our bikes to the nearest library and load up our baskets with enough books for a week of reading. We’d bike home, fight over the porch lounge chair or the hammock, and read our afternoons away. My children, who each had a library card within weeks of being born, also participated in summer reading programs until they reached high school and their assigned summer reading assignments took over.
I continue to be a huge library user and supporter and generally utilize the online search and hold services to assemble a week or two worth of reading material. Imagine my surprise when I stopped by to pick up my book holds and realized that the summer reading club had started, featuring a club for children AND adults!
The program runs from May 14th through August 3rd and the goal is read 600 minutes. Not to brag, but I read 600 minutes in the first week, and am currently up to 4000 minutes and counting. There are also incentives for posting on social media (check), reading to someone (check) and making a recipe from a cookbook (check, check and check). I’ve already earned a mug and a $10 gift card and hope to have enough minutes to ‘win’ a book donation in my name when the program ends. Here’s what I’ve read so far…
Feel Free – Zadie Smith | Sing Unburied Sing – Jesamyn Ward | God Bless You Mr. Kervorkian – Kurt Vonnegut | Miller’s Valley – Anna Quindlen | The Wife Between Us – Greer Hendricks | While Mortals Sleep – Kurt Vonnegut | Eternal Life: A Novel – Dora Horn | Green: A Novel – Sam Graham-Felsen | Lullaby Road: A Novel – James Anderson | The Nothing – Hanif Kureshi | The Queen’s Embroiderer: A True Story of Paris, Lovers, Swindlers, and the First Stock Market Crisis – Joan E. DeJoan | King Zero – Nathaniel Rich | Surprise Me: A Novel – Sophie Kinsella | The Interestings – Med Wolitzer | The Monk of Mokha – Dave Eggers
How serendipitous that I scored ALL of these books from my local library yesterday, which coincidentally was also the first day of National Library Week!
I grew up in a house full of books and was reading before I entered first grade. At age 7 I was given free rein to roam the reading rooms of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Librarywhile my dad explored the microfiche reels for his aviation research. By 9 my sister and I were riding our bikes to the Ridley Park library to get our weekly reading stash, which we would devour during lazy summer afternoons after our chores were finished.
There were numerous trips to D.C. and the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum archives, where I helped my mom and dad research pre-WWII insignia (and once opened a drawer to find a logbook from Charles Lindbergh). I worked as a help-desk clerk at the Baltimore County Public Library during my first year of college. I even spent one year organizing bake sales, weekly Friday dances, and monthly Parent Night Out events to restock our local elementary school’s shelves with $12,000 of new books. If all of that weren’t enough, my momma was a librarian for close to 30 years. So when I say my love for libraries runs deep I am truly speaking from the heart.
Think about it. Anyone, of any age, color, sex, sexuality, income level, education level, or any other descriptor you care to identify with can access one of 119,487 US libraries and learn a new language, brush up on computer skills, watch a movie, take part in community activities, surf the web, vote, or even check out a book. For free. It’s really quite amazing!
Does your town have a library? How often do you visit ? If you haven’t been in awhile (or ever) take five minutes to check out what your library has to offer. Get a card. Prowl around. Discover all the great things just waiting for you to explore. I guarantee – you will not be disappointed.
Do you ever have high hopes before starting a book but after beginning realize you’re already familiar with the plot, even if the cosmetic details like name, location, and time differ? I often find this is the case, especially since I tend toward books with themes of love and family in their many iterations. I count myself fortunate to have recently read a number of books with plots that are markedly different and excellently written (including Moonglow and The Book of American Martyrs). Now I can add another unique read to that list – The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti.
‘Twelve Lives’ central theme of family and love is told in alternating chapters voiced by Samuel (a very successful career criminal) and his teenage daughter Loo (a bit of a criminal herself). Watches, whales, and wounds all feature into the plot, along with Samuel’s brother-from-another-mother Jove and Loo’s boy/friend Marshall Hicks, and each propels the story forward until it culminates in Samuel’s 12th, and Loo’s 1st, life tale.
Have you read this book? I liked the story so much I am going to read Ms. Tinti’s The Good Thief next. If it is half as good as ‘Twelve Lives’ I will have yet another book to add to my 2017 favorites list! Keep reading….
If you’ve been following The Grey Goddess then you know I love to read. I always have a ‘current read’ book on my night table and a pile of future possibilities nearby. Check out my 2B or Not 2Be Readsand Books I’ve Read lists, where I detail my will or have read books. I like to save my TGG posts for books that really stand out in some way, such as my just-finished 5-star read – Moonglow by novelist Michael Chabon.
I can’t remember where I first learned of Mr. Chabon’s fictional memoir of his unnamed grandfather but the book has been on my ‘must read’ list for some time. Utilizing some of the most eloquently phrased sentences I’ve ever read, the author weaves a richly detailed multi-layered possibly true story about the joys and pains of love in its many forms. The reader feels the heat from a life-long ardor shared by his grandparents, understands the unspoken bonds shared by siblings, relates to pursuing one’s passions until death, and stands bedside while witnessing the friendship and love of a grandchild and grandparent. Moonglow is a beautifully written, sweeping blend of fictionalized truth that jumps between decades and characters but never leaves the reader feeling lost during the journey, only saddened when that journey ends on the last page.
Have you read Moonglow? I’d love to know what you thought of the book or what you’re reading now……
One of my favorite gifts to receive is a book, or more specifically, books. My Santa Momma gave me 9 books that have been on my ‘2B…or not 2B Reads‘ Pinterest board for awhile now. I am almost finished with my current read and then I’ve got a big decision to make – what gift do I begin first? Decisions, decisions…just the sort of dilemma I love to resolve.
I ordered Fates and Furiesby Lauren Groff as part of a recent reading stash purchase (mentioned here) but delayed beginning it until now. I wish I HAD started the book sooner because it quickly became one of my favorite reads of the summer. I stayed up way too late over the past week, following this slyly nuanced tale of a ‘perfect’ marriage that gives truth to the old adage that there are always three sides to any story; his, hers, and the truth. If you are looking to get lost in a tale of passionate love, heart-rending loss, sacrifices made, revenges exacted, lies made truth and truths not told than this is the story for you. Have you read Fates and Furies? I’d love to know what you thought of the story and what is on your ‘must read’ list for fall…
How serendipitous that I finished reading Emma Cline’s ‘The Girls’on the same day that California Governor Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown rejected parole for one of the original ‘girls’, Leslie Van Houten.
The novel is loosely based on Charlie Manson’s most fervid female followers and explores the lifelong guilt and self-imposed imprisonment of Evie, the main character who by chance meets ‘the girls’ one lazy summer afternoon and by luck avoids their fate one apocalyptic night.
Back in the late seventies I spent a lot of time at the Mars Hotel, hanging with ‘The Guys’. Jaz ruled over our core group of turned on/tuned in/dropped out wanderers and an ever changing cast of hangers-on and passers-through. Equal parts shyster, narcissist and carnival con man, Jaz could get just about anyone to do almost anything he asked. I’ve met a LOT of people in my life and to date none of them had that combination of magnetism and false messiah, which is one reason reading ‘The Girls’ resonated so deeply with me.
Have you read ‘The Girls’? I’d love to hear what you thought of the book…