LISTENING FOR MADELINE by Leonard S. Marcus: A Review

In January, 2021, I started a personal project to read “all things by and related to Madeline L’Engle. So far I have reread and reviewed on PWR what I thought of as “the Wrinkle in Time trilogy,” only to discover there were two more books about the Wallace family. Also I read a biography by L’Engle’s granddaughters and reviewed it as well (Becoming Madeline).

Recently, I finished Listening for Madeline, which was written in a format I’d not encountered before, a collection of interviews.

People’s thoughts about children’s writer Madeline Engle

Marcus has gathered a “series of incisive interviews with people who know her most intimately…family, colleagues, and friends.” Subtitled “A Portrait of Madeline L’Engle in Many Voices,” this unusual book helps the reader understand the many facets of this outstanding woman/writer. After reading all the comments about her from those who knew her and dealt with her every day, I determined she was a strong woman, somewhat larger-than-life, and one who had her own eccentricities. The people quoted in Listening to Madeline knew her as ” an inspiring mentor, a strong-willed matriarch, a spiritual guide, and a rare friend.” How one woman could be so many things to such diverse individuals is a conundrum I wish to solve as I continue my “project.”

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Just like TV back in the 50s and 60s, Saturday mornings are reserved for kids. In that respect, here is a recommendation of a kids’ book:

Today’s book, Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women, which was originally in my classroom library back in the 70s, now resides in my LFL (Little Free Library) in my yard. Unfortunately, probably no one will “borrow” her because her cover is torn off (thus, no picture of the cover LOL).

Cornelia Meigs’ biography of Louisa May Alcott answers our questions about Louisa’s life: Did “Beth” die? Was there a Laurie?What happened to Louisa after she published her book?

This is the true story of the famous authoress and the book that was reportedly based on her family and her life. it is good reading.

September 6th is “Read a Book Day” !

September 6th is National “Read a Book Day.”  I decided to read a whole book in one day, but I cheated a bit and read, Who Was Jackie Kennedy? part of the New York Times, YA Series known as the “Who Was” books. These are basically aimed at middle school students or even high schoolers who are reluctant readers. Each volume is slim, so I knew I could read it in a day.

I cheated a bit more in that this quick read was the “Wikipedia substitute” for background on my assignment for my Third Tuesday Book Club where each member chose a first lady to read a book about and present to the group. I had already read a biography on Jackie Bouvier Kennedy by a cousin, which ended on the day she married Jack Kennedy and intend to finish Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming to get the complete story of her fascinating life.

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This book for “kids” covers her total life as well. In a tasteful way, appropriate to young preteens and teens, issues that pop up in Leaming’s book such as Jack Kennedy’s womanizing and Jackie’s marriage to Onassis for primarily security and monetary reasons are dealt with.

Which brings me to the second reason for featuring this book on Friday, September 6th, “Read a Book Day,” I am recommending it as the post for Saturday Morning for Kids a day early.

There you have it, friends, three posts for the price of one! DO READ A BOOK (Or at least start one ) today in honor of “Read a Book Day.”

NO ORDINARY TIME by Doris Keans Goodwin: A Review

After reading several novels set during WWII, I wanted to read something non-fiction about the war years, especially the war years in the USA. Goodwin’s well-researched book is both historical and biographical and deals with the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Their “rule” over American politics and society is a phenomenon I often heard my parents discuss.

The book delivers interesting sidelights to both the Roosevelts’ relationship and their individual personalities. Bringing in the adult children’s information from letters, interviews, and writings concerning their parents was a device the author employed well. Descriptions of life in The White House during WWII appears, as did descriptions of the Kennedys, the Fitzgeralds, and Winston Churchill.

Less interesting to this reader, but probably of central interest to true history buffs was the coverage of war strategies, battle plans, diplomacy at conferences, and treaties formed during this period of America’s ascendance as a world leader. Eleanor’s “social and civil work” was tantamount to a whole sub-theme of the book. Friends and advisors of both Franklin and Eleanor were a fascinating cast of secondary characters populating the anecdotes given throughout.

As I read, I felt like an “insider” during a very serious time in American history and was given a taste of what it felt like on the American homefront during the War.

THE STORY OF CHARLOTTE’S WEB by Michael Sims : A Review

This was a post made previously on PWR. Because it is Christmas and the time for giving–BOOKS–to children and grandchildren, this book emphasizes the importance and significance Of E.B. White’s life and contribution to children’s literature and word-smithing, in general.  ‘There are more recent biographies of E.B White, even a children’s version, but this one is the most complete. It includes the detailed story of how the children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web came to be written and published.  All the information came from huge research into the primary sources of White’s letters, trips and  to his childhood home, and interviews with many other researchers into the life and works of this wonderful man.

The details of White’s boyhood are fascinating and foreshadow many of the things that appear in Charlotte’s Web, but for me, when I hit the middle of the book, things got very interesting.  As a long time subscriber to the New Yorker magazine an  aficionado of all things journalistic, I could hardly put down the book’s description of White’s earliest publishing jobs, his romance and marriage to a famous New Yorker editor and the publication of his earliest columns.

The author knows his subject and it became apparent to me that only E.B. White and his experiences in life could have written Charlotte’s Web. The book was a wonderful read, a complete and encompassing exploration of all things E.B. White.”

WWW Wednesday for 9/19/18

I found this meme/game on “Taking on a World of Words,” a great blog which is hosted by MisB at “A Daily Rhythm.” There are three questions to answer:

What are you reading now?

What did you recently finish?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Most of my followers know that I read several books at a time, so for brevity’s sake, I’ll list only one book per category. Warning: This post may increase your TBR list.

What I am reading now is Dogsbody by Gary Paulsen.  It is a gripping adventure/coming of age story about a young Eskimo man searching for his quest and his manhood. I have read other books by Paulsen, and this is my favorite so far.

What  I finished recently is Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Portrait by John H. Davis, who is Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis’ cousin. The biography covers from Jackie’s grandparents to her wedding day with John F. Kennedy.

What I think I’ll read next is Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke, the Gulf Coast Read and our book club selection for next month.

I am surprised our thunderstorms here on the Texas Gulf Coast have ceased because I  have been “reading up a storm.”

 

THE STORY OF CHARLOTTE’S WEB by Michael Sims : A Review

There are more recent biographies of E.B White, even a children’s version, but this one is the most complete. It includes the detailed story of how the children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web came to be written and published.  All the information came from huge research into the primary sources of White’s letters, trips and  to his childhood home, and interviews with many other researchers into the life and works of this wonderful man.

The details of White’s boyhood are fascinating and foreshadow many of the things that appear in Charlotte’s Web, but for me, when I hit the middle of the book, things got very interesting.  As a long time subscriber to the New Yorker magazine an  aficionado of all things journalistic, I could hardly put down the book’s description of White’s earliest publishing jobs, his romance and marriage to a famous New Yorker editor and the publication of his earliest columns.

The author knows his subject and it became apparent to me that only E.B. White and his experiences in life could have written Charlotte’s Web. The book was a wonderful read, a complete and encompassing exploration of all things E.B. White.