Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Whatever Wednesday -Books, books, books

I started Tuesday by crunching my glasses so they sat on my nose crooked.  The world was even more disjointed than normal.  I followed this with a visit to the dentist to drill out a "cavity".  It's not a cavity until they drill.  It's decay up until then.  Well, this "cavity" was actually TWO spots of decay between and on two teeth.  Small, but time consuming.  And, me, without a book!!!

From the dentist, I went to get my glasses straightened and picked up four books at the Bethlehem Public Library. Those three errands took most of the morning.  BUt I ended up with new books to read.  Hooray!

Here is my books-read count for the week.

The Phantom of the Post Office by Kate and M. Sarah Klise.  This is the fourth book in a series about an abandoned boy being raised by a grumpy author and a ghost.  When the Klise sisters collaborate, their books are a montage of fictional press clippings, letters, emails, handwritten notes, posters and the like.  In The Phantom of the Post Office, the post office is threatened with extinction and the inhabitants of 43 Old Cemetery Road are up in arms to keep the post office running.  Lots of word play and a whole lot of "propaganda" about the wonders of letter writing.  Viva the Post Office!!  Write a letter today!

Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger.  Lenny's best friend, Casper, buys an expensive and very realistic fake mustache and a man-about-town suit right before someone with a very similar mustache and suit goes on a major crime spree.  It's up to Lenny and TV cowgirl Jodie O'Rodeo to clear Lenny's name (he gets blamed for everything!) and stop the evil mustache.  What a romp!

Temple Grandin : How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery.  This fascinating and accessible biography chronicles the struggles and triumphs of Temple Grandin, known world wide for her eloquent descriptions of her own autism and for her work in designing humane solutions in the raising and slaughtering of food animals.  This biography describes the real life problems of a child who is significantly different from those around her.  A foreword from Grandin herself encourages readers to persevere in doing what they love.

FOOD BOOKS.  I am not alone in loving books that deal with food.  Here are two that I've read this week:
Pie by Sarah Weeks. Alice's Aunt Polly makes the best pies ever.  She has won the Blueberry Medal - awarded nationally to the best pie baker - 13 years running.  Polly also runs the bake "shop" PIE, where she gives away the pies she bakes and people repay her with anonymous donations of ingredients.  When Polly dies, it seems like her world famous pie crust recipe is gone with her.  Her will claims that she gave the recipe to her cat and she left her cat to her niece, Alice.   Catnappings, a lot of nasty pie baking, grief, love, friendship and a celebration of each person's gifts are all wrapped up in the delectable crust of this book.  Recipes are included.

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer.  I set this book down while Hub and I went to lunch.  "There are some authors,"  I told Hub, "Whose books just make me smile."  I didn't add that those authors often make me cry.
   Foster McFee and her mom leave Memphis in a hurry the night an Elvis impersonator of their acquaintance breaks in their front window.  They end up in the small town of Culpepper, WV.  The town has some major problems of its own, including a new prison that did not bring in the jobs it promised and the encroachment of fast food franchises.
   Foster deals with the crises in her life by baking and her muffins and cupcakes are beyond description.  Foster, a devotee of one very popular Food Network star, wants a cooking show of her own.
   Culpepper has a slew of small town "characters", including a "resting" Hollywood star, a budding filmmaker, a young track star, the preacher's widow and more.  Here's a down home feel good book about positive thinking, perseverance and hope.  Bauer is big on hope.  Me, too.
There are recipes in this book but they are worked into Foster's practice TV monologues.  They make your mouth water.

Last but not least, I finished The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour at 12:53 - or so - this morning.  Colby, his best friend, Bev and Bev's band, The Disenchantments, are off on a post graduation tour.  Then, Colby and Bev are off to Europe to bum around while all their friends go off to college.  Colby and Bev have been friends since they were nine, but Colby is head over heels in love with Bev and she seems to just want them to remain friends.  The four friends, including sisters Meg and Alexa - the other members of the band, head off in an old VW van.  Four artsy types travel together.  Except before the first day is through, Bev throws a monkey wrench into the works.  Oh yeah.  
   This is quite the romantic road trip novel meandering from scenic West Coast location to quirky characters to best-friend spats to Ta DAH! self-realization.  The subplot of hunting down tattoos based on an obscure album cover designed by Colby's mom has almost as much weight as the evolution of the relationship between Bev and Colby.  For slightly more mature readers because of the nakedness factor, this is still a thoughtful book. 

I also started Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt.  It's about a house mouse who "went".  That's what happens to mice who disappear.  They "went".  He ends up outside.  Haven't found out what happens to him yet.  I will let you know.

Today, I will compile my list for the KU Children's Literature Conference.   You still have time to register!

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