Friday, July 31, 2009

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling ****

If someone had told me 10 years ago that I wouldn't start reading the Harry Potter series until 2009, & that I'd start doing so to divert myself from my father's loosing battle with cancer, I wouldn't have believed them. But that's what's going on, & it's working very well in the diversion category.
I don't know yet about the other books in the series, but I can say that J.K. Rowling tapped into something we all want--a unique, wonderful world where we truly "belong". Isn't that what we all want? A place where we are accepted as we are, & where our natural talents are celebrated, as opposed to ridiculed? It's pretty universal.
I know when I was little I used to imagine that I was an alien from another planet that was dropped off here by accident when I was born. That would explain my lack of fitting in, & why even though I tried really hard to please my family, it was never enough. I think we've all felt that way from time to time in our lives. Wouldn't it be neat if we could all just go off to Hogwarts for 9 months & "find ourselves"?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling ***

The premise of this book is great: a Jewish art dealer in Paris before the Nazi's march in, flees the city in advance of the invasion, returns to Paris after it's liberation to find that not only is his gallery & home destroyed, all of his art work is gone. The story follows his son, Max, as he tries to find their art in order to finally gain approval from his father. I like that the subject of disability does arise (where doesn't it arise, once you're aware of it?), but overall it just didn't click with me. Like I said, the idea is compelling. But the characters just don't come across as memorable. There is a lot of fact wrapped up in this novel, which makes me want to read one of the author's sources, The Rape of Europa . All in all, it wasn't a bad book. I just didn't find it to be the kind of book that I will think about later.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale ***

Yep, I've reverted back to reading pre-teen books again. Well, I was at the library & didn't have a book picked out ahead of time & had a brain fart as to the name of any author I wanted to read, so I ended up with this. I've read three other books by Shannon Hale & if I had a teen-aged daughter I'd highly recommend them for her.
It's a cute book about wanting more in life, then realizing you already have everything you'd ever need.
This book isn't in the series about the imaginary kingdom of Bayern (which, ironically, is the name of Bavaria in German), but it's very similar.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

American Family of the 1920s by Tom Tierney *****

I know, I know...long time no post. So much for my lovely vow to write on here twice a week. Twice a month is probably a more realistic goal!

One reason I haven't written is that I haven't read anything lately. I've started a few books, but just haven't been able to get into them right now. I guess I'm going thru one of my dry spells again.

But that doesn't mean I haven't looked at any books. The book for today is part of a series I absolutely love--The American Family paper doll books by Tom Tierney. Not many people know that I love fashion. I am not a fashion plate by any means--most would categorize me as fashion-compromised. But I truly love looking at what people wore in the past. I think it helps books become more real to me if I know what the people were wearing, & this book series is great for that. I already own the following American Family series books: Pilgrims, Colonial, Early Republic, Pioneer, Civil War, 1890's, & 1900-1920.
This particular book was harder to come by because for some reason it's out of print. Nevertheless I was able to get it, & it's a gem. I can't help but make up stories in my head about the family members, since Tierney likes to make the families related thru the years.
I tried cutting out the dolls with one of my first books, but found it not to be a good idea. They're too detailed & once they're cut out they're easy to lose.
I highly recommend these books for anyone interested in the clothing of a particular period in American history!