Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Intro: Circle of Friends

The kitchen was full of the smells of baking. Benny put down her school bag and went on a tour of inspection.
"The cake hasn't been iced yet," Patsy explained. "The mistress will do that herself."
"What are you going to put on it?" Benny was eager.
"I suppose Happy Birthday Benny." Patsy was surprised.
"Maybe she'll put Benny Hogan, Ten."
"I never saw that on a cake."
"I think it is, when it's a big birthday like being ten."
"Maybe." Patsy was doubtful

Circle of Friends 
by Maeve Binchy

I was saddened to learn of Maeve Binchy's death yesterday at the age of 72. Circle of Friends, published in 1990, was the first of many of her novels that I read and loved years ago. I'd like to dig up an old copy and read it again now. Have you read Maeve Binchy? Which of her novels was your favorite?

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph(s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Good-bye July and Anticipating August

It's hard to believe tomorrow is the last day of July - this month has passed in a flash. From July 4th festivities, graduation parties, a weekend get-away in Lake Placid, and the Grapehound Wine Tour to multiple birthday celebrations, farmers markets, and craft shows, this has been everything a summer month should  be. As far as reading goes, however, it has been the worst month ever. I finished only one book - that's right a single book... and it was one with pictures.

Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift  was a lovely book. These are my thoughts as posted on Goodreads:
A perfect beginning to my "Paris in July" reading! Le Road Trip is full of thoughts on travel, love, and France. The artwork/illustrations perfectly complement the tone of Swift's writing. It left me energized and excited to continue my armchair travel through France.
Le Road Trip  was, indeed, a beautiful book, but the rest of Paris in July turned out to be a bust as my "armchair travel through France" came to a screeching halt.

My primary audio time (listening alone in car) has been, as expected, practically nonexistent this summer, but  North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell  has still been my 'main' book in July. I have it loaded on my ipod and nook, so have been both reading and listening. It is wonderful. Can I say once more that Juliet Stevenson is an amazing narrator? I even hear her voice in my mind as I read on the nook.

I've picked up several other books, but nothing has really captured my attention this month. Tomorrow evening I'm hosting my book club's annual pot luck dinner, so I'll have a new book to begin once we make our next selection. We will discuss Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. My review along with the group's reaction should follow soon.

Looking ahead to August, there are two events I'm eagerly anticipating. First is the return of Trish's Pin It and Do It Challenge. My family is pretty excited about this, too. They're hoping I focus on new recipes again. We'll see...

Heather and Andi are also hosting a North and South Read-Along. I'm on Chapter 37 now, but plan to join the discussion along the way. In addition to blog posts, they will be using the twitter hashtag #NSread and there's even talk of a  mini-series group watch party! Check out their home-base page for more details.

Finally, the past week has been especially difficult for reading blogs and commenting, but I'll be around to visit and catch up this week. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

On to August...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Where in the World Are You Reading: Local Bookstore

Where in the World Are You Reading, a new monthly meme hosted by Trish, Kelly, and Lisa, kicks off this month with a local bookstore theme. For me, local is a relative term. The nearest Barnes & Noble is 30 minutes away, but I can also drive 30 minutes in the opposite direction to the Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, NY (run by Colgate University). Barnes & Noble is much more convenient, but I love my trips to Hamilton - especially on a summer Saturday when we combine a visit to the Farmers Market with bookstore browsing and lunch!

The Colgate Bookstore is in the heart of the village.

I've always loved this pointing finger directing customers to the store.

The interior is open and airy.

Meeting rooms and college gear are upstairs, textbooks are downstairs.

I could spend hours wandering around the first floor.

Comfortable chairs are scattered throughout the store.

From author events to book clubs, there is always something happening at the Colgate Bookstore. There is a Jane Austen book club, a book-to-film discussion series, a women's book club (with mostly literary fiction selections), and more. I'm still kicking myself over missing an evening with Lauren Groff last month.

The deadline for bookstore posts was actually July 26th. I somehow thought it was the end of the month. Sorry, Trish... my August "library" post will be on time.

Links to more local bookstore posts can be found here, click over to Trish's round-up post.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by:
Alyce from At Home With Books

Find details and more photos here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Zelda!

Since I am currently reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel Tender is the Night,  Zelda's birthday must be noted. She most certainly influenced her husband's writing, and the character of Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night bears a striking similarity to Zelda.

From today's Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of writer and socialite Zelda Fitzgerald (books by this author), born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama (1900). She was named after the fictional gypsy heroine in Zelda's Fortune (1874), one of her mother's favorite books. She was the youngest of five children, and she rebelled against the strict discipline of her father, an Alabama Supreme Court judge. She snuck out of her window at night, smoked cigarettes, bobbed her hair, and wore a flesh-colored swimsuit so that people would think she was swimming nude. She spent her evenings at dances and parties with the officers stationed at nearby Camp Sheridan, and they competed for her attention. One officer performed the full manual of arms drill outside her door, and others took turns trying to outdo each other with fancy airplane stunts in the sky above the Sayre household.

It was at Camp Sheridan that Zelda met a young officer named Scott Fitzgerald. He was beautiful, like Zelda — they were both petite, with blond hair and light eyes. Years later, in her autobiographical novel Save Me the Waltz (1932), she wrote: "He smelled like new goods. Being close to him with her face in the space between his ear and his stiff army collar was like being initiated into the subterranean reserves of a fine fabric store exuding the delicacy of cambrics and linen and luxury bound in bales." Scott and Zelda spent a lot of time together, but she didn't want to commit to him; even though he was confident that he was going to be rich and famous, Zelda was hesitant, and her parents were unconvinced. She wrote to him: "Mamma knows that we are going to be married some day — But she keeps leaving stories of young authors, turned out on a dark and stormy night, on my pillow — I wonder if you hadn't better write to my Daddy — just before I leave — I wish I were detached — sorter without relatives. I'm not exactly scared of 'em, but they could be so unpleasant about what I'm going to do."

After the publication of Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), Zelda agreed to marry Scott. They became the most famous couple of the Jazz Age. They were the center of attention at parties, where their drunken exploits became the stuff of legend.

Zelda was a writer in her own right, and Scott borrowed from her ideas and sometimes copied writing from her verbatim. When they were dating in Montgomery, Zelda showed Scott her diary, and he used that and her letters in This Side of Paradise. He had modeled the main character, Rosalind, after a woman he had been in love with at Princeton, named Ginevra King; but after meeting Zelda, he reworked the character of Rosalind until she was a combination of both women.

When Zelda was hired to write a review of The Beautiful and the Damned for the New York Herald Tribune, she wrote: "It seems to me that on one page I recognized a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and also scraps of letters which, though considerably edited, sound to me vaguely familiar. In fact, Mr. Fitzgerald — I believe that is how he spells his name — seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home." She also encouraged readers to buy the book so that Scott could buy her a new dress and a platinum ring.

She said, "I don't want to live — I want to love first, and live incidentally."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Midyear Reflection: Expanding Horizons

July is not shaping up to be much of a reading month for me. Summer conjures up images of long, blissful hours spent reading by the lake but, in reality, my favorite chair sits empty most of the time and I'm lucky to eke out a handful of uninterrupted reading days. Summers get so busy around here!

However, I have had some time to reflect upon this year's reading. The "Six by Six" meme I posted last week served as a good starting point, but it was Vasilly's recent review of The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna, set primarily in Sierra Leone, that really got me thinking. 

First, I've enjoyed my reading immensely this year and have read some really good books. It's also been a banner year for audiobooks. BUT, it has become glaringly (and somewhat painfully) clear that my reading has focused almost exclusively on authors from the US and UK, and the overwhelming majority of books have been set in the US and Europe. 

At the moment, I'm in the middle of two long books - Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (a group read) and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Both are set in England. I also have bookmarks in Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Americans in France) and Diving Belles by Lucy Wood (short stories, UK). These could very well keep me busy for the rest of the summer, but I'm feeling very narrow at the moment and need to expand my reading horizons.

Possibilities from my tbr pile:

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto 
After Dark by Haruki Murakami 
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
Sons by Pearl S. Buck (should reread The Good Earth first)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Have you ever been stuck in a reading rut? Any thoughts on these titles?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Intro: Diving Belles by Lucy Wood

"Iris crossed her brittle ankles and folded her hands in her lap as the diving bell creaked and juddered towards the sea. At first, she could hear Demelza  shouting and cursing as she cranked the winch, but the as bell was cantilevered away from the deck her voice was lost in the wind. Cold air rushed through the open bottom of the bell, bringing with it the rusty smell of The Matriarch's  liver-spotted flanks and the brackish damp of seaweed. The bench Iris was sitting on was narrow and every time the diving bell rocked she pressed against the footrest to steady herself.  She kept imagining that she was inside a church bell and that she was the clapper about to ring out loudly into the water, announcing something. She fixed her eyes on the small window and didn't look down. There was no floor beneath her feet, just a wide open gap and the sea peaked and spat. She lurched downwards slowly, metres away from the side of the trawler, where a layer of barnacles and mussels clung on like the survivors of a shipwreck."*

Diving Belles 
by Lucy Wood

Diving Belles, a short story collection, will be released on August 7. I read the first story over the weekend and found Wood's voice and writing style to be very engaging. What do you think of the intro?

*This quote is taken from an Advance Reading Copy, the final product may be slightly different.

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph(s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Monday, July 16, 2012

TLC Book Tour: As Always, Jack by Emma Sweeney

As Always, Jack
by Emma Sweeney
Axios Press, June 2012
180 pages

Book description:
Near the end of WWII, a Navy pilot meets and falls in love with a beautiful California girl. They have a brief two weeks together before he is shipped off to the South Pacific. This is an engaging collection of his letters, compiled by the daughter he never got to meet. Full of poignant detail—a chronicle of the passions and fears of wartime—the book is the ultimate love story of America's “greatest generation.”

My thoughts:

I love correspondence, from writing and receiving letters to reading epistolary novels, so accepting As Alway, Jack for review was a no-brainer. This book, however, is not a novel. It represents one woman's opportunity to meet the father she never knew through his letters to her mother written shortly after the two first met.

We read of Jack's falling in love, gradually discover his sense of humor, and even learn of his growing uncertainty as the reunion with Beebe nears. He share bits about his life in the South Pacific and brings the time/place alive for the reader.

This beautiful edition was a quick read and very touching, but I wish Beebe's letters had been included, too.

A few favorite passages:
Dearest Beebe,
I'm certainly glad I figured out that I was in love with you. It explains a lot of queer things that have been puzzling me - for instance, why I write you so many letters, why I think about you most of the day and dream about you most of the night, and why I'm so eager to get back to the states. With your female intuition (which doesn't work so good on horses) you probably knew it all along, though. I know I'll never forget anything about those twelve days between Dec. 29 and Jan. 9... (page 39) 

"... The only picture I have of you is in my memory, but I don't think it'll wear off. Seriously, Cotton, I miss you more all the time. I thought possibly when I first left you, way back there in January, that the reason I thought of nothing but you was that it was the most recent happening in my life; but the longer I'm away, the better perspective I seem to get and the more I realize that you're the most wonderful girl I've known."  (page 70) 

"Which brings up a little point I should like to discuss briefly with you, Beebe. You know we really only knew each other for two weeks, although I'm sure we came to know each other better in those two  weeks than any other couples could. It's been five months since those two weeks came off, and all you've had in that time were my picture (and pictures like that are nearly always flattering) and my letters, in which I also try to flatter myself. In these five months you're bound to have gradually exaggerated my good features in your mind and more or less forgotten the bad ones (honest, I do have one or two bad ones - but there I go again). Probably you realize all this, honey, as I've suspected from the first you are not such a girl as would overlook such commonsense thing. The reason I'm being so serious about it is that just in case you do feel some sense of disappointment when the highly-advertised Sweeney steps off his train (or plane), just be sure to remember that the main thing is what we'relike inside and what we feel about things, etc. I'm sure you know what I'm trying to get across even if I'm not expressing it too clearly." (page 139-140)
My rating:

The publisher has provided an additional copy of As Always, Jack for one of my readers (sorry, US and Canada only). If you would like to be entered in the giveaway, please let me know in your comment. I will draw a winner on Monday July 23.

About the Author:
Emma Sweeney is the author of several gardening books as well as a literary agent based in New York.  She formed her own agency in 2006 and has had five New York Times bestsellers, including the #1 New York Times best seller, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and the Women’s Media Group, where she served as its president in 2003. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in English Literature.  She divides her time between New York City and Rhinebeck, New York.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. The complete tour schedule for As Always, Jack is here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Six by Six: A Midyear Summary

It was originally Jo's idea (I think), but other bloggers have tweaked the categories to fit their reading habits. I'll do the same and call it my midyear summary.

Six new-to-me authors:
1. E.L. Doctorow
2. Sadie Jones
3. Rose Tremain
4. Samuel Richardson
5. Jennifer Egan
6. Amor Towles

Six tried-and true authors:
1. E.M. Forster
2. Anna Quindlen
3. Stewart O'Nan
4. Anne Enright
5. Ian McEwan
6. Pete Hamill

Six books I loved:
1. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
2. You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
3. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen
4. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
5. The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki
6. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

Six trips to Europe:
1. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
2. The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
3. Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers
4. Trespass by Rose Tremain
5. You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik
6. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Six blogging events I enjoyed:
1. Clarissa group read (ongoing)
2. Venice in February
3. Audiobook Week
4. Pin It and Do It challenge
5. TBR Double Dare (even though I failed)
6. The Classics Club

Six bookish things I'm looking forward to:
1. finishing Clarissa
2. Paris in July (we're here!)
3. listening to The End of the Affair read by Colin Firth
4. Carl's RIP challenge
5. Pin It and Do It,  Round 2
6. Holiday reading

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

This is a guest review from my daughter, Carrie (formerly known as Daughter #1), who blogs at Fitness and Frozen Grapes.

College students live for summer vacation—at least the ones I know—and once finals finish up and warm weather rolls around, these budding academics can read whatever they want.  Don’t get me wrong; I love reading about rhetorical analysis and composition theory as much as the next Writing and Rhetoric major—OK, maybe more—but it’s nice to treat the noggin to some fun reading.  Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs has been on my reading list since it was published in April, but I knew between my Honors project and graduation preparation I wouldn’t get around to it until the summer.

Brief Summary (from amazon):

 “Hospitalized with a freak case of tropical pneumonia, goaded by his wife telling him, ‘I don’t want to be a widow at forty-five,’ and ashamed of a middle-aged body best described as ‘a python that swallowed a goat,’ A.J. Jacobs felt compelled to change his ways and get healthy.  And he didn’t want only to lose weight, or finish a triathlon, or lower his cholesterol.  His ambitions were far greater:  maximal health from head to toe.

“The task was epic.  He consulted an army of experts— sleep consultants and sex clinicians, nutritionists and dermatologists.  He subjected himself to dozens of different workouts—from Strollercize classes to Finger Fitness sessions, from bouldering with cavemen to a treadmill desk.  And he took in a cartload of diets: raw foods, veganism, high protein, calorie restriction, extreme chewing, and dozens more.  He bought gadgets and helmets, earphones and juicers.  He poked and he pinched.  He counted and he measured.

“The story of his transformation is not only brilliantly entertaining, but it just may be the healthiest book ever written.  It will make you laugh until your sides split and endorphins flood your bloodstream.  It will alter the contours of your brain, imprinting you with better habits of hygiene and diet.  It will move you emotionally and get you moving physically in surprising ways.  And it will give you occasion to reflect on the body’s many mysteries and the ultimate pursuit of health:  a well-lived life.”

Product Details
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Publication date:  4/10/2012
Pages:  402

My Review

Overall, Drop Dead Healthy was an easy and entertaining read, great for a fitness and healthy living fiend (like me!).  Not only did Jacobs employ a conversational tone, which helped him relay information in a lighthearted away, but he also let his voice and personality take center stage—there were several lines that had me laughing aloud!

In recent years, the demand and desire for healthy living has increased, and Jacobs becomes completely immersed in this trend.  As a journalist and writer, I was happy to see that he conducted extensive legwork—he referenced reputable books, interviewed appropriate individuals, and cited relevant studies.  There is so much data out there—and some studies and schools of thought contradict each other—and Jacobs did an excellent job of summarizing each side (when needed) and applying the information to common daily routines.

However, I would’ve liked Jacobs to delve further into his daily eats and sweat sessions.  Even though he included a “monthly checkup” at the end of each chapter, it would’ve been nice to see an itemized daily meal plan and workout schedule.  Also, as a buddy triathlete, I wanted to read more about Jacobs’ training, finishing times, and overall experience.  Yes, the book can only be so long, but I think these would’ve been worthwhile inclusions.  If you’re into working out, eating nutritiously, and living a healthy lifestyle, you will enjoy this book.  This memoir doesn’t attempt to share groundbreaking information—it’s all about Jacobs’ journey.

Carrie is hosting a giveaway of Drop Dead Healthy on her blog - click here for details.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Author Birthday: Jhumpa Lahiri

From today's Writer's Almanac:

Today is the birthday of Jhumpa Lahiri (books by this author), born in London (1967). Her parents were Bengali immigrants from India. When Lahiri was two years old, her father got a job as a librarian at the University of Rhode Island, and they moved to America. On weekends, the whole family would get together with other Bengali families, sometimes driving for hours to other states for a party. The adults cooked Bengali food and spoke Bengali and reminisced; the kids all watched television together. And even though she's lived in America from toddlerhood, she struggles with not feeling American. "For me," she says, "there is sort of a half-way feeling." 
Throughout her childhood, Lahiri wrote stories to entertain herself. She went to college at Barnard, then to graduate school at Boston University. She was on the verge of going to work in retail when Houghton Mifflin agreed to publish her first book for a small advance. That book was The Interpreter of Maladies (1999), a collection of nine stories about Bengalis and Bengali-Americans living in suburban New England. The publishers didn't expect to sell many copies so they only released it in trade paperback. As expected, it didn't get much notice at first, but one day she got a phone call from a woman from Houghton Mifflin, asking a lot of questions about Lahiri's background. Lahiri assumed it was for promotional materials. "And then she said, 'You don't know why I am calling, do you?'" Lahiri recalled. "And I said, 'No, why are you calling?' And she said, 'You just won the Pulitzer.'" It was the first time a trade paperback had ever won the Pulitzer Prize.
Over the last few years, Jhumpa Lahiri has become a favorite author and I credit her with my recently developed love of short stories. Unaccustomed Earth was on my 'Best of' list several years ago and it lead me to the audio version of Interpreter of Maladies. I also enjoyed her novel, The Namesake, and hope another novel or short story collection will be published soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Intro: Tender is the Night

"On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-colored hotel. Deferential palms cool its flushed facade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. Lately it has become a summer resort of notable and fashionable people; a decade ago it was almost deserted after its English clientele went north in April. Now, many bungalows cluster near it, but when this story begins only the cupolas of a dozen old villas rotted like water lilies among the massed pines between Gausse's Hôtel des Étrangers and Cannes, five miles away."

Tender is the Night
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My 'Paris in July' reading continues this week with Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a book I loved in high school and have been meaning to reread for years. So far, the language is a more flowery than I remembered and the plot isn't even vaguely familiar yet. High school was quite a few years ago...

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph(s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Paris in July is hosted by Karen and Tamara.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tabloid City by Pete Hamill (audio)

Tabloid City: A Novel
by Pete Hamill
Narrated by Peter Ganim and Ellen Archer
Hachette Audio, 2011
9 hours 51 minutes

Publisher's Summary:

In a stately West Village townhouse, a wealthy socialite and her secretary are murdered. In the 24 hours that follow, a flurry of activity circles around their shocking deaths: The head of one of the city's last tabloids stops the presses. A cop investigates the killing. A reporter chases the story. A disgraced hedge-fund manager flees the country. An Iraq War vet seeks revenge. And an angry young extremist plots a major catastrophe.
The City is many things: a proving ground, a decadent playground, or a palimpsest of memories - an historic metropolis eclipsed by modern times. As much a thriller as it is a gripping portrait of the city of today, Tabloid City is a new fiction classic from the writer who has captured it perfectly for decades.

My thoughts:

Tabloid City is a day-in-the-life kind of novel that only Pete Hamill could write. Set in New York City, it follows a handful of characters in alternating "datelines" over the course of roughly 24 hours.

The main character, Sam Briscoe, an aging editor of a struggling afternoon tabloid, appears to be modeled on Hamill himself. Briscoe obviously loves the newspaper business, but has serious concerns for its future. He is also an advocate of libraries and reading. Through his childhood memories and reminiscences of the city long ago, Briscoe echoes familiar themes from Hamill's speaking engagements and nonfiction. (My previous Pete Hamill post is here.)

But don't get the wrong idea - this novel is not all newspapers and nostalgia. It is firmly set in the present. The characters, immigrants to social elite, artists to terrorists, represent a true cross-section of life and provide an exciting multi-layered plot. The way their lives converge in unexpected ways reminded me of Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, but since it took place over one day, Tabloid City seemed more like a snapshot.

A passage I liked:
"At first Briscoe thought she saw him as a book she took down from the shelf, savored, and then returned to a higher shelf. But it lasted too long, like a serial by Dickens that had great gaps and greater and greater richness as it went on. He loved her more last week than he ever had, the richness of her, the plentitude of her that was part of his own consciousness, eve when he slept alone. Now some son of a bitch has torn away the last phase of that long narrative. We'll never live those final chapters." p.209

A Note on the Audio Production:
The audio production, narrated Peter Ganim and Ellen Archer, was well done. The short chapters focusing on a single character seemed perfectly suited to dual narrators, and Ganim and Archer skillfully changed their voices making it easy to differentiate between characters. After listening to the first eight hours in the car, I borrowed a print copy from the library because I had to finish the book.

My ratings:
the novel

the audio production

Bottom line: Highly recommended for fans of Pete Hamill and those who enjoy novels set in New York City.

FTC disclosure: I received this audiobook from another blogger (thanks, Kathy!)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Artist Birthday: Marc Chagall

From today's Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of artist Marc Chagall, born in Vitebsk, Russia (1887). He was one of nine kids in a family of modest means; his father worked for a salt herring factory, and his mother ran a shop. He wanted to be an artist, and he moved to St. Petersburg, where he failed his first entrance exams but eventually was accepted to art school. It was in Paris, surrounded by other artists, that he really began to develop his style. Though he was homesick and could not speak French, he later said, "My art needed Paris like a tree needs water." Chagall is known for bright and complex colors, and his fantastical images from Russian-Jewish folklore and his childhood: ghosts, livestock, weddings, fiddlers, scenes of his village Vitebsk, a couple floating in the sky, and fish.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Intro: Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift

Last week, we celebrated audiobooks. This week I am reveling in the visual.

by Vivian Swift

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph(s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Paris in July is hosted by Karen and Tamara.


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