In the last post I mentioned that we are being inundated with snow, and that means businesses and institutions are going to be closing. I just found out that library is closing at noon, so I’m passing the info along.
Speaking of libraries…did you know that there are about 17,000 libraries in the US? That means there are more libraries than there are McDonalds restaurants. The only difference is that McDonalds sells their product at a profit, and well, libraries just don’t. So please think about how important it is to have information available here in our community. Support the library!
Before I stop chattering on this subject I’d like to share some of the titles I’ve read recently:
Ukelele Hayley by Judy Cox- This is a book for early readers about a young girl who finds her talent after poking around in a flea market with her family. Hayley wants to take her new Ukelele to school where she hopes to start a band, but school cuts are threatening the music program. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out what a little girl and a Uke can do.
Everlost by Neal Shusterman- Wow! After reading this book, I was surprised at some of the ideas that I’ve grown up with that have to do with death and dying that I’ve never explored. It’s about a couple of kids who are in an accident and they bump into each other on their way to ” where they were supposed to go” so they wind up in this alternate reality that is somewhere between being alive and being dead. The world they once knew still exists and they can see it and they live in it, but it has some dangers. For example you wouldn’t want to stand still in one “real” place too long, or you’ll sink thanks to gravity into the center of the Earth. Luckily there are “dead places” that exist for these lost souls where they can rest and live. The main characters in the story search to find others who are just like them, and once they find them, they all look for meaning in their experiences. It’s a pretty cool book.
The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna- This book bothered me at first. It is about a young woman who is an Aspie, or who has Asperger’s Syndrome. She understands everything quite literally, so she hangs onto some thoughts and dissects them. The author enjoyed playing with her conversations and her social awkwardness and at times I felt it was a little overplayed. There are some lovely french tableaux, and there are some awful scenes with Taylor’s mother who wants to protect her daughter from a world that might not understand her. But I did like that Brenna’s Taylor is “differently-abled”. There is no indication that this young woman can’t do anything she sets her mind to. Ultimately,I stuck with the story and I’m so glad I did because by the end I was ecstatic about how much Taylor grew as a daughter, and as a young adult. I’d recommend it!
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff- I sort of hated this book. Let’s see, it is a book about a young girl with a Talent for baking cakes. The author plays with a world where people are either born with Talents, or they aren’t. This young girl meets a bunch of people who all have their own talents, some have hoarded them, and some leave them lying around, and some use them. The book is confusing. There are adults who can’t speak, and adults who are thieves, and the children in the story are kind of flat cardboard characters. The main character is Cady, she is eleven and she is an orphan. She has lived almost her entire life with her social worker who finally finds her a father. This father lives like a monk in the home of a man we know only as “the owner”. Cady makes friends with Marigold, whose mother was an archeologist, who stole a hair pin/bone from a dig, and then had children and moved to a snug apartment, but her entire family had to move when a hot air balloon smashes into their front wall. The “owner” snags people’s talents because he’s one of the thieves I was talking about and he stores them in mason jars. He also collects blue suitcases. Is this making sense yet? I wouldn’t imagine it was, because I read through the entire story and it made no sense. The ending is stupid, it just felt like the author had a lot of ideas and she threw them up into the air and she aimlessly pasted all the ideas that fell together into one story line. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne- Cool book. Imagine a cataclysmic world event. Imagine you and your friends are going to school on the school bus and boom, the world changes. Imagine your bus drove into a local superstore lot, and you make it into the store with another bus load of kids. Now imagine a NORAD explosion. A chemical is released into the atmosphere that can interfere with people according to blood type. The children in the store have been exposed. They have to figure out how to help themselves, the adults are gone, and they are in charge in a store like a Target. These kids figure out who should lead them and they figure out what it means to take care of other people, and they figure out how to find help. I thought it was a gripping read. I’d recommend it.
Mama’s Babies by Gary Crew- This was a halfway decent story. It is based in history. The author says that in Australia women would place ads in local papers looking for someone to watch their babies when the mothers were unmarried. In our story, the “mother” isn’t a very loving woman. She’s interested in money and she takes on babies for the money that will come along with them. When the babies get too old and too needy they get sick and die. The story is told from the perspective of a young girl Sarah, or Missy, who is a servant in the household. Sarah makes friends with a young man in the community and he worries about some of the things he’s hearing from her. When he tells his mother, she alerts the police and Sarah’s “mother” is in trouble. This book was a quick read. It wasn’t very deep. It seemed to me like the kind of story you’d watch in a serialized television program, it is a very open and shut case. If you have nothing better to do, read it. 🙂
In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens; Womanist Prose by Alice Walker- Well, this wasn’t anything like any of the other books I’ve been reading lately. It isn’t a young adult novel! Still, it was a wonderful read. I’ve heard a lot about feminism and how it’s ruining America, but I consider myself a feminist and I can’t think what feminism has done to crush America. Women having equal rights is a good thing as far as I’m concerned, but after reading this book I think I’m going to consider myself more a Womanist . Walker starts by explaining what a Womanist is. It is a black feminist, also it is a woman who loves women, and lastly it is a woman who “loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless.” I”m that kind of womanist.
Walker writes beautifully about her own life experiences. She talks of the people she’s known focusing on the women who were strong characters. She writes about men like Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers. This book isn’t about one idea, or one theory. This book is a collection of the author’s own experiences. It’s a tapestry of anger and pain and beauty and joy. It’s a garden and I’m glad I had the time to visit it.
Walker mentions one of my favorite authors several times, Zora Neale Hurston. When I first read Hurston I stumbled like crazy over the novel. Her characters spoke their own language and it took me quite some time to appreciate their meanings, but once I was fully immersed, well I came away with a richness that I don’t imagine I’d have gotten without the spoken music of their own language. Hurston’s novels aren’t all sweetness and light. They deal with some heavy themes, but they are so incredibly authentic that I was blown away by the power of the story of the men and the women that she wrote about. Walker taught about Hurston and one of her essays in the book Looking for Zora was particularly touching for me.
As many of you know, Alice Walker wrote The Color Purple,( which I also loved)! I’d suggest you read her works. Then you’ll understand what she means when she says “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender!”
I’m reading this book again!
The womanist 🙂