Archive for February 9th, 2010

Tuesday Morning Booknotes

February 9, 2010 @ 8:51 pm | Filed under:

Ha, Tuesday morning. The title’s as far as I got before the howling hordes awoke. Tuesday night now, after an afternoon of pounding rain. Rilla kept asking me to be her blanket. I was happy to oblige, because this meant snuggling on the couch while the baby napped and I finished a book I picked up yesterday and could not put down. I’ll write a proper review later. For now I am still too caught up in it to be articulate. It was a review copy of Kathryn Erskine’s remarkable middle-grade novel, Mockingbird. This is one we’re going to be hearing lots about, I predict. Wow. It’s about a ten-year-old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome. Her older brother has just been killed  in a school shooting. It’s told in first person, through Caitlin’s eyes. Told incredibly well, in a way that makes you see how bewildering people’s emotional reactions can be. Caitlin’s flat honesty, her bluntness and literalness, keep sort of smacking people (her father, teachers, classmates) with truth, in a way that gradually helps them climb out of their terrible pain toward healing. Shoot. I’m talking about it clumsily because I’m not ready to talk about it yet. I will, though. It will be published in April, and I hope lots of you will read it and come back here to talk about it.

Jane just finished a book she really loved—my friend Sarah recommended it last week and our library fortuitously had a copy. Sarah, you nailed it; it was totally up Jane’s alley. The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists by Peter Laufer. And my fellow iPod Touch enthusiasts will be amused to hear that Jane found it useful to look up various butterfly species on the Touch as she read.

A book Scott enjoyed recently—enough to suggest I add it to my pile, too—was Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield. Sheffield revisits the mix tapes of his past—what songs he included, and what their significance was in his life at the time, and who the tapes were for, and what these old compilations evoke for him now. Makes me want to dig up the tapes of the radio show Scott DJ’d in college. Left of the Dial, it was called, after the Replacements song. And now I’ve got “Skyway” in my head. So here, it can be in yours too.