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Showing posts from December, 2018

The Ultimate Book Geek Challenge, Part Six

Category 35, Set in the summer: Idaho by Emily Ruskovich The main event of the book happens during the summer, I think. Or it could be fall, but it felt like summer when I was reading it. There's also a lot of winter in the book. It's really good. Set in Idaho. Part mystery, part family drama. Very well-written. Category 36, A book that will make you smarter: Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour Well, I think it made me briefly smarter, anyway. It's hard to remember what I learned from it when confronted with a bratty teenage girl. Not that any of my teenagers are bratty. Category 37, Bestseller: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones This is a very good book, but it didn't move me like others have. I always wonder how much my response to a book depends on my current place in life -- maybe it would have been more moving and meaningful at a different time. It is worth reading. Category 38, Reader's choice: My Nam…

The Ultimate Book Geek Challenge, Part Five, Or, An Aside about My Sisters and Me in New York

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Category 34, About a city: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser Here's the story of how I came to read this book. Six of us Jacobsen sisters went to New York in September so we could go to my brother Colter's art show opening at Callicoon Fine Arts Gallery in Manhattan. We had a great time being tourists in the city. One day, after visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we were walking away from Central Park down 81st street on the Upper East Side and one of my sisters (I think it was Leah) saw a book that was trapped on top of a wrought iron gate about ten feet above the ground. Apparently it had been dropped from above and lodged there. Leah jokingly said to Cammy (the athletic sister), "Hey, Cammy, climb up and get that book!" And the next thing we knew, Cammy was scaling the gate and had grabbed the book. It was a hardback copy of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. It had been there for a little while before Cammy rescued it but was still in…

The Ultimate Book Geek Challenge, Part Four

Category 18, Short Story: "Novostroika" by Maria RevaThis was quite an entertaining story published in The Atlantic in December of 2016. (We had a subscription to The Atlantic for a year around then and have kept the old issues around for leisurely perusal. It's a good magazine with well-researched, good writing.) The story is about a man in Ukraine who tries to get the heat turned on in his apartment only to hear from the official that his building doesn't exist. I'd say it's funny and tragic in a way similar to A Confederacy of Dunces.Category 19, Graphic novel: El Deafo by Cece Bell I like that these memoir-type graphic novels kind of expose the immaturity and self-centeredness of the pre-teen/early teen protagonist. This one's about a deaf girl and was interesting and fun. Category 20, About an animal: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket or The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo 🎧 The first has various reptiles in it, including a falsely accuse…