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19 June 2003 @ 03:10 pm
Summer Reading Lists  
Jigglius was in a Buck a Book a little over a two weeks ago where he bought a book to read when he went on a trip. He mentioned that they had posted summer reading lists for middle and high school students (with the corresponding books for sale).

I went to the BaB in Davis and didn't see anything of this kind (but my mom bought Jane Eyre for me anyway, so it was all good).

Last week I went to the BaB in Downtown Crossing. It's a large, disorganized place. It is messy and picked over. But in the middle of all the mess and disorganization there is a set of shelves devoted to reading lists. So, I wandered over. I had read about 30 of the books, which included things I had started (Grapes of Wrath) and things I never really thought of as reading list books (Chocolate War). I took a look and picked up two books (and a third unrelated book).

I just finished Esperanza Rising. This is the third book I have cried1 (and I mean really cried, to the point where I could barely read the pages) during. The story was gripping, sad, and very real. Esperanza's life goes from wonder as a daughter of a rancher in Mexico to horrible poverty as a farm worker in the United States around the 1930s. I will read it again, and I will read it to my friends' children (when they get them).

It has been a long time since a new book has made me grateful for my life, aware of the things that I might not see around me, and wonder anew at the art and grace that goes into writing something vivid and alive.

1 The other books were 1) Where the Red Fern Grows, and 2) The Wild Swans (Pamela Kerr).
Feeling like: rejuvenatedrejuvenated
Listening to: birds outside the window
the name of dog: pandaenochs_fable on June 19th, 2003 12:59 pm (UTC)
where the red fern grows
I'm afraid to read that book again because it was so horribly sad!
Qarylla Windragar: witchyqarylla on June 19th, 2003 01:22 pm (UTC)
Re: where the red fern grows
Wild Swans?

All three books were sad for me at various points, but I literallly spent 75% of my time with Esperanza Rising crying and all of the second half of Wild Swans.

By contrast, I only spent about a hour sobbing through Where the Red Fern Grows.
Qarylla Windragarqarylla on June 19th, 2003 01:24 pm (UTC)
Re: where the red fern grows
And I am a doofus and didn't notice the subject.

I would read Where the Red Fern Grows again. I assume you read it when you were much younger, and rereading it now might give it a bit more perspective.
the name of dogenochs_fable on June 20th, 2003 08:16 am (UTC)
Re: where the red fern grows
What is Wild Swans about?
Qarylla Windragarqarylla on June 20th, 2003 10:20 am (UTC)
Re: where the red fern grows
The Wild Swans is a fairly complex story, weaving tales from two time periods (late 1660s-ish and 1980s) to state one message.

First there is Elizabeth (iirc), who is a simple girl who has to rescue her brothers from the horrible curse (traditional fairy tale). Then there is Elijah (iirc), a young man who has to make his own way in the world circa 1980s New York.

I would tell you more, but it really starts to reveal the plot after that.

Each chapter focuses on one of the two characters alternating, and Pamela Kerr does a terrific job on the transitions from one tale to the next, so the experience isn't jarring.

And it is certainly one book where I will say, read the Author's Note, but make sure to read it after you have finished the book.

(Deleted comment)
Qarylla Windragar: fractalqarylla on June 23rd, 2003 09:40 am (UTC)
If you want to borrow Wild Swans, just let me know. Just don't mind the smudges from the two or more people who sobbed through the second half of the book (and the one person *urg* who got coffee stains on the front cover).

^_^; It is very good, and I think you would enjoy it.