It’s still cold and dreary, but I’m looking forward to flipping the calendar to May tomorrow morning when maybe we will begin to see sunshine and those famous “May flowers” promised by the “April showers.” Warmer days mean I can open our deck and take my book (and my chai tea) outside. The last couple of weeks were not productive reading days – lots of evening events at school – but I did manage to read a few things…
1. Everybody Paints: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family by Susan Goldman Rubin
I bought this for our middle school collection and to consider it for Inly’s summer reading list. Rubin’s middle grade biography of Georgia O’Keeffe is excellent which is what led me to this one, but as much as I enjoyed it, I finished the book thinking that there aren’t many 12-year-olds who are probably going to choose this book. It’s an excellent introduction to one of America’s most artistic families, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants an introduction to the Wyeth story. For example, before reading Rubin’s book I did not know that N.C. Wyeth died when the car he was driving (with his young grandson) stalled on railroad tracks and a train crashed into them. I think this is one of those books I will put in the hands of young people with an interest in art history. It’s also a good book to read if you plan to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this summer to see the Jamie Wyeth exhibit. I’m especially interested to see his portrait of John F. Kennedy which was painted after the president’s death.
2. Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir by Christopher Buckley
This book was published four years ago, and I would not have picked it up except my husband was laughing as he read it, so I was curious…Truthfully, we bought the book because the Buckley’s owned Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – and we had a Cavalier that we still miss. Embarrassing to admit that we have a book about people with whom we have little in common (especially politically) except a shared love of Cavaliers. I can understand why my husband was laughing. Buckley tells funny anecdotes about his well-known father and there are some touching moments about becoming an “orphan” at the age of 55. But, overall, I was left with was a sense of my limited vocabulary. I was pretty confident in this area until reading Buckley’s book and confronting words like: japery, amaneunsis, paladin, cuneiform….Ugh. Maybe some of you know those words. I did not.
It might seem crazy to list a magazine in my reading log, but a lot of time was spent catching up on The New Yorker. In order not to feel overwhelmed by its weekly arrival in my mailbox, I just pile them up (after reading the cartoons) and then catch up between books. Over the past few weeks, I’ve read articles by Jill Lepore on Elizabeth Warren, Laura Miller on Stonehenge and Ryan Lizza’s fascinating piece about Chris Christie. Now the pile begins again….
4. The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson
I’ve also been browsing through one of my new favorite books: The Public Library. If you love libraries, this is a book you need to see. A photograph tribute to the glory of libraries with essays by writers, including E.B. White! So many awesome pictures of libraries. This could be a travel guide of sorts – a list of cool libraries to visit.
One of my favorite pictures is of a mural on the parking garage near the Central Library in Kansas City, Missouri…
My two favorite libraries are not in the book, but I’ll add them here.
This was my childhood library in Xenia, Ohio. It’s not used anymore, but the building is still there. Xenia has a much fancier library now, but it’s in this building where I first checked out stacks of books and was genuinely concerned that I would run out of choices.
I took this picture in California – in Big Sur. Our hotel was down the street, and I just love the coziness of this space. I wanted to move to Big Sur just to be a patron in this library…
I hope May brings warmer days and more reading….