Sunday, June 8, 2014

May reads

Here is the list and some reviews... two kids chapter books, one nonfiction and two fiction, both with emphasis on historical fiction/artists Rembrandt and Vermeer (separately). 

Ivy and Bean: What's the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows
Liked this one.  The story's main plot line is focused on Ivy and Bean getting their science project together.  Again, both kids really enjoyed it. 

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Am trying to read some books on writing as a way to further help me understand written word and the process behind writing.  I love Anne Lamott and this book, like other's I've read of her's was an enjoyable read. I also found some quotes/themes I really enjoyed and connected with or was motivated by.  Here are a few:

"Flannery O'Connor said that anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life." (pg 4)

"To be a good writer, you not only have to write a great deal, but you have to care.  you do not have to have a complicated moral philosophy.  But a writer, always tries, I think, to be a part of the solution, to understand a little about life and to pass this on." (pg 107)

"You wouldn't be a writer if reading hadn't enriched your soul more than other pursuits."

Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
My son and I read this book separately, discussed and watched the movie- hence we are calling it a book club book.  The book was good.  The movie was OK.  Medusa really freaked him out in the movie, and he's not sure he wants to watch any further movies, but I'm thinking book 2 and 3 will be on our list to read this summer.

The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Segal
This book was a historical fiction based on one of Rembrandt's paintings called "The Anatomy Lesson".  It was an interesting story and told from several different perspectives (broken down into chapters).  The story is about the corpse's body lying on the table being dissected as an anatomy lesson for an audience of men who make up the surgeon's guild.  The corpse is a recently hanged prisoner and the book flashes back to tell you how he got where he did and other's, mainly the woman in his life- Flora, who his actions affected.  I really liked the idea of looking at a painting and then forming a story off of the people who are highlighted in the painting.

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
A professor invites a colleague from the art department to his home to view a painting he has kept secret for decades in Susan Vreeland's powerful historical novel, Girl in Hyacinth Blue. The professor swears it's a Vermeer -- but why exactly has he kept it hidden so long? The reasons unfold in a gripping sequence of stories that trace ownership of the work back to Amsterdam during World War II and still further to the moment of the painting's inception.- taken from Goodreads synopsis of the book.  Each chapter was a story in the painting's history.  Started at most recent and goes backward to the inception of the piece.  It was good, but sometimes I wanted more of that specific chapter's story to go onward. 

Only a week late on this post, but have already moved on to books for June.  Currently reading our book club book "The Circle" by Dave Eggers.  It is a thick one, which intimidates me, but I'll get it done.  Going on vacation at the end of the month so already planning what books I will be taking with me love that kind of planning. 

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