WHAT WE LIKE TO READ: SOMETIMES IT IS A MYSTERY
January 6, 2018
Feeling a bit sheepish or worse. Apologies are in order if I have steered you away from books you really want to read. I know I don’t have that kind of influence. Still, I mean to have my book comments be helpful, not obscure the best of what is out there.
Here’s what is going on. A few days ago I opened my Jan/Feb Bookmarks Magazine. I noticed that several books I commented on in a less than enthusiastic way are on the Best of 2017 List. And these books I will name have appeared on several such lists.
Titles making Best of 2017 Lists that I was not especially recommending include: Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York by Francis Spufford, Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, and Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. I liked this last one but thought it might have been better organized and better written. (Sorry, who am I to say such a thing.)
All I can say in my defense is that after I read a book, I share thoughts I hope will be helpful to readers. Clearly, sometimes I am in left-field and not in agreement with better known and better paid book critics than I.
So, it goes without saying, feast on the buffet of 2017 Best Books as you will.
And on another note…..
Bookmarks also ran a feature title “Over 100 year of Feminist Fiction” by Jessica Teisch. The label always troubles me. I don’t believe there is any accepted definition. The author suggested she discussed novels written by women and featuring strong women protagonists.
I’ll highlight a few titles from this feature that I have read or tried to read and you may consider worth you time.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Heale Hurston(1937)
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (1962) This one had a tremendous influence on my thinking and began my lifelong love of notebooks for many different purposes.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)
Women on the Edge of Time Marge Piercy (1976)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg (1987) My young son, cried during the movie. That’s just the kind of book it is.
Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987) This book helped me begin to understand the cost of slavery in my gut.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Americanah by Chinamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
Most of these books do not shout Feminism in a political way. They are about the hearts of women.
How would you readers define Feminist Literature?
What books influenced your thinking?
Are there any you might consider reading a second time?
If you are moved to answer any of these questions you may do so on Facebook or on the homepage of this blog in response to whatever post appears. We readers can tell which post you are responding to. Or simply scroll down and reply at the bottom of the reading page. Love to read your opinions!
FIVE BOOKS TO FINISH THIS YEAR, ……..MAYBE NEXT YEAR
Time is growing very short to finish these books.
My number of books read completely this year is down a bit from last year and from my goal of 60 books. One reason is that some of my choices were long and/or difficult reads. What was I thinking? Several on the list below are in that category.
Blood on the Water by Heather Ann Thompson
At 573 pages, this is one of the long ones. It is the winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize and it is very readable. I look forward to getting back to it.
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This children’s classic is due for a rereading because the movie is coming out next year. It is Science Fiction Fantasy directed by Ava Duvernay and featuring such actors as Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and the screenplay is also written by a woman. Though not exactly my favorite of all time, the movie looks very interesting and so….time to reread this classic and I’m learning just what a delightful read it is.
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
Yes, I finally finished this one. See the post on the home page yesterday Dec. 26.
Grant by Ron Chernow
This one is waiting for me at the library. Earlier this month I read a couple of chapters and decided I was in for turning more pages.
Storm Clouds Rolling In by Ginny Dye
This is the first book in the Bregdan Chronicles recommended lately by several sources. I found the opening less than riveting, but I’m not ready to give up on it yet. Still, it may be next year before I get to it in earnest.
FIVE CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK GEMS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
Author: Jessica Souhami
Francis Lincoln Children’s Books, 2012
A tale full of prediction toddlers will find enticing. The surprises and the presentation are first rate. “Don’t look in the sack.”
Author: Jane Yolen Illustrated by John Schoenherr
Philomel Books 1987
Beautiful language, full of sound, by distinguished author Jane Yolen; and a Caldecott Medal book. The illustrations are completely memorable. Yes, it is still in print.
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat!
Author: Lucille Colandro Illustrator Jared Lee
Rhyming, silly fun. And there is a whole series. Maybe you’ll want to try “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Rose.”
An captivating original idea. Different crayons write post cards to let their owner Duncan know they are coming home. Loved the art work!
This one is a follow-up to the blockbuster bestseller “The Day the Crayons Quit.”