On Saturday, thanks to some frequent flyer miles, my husband and I flew to Pittsburgh and then drove another two hours to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, Fallingwater. It’s not easy to get from here to there, but we said “someday we will see it” for twenty years – so it was time. A good call. It would have been worth it if we had to travel five hours by plane and then drive for another five. Built for the Kaufman family between 1936 and 1939, Fallingwater seems to appear out of the woods, a seamless melding of nature and building materials. There are places where it is hard to distinguish between the outdoors and the indoors. Luckily, the Kaufmans owned lots of books so beautifully designed shelves were a part of Wright’s design. Here are some pictures:
The only book (that I could find) on both the Kaufman’s and our bookshelves is My Dog Tulip by J.R. Ackerley. I’ve never read it, but now I want to.
A bonus to the travel was time to read – one book on the way there and another on the flight home. I loved them both:
Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell
One of my favorite books of last year was Rundell’s debut novel, Rooftoppers, so I was excited about this one even before seeing its beautiful cover. The story of Will, a girl who has a golden childhood growing up with her loving father and friends in Africa, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms is a magical novel. Will spends her days running freely with animals and her best friend, a black boy who works at the farm where Will’s father is the manager. After a tragedy strikes, she is forced to move to London and attend a boarding school where negotiating the social dynamics is more challenging than her life on an African farm. She escapes from the school, but then has to navigate streets very different from the world she knows. Will is a wonderful character – strong and smart and good hearted. I didn’t want it to end.
An Age of License by Lucy Knisley
A combination graphic memoir, travelogue and coming-of-age journal, An Age of License is the cartoonist’s third book – following French Milk and Relish. Knisley was able to travel to Europe thanks to an invitation to a comic convention in Norway. As she travels through Europe, she experiences a love affair, visits friends and relatives, and eats lots of good food. It’s the way Knisley addresses the anxieties particular to twenty-somethings that is most moving. Her drawings and words capture the uncertainties and enthusiasms of a young person beginning their life and being hyper-aware of the choices being made by others. During her travels, Knisley meets people and has experiences that help her to think about what she wants. An Age of License would be a lovely gift for a young adult, especially if they are planning a road trip.
This was kind of funny….
I had a class yesterday and the kids were happily looking at books by Julia Donaldson. We read The Gruffalo, and then I put out some other books by Donaldson for them to look at. It was all going well, but there are some things that even a creature with “terrible tusks and terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws” can’t compete with……a firetruck. As soon as it pulled up in front of the school (an electrical issue), this is what happened to my class….