Ready for a giveaway?? How long has it been, like a year or something?
The people at Penguin recently sent me a copy of the book Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein to review for Mother’s Day, and offered to give away a few copies to some lucky readers.
When we received the book it became an instant favorite in our house. Mama Squirrel is the kind of gal who back down, especially when it comes to her babies, a trait I can definitely relate to. I asked my seven-year-old what he thinks of the story. Here’s what he had to say:
Me: Tell me about Ol’ Mama Squirrel.
CKR: It’s fun.
Me: What else? What’s it about?
CKR: It’s about a squirrel that loves her babies.
Me: What does she do?
I watched an episode of Charlie Rose . . . oh, ages ago. Tom Hanks was on it, and he talked about loneliness, and about how all great stories in literature are about loneliness. Sorry I don’t have his exact words, but you get the idea.
Loneliness is something we all feel; we all crave a sense of belonging. While I was searching for the exact words that Tom Hanks said, I came across quite a few of his ideas on the subject. In one instance, he explains how the loneliness he has felt over the years was different, depending on the phase of life he was in.
I couldn’t agree more. I watch my kids, with their own struggles, and nearly every tear (besides the toe-stubbing tears) is from loneliness. They want more friends; they want to be accepted; they want to be with their daddy more often. I think they want to know, existentially, what their place is in the world, and how they fit there. They want to feel safe, and accepted, and loved by the people they are required to spend time with. My own childhood was the same.
I wish I could tell them the feeling goes away. But it never really does. I remember in my twenties, when I was a missionary for my church, feeling lonely all the time. The weird thing was, we had a rule that we always had to be with the missionary we were paired up with—they were called “companions.” So here I was, with a companion 24/7—literally, 24/7—and I was still lonely. I learned you can feel lonely even when you’re not alone, and even when you’re in a place where you feel you belong.
I experienced something similar when I was married. I often felt lonely.
Could there be a better opening line for a book?
Awhile ago, we received this book in the mail, and I had my oldest son read it. He blazed right through it, so I asked him to tell you all what he thought.
SRR: The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence is an intriguing page turner. It starts with P.K. Pinkerton, a 12-year-old boy, living in Temperance, Nevada in 1862. He comes home to find both his foster parents lying in blood on the floor. His foster mother’s dying words reveal they were killed by a gang of desperados looking for a medicine bag, which she had successfully concealed in the floorboards.
I turned in my manuscript, and I just finished moving. I was a crazy person for a little while . . . well, crazier than usual.
But now things should be back to normal for awhile. And I can finally get up these posts I’ve been dying to write.
This one is long overdue.
Several years ago, we were both writing books. Hers was a novel set in Regency England, and mine was a contemporary novel set partly in England. Naturally, there was only one thing we could do: we had to go there to see for ourselves.
We each saved our pennies (or opened up new credit cards), and met at the Gatwick Airport in London. What followed was a whirlwind of exploring the southern half of the country over the next five days. But it was enough for her to research what she needed to write Edenbrooke.
Edenbrooke has a deep meaning for me, as I was a witness that week to so much of what inspired her writing. Nearly every scene in the book takes me back to a place we saw there.
But for all of you who weren’t there with us, I think you’ll find Edenbrooke positively delightful. As many times as I’ve read it, I have a hard time putting it down. What I love most about it, is how Julie fully explores the relationship between Marianne and Philip, with several moments of clean, blissful sexual tension.
Once you’ve finished reading it, I’d love to know what your thoughts are. As with other reviews, be sure to write at the beginning of your comments, which chapter you’ve read through as a spoiler alert.
The English language is a funny thing, especially when “breaking-in” something is what you do to prevent something from breaking. But there it is.
I love hardcover books. The quality of paper the printers use is generally of a higher quality, and the bindings tend to last longer. But a good binding will only last if it is treated properly. When you get a new book, you never want to open it straight down the middle when you first handle it. Doing this can damage or even crack the spine and ruin your new book. Instead, you want to ease it open, little by little.
A few of you voted on which book to do for July, and Sense and Sensibility
Ah, Jane Austen. I don’t think we could have gone on with the book club very long without doing something from her. Not only did she write in a time when female authors were a rare breed, but she also wrote when the English novel was relatively new to the whole scene of literature. —I love how she takes strong women and places them in probable situations of her age—quite horrible situations, actually, where having the freedom to choose her own destiny was very limited.
I love Sense and Sensibility for the fact that it really has two main characters: Elinor and Marianne. And that will give us a lot to talk about.
I guess it’s been ages, but awhile back, I asked my readers on facebook what kinds of posts they would like to see more of. My good friend from high school mentioned I should do a post on our favorite baby books. Since a lot of our board books have been lost over the years, while others have been chewed to death, the kids and I put this list together of all the favorite books we can remember.
I am one of the lucky girls. I have a mom who supports me intellectually, spiritually, and all other facets of my life. I am sure we log at least five hours per week talking on the phone. She is one of my best friends, and I hope my little girl will grow up to have a similar friendship with me. I took that picture the last time I was in Massachusetts with my mom. My little girl is only five there, and I can’t believe how much has happened since that day. So why am I talking about my mom and my daughter? To introduce you to our latest book for our book club . . .
When Sarah Bryden-Brown showed me her recent ebook Stories I’ve Only Told My Mom, I decided to do an extra book club this month. It’s an easy read—just a collection of essays—from some of the great bloggers around the web. Some of the essays had me laughing, while others made the tears fall down my face for the entire read.
I picked my three favorites for our discussion, but of course, you can mention any of them in the comments section. It’s up to you.
The first story that hit me was by Amy Thompson, who writes the blog Progressive Pioneer. She calls her essay “Things I’d Like to Tell My Mom.” Once you read it, you’ll know why I was crying. It’s beautiful.
The first essay in the list also struck me. It’s called “$17,000″ and is by Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind.
“Ashes and Rebirth”, by Meg Keene—author of The Practical Wedding—is poignant, and one of my favorites.
I don’t want to spill everything I read until some of you get a chance to read the essays, so once you read them, make a comment, and I’ll add to whatever you say. You can even start by asking a question, like “What did you think about the part where she says_________?”
Oh, and for those of you who don’t have a kindle, don’t worry. I downloaded mine for free onto my computer. Since it isn’t a long book, reading it on the computer won’t hurt your eyes.
And now I will confess something I am very much ashamed of: I have never read Jane Eyre.
I am now pausing while I can feel your virtual rotten tomatoes smashing into my face. I am sorry. I have never read it. Or at least, not the whole thing. Surely I read enough of it in tenth grade English to get by with a quickie book report. But that’s all.
And is it sad of me that I only now want to read it because the new movie looks so good? And I know Rochester is supposed to be on the homely side, but I have to say, he’s the reason I’m so excited to go see the movie. I suppose if I invest a couple of hours into a movie, I want Rochester to be at least ambiguously handsome. I guess I just like eye candy.
Here is the trailer:
I want to squeeze in reading it before I break down and watch the movie.
And so, this will be our book club book for June.
Our new favorite picture book around here was a Christmas gift to my son. Splat the Cat, by Rob Scotton, is about a kitty who overcomes his fears on his first day of cat school. With brilliant and funny illustrations, it is the kind of golden children’s book that families will want to read again and again.
But in case you’re still not convinced, this is what my son had to say:
me: Tell me about Splat the Cat.
CKR: Um, he rides a silly looking bike.
me: Why does he ride a silly looking bike?
CKR: Because it’s an old fashioned book.
me: What’s the book about?