Saturday, September 22, 2007

Farewell Summer

I have been meaning to blog about this book for quite some time! A week ago I finished Ray Bradbury's book Farewell Summer, which was published in 2006. It is a sequel to his book Dandelion Wine, published in 1957. For any of you who haven't read Ray Bradbury, I suggest that you do. Although he is known as a sci-fi writer I have read many of his books (and I am not a sci-fi reader). His books such as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man are among my favorites. Many of his books are a commentary on society and humanity.

Farewell Summer follows Douglas Spalding, a twelve-year old boy, who is always looking for an adventure. The book as been cited as being semi-autobiographical. Throughout the story, Douglas and his friends create an imaginary rivalry between the town' s elderly and themselves. They make believe that they are in the midst of war. Meanwhile, the story also looks at young romance, the virtue of honesty and being true to one's moral character. The story is a poignant look at the contrast, yet similarities between the old and young. The writing is artistic, light and airy. Reading this book, made me yearn for the summer's of my youth when life was innocent and carefree.

Monday, September 10, 2007

We wish Madeline L'Engle a fond farewell

Madeline L'Engle, well-known children's author, passed away this past week. I decided that it was time that I reread her classic A Wrinkle in Time. I forget how old I was when I first read this Newbery Medal winner, but I am so glad that I took the time to re-read it. The story is a mix of science fantasy, teen anxst and family ties.
Elements of magic, Eienstein's theory of relativity and physics swirl together to make this fast paced story truly enchanting. Every pre-teen will also be able to relate to Meg. She finds herself to be ugly because of her mouth full of braces and her glasses. She is also incessantly arguing with her teachers and not doing well at school. My favorite characters in this book are Charles Wallace, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. They are absolutely charming!
I promise you all that this enduring classic is an excellent read for young and old alike.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Kite Runner

I belong to a book club that is comprised of women whose husbands are also going through the masochistic pursuit of dental school. We got together the other night to discuss Khlad Hosseini's first book entitled The Kite Runner. Hosseini was born and raised in Afghanistan until he moved to the U.S. in the 1980's. His perspective on the culture and way of life of the Afghan people is stark and palpably real. As a citizen of the U.S., it is difficult to comprehend just how much suffering the people of Afghanistan face on a daily basis.

During our book club meeting we not only discussed the book, but many of us brought food that was either mentioned in the book or that is commonly eaten in Afghanistan (or at least we hope). I made homemade hummus and others made dal, naan, Afghan rice, an amazing chicken dish and more! The food was phenomenal. Discussion points that were revealed included the issue of guilt that was experienced by Amir, friendship and mental versus physical suffering. Someone noted that mental anguish can be acutely more painful than that of any physical ailment. I would say that I have to agree.

In conclusion, in our ever narrowing and globalizing world it is important for us to constantly learn about other cultures, religions, points of view, etc. I know that it is easy to become narrow minded and closed. But even though we may not be able to visit a place or see it with or own eyes this isn't an excuse. Increased technology has made it easier for us to listen to podcasts, view on-line journals, video clips, news clips and of course read. Always remember to Read! Read! Read!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dinah...the daughter of Jacob

I just finished reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. This is the story of Dinah, the only daughter of the old testament's Jacob, who has twelve sons. Dinah has a pleasant childhood with many fond memories. She is well cared for by her mother, Leah, and her three aunts Rachel, Zilpah and Bilhah. However, once Dinah comes of age everything in her life changes. She is thrown into a world of violence, tragedy, injustice and insecurity. At times Dinah feels like giving up, but she learns to persevere. She becomes a midwife and finds satisfaction in bringing new life into the world.

Although Diamant takes liberties in expounding upon Old Testament biblical stories, the book is well written and narrated. Dinah's story is one of hope and faith in a world that at times can be so cruel.

I am also in the process of reading The World is Flat. The book is very interesting and educational. When I am finished with it I will be sure to write a review.