Jennifer's blog

Why You Should Read Louise Erdrich

A great book for book clubs and one you shouldn't miss.

Since college (so many years ago), I have always been a fan of Louise Erdrich, but until the publication of her most recent book, The Round House, I had let a few of her books slip by without reading them. When my book club selected The Round House, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to get caught up. Wow! While most of Erdrich's books are complicated and require dedication and focus to plow through, The Round House, is completely accessible to your average reader.

Family Crafting

Show Me a Story

The time is coming when cool weather will encourage us to remain indoors. If you have children, you may soon hear the dreaded whine, "I'm bored. There's nothing to do!" I'm happy to report that these three books will provide hours of entertainment and family projects.

In a valiant effort to keep my children's screen time down and to preserve my sanity, I often resort to crafting with my kids. It's a good idea to keep some basic craft supplies on hand, but some of these projects may require a trip to the craft store with a supply list in hand. Alternately, try Goodwill or other thrift stores to pick up bags of fabric scraps or yarn, or get together with friends and combine craft supplies. These books are bound to keep little and big hands busy for the winter months. Some of these projects will also make great holiday gifts!

Rabid for Rabid

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus

55,000 people die in agony from this virus every year.

I'm talking rabies, people. I assumed (incorrectly) that this virus was mostly extinct. Rabies is very much alive and well - thanks to a lack of vaccines and treatment in some parts of the world. As a bleeding heart who is likely to try to help any injured animal that crosses my path, I decided to do a bit of research to see exactly how prevalent rabies is in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources has some very accessible information, in case you're interested.

Two “Big C’s”: Cancer and Communes. Great Summer Reading. I’m Not Kidding.

the fault in our stars

I’m reading this great book. It’s so hilarious that I’m literally snorting with laughter.
What’s it about?
Cancer.
(long, uncomfortable silence)
Really.

It’s also touching, and tragic, so keep the tissues handy.
I’m talking about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It's about two teens dealing with various aspects of cancer. As with most of his books, I’m totally smitten. The banter between characters is very highbrow. I don’t know any teenagers who really talk like Green’s characters, but he’s a skilled writer and his characters are enchanting and well-developed. This is a must-read for adults and older teens.

National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO)

nanowrimo

Prepare now - November is National Novel Writing Month. If you've always longed to write, now is the time to read up and glue yourself to a chair.

Many of us have a longing to write. Very few of us ever manage to realize the dream of the writer's life. This is the year, things could change for all of us. November is National Novel Writing Month. Register at this site and receive all of the support you'll need to get started.

While we're waiting for NANOWRIMO to begin, here are a few resources you might find helpful. Oh - and if you feel like tackling your writing project now, by all means, scribble away!

Desperate Measures

into the forest by jean hegland

It's autumn. My thoughts turn to the usual autumnal things like the changing leaves, apple picking, pumpkin carving...and a strange hankering for tales of desperation.

Something about this time of year tends to make some of us a bit melancholy. It's a time to fend off sleep when the sun sinks below the horizon at 5:00. We watch the leaves fall and our flowers wither with frost. We haul out the blankets and heat up the tea kettle. We bake bread and fill bowls with hearty soups as if we're bears stockpiling calories for our long winter's sleep. This time of year, reading about hardship somehow makes me feel cozier.

In Praise of Mary Doria Russell

Doc

Do you love literary fiction? Historical fiction? Science fiction? This author is a rare find - someone who can cross genres with ease, style, and literary merit. She has won many national and international awards for her work. If you haven't read her, you should!

Many years ago, I discovered The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell and loved it, but somehow with all of the other books on my list, I never revisited her work. Then, this year, Doc hit our featured titles table. I snagged a copy and devoured it in three days. It was so good, I was compelled to read every work of fiction she ever wrote.

Don't let a bad movie ruin a good book

The moment I heard that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was being made into a movie, I was thrilled.

I've seen so many good movies set in scenic places in China or by Chinese directors: Raise the Red Lantern; The Last Emperor; Ju Dou; Farewell My Concubine; Lust, Caution...

Deep Cool - Books to Beat the Heat

Shopping for Porcupine (Book Cover Image)

Not a cloud in the sky. I'm sweating in the garden, my scalp slowly broiling. My mind is elsewhere seeking mercy from the sun - dreaming of distant places where I could chill...SERIOUSLY chill. I'm talking the Arctic and the Antarctic.

While you might be able to convince me to briefly set foot someplace in the Arctic (Alaska, anyone?), the Antarctic with its annual mean temperature of -58 degrees is simply out of the question. But in books, I'll happily vicariously experience toes black from frostbite, sleeping in sodden sealskin sleeping bags, and eating nothing but frozen seal meat. These books put my minor discomforts in perspective and leave me with a sense of wonder and awe. I'm glad some braver souls than myself have explored such places and that some have survived to tell the tale.

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