Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander's husband dies suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50. With lyrical prose, she writes about their relationship and her grief.

A sad, but surprisingly fast read, maybe because some of the chapters are really short.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Why do I keep reading books with animals? One usually dies and that is the case in this one. Sigh.

Ivan is a silverback gorilla who lives in a shopping mall as a tourist attraction along with an elephant and dog. One day, a new baby elephant, Ruby, arrives, and Ivan is determined to make sure that Ruby lives a different kind of life.

Very sweet and touching. Plus, it has a very happy ending!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dear Pope Francis by Pope Francis and the Children of the World

If you could ask the pope one question, what would you ask him? Over 250 children from all over the world were invited to ask the pope a question. This book is a collection of 30 of those questions (complete with pictures drawn by the children) and the pope's answers.

The questions from the kids (ages six through eleven) range from "When you were a child, did you like dancing?" to "How can you settle conflicts in the world?"

This book has colorful drawings by the kids and very thoughtful answers from the pope. I was left feeling equally impressed with the kids' questions and with the pope's answers.

I'm thinking about which parents and kids would appreciate this book as a gift.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

Yay, another book by one of my favorite authors! And what a trip this one is. Lahiri speaks Bengali and English, but she also started learning Italian. She studies the language for decades and finally moves to Rome with her family.

This book is a collection of essays about her journey of falling in love with Italian and her process in learning it. She actually wrote the book in Italian and it's translated into English (but not by her). So, on the left side, is the Italian, and on the right page is the English translation. (I became so used to just reading the right page that when I picked up other books, I found myself skipping the left page a couple of times! Whoops.)

My favorite essay is titled "The Wall" in which Lahiri describes how frustrating it is that because of how she looks, Italians don't understand her Italian or they automatically speak to her in English instead of Italian. Furthermore, her husband is American yet could pass for Italian and speaks a blend of Spanish/Italian and so Italians thought that his Italian was excellent even though Lahiri was the one who had spent a lot of her life studying and trying to perfect the language.

A lovely and beautiful book. Especially touching if you've ever spent time abroad trying to learn a language.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith

This book is transforming my home.

Since reading it, I've flip-flopped the dining room and family room areas in my home (Thanks to the Brother-in-Law for dropping by to help Boomer move some of the big pieces!), picked up a FREE double-wide chair and ottoman off of Next Door to add to the family room (Thanks to my dad for letting me use his truck to transport!), and brought down a dresser from the guest bedroom and put it in our front hallway (This one I did by myself!).

Myquillyn Smith is a blogger known as The Nester, but this was my first introduction to her. She writes about what makes a home and how imperfection can make a house really welcoming and relaxing to be in. She also includes some very practical tips about decorating and how to go about transforming a room into a room that you love and that serves your family well.

If you want some home decorating tips, and a whole new re-frame about how to think about your home, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay

If you're in the need for something light and funny, consider this little book of short essays about various aspects of life and family life. Funny, but with some good truths.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Written as a letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses race in America. He weaves in history and current day events along with his own personal narrative.

I love to read memoirs because I want to know how other people live and experience life. Parts of this book I did not understand because I am not black, and I have no idea what it's like to be a black person in America. So even though some of this book was beyond my understanding, maybe that's why it's important to read - to even understand a little bit more about what it means to be black in America. I had to read this book pretty slowly, just a a couple of pages at a time. I could see this book becoming required reading in high schools and college courses.