Thursday, February 17, 2011

Large Print Editions

So I know I am turning 40 this year, but I wonder does the library know? I have now received my second book in large print format. I would swear to you that I am not reserving the Large Print format, but then I would probably find out that I did. Ugh.

Here is the weird thing...
I am having a hard time reading the books. I feel like I keep wanting to jump forward and read the next page or my brain is expecting it to be as easy to read as one of Wylie's books.

I am seriously considering sending the books back and waiting for a regular print book.

I just can't curl up with these large print books.

In fact I know I am returning the books, because I just spoke with the librarian and he totally laughed at my not being able to read the book. He said it's quite common for people to have difficulty reading the large print books.
The bonus...there are copies of both books (Gentlemen of the Road and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) in regular print available.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

40 for 40 Book Five : Gentlemen of the Road

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
Recommended by Charles Framularo--Colleague from work

This is a totally new author for me. Never had heard of him previously or his work. I'm excited about it as the book holds some new territory for me. The review from Amazon is as follows:
Chabon recreates 10th-century Khazaria, the fabled kingdom of wild red-haired Jews on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, in this sprightly historical adventure. Zelikman and Amram, respectively a gawky Frank and a gigantic Abyssinian, make their living by means of confidence tricks, doctoring, bodyguarding and the occasional bit of skullduggery along the Silk Road. The unlikely duo find themselves caught up in larger events when they befriend Filaq, the headstrong and unlikable heir to the recently deposed war king of the Khazars. Their attempts to restore Filaq to the throne make for a terrifically entertaining modern pulp adventure replete with marauding armies, drunken Vikings, beautiful prostitutes, rampaging elephants and mildly telegraphed plot points that aren't as they seem.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two more non-40 for 40 books

So I've been waiting for the last book in the Hunger Games series and the last in the Millenium series. Both came in yesterday.
MockingJay-Is interesting and again I'm much more connected to the other characters than I am to Katniss

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest--Well all I can say at this point is that was one really long wait for a LARGE PRINT edition. Yup, should be fun lugging that book around. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

40 for 40 Book Four: The Color of Water

The Color of Water by James McBride
Recommended by Jessica

This is a wonderful book and the second recommendation I've received from Jessica that offers a view of Judaism from a wholly different perspective.
The book is a memoir of a black man raised by a white Jewish mother in the 60s and 70s. All of his siblings went to college despite his mother being poor and at two different times in her life completely without additional support for her 12 children.
I found out that the mother died in 2010. The article is here.

REVIEW: 2/10/11
This is amazing. It is really two stories about two very different people going through similar things. It's also a wonderful book about something much more than one color and one religion, it's about how we relate and think and place labels.
The mother's story is so much how her past could have shaped her to be something very very different from who she became and how she viewed her world. An abusive father, a crippled and quiet mother who were not in love and siblings who did not love one another. She was raised in tidewater Virginia in the 30s when most Jewish families were in large urban centers. She was sent to NYC every summer and yet always came back to her family. She fell in love with not one but three different black men in her life. The last one caused her to fall apart upon his death.

The son's story is what you would somewhat expect of a poor kid being raised in NYC in the late 60s and early 70s except for one thing. His mother sent him to predominantly white public schools, never taught him to expect being treated differently by the police or anyone else. She believed her children were who they were and nothing else. He tells how he made mistakes, had expectations, and how his siblings were on his back at times to get his act together. He talks how black power came into their home and their mother all but ignored it. He eventually turns his life around while struggling with his identity and finding out who his mother's family really were to her and to him.

I feel there is much more to this story in that it could easily have been an Irish Italian kid in Boston. Treated horribly by one group or another based on stereotypes and the fact that they are a mixed kid. (How do you politely say what they were referred to which was mixed breed mutt!). This book really makes you think and makes you reflect on your life. We are what we become and our color, gender, and race are really only a minimal part of who we ultimately become. If you believe differently then there are many opportunities that will never come your way.
I grew up in an area that was predominantly white but at the same time was fully a tossed salad of countries, colors, languages, and family types. The only commonality with most of my friends growing up was that we were Catholic but I still had friends who were other religions. It didn't really pose an issue in my family or in my life.