Friday, August 28, 2009

I've never owned a piece of jewelry costing more than $200. so I was skeptical as I first began to read "The Necklace" by Cheryl Jarvis that I would get much out of the story. This book is the very real account of 13 Californian women (ages 50-63) who pooled their money to purchase a diamond necklace. According to their description it resembled a tennis bracelet with gems that gradually increased in size from clasp to center. (There are pictures of it in the book and on the Internet.) It is truly lovely. The jewelery store originally had the necklace priced at $37,000 but the price was bargained down to $15,000. They named the necklace - and their group - Jewelia.
Each woman is profiled in the book and many other community members were interviewed by the author. Jewelia was originally shared as each woman had a month to wear her and the group would meet monthly to witness the passing on of the necklace to the next person and to hear the tale of the wearer's month with Jewelia. Before long, the women were sharing the necklace with others outside the group of investors. The group's generosity spread as they used the necklace as a catalyst for fund-raising for worthy causes. Personality clashes and group dynamics are explored as the story enfolds and the influence of Jewelia multiplies.
I'm not going to run out to buy myself a diamond necklace anytime soon, but I'm glad I read this story of a glittering social experiment!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just finished listening to the audio of Airman by Eoin Colfer. In this thrilling story young Irish lad Conor Broekhart (who does indeed live with a broken heart thru much of this tale) is born in the air and is ever-after fascinated with thoughts of flying. He lives happily in the palace of the king and grows up a best friend of princess Isabella. In the shadows, however, is an evil murderer who kills the king and pins the crime on Conor. Sent off to a brutal labor prison, Conor overcomes his despair and plans his escape - by air. The audio is narrated by John Keating who gives each character real 'character'.
I've enjoyed every one of Colfer's action-packed novels. The Artemis Fowl series is humorous, clever and adventure-packed. Kids and adults love 'em! Give them a read!


Monday, August 17, 2009

My latest "read" has been "A Yellow Raft in Blue Water" by Michael Dorris. This is a story of three generations of a Native American family. The three narrators are all women: Rayona, the teenage grandaughter, her mother Christine, and "Aunt Ida" who raised Christine on an Indian Reservation in Montana. I listened to the audio version of this book and the narration was exceptional! Each character's voice was vivid and real through both the language of the author and the pitch and intonations of the audio narrator.
I also read that the author, Michael Dorris, is married to a leading author of Native American literature for young people, Louise Erdrich. Erdrich has written several notable books that have received acclaim from School Library Journal and Horn Book reviewers. Her books have also won the praise of thoughtful and intelligent boys and girls who have enjoyed learning through the eyes of her believable characters. Some that I've read and recommended to 4-8 grade students include The Birchbark House, Game of Silence, and The Painted Drum. I haven't had a chance to read The Porcupine Year, which continues the tale of Omakayas, an Ojibwe girl, and her tribe. I hpoe to get a copy sometime soon!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Still no comments, but I hope there are some readers out there. I'd enjoy hearing from you.


I have read in the past few hours a book of one-act plays written by six Newbery Award Winning authors: Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck. I've loved novels by these authors. In Acting Out they have created six fun plays for teachers to use with classes or for kids to perform for families and neighbors. Each play concludes with brief production notes from the playwrights. Break a leg!
(The editor is Justin Chandra; published by Atheneum, 2008)

A week ago our local bookstore, 'Books and Company' of Oconomowoc, WI offered a promotion based on the new movie "Julie & Julia". For $20. one could have their choice of two books: Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell or My Life in France by Julia Child. You would also receive a ticket to see the movie on Sunday at 4:30 pm and then and invitation back to the bookstore for conversation, wine and hors d'oeuvres. Sounded really good to me and I also found three friends who wanted a piece of the action. I was the only one who read the book (Julie and Julia) before going to the movie. Meg read My Life in France. We enjoyed the books and really thought the movie was great fun! Meryl Streep should get an Oscar for her portrayal of Julia! Amy Adams was adorable and made the character of Julie much less whiney and annoying than I had expected from the book. The hors d'uevres and wine at Books and Company were delicious and kept the good mood going for another couple of hours. Now I want to read the biography: Appetite for Life: Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch.

"So many books, so little time!"

Bon Appetite!

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