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Showing posts from February, 2013

Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante

I think that I fell in love with Eve LaPlante when I read American Jezebel perhaps last year or the year before. I thought that LaPlante was my type of historian - a feminist that delved into the women in America's history and then told their stories in a way that was accessible. But then I found out that not only did I love her books, but she is related to Louisa May Alcott - she is a cousin and her great great great grandfather, was Louisa May Alcott's uncle!! So, when I saw that she wrote a book about Louisa May Alcott, I was so excited and, after reading this book, I am convinced that I was Louisa May Alcott in a previous life (or, at the very least, I would totally have been friends with her if I lived when she did because she was awesome). If you read the first of Alcott's works: Flower Fables, it is inscribed to her mother, Abigail May Alcott. That inscription states: “Whatever beauty or poetry is to be found in my little book is owing to your interest and encourag…

In One Person by John Irving

So, I started reading books by John Irving way back when I was in college and a friend of mine recommended that I read The World According to Garp (a book that I should probably re-read along with The Cider House Rules and a Prayer for Owen Meany). I should probably send a very heartfelt thank you because Irving has become one of my most treasured authors of all time, and his place in my heart has grown since I learned that he's from New Hampshire.In One Person is told from the viewpoint of Billy, who always seems to have a crush on the "wrong person," including gender bending types that one wouldn't necessarily expect a young man growing up in the 50's to confidently express a desire for (but whom Billy does). It focuses on his years as a faculty brat at a prep school in rural Vermont and then the years shortly after - I think that it's accurate to say that most Irving's attention is paid to Billy's adolescence and college years. There are big quest…

Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie

I don't remember where I heard or saw this book, but it was an interesting read. It is a collection of short stories written by a man that is Native American and grew up on a reservation near Spokane, Washington (he is in fact, a member of the Spokane tribe) and the stories heavily portray the Native American experience and are autobiographical in nature. I guess not truly autobiographical as they are classified as short stories/fiction; however they took root in experiences that Alexie had while he was growing up and as an adult.The title of the collection is appropriate because it seems like the main characters are always committing some sort of sin or other blasphemy. I loved how all of the protagonists, like the author, are Native American and literally make everyone uncomfortable because they all push the envelope in some way. And while they push the envelope, they are also addressing issues that Native Americans currently face: alcoholism, joblessness, transitioning from th…

Southbound by Lucy and Susan Letcher (aka Isis and jackrabbit, the "Barefoot Sisters")

I have been scouring my local library for tales about hiking and the mountains, with a focus on first person narrative but also history. I found this book by doing a Google search for hiking memoirs and it landed on a number of top 10 lists so I picked it up. This book is a memoir told in the first person voice, an alternates between the perspectives of the two sisters: Lucy and Susan.Thru hiking, or hiking the entire AT from North to South or South to North is not something that I want to do right now although I'm not dismissing it completely - perhaps when the kids are older - anyways, this was a good intro to it.Lucy and Susan have jsut graduated from college and are trying to decide what to do with their lives. As they attempt to find themselves, they decide to hike SOBO on the AT. Barefoot. While it's still fun, at least. The narrative often alternates between either girls' perspectives, never really repeating itself but alternating visions of a single, chronolo…

Defending Jacob by William Landay

I heard about this book on one of my favorite book podcasts: Books on the Nightstand. I was surprised to find a copy available in the library for me to take out. Pleasantly so. This novel looked and sounded intriguing because it is about Andy Barber - a high powered assistant district attorney in a county that borders the city of Boston. He is so high powered, that he is the first assistant and is often the go guy for the homicides and other serious offenses that crop up in his jurisdiction. Anything involving lawyers and criminal law is intriguing. Not only is he well respected at his job, but he is loved and respected in his family and in his neighborhood as well. He seems to have the most perfect life that anyone can imagine having. His perfect suburban life is shattered by an odd homicide in his neigh brood - a 14 year old boy is killed as he was walking to school and Andy's son Jacob, has been arrested and charged in the death. The book starts out with what is obviously the …

This is How You Lose her by Junot Diaz

This book has been all over the place from NPR to the book podcasts that I listened to. In this book, we are introduced to Yunior again - Yunior and his family have emigrated from the Dominican Republic and have settled in the northeast - New Jersey is the setting for many of those tales. We learn that he grew up in a poor immigrant community there. Yunior's life with his family is the focus of his most recent collection of stories - that is what this book is - a collection of short stories, the common thread of which is Yunioor's life and his interactions with his family. Yunior's voice also holds the stories together because they are all told from his perspective and it is a really unique and interesting perspective. I particularly like the first story entitled "The Sun, the Moon and the Stars," a story in which Yunior brings his girlfriend, with whom he has had a pretty serious romantic relationship, to the Dominican Republic for a vacation. They visit both t…

Up by Patricia Ellis Herr

I found this book while doing a search for books that related to hiking in thee White Mountains and the 4000 foot club. The search may have even been more narrow in the sense that I was looking for the best hiking books out there that weren't guides of some sort and were mostly if not all memoir. It took root in Herr's blog about hiking with her daughters. She also has nother blog about hiking here. After having done my research on her, I was quite frankly fascinated. I admire her drive - she's a homeschooling feminist thta dropped out of the workforce and before getting her Ph.D from Harvard in order to do what she did - and I wanted to do what she did at least as far as the hiking with the kids thing. So I eagerly went hunting for this book at my local library and I found it.Tricia and her 6 year old daughter start hiking on a whim - she's one of those moms that believe in indulging her daughter to some degree and encouraging her to try new things in the hopes tha…