Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why I Read: Random Passages from This Week's Readings

"Monseigneur, the man has gone! the silver is stolen!"

"Madame Magloire, I have for a long time wrongfully withheld this silver; it belonged to the poor. Who was this man? A poor man evidentally."

************************************************

"Tangerines!" said Akeyo. "My favorite fruit."
"Tangerines?" said Handa. "That is a surprise."

************************************************

"A large body of research has shown that doing a favor for someone often results in their giving significantly more in return....Favors have their strongest effect when they occur between people who don't know each other very well, and when they are small but thoughtful...."

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POIL DE CAROTTE
Mama, I've got it.

MADAME LEPIC
So have I.

POIL DE CAROTTE
What? Here it is.

MADAME LEPIC
Here it is.

POIL DE CAROTTE
My goodness! Show me.

MADAME LEPIC
You show me.

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"What would you write?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe I'd call it Split Infinitives and load it up with a lot of divorces...."

"That's depressing."

"Yeah, I guess if it was too depressing I'd add a knock-knock joke."

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Whatcha Gonna Read This Summer?

Two more weeks of school and then I will have over a thousand hours to dream and read. Mostly read.

So what shall we read this summer?

We readers love lists. Here are a few:

Summer Reading for Kids
I just finished modifying my Summer Reading List for Kids. This is a work in progress and I welcome thoughts on additions or deletions from this list.

Want other people's ideas for kids? Try these.
Horn Book has compiled a summer reading list.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has a classically-minded summer reading list.
NPR calls its list A Cure for Kids' Summer Reading Doldrums.
The Texas Library Association offers reading lists for kids, including the 2x2 List (for two year olds through second grade), the Bluebonnet List (for third through sixth graders), the Lone Star List (junior high students), and the Tayshas List (for high school students).


Summer Reading for Grownups
What about us grownups? What are good ideas for us this summer?
Oprah has a summer reading list. NPR came out with a summer reading list also. The Texas Library Association, for the first time, has created a recommended list of reads for adults which it calls the Lariat List.


How about a video to get us going?  Here's the wonderful Gotta Keep Reading from Ocoee Middle School:



What have I finished this week? (And last week...I'm a little behind....) I'll be posting reviews of these books later today at my other blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Who Says Reading Isn't a Social Activity??!

Two upcoming events:


What?

When?
 Tuesday, May 25 through Friday, May 28

Who?
Anyone who cannot attend Book Expo America in New York City

Where?



What?

When?
June 4 through June 6

Who?
Anyone who wants to try to read for forty-eight hours!

How?
Sign up in the comments section here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wire Monkeys and Cloth Monkeys

Me and my mom and baby sister, late 1959.

Cattycornered from my house is a small nursing home. Less than ten residents. From my rocker on the front porch, I have watched several cars drive up this morning. First fellow parked, went inside for a few minutes, and came back out with an elderly woman on his arm, helped her into the cab, and tossed a metal walker in the back of the truck. Now here goes a second fellow inside, this one appearing quite elderly himself, with a pot of yellow flowers in his hands.

It's Mother's Day.

Amazon suggests we celebrate by giving Mom "gifts she'll love." First on the list is a sterling silver pendant with a mother and three children (no dad?). Also listed are a World's Greatest mom coffee cup (a tea cup is also available), a dozen roses, and several photo frames. When I restrict Amazon to just books, up comes a surprising number of children's picture books about Mother's Day along with some grownup titles like It's Okay to Take a Nap and Other Reassuring Truths for Mothers Everywhere, Dear Mom Thank You for Everything, and even When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends.



I watched a video last night. Part of it recalled the now-famous Harry Harlow experiment with Rhesus monkeys. Two monkey "mothers", one made of cloth, but with no food, and one made of chicken wire, with food. The baby monkeys would seek out the wire mothers only long enough to be fed, but then would desperately go to the cloth monkeys for cuddling.

I spent a huge hunk of my life mothering. I stepped away from my beloved job for twenty years to take time with my family. I did Vacation Bible School and Den Mother and PTO mom. I went to nearly 400 basketball games. How many times did I sleep on the ground, in the mud, in the rain, at Scout camps? Award ceremonies. Sleepovers. Field trips. Birthday parties. Choir programs. Not to mention those evenings spent in the emergency room and the delightful vomitting nights.

Last summer, my older son got married. We did the Mother-Son Dance to an old Brenda Lee song, "Side by Side," a song I used to sing to my sons when they were little. It was a happy moment.


"Oh, we ain't got a barrel of money,
Maybe we're ragged and funny
But we'll travel along
Singing a song
Side by side."

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

An Excellent Week of Reading


A little bit of everything I love in my reading this week:

A 1001 Children's Book.* That's Winter's End. It's translated from the French. (In view of my upcoming trip, I've decided to focus on reading those 1001 CBs that have French authors.) And, though this book was set in a mysterious alternative universe following a dictatorial takeover, the book had a decidedly French feel,  placing its trust in art to save the world. Very dark for a children's book, but with a hopeful ending. 

A French Travel Narrative. That's Paris Times Eight. Kelly visits Paris, yes, eight times, and each trip changes her. Hope I will have my own Paris Times One experience this summer.

Two Books about the Christian Church. That's Crazy Love and If the Church Were Christian. Both scathing, but both authored by pastors who love the church despite its weaknesses. I, too, love the church, but find it disappoints me....We could be so much more but for our complacency and off-putting piousness, the very things Jesus stared down in his Jewish faith.

Two Poetry Books. (You probably figured this out, but, just to be sure, that's Poetry Speaks and Poems to Read.) Man, these poems were powerful. I always forget how powerful poems can be. Whew. Good thing terrorists haven't discovered poetry....They could set down their bombs and guns.

Now I'm off now to enjoy this amazing day outdoors....78 degrees...sunshine...blue sky....I think I'll visit some blogs on my mini-laptop on the porch and read a little and breathe in all this amazing-ness this afternoon. I'll leave you with a little poem I liked in Poems to Read and a photo I took this morning:


Spring by Charles Simic

This is what I saw---old snow on the ground,
Three blackbirds preening themselves,
And my neighbor stepping out in her nightdress
To hang her husband's shirts on the line.

The morning wind made them hard to pin.
It swept the dress so high above her knees,
She had to stop what she was doing
And have a good laugh, while covering herself.




*One of the books in 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.