Next Contest! Dog Days of Summer

The next contest is Dog Days of Summer.

Submit a photo of your favorite Dog Days of Summer related reading material. Photo can include your favorite spot to stay cool, your best canine friend, your best human friend, etc! Include a caption or short commentary on what makes a good Dog Days book to read. The best entry will win a book of your choice from our prize bookshelf. Entries must be submitted by August 16, 2010.

Official Rules

Amandine by Marlena deBlasi

I have been a fan of de Blasi since reading her first memoir 1000 days in Venice. I think this is her first venture into fiction (she has also written cookbooks!). Amandine is lovely novel in many ways – the prose is stunning, evocative, brutal, poignant; the characters are innocent, strong, cruel, amazing, normal, heroic, challenging and endearing. The story is amazing, while feeling real, with character development, war atrocities, true friendship, dysfunctional families, and with more than a dollop of hope. The latter I am still not sure about (the ending is a cliff hanger really, perhaps she meant for you to think ah ha, of course, but I am more cynical in this world and it could break my heart). So much of this novel/story is steeped in sadness already.
I think this was an interesting novel because the major characters are all great women (smaller voices with some equally wonderful men) – interesting, great depth, character development, challenges with society, religion, cliques, poverty, war, ….. The more you think about what was packed into the book, the better the book becomes.
It starts off in 1931, Krakow Poland with a princess becoming an unwed mother; she is told her baby dies, but in fact the grandmother sends the child to a convent in Montpelier, expecting the child’s death. How this innocent child precariously survives with an endless bright spirit and enchanting soul makes the life all the more tragic. The portrayal of abandonment and loss are very sincere and touching. And countered with the kindness of strangers and the development of strong bonds. A great summer read.

Louise the Adventures of a Chicken

Travelling is another venue for audio books. I love Kate DiCamillo’s books, and this book: Louise, the Adventures of A Chicken won this year’s Caldecott winner for children’s audio books. The Stowe Library in Vermont is where I started listening to children’s books on cassette tapes (all those years ago), so when I returned this year, for old time sake, I listened to this one. It is hysterical! Hilarious! Fun! it is only 20 minutes, but I have to go get myself a copy to re-listen to this. Louise is a French hen who has Indiana Jones adventures – and the sound effects alone are terrific. But the story is delightful and will captivate all listeners.

Paradise under Glass

Paradise under Glass : an amateur creates a conservatory garden. By Ruth Kassinger 2010. This is a library book donated by Jasper and Cynthia Daube (they are lovely patrons and supporters of the Library). And this is a wonderful book – a good read, interesting, informative and funny. Ruth wandered into the US Botanic Garden conservatory in Washington DC and decided she needed to learn how to garden. Mind you that is a very impressive site/sight. I have been there many times and love it! I understand the wow factor and the desire to go right home and recreate something. But she couldn’t even grow house plants! At the same time she needed a passion and a refuge.
Of special interest, it gives an history of greenhouses, orangeries, follies, fernieries, etc. NB this photo is of a flock of sculptured sheep grazing on a NE town meadow…..


Travelling is also a time when you read alot of magazines. Lately I have perused Yankee (great places to eat when you are here), National Geographic, Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest, Real Simple (a favourite for alot of techniques, ideas and also a book column), Northern Gardener, Fine Gardening (and others as I am always looking for new ideas), American Scholar (which always has a series of essays that make me sit back and think, while providing me with a sound, factual basis) and last but not least, Cooks (which is a NE publication, but upon seeing August’s edition, I just had to look through it).
For those of you in Rochester, you will know that the Friends’ Bookstore has a great deal on magazines – the latest issues are 50 cents!! New ones come in every day too. I have found it a great source to pick up ones that I no longer carry subscriptions for, or ones I have always wanted to look through. Check it out!


The Tortoise And The Hare
The Tortoise and the Hare, by Elizabeth Jenkins, paperback, 288 pages, Virago UK, list price: $15.95
Though Elizabeth Jenkins has written 12 novels and a notable biography of Jane Austen — she’s one of the founders of the Jane Austen Society — most American readers remain unaware of her work. The Tortoise and the Hare is a delicious tale of life in suburban London in the early 1950s. The heroine, Imogen Gresham, is married to an older man, a barrister, and life with him and her somewhat sullen child is a bit unpleasant.

Imogen almost expects her husband to find comfort in a younger woman, the way she pines after an old beau, a doctor who married a woman far younger than she, but instead, her rival for his affection winds up being Blanche Silcox, an older woman prone to fishing and fast cars. The results are both sharp satire and poignant character study — just who exactly is the tortoise and who is the hare? Jenkins is Barbara Pym with more bite, a more playful variation on Anita Brookner. And yes, you can see the Jane Austen influence as well.

This was the only book out of their 16 summer reads that I thought -this is a MUST read….so, hopefully I will find it soon!!

10 reasons to Come to the Friends’ Bookstore

10) Come see what your neighbours have been reading!
9) You might find that book you lost!
8) These books are never overdue…
7) You are allowed to write in these books!
6) Recycling doesn’t get any better than this : DONATE!
Some one has donated it, you buy it, the Library benefits!
5) Decorate with books – many colours to chose from 😉
4) This is a great place to meet people who like books too.
3) There are terrific prices, without all those pesky add-ons: you know the shipping and handling.
2) When you are finished with the book you can donate it back!
and perhaps the number one reason:
1) you are getting the best book deal in town, but you are ALSO supporting the BEST BOOK DEAL in town: your local LIBRARY