Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Books About Muslim Life and Experience

Picture Books:

Clever Ali (Farmer) 2006 (4.5) folktale
Four Feet, Two Sandals (Williams & Mohammed) 2007 (4)
Malala's Magic Pencil (Yousafzai) 2017 (5)
My First Ramadan (Katz) 2007 (4)
My Name is Bilal (Mobin-Uddin) 2005 (3)
Night of the Moon (Khan) 2008 (5) Ramadan
One Green Apple (Bunting) 2006 (5)
A Party in Ramadan (Mobin-Uddin) 2009 (4)
Silent Music (Rumford) 2008 (4.5)
Snow in Jerusalem (daCosta) 2001 (4)
Time to Pray (Addasi) 2010 (4.5)
Under My Hijab (Khan) 2019 (5)

Middle Grades:

Other Words for Home (Warga) 2019 (3)
Shadows of Ghadames (Stolz) 2005 (5)
Under the Persimmon Tree (Staples) 2005 (4)

Young Adult:

Internment (Ahmed) 2019 (2)
A Very Large Expanse of Sea (Mafi) 2018 (4.5)




A Most Wanted Man (set in Germany) 2014 (5.5)
Mustang (set in Turkey) 2015 (5)
Sabah, A Love Story (set in Canada) 2005

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Picture Book - Under My Hijab by Hena Khan

Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
2019, Lee & Low Books
HC $17.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.37 - 597 ratings
My rating:  5!!!
Endpapers: Bright Pink
Written in quatrains with the second and fourth lines rhyming.

1st line/s:  "Grandma peeks into the oven
as a brown loaf of bread starts to rise
Her hijab is carefully folded,
like the crusts on my favorite pies."

My comments:  A more-than-excellent book, probably one of my favorites so far this year.  Should be read to all kids AND ADULTS!!!

Goodreads:  Grandma wears it clasped under her chin. Aunty pins hers up with a beautiful brooch. Jenna puts it under a sun hat when she hikes. Zara styles hers to match her outfit. As a young girl observes six very different women in her life who each wear the hijab in a unique way, she also dreams of the rich possibilities of her own future, and how she will express her own personality through her hijab. Written in sprightly rhyme and illustrated by a talented newcomer, Under My Hijab honors the diverse lives of contemporary Muslim women and girls, their love for each other, and their pride in their culture and faith.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Picture Book Biography - Yayoi Kusama From Here to Infinity by Sarah Suzuki

Illustrated by Ellen Weinstein
with reproductions of works by Yayoi Kusama
2017, Museum of Modern Art, NY
HC $19.95
Not in Cumberland County Library system, Interlibrary Loan from Dauphin County
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.82 - 182 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  The title page is the opening endpaper and the copyright information and list of MOMA trustees is the ending endpaper.
1st line/s:  "Yayoi Kusama was born in the country of Japan, on the island of Honshu, in a town called Matsumoto City."

My comments: Although the author says "She is widely considered to be the most popular artist in the world,"  I was completely unaware of Yayoi Kusama and her work!  I feel like a have a pretty decent grip on art and artists, but this has shown me that I have to check out more contemporary artists.  This is the story of her artistic life -born in 1929 in Japan, moved to NYC in the 1950's, and still going strong today, She is famous for her dots and squiggles, installations, and even fabric.  The text of the book was pretty basic, and I didn't get any sense of time, and none was mentioned.  When I read, "It was her first airplane trip.  There were only four other passengers, and the weather was stormy, with rain and lightning.  The airplane wobbled and dipped as it flew to America." I was like....what? ..... until reading the added bibliographic information at the end I realized this would have been in the 1950s.  No sense of that from the text, or even illustrations.The illustrations are pretty cool, and the reproductions of actual work are a great addition to the story.

Goodreads:  Growing up in the mountains of Japan, Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) dreamed of becoming an artist. One day, she had a vision in which the world and everything in it—the plants, the people, the sky—were covered in polka dots. She began to cover her paintings, drawings, sculptures, and even her body with dots. As she grew up, she traveled all around the world, from Tokyo to Seattle, New York to Venice, and brought her dots with her. Different people saw these dots in different ways—some thought they were tiny, like cells, and others imagined them enormous, like planets. Every year, Kusama sees more of the world, covering it with dots and offering people a way to experience it the way she does.
           Written by Sarah Suzuki, a curator at The Museum of Modern Art, and featuring reproductions of Kusama’s instantly recognizable artworks, this colorful book tells the story of an artist whose work will not be complete until her dots cover the world, from here to infinity

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

LGBTQ - Books about Gender, or Where Some Sort of LGBTQ is Represented

Picture Books

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo - Jill Twiss - gay bunny owned by US VP
A Tale of Two Daddies - Vaneta Oelschlager
I am J - Cris Beam
I am Jazz - Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings

Middle Grades

GEORGE - Alex Gino
Zenobia July - Lisa Bunker, the Ppotagonist, Zenobia July (6th grade?) her married aunts, her closest friend....


Being Jazz:  My Life as a (Transgender) Teen - Jazz Jennings
Cycler - Lauren McLaughlin
Revenge of the Girl with a Great Personality - Elizabeth Eulberg
Songs for a Teenage Nomad - Kim Culbertson
Talk - Kathe Koja (gay YA)


Sunday, September 8, 2019

86. Run Away by Harlan Coben

listened to on Audible
read by Steven Webber (yes, THAT Steven Webber!)
Unabridged audio (10:20)
2019 Grand Central Publishing
385 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 9/8/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.09 - 21,689 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting:  Contemporary NYC

First line/s:  "Simon sat on a bench in Central Park - in Strawberry Fields to be more precise - and felt his heart shatter."

My comments:  This book was one heck of a roller coaster ride!  And I'm not even sure how I feel about it as I finish, because some of the relationships just seemed a little bit off.  Simon's love for his wife, Ingrid, was pure and would never waiver, but I still don't understand exactly why.  Because she was beautiful?  That part wasn't made clear at all, he just idolized and adored her.  In a way that was the crux of the whole story, which is what's leaving me a little off.  You're just supposed to understand this without any explanation.  Oh well.  It was a great whodunnit and Harlan Coben sure can spin a tale!  I LOVED listening to Steven Weber's flawless reading.  Of course, in my mind, Simon now looks exactly like Mr. Weber.   Yum.

Goodreads synopsis:  She's addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be found.
          Then, quite by chance, you see her busking in New York's Central Park.
          but she's not the girl you remember. This woman is wasted, frightened and clearly in trouble.
          You don't stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.
          She runs. 
          And you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Where criminal gangs rule, where drugs are the main currency, and murder is commonplace.
          Now it's your life on the line. And nowhere and no one is safe.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

85. All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker

listened to audio - borrowed from the library
read by Taylor Miskimen beautifully
Unabridged audio (8:28)
2019 Viking Books for Young Readers
320 pgs.
HF (sort of...) MidGrades
Finished 9/5/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.91 - 2646 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Setting: 1981 Soho, NYC - artist community, in an artist's loft....

First line/s:   "May Day is the first day of May.  'Mayday' is a radio signal used by ships and aircraft in distress.  This spring, May Day was the first day that my mom didn't get out of bed."

My comments:  This is a book about color and art and being part of an artist community in Soho, NYC, in 1981.  There is both innocence and maturity in Ollie that makes her a really interesting protagonist.  Character development, setting, and plot were all very strong in the wonderful book.  Exceptionally well narrated.  There's an afterward talking about depression in parents and helping to explain a bit about it to a middle grade reader, telling where they could get help for themselves and the parent who may suffer from it.

Goodreads synopsis:  SoHo, 1981. Twelve-year-old Olympia is an artist—and in her neighborhood, that's normal. Her dad and his business partner Apollo bring antique paintings back to life, while her mother makes intricate sculptures in a corner of their loft, leaving Ollie to roam the streets of New York with her best friends Richard and Alex, drawing everything that catches her eye.
          Then everything falls apart. Ollie's dad disappears in the middle of the night, leaving her only a cryptic note and instructions to destroy it. Her mom has gone to bed, and she's not getting up. Apollo is hiding something, Alex is acting strange, and Richard has questions about the mysterious stranger he saw outside. And someone keeps calling, looking for a missing piece of art. . . .
          Olympia knows her dad is the key--but first, she has to find him, and time is running out.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Picture Book Biography - Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock

Illustrated by John O'Brien
2013, Calkins Creek, An Imprint of Highlights, Honesdale, PA
HC $16.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.23 - 738 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Endpapers:  Solid Rust
1st line/s:  "Thomas learned to read.  And then, he never stopped.  He sat and he read.  He walked and he read.  Any lying in bed, instead of sleeping, her read."

My comments: The only reason I rated down .5 was because the wonderfully interesting facts and quotes, written in little books placed on different parts of the page, were written in such teeny, tiny font that you almost didn't read them.  They were great, and read well along with the text of the story.  The Author's Note at the end DID address Thomas Jefferson as a slaveholder, which was another positive.  A truly fascinating look at history, and the life and obsession of a favorite politician and historical figure.

Goodreads:  As soon as Thomas Jefferson learned to read, he found his passion: books, books, and more books! Before, during, and after the American Revolution, Jefferson collected thousands of books on hundreds of subjects. In fact, his massive collection eventually helped rebuild the Library of Congress—now the largest library in the world. Barb Rosenstock’s rhythmic words and John O’Brien’s whimsical illustrations capture Jefferson’s passion for the written word as well as little-known details about book collecting. Author and artist worked closely with experts to create the first picture book on Jefferson’s love of reading, writing, and books. An author’s note, bibliography, and source notes for quotations are also included.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Handmade Cards

1250.  India
"And in that moment I swear we were infinite."
This is an illustrations of a quote from a book I'm reading now!  The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Hope you like it.  Sheethal.

495. HAND DRAWN CARD!!!  Praha, Ceska Replublika
Hello Chris,
Your post was first time I heard about jackalopes.  Buyt I find tghem terribly cute.
Wish you a great summer,

The "Wild" West

1250.  Two Women and a Mule
These two women are moving up the Bright Angel Trail toward the rim of Grand Canyon National Park.  In this whimsical photograph, one of the women appears to be trying to convince the mule to keep moving upwards with her friend.  
This was a swap...I sent them a card that I wanted mailed to me.  I sent this card because I love it and didn't want to send it to someone else.  It was mailed back to me from Belgium:
Advice from a mule from Ilan Shamin:  "Be sure-footed, follow your path, work hard, pack life with great memories.  It's okay to be a little stubborn.  Get a kick out of life."

Picture Book Biography - The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan

Illustrated by Hadley Hooper
2014, Roaring Book Pres/ A Neal Porter Book
HC $17.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.06 - 1586 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Endpapers:  bright, solid orange-red
1st line/s:  The book appears to all be one sentence!!!!   "If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France where the skies were gray/ And the days were cold/ And you wanted color and light/ And sun, / And your mother, to brighten your days,/ Painted plates to hang on the walls/ With picture of meadows and trees,/ Rivers and birds, ...."

My comments: Patricia MacLachlan, one of my favorite authors, has written a simple book about Henri Matisse and where his artistic inspiration came from.  Hadley Hooper has used simple, beautiful illustrations to accentuate the story that MacLachlan tells.  This book is totally charming, especially if you are an admirer of Matisse's art.  Yup, he's also one of my favorites...

Goodreads:  If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France, what would your life be like? Would it be full of color and art? Full of lines and dancing figures?
          Find out in this beautiful, unusual picture book about one of the world's most famous and influential artists by acclaimed author and Newbery Medal-winning Patricia MacLachlan and innovative illustrator Hadley Hooper.

Picture Book Biography - A Stroll with Mr. Gaudi by Pau Estrada

Illustrated by the author
2013, Editorial Juventud
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.40 - 25 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Solid corally-red
1st line/s:  "Mr. Gaudi leaves home early for work, as he does every morning."

My comments: What's not to like about this beautifully illustrated biography of Antoni Gaudi?  This one tells of one life of "Mr. Gaudi" as an elderly gentleman, touring the city of Barcelona and checking up on his current building projects.  We learn so much about his personality ... his daydreaminess, his eccentric building ideas, his "different" way of planning, his dreams of the future.  We also learn that the people of the time did NOT like his architecture!  The story is interesting and gives us a real feel for the man.  The illustrations are amazing, not only are the grand buidling uniquely drawn, but the whimsical illustrations of the people are a lot of fun to peruse.  A keeper!  The three pages of "afterward" are full of facts and interesting to read as well.

Goodreads:  There is no summary on Goodreads!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Audible Readers/Narrators

Arndt, AndiLucky Suit (Blakely) co reader
Assadourian, VanehOther Words for Home
Ayyar, PriyaA Very Large Expanse of Sea (Mafi)
Baker, HeidiOn the Island (Graves)
Barrow, Anthony MarkField Notes on Love (Smith) co readers
Beaton, Eilidh - Vanishing Girls (Regan) HORRIBLE!!!!! Couldn't stand her pronunciations or her 12-year old voice!
Bentley, Amy Melissa Starry Eyes (Bennett)
Bray, R. C. The Others (Robinson)
Campbell, CassandraWhere the Crawdads Sing (Owens) beautifully read
Church, ImogenThe Lost for Words Bookshop (Butland) reader's voice sounded too old for the character
Cole, Jonathan R. - Beautiful Stranger (Lauren) co reader
Cosham, Ralph A Fatal Grace (Gamache #2) (Penny) super reader, great accents
Craden, Abby Recursion (Crouch) co reader
Delaine, ChristinaSpider Woman's Daughter (Hillerman) read too slowly, didn't enjoy
Dukehart, CrisThree Mages and a Margarita (Marie)
Early, Kathleen - Blonde Hair Blue Eyes
Ezzo, Lauren Where the Forest Meets the Stars (Vanderah)
Feathers, Sarah The Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
Garcia, KylaWe Set the Dark on Fire (Majia)
Gavin, Marguerite The Shunning  (Lewis)
Glenister, Robert Lethal White (Strike #4) (Galbraith) Love him!
Grant, GraceBeautiful Stranger (Lauren) co reader
Green, Caitlyn Hush Hush (Fitzpatrick)
Greenfield, LanceManeuver (Bliss) co reader
Grimsley, Steven RoyA Shroud of Tattered Sails (Garrison Gage #4) (Carter)
Hazlett, DeborahOpen Season (Howard) great reader
Heybourne, Kirby Letters to the Lost (Kemmerer) co reader
Jackson, JoshilynSomeone Else's Love Story read by the author and LOVE her reading!!!
Jackson, SuzySkyward (#1 Skyward) (Sanderson) great narrator
Kreinik, BarrieAn Anonymous Girl (Pekkanen) co reader, great job
Larnia, JennaThe Line Tender (Allen) excellent
Leyva, Henry -  The Precipice (#6 Bowditch) (Doiron)
.........................Widowmaker (#7 Mike Bowditch) (Doiron)
..........................Knife Creek (#8 Mike Bowditch) (Doiron)
Lindstrom, JonRecursion (Crouch) co reader
Maarleveld, SaskiaTime's Convert (Harkness)
MacDuffie, Carrington -  The Ghost Manuscript (she read well, but her voice was too mannish for the character)
Mallon, ErinManeuver (Bliss) co reader
........................Reasonable Doubt (Whitney G.) co reader
McInerney, KathleenShamed (#11 Kate Burkholder) (Castillo)
Meskimen, TaylorZenobia July (Bunker)
.......................All the Greys on Greene Street (Tucker)  (beautifully!
Nankanee, SoleelaInternment (Ahmed)
Parenteau, TanisTrail of Lightning  (Roanhorse) great job
Peakes, KarenDon't Even Breathe (Houghton)
Plummer, Therese This Fallen Prey (#3 Rockton)  (Armstrong)
................................Watcher in the Woods (#4 Rockton) (Armstrong)
Pressley, BrittanyLetters to the Lost (Kemmerer) co reader
Ross, RebekkahThe Simple Wild (Tucker) excellent
Rudd, Kat The Vanishing Stair (Johnson) so-so, didn't like the flat tone she gave the narrator
Sastre, ElizabethThe Au Pair (Rous) read beautifully
Shapiro, DaniInheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love read by the author
Strole, PhoebeNeverworld Wake (Pessl) excellent
Sutton-Smith - Emily The Body Counter (#2 Jude Fontaine) (Frasier)
.....................................The Body Keeper (#3 Jude Fontaine) (Frasier)
Syal, MyraErotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Jaswal) gorgeous, lilting reading that I could easily understand
Tamron, Will Murder Theory (#3 Theo Cray) (Mayne)
Turpin, BahniDread Nation (Ireland) great job
Vacker, KarissaField Notes on Love (Smith) co readers
Vason, AnjanaThe Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
Wane, Esther The Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
Webber, Zachary Lucky Suit (Blakely) co reader
Weber, StevenRun Away  (Sandford #12 Virgil Flowers)(Even if he stuttered and stammered, I'd LOVE to hear him read, though he was really good.)
Whelan, JulieAn Anonymous Girl (Pekkanen) co reader, great job
Wilhoite, KathleenWhere'd You Go Bernadette (Semple) didn't really enjoy---ultra-theatrical
Wincott, AndrewThe Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
York, SebastianReasonable Doubt (Whitney G.) co reader
Zeller, Emily Woo - The Bride Test

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Birds (of the non-penguin type) Postcards Receivedl

1979.  GR PC August
Dear Chris, Yep, I've found and read some great  books this year!  From the nonfiction section:  Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.  It's shocking and dismaying and really a book that people should read.  And I read all the James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small series, which was def a comfort read, since I watched the British TV show as a kid.  And now I'm just dipping into Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, which seems like it's going to be one of those fun, eye-opening reads!
     New author, and new genre (fantasy):  N. K. Jemisin.  I read her The Fifth Season series last year, and have no read all of her books.  And they are all page turners, I just can't put them down!  And some great scifi: Ancillary Justice series by Ann Leckie, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers.  All of these are just WOW! 
Hope you've discovered some great books as well
Happy Day, Rift

Goodreads Postcards

1980.  GR PC August
I haven't read any good books lately but I did read one terrible book that I would like to warn you away from.  Don't read Flame in the Mist.  It's awful and a waste of time.  Have a great day!  Angie

1979.  GR PC August
Dear Chris, Yep, I've found and read some great  books this year!  From the nonfiction section:  Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.  It's shocking and dismaying and really a book that people should read.  And I read all the James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small series, which was def a comfort read, since I watched the British TV show as a kid.  And now I'm just dipping into Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, which seems like it's going to be one of those fun, eye-opening reads!
     New author, and new genre (fantasy):  N. K. Jemisin.  I read her The Fifth Season series last year, and have no read all of her books.  And they are all page turners, I just can't put them down!  And some great scifi: Ancillary Justice series by Ann Leckie, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers.  All of these are just WOW! 
Hope you've discovered some great books as well
Happy Day, Rift

84. Dear Lily by Drew Davies

read on my iPhone
2019 Bookouture
276 pgs.
Adult CRF-Epistolary
Finished September 1, 2019
Goodreads rating:  3.77 - 493 ratings
My rating: 2
Setting:  contemporary Copenhagen, Denmark

My comments:   I had to force myself to finish this one, not even sure why I didn't.  Darn, I even paid full price for it, it sounded that good.  It's pretty depressing and meandering and always made me feel gloomy.  It's about a young woman whose life in her mid 30s is not at all what she had thought it would be.  So after losing her much-loved sister she moves to Copenhagen, Denmark to "start new."  She smokes too much and drinks too much, becomes a hermit and lies around all day, and is just plain unhappy and depressed.  The she "sees the light" and begins to change.  Yes, there were dabs of humor, but just little dabs.  This one didn't do it for me at all.  Bummer.

Goodreads synopsis:  Dear Lily, 
          It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance. 
          On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened… 
          I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?) 
          I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to. 
          Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister. 
          Joy x 

A beautiful book-club read for anyone who has ever hit rock bottom, longed for a fresh start, or needed to heal a broken, aching heart.