Thursday, January 18, 2018

Book Talk - Literature at it's Best

"And yet, what Ada had written about joy was entirely true. When she stands before you with her long, naked limbs and her mysterious smile, you must embrace her while you can."

The Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey

I have a new favorite author to add to my list. 

  I am so excited to talk about Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child.   I want everyone to run to your nearest bookstore or library and grab this book.  If you are snowed in, perfect... download it.

Ivey takes her inspiration from a Russian folktale by the same name, The Snow Child, and in fact, the children's book has a role in her novel.   Stunning scenery... tightly woven narrative... well-developed characters.  Set in a valley near the Alaskan Wolverine river, this book is brutal, magical, mysterious, romantic and heartbreaking.  I wanted to make this one last and savor every sentence, but I couldn't put it down.

Grab a blanket, a cup of tea (or beverage of choice... wink, wink), and perhaps a few tissue... yes I was crying at the end of this one... plan to spend this weekend in Alaska.

Have you read The Snow Child?  If so let me know your thoughts.  

I have a question...

Do you participate in reading challenges?  I actually do sign up on Goodreads (I don't know if this is a good thing), but I don't really make it a challenge.  I do it more or less to keep up with my reading habits during the year.  I don't think I have ever committed to more that 25 books in a year.  While I sometimes go well over, I don't want my desire of quantity to take away from my enthusiasm for reading.   And... I have been told (blushing) I am a pretty picky reader.  

  Do you read to log an impressive number of books a year or do you savor a good book searching for themes and messages?  As I tell my children.... there are no right or wrong answers.  We read for different reasons... I am just curious.  

I am building my 2018 TBR list, and would love to hear want you are reading or want to read.  Let's meet here and chat about it.

Stay warm friends and
Happy Reading!  


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Favorites of 2017

Happy New Year friends!

Do you love the expectation of a new year?  Do you view it as a fresh slate, or is it just the day after December 31st?   I am a big fan of the fresh start.   I like the thought of the old year with all its wrinkles and warts swept out to sea, as a new sparkling unblemished year gently washes ashore to be collected with all 
the promises of tomorrow. 
What are your hopes for 2018?

I am dying to tell you about my first read of the year, but in line with putting away the old year I want to share a few of my favorite books I read in 2017. 

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles.
I first heard about this book, while listening to NPR and loved the premise of a Russian aristocrat living out a life sentence of house arrest in a luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin.  I fell madly in love with Count Alexander Rostov as he comes to terms with his fate and discovers his purpose through his encounters with employees and patrons of the hotel.  When I finished the last sentence, I wanted to stand up and cheer. 
We are never too old to discover our purpose.

Reading with Patrick , Michelle Kuo
This amazing memoir should be required reading for everyone studying education.  Michelle Kuo tells of her time spent in Helena, Arkansas, one of the poorest areas in the US, teaching for Teach America.  This simply told story is of one teacher, one student and the power of literature to save.  This is what teaching should be about!

Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult
I hadn't picked up a Picoult novel in many years, until I read an article by one of my favorite authors stating "Small Great Things is Jodi Picoult's best book, and one of the best books of 2017.  I don't know where to begin with this one.  I think one reviewer puts it nicely... "With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion -- and doesn't offer easy answers."   Reading Small Great Things, I felt I was helplessly watching a train wreck.   I wanted to shake a couple of the characters and scream, "what are you thinking".  Though, in my opinion,  the ending was wrapped up a bit too comfortably, I did have to sit for awhile with this one and wonder where I fit into this story.  It will sound, maybe, a little clique, and it is perhaps a nod to Reading with Patrick, good literature can be the spark to ignite conversation for change. 

Just one more.... I promise!

To the Bright Edge of the World, Eowyn Ivey
This is a book I picked up because it was late evening, the book I wanted to download from the library, Ivey's first book, was not available.   Ivey gives us a beautiful descriptive story of adventure, love, loyalty and heartbreak.   Using journal entries, letters, news articles and artifacts we are lead on a  treacherous journey with newly commissioned, Colonel Allen Forrester and a few men as they navigate and chart  Alaska's Wolverine River.  Sophie, Forrester's pregnant wife is left behind never knowing her husbands fate.  Writing an epistolary novel would be difficult, giving each person her/his own uniques voice.  Ivey brings to life multi-deminsional characters throughout.  
 The characters... the writing... exquisite!

What were your favorite books of 2017?
If you have read any of my favorites, I want to hear your thoughts.  If you are looking for a good book to open, perhaps one of the above peeks your interest.  There are so many good books on the shelves, and more released every week.  I love hearing what you are reading or want to read.

What will be our favorites of 2018?  
I think I may have just finished one on my list.

A good book, a crackling fire and a cup of tea....
perfect prescription for our cold weather.

Stay warm and
Happy Reading!