Showing posts from May, 2012
On Mondays On Mondays when the museums are closed and a handful of guards look the other way or read their newspapers all of the figures step out of golden frames to stroll the quiet halls or visit among old friends. Picasso's twisted ladies rearrange themselves to trade secrets with the languid odalisques of Matisse while sturdy Rembrandt men shake the dust from their velvet tams and talk shop. Voluptuous Renoir women take their rosy children by the hand to the water fountains where they gossip while eating Cezanne's luscious red apples. Even Van Gogh in his tattered yellow straw hat seems almost happy on Mondays when the museums are closed.
by Marilyn Donnelly from Coda. © Autumn House Press, 2010. Courtesy of The Writer's Almanac

Will the Real Jenny Lawson Please Stand Up?

Why did no one tell me this video existed? It proves, once and for all, that Let's Pretend This Never Happened is one of the funniest memoirs on the market today.

For the love of the Bible, just read it. I did, and I'll never be the same. Once I'm recovered, I may be able to write a quick review. I might have to re-read it first...

Anyway, read the book. Just read it.

Do it for the mouse.

Memorial Day: Dating Back to the Blue and Gray

Memorial Day was designated at holiday after the American Civil War, celebrated on May 30 because there was no momentous battle on that day for either side. After World War I, the holiday was changed to recognize all American military personnel who fell in battle.
Below is a poem written by someone who lived through the Civil War, who reminds us that no matter what side the soldier may be on, a soldier has fallen.

The Blue And The Gray

By the flow of the inland river,
    Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
    Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgment-day;
        Under the one, the Blue,
            Under the other, the Gray
These in the robings of glory,
    Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
    In the dusk of eternity meet:
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgement-day
        Under the laurel, the Blue,

Review: What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

Nathan Englander's new collection of short stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, first entered my consciousness when I read the title story in The New Yorker. For days, I read parts of it aloud to anyone within earshot and vowed to read the book when it was published.

I enjoyed the stories immensely and hope other readers will take up this tome as soon as they can.

The title story involves two friends whose lives went separate ways and brings them back together to ask the question one of them has asked herself, and others, since childhood. Long-term friends whose relationship gelled during crazy, cattywhompus youth know each other best, this story reveals. The story weaves between the friends, the friends' husbands, the couples, never flinching, refusing to let go no matter how much it burns.

Each of Englander's stories in this collection does that very thing: hang on for dear life until your time is up and the peep-show door closes. There are laugh-ou…

Whatever It Is, Keep Your Word

Well, you did.

So just do it. This weekend is a perfect time to start. Just do it.
The Day Disco Died It is 12:15 in Washington D.C., a Monday,
the day after an earthquake in Italy, and I'm listening
to "I Feel Love," the song Bryan Ferry said would change
music for good. In Afghanistan a Marine
sergeant tweets about boredom and generators
from a gritty keyboard in Combat Outpost Marjah. I conjure up the unrelenting sand he describes
in 140 characters while a new Barnard BA strategizes her type
of rekindling and a poli-sci grad at Liberty types up an op/ed
on Romney and values,
and stories get made this way, then taken down. Just as quickly, the imprint of one a ghost
in the other, the way Harvard links two opponents,
the way a fracture is also a seam.
Songs about rivers inflect an Italian art revolution
against austerity,
or we're forces multiplied both in the streets
of Chicago or in the alliances of nations. Or we once listened to a soundtrack in falsetto
that sounded like the end of the past
and also the future as our parents wait…

Unbelievable Book Art

While some of us can see the art in a book, how many can make art out of a book?

Check out these amazing sculptures created from books.

Thanks to Book Riot for the tip.

A Desk, A Home, A Place to Write

I was a graduate student, just moved cross-country with second-hand furniture and plank-and-cinderblock bookshelves. I knew that as my studies grew, so would my book collection (and my bookshelves). I managed to get a "den," a few bookshelves from Ikea — but I was stumped about a desk.

Then I read about someone who grabbed a nice, thick board, stained and shellacked the heck out of it and attached it to two filing cabinets. I was intrigued: I could make a desk as big as I wanted.

Computers were new at the time, so I needed something big. (Well, bigger than what I had used for my typewriter.) I also had a cat who liked to sit between me and whatever I was working on, so it had to be wide. (Mao, God love her, was wide. Furry. Think Maine Coon, but a moggy.)

The board was beautiful, rich reds and browns under enough shellac that you could cut vegetables on it and not a mark would appear. Between the bolts on the filing cabinets and the walls, that desk was going n…

Going E — But Just for the Articles

It wasn't my idea.

Okay, it was my idea, but there was some peer pressure.
Well, not "peer" pressure, but a suggestion on how they could come in handy.
"They" are e-readers — specifically, Kindles. My bookish friend and fellow print-lover, Carole, received one right around Christmas, and she mentioned that she could access her favorite magazines (and recipes) without having to keep the magazines. Nothing, she noted, can replace rifling thorough a magazine rich with color and texture — but the e-mag sure is convenient.
So, I pondered. What magazines did I like to read but didn't want to cart about? The New Yorker, my guilty pleasure. They show up every week and I read as much as I can until I have to abandon the mostly-read and sadly-unread copies to the thrift store (if, of course, I haven't chopped them up to save the cartoons). I'm always surprised by what I choose to read, and delighted at what I find.
I also love Smithsonian, but recently gave away a…
Dennis Hopper, Poetry

I love the sound of his voice, so I give you: Dennis Hopper reading from Letters from a Young Poet by Ranier Maria Rilke. Enjoy!

Haiku and a Pup Close Out Children's Book Week

Only poetry and cute dog illustrations could end Children's Book Week on a high note.

Have you met the stray dog in Dogku?

Here, let the author describe his book:

A tale in haiku
of one adorable dog.
Let's find him a home.

 With a face like that, what would you do: close the door or make a new friend?
I made more than just a new friend. I made a poetry contest and sold multiple copies of the book — none of them to "juvenile" readers. Classifications serve strictly as guidelines.
As the late Maurice Sendak once said, he never wrote books for children. He wrote books. His publishers marketed them to children. However, it's a wise reader who jumps genres and age categories to find the next best book. Let your inner child guide you around the library to introduce you to Mr. Putter, Mr. Larson or Mrs. Teaberry.
Who knows: you may find plenty of new friends along the way.

Fill in the Gaps, the 2012 edition

I've gone particularly slow on this task....  Shame on me. However, in my defense, I've had a lot happening in life in the past year, and many good "new(er)" books have passed through my hands. Plus: National Poetry Month.
Also, to my credit, I have finished a few recently (including The Land That Time Forgot, which was a disappointment, and I wish I had chosen Princess of Mars instead). 
At any rate, I've adjusted the list — again. I think I'm one short, but I started out with seven extra, so it all balances out in the end. (The books on the list I have read are marked with √ — and I warned you!)
Are any of these on your list? Can you recommend any to add (or subtract) from this list? Feel free to share your comments, either in the comments section below or via e-mail.

Fill in the Gaps, the 2012 version
The Child Without a Christmas 
by Martin Buxbaum
Welcome to a new feature here on From One Book Lover: Poetry Wednesday. I hope it will stir your love of language and poetry. If you have suggestions for future Wednesdays, let me know!  Special thanks to Dede Robinson for sharing her favorite poet (and poetry book) — and for helping inaugurate Poetry Wednesday!

The Child Without a Christmas
     When all the world is silent . . .  on this holiest of nights . .  In a million beds, the small ones dream . . .  of Christmasy delights.
     But some awaken sadly . .  and their tiny hearts are numb . . .  when they realize through tear-filled eyes . . .  that Santa didn’t come.
     A bit of cold or hunger . . .  are things they understand . . .  but a Christmas without toys . . .  to hold in heart and hand .  means that someone has forgotten . . .  that someone didn’t …

Discovering Wild Things Are, Thanks to Sendak

Maurice Sendak, the writer who gave us a most honest view of childhood, died today at the age of 83.  Click here for the lovely write-up of his life by AP reporter Hillel Italie:'Where Wild Things Are' author Maurice Sendak dies.
I have to admit, I skipped over his books when I was a child and didn't visit them until much later in life. Sendak's work was very much like what already was in my head: gray lines, dun colors, fear and fascination for what I alone seemed to see. I should have been drawn to the contrast of round, soft bodies and heads with sharp claws and horns, but I wasn't, not at that age. I was the kind of kid who read Very Special People when I was in grade school (and looking up some of the words I didn't recognize taught me more than the words themselves did). I knew about poltergeists before I knew about princesses.  I wasn't a morose child, but early loss made me less Disney and more Tollbooth.

However, I made a special trip to Manhattan d…

How Are You Celebrating Children's Book Week?

It doesn't take much to stoke my interest in a book.  If I read a note in a magazine or see a title that amuses me, I'll read it. I don't care who the intended audience may be.

So when I read about a scientist discussing dinosaur feces in a book, I was excited.

I was even more excited to see it was written for children — especially with Children's Book Week being celebrated May 7-13.

Did you know that the science of studying fossilized dung was named long before the first dinosaur was?

Do you know how to tell what kind of dinosaur eliminated what waste?

Do you even know how to tell the difference between waste and other fossils?

Read this and find out those, and many more, answers.

Then choose your next favorite children's book and read that, too. You have all week to read it up. I think I'll find my new (to me!) copy of Ginger Pye, in honor of another Ginger:

Ginger Galore!
Now we can return to our regularly scheduled blog.
I also will check out Diary of a W…

Stacked on My Nightstand: Today's Edition

I have so many great books to read, I can't figure out what I want to start next.  Here is what is on my nightstand today:

I've been advised to start with The Hunger Games (especially since I hope to see the movie soon). Do you agree?

Here is what was recently removed from this stack:
The Broken Mirror, a lovely novella. (Well, as lovely as a book involving the Holocaust can be.) Look for a review soon.Let's Pretend This Never Happened, which made me laugh out loud (and startle the cat more than once). Have you read it? What did you think? (I will tell you soon!)Dino Dung, and I learned more than I expected to. Never underestimate a Level 5 Chapter book!
I am in a book reading group, but my next book, The Tiger's Wife, is on order at the library.

Additionally, I have copies of a Stewart O'Nan novel and the third in Karen Marie Moning's Fever series making their way to me, thanks to Amazon and AbeBooks.

What's on your nightstand to read?

Review: Lamb

Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. The title alone begs the question: how can one resist?

Well, this one did — and for much, much too long. Don't make the same mistake I did: start reading now. In fact, skip the review, read the book, then come back and see if you agree.

Now that it's just us smart people who already read the book... wasn't Christopher Moore's book cool?

Plus, it answers the question of where Jeffrey Small got his ideas.

Everyone wonders how Jesus Christ spent his youth, where he got his middle name, how he became such a Lamb of God. Also, did he learn judo? Could he teach an elephant yoga? And why did he walk straight into the lion's den?

This book is Christopher Moore at his best — but it's not typical Moore. Usually he has me rolling on the floor in side-splitting laughter — and with this book, from time to time, I had to pick myself up off the floor. But not as often as I expected. Thank heavens. (So to speak.)