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.

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9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Penny in VT says:

    I want an iPod Touch. Now.

    See what you’ve done? lol

    Love the books notes – around here I’ve been reading (and loving) E.B. White’s essays an the short stories of Miss Marple – all thanks to you and Jane. Thank you for the recommendations – you really make my reading world shine!

  2. Melissa Wiley says:

    :::mwah-ha-ha-ha::: Another one bites the, er, Apple. 😉

    So glad you’re enjoying the reading notes. I always think I should be better about writing real reviews, not just blathery reader-responses, but you know how it is, we just do what we have time for. If I have to choose between writing well about books, or reading books, I’ll opt for the latter.

  3. Jeanne says:

    I had wondered about his blog name, Left of the Dial. I knew there was more to the story than the obvious…

  4. Lisa says:

    As usual, I’m scrambling over to the library’s page to order the books you and your family have found. We DO seem to like a lot of the same stuff!

  5. Penny in VT says:

    Oh dear, “bites the Apple”? I *am* in trouble….


  6. Emily J says:

    Sigh, I love this song. And it’s on a Truly Pathetic Love Song tape compiled by my husband that still gets playing time, what, 15 yrs later?

  7. Rachel says:

    Thank you for the recording! I used to listen to The Replacements every morning during my freshman year of college (missing my far away sweetie who got me into them through mixed tapes!). Now I sing my 7 mo. old to sleep with Skyway but I mumble through parts – it got ? when it’s cold?

  8. scott (the other one) says:

    It’s got bums when it’s cold like any other place
    It’s warm up inside
    Sittin’ down and waitin’ for a ride
    Beneath the skyway

  9. Rachel says:

    Thanks Scott . . . 20 year mystery solved. All I could figure was bombs but it didn’t make sense.

    We made the cherry cobbler today in honor of George’s b-day. I read the post aloud with my 8 yo son. He was in stitches and especially loved the parts about the competent oldest child. The cobbler was a resounding success but I think he was secretly disappointed that there were no burnt fingers!