Snow Day Book Briefs

Bean and barley soup on the stove.  Shovel and boots by the door. And a bunch of new books to read. Here’s a couple I recently finished that might help pass the time if you’re snowed in.  photo-12

From the “aren’t you glad this isn’t your kid” category:

The Dinner by Howard Koch
Two brothers and their wives meet in a fancy Amsterdam restaurant to discuss what to do about their sons. One brother, Serge, is an aspiring politician; the other, Paul, a teacher placed on leave.  Their goal: to protect the identities of their sons, who they discovered have committed a heinous crime on a homeless person, captured on YouTube.  The intrigue and secrets unfold over the dinner’s courses and through flashbacks. This is a fast-paced read; shovel the sidewalk, make a cup of tea, and you’ll finish it before the snowfall ends.  9780770437855_custom-0fec8d6bec6f0261063ff3be14ce66895270b9a5-s2

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Two brothers, both New York lawyers, are summoned by their sister Susan back to their hometown in Maine. Susan’s son Zach has been charged with a hate crime against the Somali immigrant community during Ramadan.  Sibling rivalry, childhood baggage, and distorted memories will keep you reading long after you’ve brushed the snow off the car.

Biography

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore
Read about life in the early 18th century as the country was finding its way and the hard, difficult work women did. Jane may not have received the fame of her brother Ben, but she strived — teaching herself to read and write, caring for countless children, worrying about food and laundry.  Makes you appreciate central heating, washing machines, stoves and ovens.

Essay Collections

Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron
Sister of the late Nora, this collection of essays is a delightful tribute to her as well as musings about husbands, mothers, dogs, and other topics.  Any fan of the Ephrons’ work: “When Harry Met Sally” and all, will love cuddling up with it by the fire

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Not nearly as wonderful as SMHD. Novelist and bookstore owner Patchett has compiled some of her non-fiction articles that she says helped her pay the bills so she could write fiction.  Writing, marriages, and dogs are included. Still in the midst of it. Why I feel compelled to finish it I don’t know but it’s a quick read too.  In between shoveling!

And speaking of dogs, curl up with your favorite canine, and read him some of Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs.  Before you know, the snow will have stopped.

Here’s our late lab, Willy. He was the perfect snow companion.  photo-15

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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12 Responses to Snow Day Book Briefs

  1. Good suggestions! I may have time to read after I plant the 6 allium bulbs that have been sitting on my kitchen counter since September. Heading out right now, but reading your blog in order to put off the fateful moment… 🙂

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  2. I like the sound of the first one!

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  3. Stella Sormani says:

    I really liked Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, what is SMHD?

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  4. Stella Sormani says:

    Okay, got it – the book above! Heard Delia Ephron on an NPR interview about the book yesterday. Interesting childhood.

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  5. Thanks for all the great suggestions, Lisa! The first two sound very similar although I’m sure they’re not. Interesting that they both involve two sons and some kind of hate crime though. I really appreciate your take on books; look forward to reading some of these!

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    • I find it interesting that so many authors write about kids doing bad things– but when you read the newspapers you read about stuff kids do– as I said– from the “aren’t you glad these aren’t your kids” category!

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  6. Great suggestions Lisa, thanks! I just heard Delia Ephron on NPR and was intrigued and sorry to hear screenwriters in Hollywood are treated so poorly – dashed my hopes of an Ann Tyleresque escape from this ice to sunny Cali 🙂

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  7. Pingback: My 300th Post: 2013 Highlights | cyclingrandma

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