Sitting in my mom’s kitchen listening to the conversation ranging from the state of Libraries today, politics, and old family stories and jokes – nothing better!
The other day my mother was telling about an article in The New York Times Magazine concerning memory. The article describes a man who writes an article on participants in the US Memory Championships. Joshua Foer eventually studies the techniques and participates in the Championships. He has written a book about his experiences and memory in general and to my delight Nonsuch Books has reviewed Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. It is definitely going on my list. I found the article fascinating because my mom and I think/remember in this same way where as my dad thought it was an alien way of thinking. This book will be available on March 3, 2011.
The Boston Bibliophile is talking about the Booker Prize and reviews the 1979 winner Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald. I have another Fitzgerald in my too be read stack – The Bookshop, but it seems like I might need to add this one to the list. Offshore is about a group of characters who are living in houseboats on the river Thames. I love what Marie has to say: “It’s a little gem about personalities and lifestyles intersecting and mingling like slow-moving driftwood at the water’s edge.”
For those of you who like reading about different cultures, Jackie of Farmlanebooks reviews The Three Sisters by Bi Feiyu. Set in China during the 1970′s and 1980′s, this novel is about the lives of three sisters (out of seven total daughters). Their father is a philandering, disgraced Communist Party Leader in a small village. The sisters leave and try to make their way in a culture that still doesn’t value women. This book was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Asian Prize and is about cultural restraints and saving face. Some reviewers are a little unsettled about the ending but praise the book in spite of this issue and Jackie says “as an introduction to Chinese Literature, this is an ideal choice.”
I don’t read much young adult fiction but Wendy’s (from Musings of a Bookish Kitty) of Tigerheart by Peter David has caught my eye – in part because of the reviews I have been reading of A.S. Baytt’s The Children’s Book. Peter Pan plays a role in Baytt’s book and David’s work seems to be a re-imagining of the original story.
Danielle of A Work in Progress has a brief mention of what sounds like a lovely book – The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim. Von Arnim is an Australian-born British novelist who on her marriage became a German Countess. The Solitary Summer is written in semi-diary form of a woman, who three small children, who decides to spend the summer alone. While it is a sequel to a previous book, Elizabeth and Her German Garden, it seems as if it can stand on its own. As I loved Tove Jansson’s The Summer Island, this seems similar and I look forward to tracking it down. For those who have a Kindle, I think this one may be free.
Kimbofo of Reading Matters mentions a novella that sounds very interesting: The Visitor by Maeve Brennan, an Irish short story writer and journalist. Brennan moved to the United States in 1934 and wrote articles for The New Yorker. The Visitor was discovered in the archives of the University of Notre Dame and was published for the first time in 2000. The Visitor is about a young girl who moves in with her grandmother. Her mother has recently died after being separated from her father for some years. Unfortunately the grandmother doesn’t care for Anastasia, the 22 young woman and she is also mourning the death of her son and Anastasia’s father. This novella seems to be an exploration of grief, anger, and the idea of home and coupled with the intriguing story of how this work was published means that this work has definitely caught my interest.