The two first words in the subtitle of this book are as important as is the title itself. Forty Illustrators it proclaims and these forty illustratorsThe two first words in the subtitle of this book are as important as is the title itself. Forty Illustrators it proclaims and these forty illustrators certainly deliver. Their mission was to help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Reading is Fundamental by re-imagining a favorite book from their childhood using their unique gift of artwork.
I really enjoyed reading about the books each author chose. Of course, the images they created to illustrate their take on these favorites were stunning.
The best of the best are represented here and you’ll probably find your favorite but may also find someone new. In addition to the essays and images that make up the meat of this collection, there is an About the Illustrators section included which features their prominent works. From Mary Azarian of Snowflake Bentley fame to Paul O. Zelinsky, Swamp Angel and more, this is topnotch collection honoring the artists who illustrate our beloved books.
Extending my sincere thanks to my GR friend Cheryl for bringing The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF’s 40th Anniversary to my attention. Secluded in our library stacks in the arts section of juvenile non-fiction I may never have found this gem if not for her review. May be enjoyed by adults and children alike. ...more
The Hook - I try to read at least one new Christmas themed story each year. The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle, a memoir was popping uThe Hook - I try to read at least one new Christmas themed story each year. The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle, a memoir was popping up everywhere and somehow popped right into my hands.
The Line – ”We’re not falling apart; we’re just chipped a little bit.” You will have to read the book to understand the relevance of this quote.
The Sinker – Such a perfect story for this time of year, The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle brings so many truths of the spirit of the season to mind and validates the goodness of man.
The Smith family; Jo, Ben, Nick, and Megan have lost the glue that cements them. Theirr father, Rick dies just before Christmas in 1999. A special group of true friends parodies the words in the classic Christmas song The 12 Days of Christmas and secretly gifts the Smiths’ with presents each day. Nothing profound, but interesting presents beginning with a Poinsettia on the first day. A written card echoing the song accompanies each. Coming and going secretly the kindness of strangers give this grieving family a spark to light the holidays and a belief in the possibility that they can heal.
The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle, if not a true miracle is a heartfelt memoir which delivers in its spirit of the season. It is touching and confirms my belief in the goodness of people. The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle, joins my list of favorite Christmas Stories, one to be read and enjoyed again. ...more
The Hook - No spoilers here as every review I have read gives us this much of a summary. The opening line in itself is enough of a hook. “I am fifty-fThe Hook - No spoilers here as every review I have read gives us this much of a summary. The opening line in itself is enough of a hook. “I am fifty-four years old, the age my mother was when she died. Consider that it quickly goes on to explain the following: Terry Tempest Williams mother leaves her a set of journals just before she dies with the instructions that they not be opened until after her death. Terry keeps this promise and when her mother dies a week later she waits for the right time to read them. On the night of the next full moon it’s time. "They were exactly where she said they would be: three shelves of beautiful clothbound books; some floral, some paisley, others in solid colors.” Terry picks one off the shelf and slowly opens it. It is blank. The next, blank. They are all blank, three shelves of blank journals. In fifty-four variations on voice Ms. Williams explore the emptiness of these journals and so do we.
The Line – Blank – I’ll leave this blank so you may choose your own passage or segment to mull and hold in your heart.
The Sinker – Silence Voice Silence This exquisite book is a cacophony of silence rising to a crescendo. Each reader will find his or her own interpretation of Terry Tempest Williams words. A book to savor, a book to cherish, a book to own, a book to give, a book to read again.
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice was on my list but it wasn’t until I heard Rebecca Schinsky comments about it on Bookriot Holiday Recommendation Extravaganza Bonanza that I dropped everything and picked it up. I knew I had to read it immediately. I’m so glad I did. ...more
The Hook - Peter Matthiessen passed away April 5, 2014 at the age of 86. I had read some of his fiction, loving the way his adventuresome novel Far TaThe Hook - Peter Matthiessen passed away April 5, 2014 at the age of 86. I had read some of his fiction, loving the way his adventuresome novel Far Tartuga (1975) made me feel. I decided it was time to give this memoir, The Snow Leopard (1978) recounting his climb of Mount Everest in search of Blue Sheep and a quest to spot the elusive snow leopard a try.
The Line – On Acceptance In its wholehearted acceptance of what is, this is just what Soen Roshi might have said: “I feel as if he had struck me in the chest. I thank him, bow, go softly down the mountain: under my parka, the folder prayer flag glows. Butter tea and wind pictures, the Crystal Mountain, and blue sheep dancing on the snow—it’s quite enough! Have you seen the snow leopard? No! Isn’t that wonderful?”
The Sinker – Having read many recent books capturing a climb of the famous Mount Everest, the pacing of The Snow Leopard initially left me cold. As I examined my feelings I realized that these other adventuresome reads were more geared to our need for instant gratification and a quick, thrilling read. Matthiessen’s book is from another time. Though not the first to climb Everest, Matthiesssen does it when it’s remains somewhat virgin territory. No oxygen, no fashion gear, no fee to anyone to make certain you make it. A two month climb under hard conditions in which he takes the time to mingle with the natives, connect with a Buddhist spirituality and smell the roses, in this case, Everest’s fauna and animals. The Snow Leopard is nostalgic and laced with subtle humor. It is an account of an era gone by, one that unfolds a realistic view of the challenges of mountaineering. ...more
The Hook – It’s Dean Koontz so I know what I’m going to get. Stop, maybe not! I’ve read a few reviews that fault Mr. Koontz for not sticking with hisThe Hook – It’s Dean Koontz so I know what I’m going to get. Stop, maybe not! I’ve read a few reviews that fault Mr. Koontz for not sticking with his usual mode of operation, whatever you call the genre he writes; suspense, thriller, horror. I’ve never really liked his books that depict machines gone crazy. Where I think he shines is in those where I>evil, the evil that man inflicts on man, is central to the plot. No disappointment here.
The Line – I’d rather live the now then talk about the was.” ”A butter-side up day…” you’ll need to read the book to get the drift on this one.
I listened to The City which made it hard to bookmark passages. There were many lines that were quote worthy.
The Sinker – The characters, hands down.
We meet Jonah Kirk as his best friend Malcolm gives him a recorder and encourages him to tell his life story. Jonah is reluctant to do so but Malcolm feels a book about Jonah’s life will lighten up a sad world. And so it did for this reader. I couldn’t say it better than Jonah himself narrates:
”My name is “Jonah Ellington Basie Hines Eldridge Wilson Hampton Armstrong Kirk. From as young as I can remember I loved the city. Mine is a story of love reciprocated. It is the story of loss and hope and of the strangeness that lies just beneath the service tension of daily life, a strangeness infinite phantom in depth.” It’s April 1966. Jonah, nearly nine states he hates the piano because he fears he’ll never learn to be a piano man. He needs lessons and his father who has been off scene for most of Jonah’s life refuses to pay for these lessons. But now Tilton Kirk is back. Perhaps he should have stayed gone. It’s at this time in Jonah’s life that we meet the mysterious woman who calls him Ducks that plays such a large part in Jonah’s life and ramped my enjoyment of the book. This woman adds the Koontz supernatural experience so familiar to us all. Jonah explains her like this:
“She’s always there, like sudden sunshine, breaking through clouds.”
He never sees her coming. She’s just there.
There are so many wonderful characters. These include the many who love Jonah. His mother, Sylvia, a talented singer trying to make ends meet, his grandparents, Grandma Anita and Grandpa Teddy, and his best friend Malcolm, even The City itself. Each relationship encircles Jonah with love but none is more poignant than that of Jonah and his Japanese-American neighbor, Mr. Yoshiokaone. Through his eyes we learn a great deal about Manzanar a World War II relocation center that housed over 100,000 Japanese-Americans and also how friendship and respect transcend their ages. There are others like Tilton who makes Jonah’s life miserable including one freaky, crazy gal who scares the bejeezus out of him and also threatens him with bodily harm.
Music and a piano play a large part in Jonah’s life. This book deserves its own playlist. I found myself looking up tunes, singers and songwriters every few pages. There is also lovely haiku poetry. A few years back there was a website, Small Demons, that would have indexed these for easy reference. Sadly it couldn’t find a sponsor and no longer exists.
The City is not an easy book to summarize without spoilers. It will go down as one of my favorite Koontz books. It is a prophetic and nostalgic story that left me feeling good and filled with hope. Seems I’m in good company as the author himself states this is one of his favorites. When asked the proverbial question of which of his books is his favorite he listed in no particular order:
“The City,” “Innocence,” “From the Corner of His Eye,” “Life Expectancy,” “Odd Thomas”and “Watchers.”
I loved Watchers, From the Corner of His Eye and The City in that order. Write on Mr. Koontz. I’m reading! ...more