A Hodgepodge of Reading and Book News

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For the past few days, I’ve been trying to find some time to write a new post, but between eating chocolate bunnies and other (far less enjoyable) things to do, it’s been hard to find the time. But now, the iPod is playing Ingrid Michaelson and my husband and son are watching a basketball game…

1. Yesterday I read the follow up to Kirby Larson’s Newbery Honor Book, Hattie Big SkyHattie Ever After – and loved it.  I just looked back to see when Hattie Big Sky was published – and it was five years ago!  I’ve read lots of books since then, but as soon as I picked up Larson’s new novel, the story of strong willed Hattie came rushing back. In the first book, Hattie stuggles to make a success of her uncle’s homestead in Montana.  Hattie Ever After opens where the first one left off. The homesteading thing doesn’t work out so well, but our heroine has bigger plans. She gets a job with a group of traveling actors and travels west to 1919 San Francisco.  It’s great fun to experience San Francisco through Hattie’s eyes – the eyes of a young woman with big dreams and full of optimism about the future.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why the book felt familiar to me. But then it came to me….Hattie Ever After brought to mind Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, West from Home, a book of letters Wilder wrote to her husband, Almanzo, during her 1915 trip to San Francisco for the World’s Fair. Both books share a wide-eyed excitement that felt totally genuine.

2. On a completely different note, I read a heartbreakingly sad book last week – Emily Rapp’s memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World.  When Rapp’s son was nine months old he was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs, a rare and fatal disease. It is painful to read, but I wouldn’t take back one minute I spent with this wise book.  Rapp draws on her knowledge of literature, religion and philosophy to help understand and accept what was happening to Ronan. Rapp’s book reminded me of how risky the act of reading can be. I knew what this book was about. I bought it. But…I was not prepared for its emotional impact. It has to be the right time to read a book like this one. For reasons I can’t adequately explain, this was the right time for me. The Still Point of the Turning World is about accepting the unacceptable. 

3. If you’re a fan of the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series, mark your calendar for November – when the 8th book will be published.

4. And…if you read the Matched Series by Ally Condie, you might be interested in her book about a girl living in an underwater city. Pub date is not until fall of 2014.

5. Finally, if you share my enthusiasm for essays, you’ll love this. Flavorwire listed the “25 Greatest Essay Collections of All Time.”  Here’s the link:

http://flavorwire.com/378123/the-25-greatest-essay-collections-of-all-time/view-all

It’s time to go check out the basketball game, or better yet – read one of the essays!

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