Monday, July 25, 2011

Mailbox Monday & It's Monday: What Are You Reading? Bonanza!

Wow, what a week!  Lucky me that these books made their way to my doorstep:

Brenda Miller's essays always hit home for me, in more ways than one.  Not only is this multiple-award-winning writer a local luminary, but she's roughly my age with some similar history as a result.  And her prose is always luminous, swift-moving, and honest to the point of gutsy.  I'm half way through already and, as ever, rationing the chapters so I can keep her voice, her sensibility in my head as long as possible.  Luckily, I hear she's coming out with another collection within the week, so I'll have another volume to look forward to in the near future.

And then there's the ARC of The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton that launches today, and I received on Friday.  I'll finish this Southern fiction of two young men united by their passion for music by week's end, so expect reviews of both Blessing of the Animals and The Night Train a.s.a.p. 

As soon as I finish those two, I'm on to a pair of GORGEOUS graphic novels I bought to use with my 10th grade class.  I'm figuring that these two will inspire us all and can be used by readers who are well below grade level (for whatever reason) as their primary texts:

Even my DH got wide eyed with envy at the artistry in these two!  Aren't they fab?!  Can't wait to fly through them, relishing every minute...

What's in your mailbox this week?

Do tell, and then stop by Mailbox Monday at A Sea of Books and It's Monday: What are you reading? at BookJourney.  Go visit the other bloggers hooked up to the blog hop at A Sea of Books and BookJourney to find out what's hot for book bloggers in the last week of July and which books are helping them speed away the scorching temps. today.


Looking for this week's Roots Read-Along Post?

I now know all I need or want to know about how to raise and train game cocks for the fighting pit.  Personally, although the later chapters in this section - in which Kizzy's son George learns this trade - were actually pretty interesting for a naive reader like me, I think I'll stick to raising my hens when it comes to poultry homesteading!
And then there was the moment I growled out loud, "AHHH!  Teenagers!!" How could Kizzy have been such an idiot?  Even at that age?  But then again: no conflict, no plot.  And she was brought up to be a sheltered, naively self-confident person, entirely prey for Noah's sort of equally naive ploy. 

I wonder if we will ever see Kunta and Bell again, as - after 400+  pages - they've been unceremoniously dropped so we can focus on Kizzy's plotline.  Odd, indeed, although perhaps apt, if Haley's attempting to make us readers feel Kizzy's loss.  Unfortunately, he hasn't built enough visceral connection for readers to feel in any sense as bereft as a daughter torn from her parents.  We just wonder what the heck happened to them.

And I must recant an earlier erroneous notion:  Haley was by no means a first time writer when he penned Roots, although perhaps this was his first 'novel'.  In fact, he'd already written many articles for Playboy Magazine and penned The Autobiography of Malcolm X.  How did I forget that? So any flaws in the writing can't be excused by naivete.  The lapses in the narrative, the unmotivated acts, the boring exposition early on can all be legitimately critiqued, however beyond reproach Haley's topic.

Onward to the last three sections: I can feel the homestretch drawing near!  Want to see what others thought?  Hop over to the Roots Read-Along on Booksnob and check out Laura's always-helpful responses, plus the other linked bloggers' thoughts too.



parrish lantern said...

Schwast's book is on my tbr,at the moment i'm reading Homer's the Illiad & The Odyssey by Alberto Manguel, which discusses the impact & influence these books have had on literature.

bermudaonion said...

Those graphic novels should be fabulous for high school students. Hopefully they'll stir up some interest in them. Enjoy your new books!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

Those two graphics certainly DO look great for reluctant readers! I won a copy of Night Train (waiting for it to arrive)-I'm taken by the "dancing chicken" reference, so I can't wait to see what THAT is all about! Enjoy your reading week!

Laurie said...

PL - Those sound like texts I need to read. I personally prefer the Fitzgerald translations...
B - I think they will, and there are plenty of great web resources, not to mention films, music, etc. that we can connect to as well.
J - FYI: The Night Train is a quick read; my review: Thurs.

Holly said...

I remember reading The Odyssey in high school and it was awful-not the book, just that the teacher made it so DULL. Reading that graphic novel along with it would have made it much more interesting. I'm sure your high schoolers will love it!

Booksnob said...

Regarding Roots, I totally feel the loss of Kunta and Bell. I kept waiting for Haley to go back to their story but I don't think he will. Now that he has moved on to George, I fear Kizzy will be just a footnote. I really thought this section was a major turning point in the book and think he will go quickly through the generations now. I guess we will see.

My 9th grade kids read The Odyssey by Homer in their English classes. I wish we taught at the same school. I think we would great together.

Thanks for the War and Peace. I have never heard of that website before.

Anne Bennett said...

Dante's Divine Comedy was pretty popular in the graphic novel format in my library last year. I keep meaning to read it....

Please visit my blog and participate in my first ever giveaway.


Lissa said...

wow, it amazes me what they do with graphic novels these day. i am interested to hear your review when you are done... =D

Anne Bennett said...

Hi. Me Again! I loved Stolen by Lucy Christopher, but not at first. I think that what I fell in love with was Christopher's writing. At some point in reading the book I knew that Christopher "had me." Here is my review of the book that I wrote right after I read it:

All the kids who have read the book have come back and told me that they really enjoyed it.


Laurie said...

Holly - Nowadays the Odyssey is anything but boring, with modern films like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and websites like mythweb and Book Drum to give us visuals and help make the case for relevance. Plus - as noted above - we now have access to many translations for young adults and kids, so we can 'mix it up', motivating folks to read the more challenging but beautiful Fitzgerald translation by offering them contemporary lenses into Homer's world.
Anne - Thanks so much for your comments both here and on your blog. I'm always convinced by your reasoning and value your expertise and wisdom about books.
Laura - As I wrote on your blog, I agree with you on all counts!
Lissa - I've finished The Night Train and 2/3 of Dante/Chwast - I've been through hell and purgatory, now I'm off to paradise - so I think I'll review The Odyssey w/the Dante next week, probably W. or Th. Hope you'll stop by!!

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