We Were Liars
I had the great pleasure of listening to a panel on which Emily Lockhart spoke at BEA. She is an adroit, strong, well-spoken writer. I was intrigued and decided to end my year of book reviews with one about her latest, We Were Liars
Lockhart has a style all her own, somewhat reminiscent of Hemingway - parsimonious, yet emotionally sated. Style alone - doing a lot with so few word - is reason enough to read We Were Liars
. Plus, there's that whole, it's a "damn fine story" aspect. Is one allowed to curse in book reviews? I wonder. Ah well. This is YA people. Cursing happens.
I very much like Penguin's recap of this book, so I am shamelessly stealing:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate,
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
Again, parsimonious, almost free verse.
Lockhart builds in a nice, other worldly experience into the book that the book blurb doesn't reference, and of the four friends, three are cousins, but otherwise, the synopsis captures style and story very well.
I've only met one reader so far who didn't pick up on the other worldly experience early in the story. I'm not sure you're not supposed to pick up on it. In fact, I think you're supposed to sense it but not be sure, paralleling the experience of the main character. There are parallels to M. Night Shyamalan's visual work.
My oldest has to read two novels for the summer for her Fall Sophomore class English. I've pressed this one on her. Think of all of those coming of age stories you had to read - Lord of the Flies
, A Separate Peace
, Catcher in the Rye
- that's where this book belongs, only written in today's vernacular and thus readily accessible to today's youth without becoming weighty. This could also make a great beach read since it happens in summer, at least partly on a beach.
For other great summer treasures, Barrie Summy's website
marks the spot for reads galore. Have a great summer!
Above is a little summary of our New England vacation. A little Cape, a lot of New Hampshire, including a hike through the Flume Gorge, which I had never seen before. I was tickled to find these in a little shop in Bethlehem, NH. I love when old postcards come with messages on them. The bottom one was written by someone whose vacation mirrored ours, fifty some years ago.
I have lots to share, including some digital paintings I did while we were away. I finally finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re an introvert or have a loved one who is. There are lots of us, so you probably do! I learned a lot.
Hubs and I enjoyed listening to Rob Lowe’s memoir Stories I Only Tell My Friends on our car trip (read by Lowe), and we’ve almost finished listening to Yes, Chef, a memoir by Marcus Samuelsson. Really fascinating and read by Samuelsson himself in his fabulous scratchy voice. His story begins in Ethiopia, then goes on to Sweden, throughout Europe, and on to New York City as he follows his dream of becoming a master chef.
Loved this post of fun summer things to do with your kids, by Blair Stocker of wisecraft. Also, this spaghetti monsters post over at elsiemarley made me smile—it’s part cooking, part craft, and all silly fun.
What have you been up to?
Finding that last summer's 'escape to the north' vacation worked well to disrupt our protracted Texas summers, we repeated the venture again this year, this time visiting New England. Unfortunately, we were met by a number of less than ideal circumstances - I contracted some kind of illness almost immediately upon our arrival and Hurricane Irene was on the approach.
We spent a very long first day making up for all the hiking we didn't get to do this summer - first at Flume Gorge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Following lunch we started hike #2 on Falling Waters Trail, intending to climb all the way to the summit of Little Haystack Mountain. We thought surely this would be no problem at all as the trail was only 3.25 miles one way. I knew it was a steep mountain just from reading about it, so I must have been deluding myself that the trail would gently meander it's way up the mountain. I was wrong. It was 3.25 miles of up. Boulders, stairs, crossing streams here and there. It was beautiful - just what we've been missing out on in Dallas, but it was too strenuous for us out-of-shape, currently non-hiking hikers and we decided to give up after learning from several descending hikers that after about two and a half hours on the trail we still had an hour of up to go before reaching the summit. Even so, we enjoyed several gorgeous waterfalls along the way. I think this one's called "Cloudland Falls:"Having a little bit a daylight left and suffering the disappointment that we didn't get to enjoy a view from the top, we cheated our way to the top of a different mountain by way of the aerial tram on Cannon Mountain. We had a nice view of Echo Lake from the tram:And a nice view of a black bear too!
He's not in Maine anymore! The wicked big toddlah takes on the Big Apple. I sure hope he brought his wicked big Red Sox cap. (Due out in June, 2010.)
A New England Folk TaleAs told by the Riverman Back in the old days, things would happen that you'd never believe now. Why, things that seemed downright magical were commonplace back then. Pigs could fly, birds could talk and farm boys could marry princesses! I know some of it because I was there and some of it because other folks have told me. My name is Riverman, and I tell stories for a living
I'm thrilled beyond thrilled to be back in New England for what promises to be the best colorful Autumn in years. I think the West should be able to celebrate the season for the same reason....COLOR!!!
I went to visit my friend Patty in Lexington, MA and the great part was I made it during the peak Fall season.
Look at the beautiful blanket of leaves on the ground! I was with two friends on our way to Concord and we passed by this cemetery and we just had to stop. The trees were so beautiful they looked like God plugged them in and flipped the switch. It was the perfect experience.
Catherine has never really met anyone like Skye Butterfield. Daughter of the Senator, Skye has been on television since she was a little girl. And when she decides to befriend Catherine while attending Esther Percy School for Girls, Catherine finds herself charmed and flattered.
Catherine has maintained her friends from Waverly, of course. After getting caught in bed with her boyfriend John Paul, Catherine's father thought a school for girls would keep Catherine out of trouble, and concentrating on her studies and her horse riding. But John Paul still comes to her meets, and the first people that Skye wants to meet are Catherine's Waverly friends.
What comes with the mix of her Waverly friends with Skye Butterfield is cocaine from South America,unsupervised trips away from school, and the slow destruction of marriages, friendships and love.
Nina de Gramont has captured the insular world of privileged youth perfectly. Set against the back drop of 1984, a school year in the reckless abandon of these teens reads truthful. Catherine, Drew, Susannah and Skye all know that no matter what, their parent's means will help them out of any situation - be it bringing drugs into the country, or sleeping with a teacher. John Paul's scholarship status does leave him more vulnerable than the rest, and it's amazing to read how little thought his friends give to his circumstance.
This compelling story will be a good companion to John Green's Looking for Alaska, and E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks.
Berkeley Breathed, creator of "Bloom County," "Outland" and now the Sunday-only "Opus," is out promoting his seventh children's book, "Mars Needs Moms!"
He was in Cincinnati over the weekend doing a booksigning and did this interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Q: How many words are in Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat?"
A: "To tell you the truth, we don't own any Dr. Seuss. I had them all when I was five. But I challenge today's parents to tell me their children love Dr. Seuss. I can't find any children who do."
Click here for the Cincinnati Enquirer interview.
Click here for a great radio interview with Berkeley Breathed by Alyce Faye Clease, wife of actor John Clease.
New! Click here for an interview with American University Radio's The Diane Rehm Show.