Finding a book suitable for grades six, seven and eight is not easy. The difference between a seventh grader and an eighth grader is dramatic, but the difference between a sixth and an eighth grader is stunning. This year we did our first school wide read, Chew on This by Charles Wilson and Eric Schlosser, based on Mr. Schlosser’s best-selling book Fast Food Nation. Each subject area read several … Continue reading Looking for the Next School Wide Read
C.J. and I visited Los Angeles this past week to see the James Kerry Marshall retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the same show we saw last summer in Chicago. We’ve become big fans of Mr. Marshall’s work. It was a mad-cap three-day trip–drive down, day in L.A. and drive home–but we managed to visit three bookstores while we were there. We stayed in … Continue reading Sunday Ramble: Travels, Art and Jane Austen Challenge
Visited the local Friends of the Library book sale yesterday, in the rain, where C.J. and I managed to spend much more than we intended. He got several art books and a couple of books full of house plans while I nearly completed my Jane Austen collection. Can you name the book I still have to find. I’ve decided it’s a good time to re-read all … Continue reading Sunday Ramble and Two Books I Didn’t Like. Sorry.
What makes a book a classic? Lionel Shriver was a guest on my favorite BBC program A Good Read. You can listen to the program here. It was the dullest episode of my favorite program ever. Knowing something of what Ms. Shriver is like in person, I almost didn’t listen, but I thought I’d be open-minded, give it a try. The conceit of A Good … Continue reading Sunday Rant and Ramble: Lionel Shriver Makes me Mad; A New Cat Arrives; Tournament of Books Results
How to find a place to begin when you’re confronted with something that’s not like anything you’ve read before? When you’ve been reading for nearly 50 years, this doesn’t happen all that often which doesn’t make starting any easier. I could say Chris Bachelder’s novel The Throwback Special is a book about sports, but like the other great sports books I’ve read, it’s not really about sports. … Continue reading The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder
So this year I bought C.J. two tickets to the ballet for Christmas. C.J. is a fan. I’ve never really understood why you would have all that dancing without any singing. But it’s a gift so I’ll keep an open mind. Which is how I ended up at the North American Premiere of Frankenstein, a new ballet by choreographer Liam Scarlett and composer Lowell Liebermann this … Continue reading Frankenstein: Performed by the San Francisco Ballet
Reading is a creative act. This is a controversial idea, one that many people resist strongly, one I resisted when I first learned about it. But, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate it as an adult reader. That young readers are creative agents is apparent to me and to probably anyone who has spent more than a few years working with them. In her … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Ponyboy and Johnny and Dally
It took a while, but last night I finally found a print copy of Hannah Arendt’s book Origins of Totalitarianism. On the way home from work, I stopped at the best taqueria in town to buy a burrito. (Yes, the best taqueria in Novato where I work is on a corner, though it’s not a “taco-truck” but an actual store.) Before entering, I popped into Copperfield’s … Continue reading Bookstore Victory! Hannah Arendt, I Found You at Last
I have been looking for a copy of Hannah Arendt’s book Origins of Totalitarianism for two weeks now. It seems like it would be a timely read and I enjoyed and admired her book Eichmann in Jerusalem about the trial of the notorious architect of the Holocaust. (I highly recommend it, by the way.) I’m a big fan of brick-and-mortor bookstores, so I was determined to find … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Hannah Arendt is Sold Out
Those of us who have been at this book blogging game for some time, around ten years now for me–I’ve lost count, all know that one of things which keeps us going is the blogging friends we make along the way. Pam at travellinpenguin.com is one of mine. Recently, Pam began breaking up what must be one of the largest collections of Penguin books in … Continue reading Science Fiction in the Mail from Way Down Under
There are two things people who like reading books like more than reading books. Both are so widely popular among people who like reading books, myself included, that I fell very safe making this universal statements. I usually avoid making universal statements if I can. They are almost always wrong. The first thing people who like reading books like more than reading books is buying … Continue reading The Two Things People who Like Reading Books Like More Than Reading Books
I’m going to stick to my guns here, enforce my long time rule for selecting the top ten list which is “Do I want to read this book again someday?” The answer must be yes to qualify. Which means there are many books that I loved reading that will not make the list. Lots of books are great books, great reads, but not something I’ll … Continue reading Top Ten Favorite Reads for 2016.