A tale for young readers who learn to share (The Bossy Pirate by Gurney)

This is a book for either a read-aloud or for a young reader to read independently.  It is a tale that shows the importance of sharing in a way that uses humor, real seagoing words and some great words coined by the author’s imagination.

Salty Jack runs his pirate ship from his bedroom.  The book’s illustrations vary between Salty Jack’s house and the imaginary high seas and treasure islands.  All goes well until a mermaid refuses to follow Salty Jack’s orders.  Seeing this, the other crew members mutiny.  Our captain learns from this experience and commands differently the next day.

This book encourages children to share.  They all have more fun together as a result.  It is a story that merits a spot in nursery school or kindergarten libraries.

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Two book bargains that I purchased today (Feeney and Harper)

Sometimes I Lie: A NovelForce of Nature: A NovelThese both look like excellent summer reads for those who enjoy suspense.  I am looking forward to reading both of these and reporting back on them.  In the meanwhile, some others’ opinions below.  If you have read either of these, please let me know what you thought.

Force of Nature bristles with wit; it crackles with suspense; it radiates atmosphere. An astonishing book from an astonishing writer.”
—A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

“Boldly plotted, tightly knotted–a provocative true-or-false thriller that deepens and darkens to its ink-black finale. Marvelous.” –AJ Finn, author of The Woman in the Window on Sometimes I lie

Charleston (Bell and Nicholson)

Calling all those who love the Stephen sisters, Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, along with their spouses and  many Bloomsbury friends, all prominent artists, writers and thinkers.  The group included Roger Fry, Maynard Keynes and Lytton Strachey, among others.

Fans of Bloomsbury life will enjoy a trip to Charleston, a unique home, which you can visit in this book.  Vanessa Bell lived at Charleston, while Virginia and Leonard Woolf had a house nearby.  Vanessa’s child Quentin Bell spent a great deal of time there when he was young as did his brother and sister.

Quentin and Quentin’s daughter, Virginia Nicholson, contribute their memories of Charleston to this lavishly illustrated book.  There are photographs of the house, reproductions of art work and so much more in this volume.  It is organized by room so you can spend time wherever you like and in the order that suits you.

This book is highly recommended.  It has a beautiful layout, gorgeous visuals and many enjoyable reminiscences.  Thanks for my visit NetGalley and the publisher!

#Charleston #NetGalley

The Glass Room (Ann Cleeves)

The Glass Room: A Vera Stanhope Mystery“I do love Vera!” —Val McDermid

“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers! I relish learning more about Vera with each book.”—Louise Penny, New York Times Bestselling author of the Inspector Gamache series

I love Vera too!  I have seen the TV show which is available for streaming and have also been working my way through the books.  I reviewed The Seagull on this blog and gave it an excellent review.  (See Sept. 2017 entry, The Seagull Soars).  The Glass Room is an earlier novel, the fifth in the Vera Stanhope series.  This one centers on a writers’ retreat, the writer who runs it with her son and those who are there to either learn or teach.  Several murders and an attempted murder keep the plot lively.  The writers at the retreat are vividly portrayed and each has a backstory (of course!)  One of the writers/suspects is Vera’s neighbor which adds additional incentive to Vera to solve the case.  It is fun to read a mystery novelist’s take on writers, their preoccupations and their pretensions.  The Vera books can be read out of order.  Each time, the reader will enjoy spending time with Vera, her colleagues and the mystery itself.

A good bedtime story (The Night Dragon by Howarth)

Here is a picture book that will appeal to many children, especially  those who have felt different for any reason.  This short, whimsically illustrated, story is about Maud, who does not fit in with the other dragons but has one very loyal friend, a mouse.  All of the other dragons are more darkly colored; they breathe soot into the skies to bring on darkness.  However, when Maud needs to take on the job in an emergency situation, her breath matches her colorful appearance.  So now you know know why it looks so pretty at sunset…share this knowledge with a child in your life!

#TheNightDragon #NetGalley

For young penguin lovers (10 reasons to love a penguin by Barr)

This is an easy book to love!  The illustrations are appealing and there are great penguin facts inside.  Did you know that penguins toboggan down hills to move more quickly? That male Emperor penguins care for the unhatched eggs?  That when penguins lose their feathers, they are land bound for two weeks?  These and other interesting penguin facts may be found in this book.  As an extra bonus, there are the Show You Love Penguins sections which tell about conservation and where you can watch penguins on the internet.  Young nature and animal lovers are sure to enjoy this one.

#10reasonsToLove…apenguin #NetGalley

A great read (The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald)

The Great GatsbyChances are that you read The Great Gatsby when you were in high school.  If some time has passed since your first reading of the novel, I urge you to read it again.  I had read TGG when I was in college and had not thought about it too much since, except to recall that the paper I wrote on it got me my first A from a tough professor.  Well, this was the last novel that we read in my summer Currents in the Modern Novel class and it was a stunner.

Start with the title…was Jay Gatsby great?  Is the title genuine or meant to be ironic?  Lots of discussion on this in class.  What makes someone great?  Is it their accomplishments?  Is it who someone is inherently?  What does it mean to have money?  Does it make a difference as to whether it is “old” or “new?”  Is it okay to “carelessly” take the things that one wants in life?  What does it mean to be a “careless” driver?  How do we organize our lives around dreams?  What does it mean as these play out?  Are dreams illusions?

There was also lots of discussion about capitalism in class.  Is the novel an indictment of the capitalist system?  Some critics say yes while others say Fitzgerald did not intend that.  Your opinion?

I was more moved by Jay Gatsby after I finished the novel this time.  Will you be?  spend time with Jay, Nick (is he an unreliable narrator?), Daisy, Tom and Jordan and then let me know.