(previously published on Madeline Osigian at The Little Decorator http://thelittledecorator.blogspot.com/)
- What are three books you are currently reading or have read recently and what did you think of each?
The Book Thief: I actually listened to the audio recording of this book, and it was an incredible experience. It was a little jarring to learn I was being addressed by the one who carries the soul away at the time of death. That was only the first indication that the book was going to be a different approach to the common book theme of “girls during World War II”.
I loved the chapter titles as lists of apparently unrelated items and events. That was incredible. My house is organized exactly like that, in fact. J Only I know how the items are related. (Or maybe the items form connections on their own as they spend countless hours together in those drawers.) But isn’t life really truly like that? Our days go by, and somehow the random thoughts and events turn into connected ideas and patterns that become part of a larger part of our life. Only later we look back and see how the pieces fit together.
I also loved how Liesel saves books, and the books in turn “save” her. And I put myself in her shoes and tried to imagine what it would be like to treasure one book so much that I did not even mind that it was a manual on how to dig graves.
Most books I have read about young girls during the war were focused on the Jewish perspective, and it was interesting to think about this war from the perspective of a German family kind of caught in the middle, not really supportive of Hitler, but going through the motions, and at the same time trying to help the Jews. The moments I pondered this book conjured feelings too sad to think about again, feelings too joyful to not think about again, and feelings too hopeful to not share with others.
Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics: Chris Grabenstein:
Being a former elementary school teacher, I can’t help but check out (and check out) fun new books for younger readers. I love books with puzzles, and books about books, so this book was a very enjoyable fresh read for me. A rich and zany library owner is offering college scholarships to students who can win the most prizes in his Library Olympics. There are holographic librarians, library cart races, puzzles to solve both shown directly in the text, and also secretly hidden in the text. And there are about 100 other great books alluded to. How could I NOT read a book with the word “Lemoncello” in the title?
Dickens’ Fur Coat and Charlotte’s Unanswered Letters: The Rows and Romances or England’s Great Victorian Novelists: Daniel Pool
Here is a book I have just started, and I am already enjoying it. So far, it’s outlined the general history of novels in Victorian times, beginning with the Pickwick Papers. Even my little girls were fascinated by some of the more well-known facts regarding the lack of literacy, and the shortage and prohibitive cost of printed books in those days. I know our house is glutted with print. We can barely walk without stepping over probably 100 letters. It’s hard to fathom paying a month’s salary just for a book.
This book has the stories behind the stories, and I know I’ll have a fuller appreciation of some of my favorite books when I’m done reading this!
- Who is your favorite author?
I love Alexander McCall Smith for his way with words and his dry wit, especially in the Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series. I enjoy the way the characters infuse their philosophies into their decisions. Alexander McCall Smith allows the reader to sympathize with a somewhat misguided philosophy by showing how the philosophy is formed from the very start, then somehow gets very slightly off track, then continues ever-so-slightly off track, until the final point of the philosophy ends up extremely far from the starting point, in such a comically absurd way.
I also enjoy Jane Austen for the same reason. She does the same thing, but of course, in a much more linguistically complex way, with quite a bit more sofas, hair, and dancing.
- What is your favorite genre?
I’m not sure I can limit myself to one genre. I can say that I do not typically enjoy science fiction, murder, or horror mysteries.
The closest I come to science fiction is the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, which is, of course, about books. I’m currently listening to “The Woman Who Died A Lot: now with 50% added subplot”.
I probably read historical fiction more than other genres, but have recently been finding myself branching out to a more eclectic selection.
- What is a book that surprised you?
A recent book that surprised me was “The Promise”, by Beth Wiseman. Mallory acts out of love and selflessness with genuine trust, to help a critically ill young girl she’s heard of online. This tale of intrigue kept me guessing, and I think the most memorable thing about this book, for me, was that the author keeps the reader so involved in the heart of the main character that you feel the surprise and betrayal at the same time that Mallory does.
- What do you plan to read next? I plan to read Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, My Year of Magical Reading, by Nina Sankovitch