23 August 2013

Anna Karenin

I (The Mom) was told by a wonderful professor that I "must read Anna Karenina"over twenty years ago. That week I headed to John King Books* and picked up a 50 cent copy, well worn and
Anna Karenin or Mary Poppins
(you decide)
marginalia filled. 

And I began reading. About 20 pages in, gave up. And several times over the next dozen years tried again and again. But never made it past the first hundred pages, until 2003.

In 2003, pregnant with The Little Sister I tried again. And this time the words came to life. 

I was pulled from page to page, and thanks to a queasy first trimester, had a perfect excuse to read for hours, and hours, and give Tolstoy's masterpiece all of the time it deserved. 

I was rewarded in three ways:
One: I finished. And completely understood why my professor said I must read it, and yes, he was right. 

Two: The Big Sister decided that she wanted to read it too. Her sweet 3-year-old self carried that copy around in her backpack for months, pretending to read it

Three: When Little Sister was old enough to appreciate a good book she also got attached.  However, she thought Anna (see photo) looked like Mary Poppins and also carried around the well worn edition, even loaning it to her Nana (The Bean) to read, "the goooooood book." 
 While the girls are not ready to read Anna quite yet, techincally, they already love it. 

One day -if they can make it past page 20- I have a good feeling they will agree: Anna Karenina is a must read. (2018 update: The Big Sister loved it.)

Ways to enjoy Anna: 
*One of the most wonderful used book stores in the world! Favorite location: Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, wish they had one in Northern Michigan. Check it out online: John King Books

29 May 2013

Reading Aloud: The Best Thing in the WORLD. (...and what are you reading?)

Chapter 1: Exeunt on a Leopard
In Which a Girl Names September is Spirited Off by Means of A Leopard, 

Learns to Rules of Fairyland, and Solves a Puzzle

Right now The Mom and The Little Sister are reading:
by Catherynne M. Valente

While at first it was hard to read aloud --so many new things, wild words and spelling, but THEN, BAM, MAGIC... Catherynne's fantasy pulls you in and we are THERE! We can't read fast enough. Today is a rainy day. We might just try to finish it!

Here's a little more if you're interested in reading this wonderful book along with us! 
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

Now, Tell Us:
What are you READING? 
Share in the comments!

24 April 2013

TC Reads Announces the 2013 Selection: 'A Good American' by Alex George

A city that reads together...

"Please join with TC Reads as we celebrate the joy of reading and appreciate the common threads that unite us as a community by encouraging your friends to read and discuss this book, an uplifting novel about the families we create and the unique place that we call home," explains Ruth Bay, president of Friends of the Traverse Area District Library.

The story of every city needs a character like Ruth Bay, a slight of a woman, always on the move and always impeccably dressed -we dare you to ask her how you can help. We have the pleasure of seeing her often in our book loving corner of the world; this last weekend while she was working at just one of Traverse Area District Library's epic book sales. Oh, we love their book sales.

Thanks to Ruth and her team of trusted bibliophiles, Traverse City celebrates the 12th year of TC Reads, with another wonderful selection:

"A Good American, by Alex George, is a story of immigrant hope.
Set in a fictional Midwestern town and spanning more than a century, the novel tells the story of three generations of the Meisenheimer family.  Beginning with an improbable love affair ignited by the power of song, the story follows an unorthodox young couple as they flee to America in search of a new life together. Their new home, Beatrice, Missouri, is filled with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who teaches more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the second coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf.
From bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies and the Kennedy assassination, and beyond, the family is caught up in the sweep of history. Each new generation discovers afresh what it means to be an American, and in the process they sometimes finds out more about themselves than they had bargained for.
Poignant, funny, and heartbreaking, A Good American is a novel about being an outsider – in your country, in your hometown, and sometimes in your own family. It is a universal story about the families we create and places we call home." from www.alexgeorgebooks.com

Want More?
  • Learn about it on Good Reads, with a click.
  • Read more from the Traverse City Record Eagle, here.
  • Begin with an excerpt on Alex George's website, to enjoy just click here.

We look forward to hearing what everyone thinks of this year's TC Reads! Enjoy!

27 March 2013

Pick Up a Book And...

Here is a new simple challenge we just came up with: Pick Up a Book And... 
Since we just want everyone to pick up a book and tell us a little something.
Pick up the book you are reading. And tell us...

The Little Sister came 
up with this one!

Pick up your book.

Turn to page 64.

Tell us the first full sentence on the page!

(We're wondering if the comments will tell a new story!)

The Mom's Book
between shades of gray
byRuta Sepetys
"As I rolled the umbrella and wrapped the closure, I jumped when I saw a
face staring at me from the puddle at my feet."

The Big Sister's Book
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
"He looked down at it."

The Little Sister's book
The Sisters Grimm The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
"You know, cool."

07 March 2013

The Little Sister wants to help you get started: How to Open a New Book

 It's me The Little SisterSometimes the first part is hard, you know, actually opening the book,
 but the second part is easy... reading it!!

Enjoy all of the books in the world!

P.S. Will you share us with your book loving friends?

05 March 2013

Best of BFWP: The Frozen Frog Challenge

It's me! The Little Sister and the Mom is typing my words for me. One of our friends, who lives in a very wonderful place in Detroit called Brightmoor, shared a video all about what happens to frogs in the winter. I liked it so much that I decided to name the challenge after it! Here is more about the frog:
Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica), are common in the woods where we live, and they FREEZE in the winter, then in the spring the little frozen frogs thaw and come back to life. They are funny little frogs that look like a little robber, they are good, really, really good jumpers. Watch the video to be wow-ed!

Here is more about The Frozen Frog Challenge: What do frogs have to do with books? Well I learn a lot, really a lot, of cool and interesting things from books. What we want to know this week is all about books that teach you very cool things, like frozen frogs. Tell us the names of the books and the cool things you've learned from them (the books can be fiction or non-fiction.)

Please use the following format for your comment:
Title of the Book, Author, and your thoughts on what the book taught you.

27 February 2013

Do You Read More When It is Cold, Snowy, and Gray?

The Four of Us live just miles from the 45th parallel in the Northern Hemisphere of this lovely Earth and this time of year it is mostly gray, bone-chilling cold, and very snowy. A time of year when we get very nervous if our pile of books-to-read is not stacked high. Just last week The Big Sister was blue, she had just finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and had post-perfect-book-dread: "will there ever be another book as good? Can I find a book to occupy my perfect book spoiled mind?" With a little quick thinking, a bit of research, and time at our book shelves we managed to replenish her stack: previously overlooked books by Madeleine L'Engle Arm of the Starfish Quartet, Many Waters, and Meet the Austins; to add to the mix, a little non-fiction, If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland; coupled with twenty minutes online at the library, reserving books --and her hunger was sated, for the moment.
Can you find The Sisters? Would you believe we've gotten almost three feet more snow since this photo was taken? Yes, it is very snowy here.

Recently, The Sisters found their stack of audio books dwindling --a calamity, for girls who's favorite past-time is disappearing in to their art room and listening there way through a biblio-epic journey. Usually the solution is simple: a trip to the library, but what if we're house-bound thanks to six inches of fresh snow? Thankfully, we have a subscription with www.audible.com. An investment in a new audio book is a small price to pay for the Cabin Fever cure. But how to decide what audio book to buy? The Sisters know --it has to be one you want to listen to over and over, and lately, that is Brian Jacques' Redwall series. The audio books are recorded with a full cast and music, with Brian Jacques himself, leading the story with a rich Scottish brogue. And the BEST part: there are 23 books in the series, perfect for the long, cold winter we seem to be in the middle of.

So, do you read more on cold and gray days? And if you do read more, go ahead an brag about how many books, we love to hear about what you are reading (or listening to)!

22 January 2013

What are You Reading RIGHT NOW? May 2012-January 2013

To participate in this challenge the first thing The Four of Us do is head our bookshelves, our Library Bookshelf in particular:
The Library Bookshelf is a MUST in home like ours. If we aren't reading a library book, this is where it lives. When it's Library Day (Thursday) we grab our library bags, library cards, grab the books that need to be returned
and then hit the library.
We're thinking Alex Johnson would get a kick out of our 
bookshelves. The Dad makes new shelves every 
time we need them: OFTEN; bookshelves literally fill our house. 
Want to tell us what is on YOUR bookshelf? 
Take The Bookshelf Challenge --one of our first challenges!

Coincidentally,  The Poet sent us this piece from NPR: A Book About Bookshelves To Put On Your Very Own Bookshelf. His timing was perfect, The Mom purchased Bookshelf by Alex Johnson for The Dad!  The shelves in the book are wild and wonderful, you can explore some of them on the Bookshelf blog and the NPR storyThe bookshelves around here are not exactly the artful masterpieces we imagine are featured in the book (it should arrive tomorrow); we wondered what Alex Johnson's own bookshelves were like. Thankfully Madhulika Sikka asked him this exact question:
So how does Johnson himself store books?
         "Ha, ha! Just as the cobbler's children have the shoddiest shoes, my bookshelves and bookcases are spectacularly dull and straightforward," he says. "Most of them are standard, horizontal wooden shelves painted white in the basement of the house where I work."

So, What are you Reading Right Now? 
Tell us in the comments below:

18 January 2013

Why Read? Quotes to Make It Clearer: put other stuff off and READ today...

"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."
-Mark Twain