Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Maleka's 5 Favorite Books Of All Time

Maleka's 5 Favorite Books Of All Time

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Penguin, $9.99)
First book that made me cry. First book that made me hold my breath in suspense.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Harper Collins, $14.99)
First book that completely blew my mind.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez (Random House, $14.95)
Like one long, long, lifelong love letter. And I enjoyed every minute, every day, every year of it.

The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (George Braziller, $12.95)
The pain and beauty of being a woman, being a mother, being a wife, and transcending from all those identities.

Zami by Audre Lorde (Random House, $15.95)

Audre, I wish I could have drank coffee with you in New York or Mexico and talked to you about writing, life, and love.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kate's 5 Favorite Novels That Take You To Exotic Places

Kate's 5 Favorite Novels That Take You To Exotic Places

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, $16.99)
Journey to South America and follow the tumultuous and often highly dysfunctional lives of multiple generations of the Buendia family as they experience love, death and war.

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende (Harper Collins, $26.99)

Immerse yourself in the beautiful but violent world of Haiti in the late 18th century, and witness the triumph of the human spirit.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Random House, $16.00)
Part mystery, part social commentary, the plot of this novel is as lush as it's Indian setting.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Collins, $14.99)

Travel to Africa with the Price family as they embark on a missionary expedition and find their individual purposes in the midst of hardship.

The Painted Veil by Somerset W. Maugham (Vintage Books, $14.95)

Join Kitty Fane as her physician husband drags their unhappy marriage to a cholera-stricken province in China.

April 2011, Kate Musliner

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Amy’s 5 Books That Introduce Children to Mindfulness and Meditation

Amy’s 5 Books That Introduce Children to Mindfulness and Meditation

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth (Scholastic, $17.99)

This is the first of a short series of books that introduces us to Stillwater, a wise and giant panda. In this story, he teaches three kids, through the art of storytelling, a few traditional Zen Buddhist tales about forgiveness, generosity, and impermanence.
(Ages 3 - 8)

The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth (Scholastic, $17.99)
This book is a little more advanced. Based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, a young boy asks his animal friends the three important questions he’s been pondering: "When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?". Through his actions and with the words of a wise old turtle named Leo, he is able to answer his own questions.
(Ages 5 - 9)

There by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Roaring Brook, $17.95)

A young girl wonders what life will be like when she gets bigger, asking “When will I get there? Will I wear sensible things and wear sensible shoes? Will I never say anything silly again?”. This is a sweet story about living in the moment.
(Ages 3 - 6)

Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerrie Lee Maclean (Albert Whitman & Co., $6.99)

This is more of an instructional book on meditation and mindfulness for kids, with simple instructions and exercises. One such exercise involves a jar of water and sand that gets shaken up and then watched as the sand (thoughts) settle and the mind becomes clear.
(Ages 3 - 8)

Each Breath a Smile
by Sister Susan Swan, with words by Thich Nhat Hanh (Parallax Press, $10.95)

Another lovely instructional book teaching mindful breathing to kids, written by a Buddhist Nun who has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh. This one uses imagery and words that are connected with nature to inspire the readers.
(Ages 2 - 5)

*Runner Up:
Anh's Anger by Gail Silver (Parallax Press, $16.95)

Anh is a young boy who, out of deep frustration, explodes with anger at his grandfather. Then, alone in his room, he meets his Anger, who’s taken the form of a monster, and ultimately learns the practice of sitting with his anger and letting go. (At present this book on Back Order, but it is worth the wait!).
(Ages 4 - 8)

April 2011, Amy Vaccarella

Friday, April 15, 2011

Janet's 5 Picks for April

Janet's 5 Picks for April:
the month we begin as fools and end with redemption

My house is as filled with books as many of yours...bookcases in every room, books overflowing in the linen closet on the third floor, a pile or two on the coffee table...but my "special" books are in two special places. Special books are those that reverberate with my truth or provide a lesson that needs studying. Those are the books that I will someday place in a box and give to my daughter. Below is a kind of strange collection of a few of them:

Americans Who Tell The Truth by Robert Shetterly (Puffin Books, $7.99)
A book of exceptional portraits of men and women who devoted their lives to the pursuit of truth and justice.

The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth (Scholastic Press, $17.99)

Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, Muth teaches us the lesson that all of us are always in the right place at the right time. All that is needed is for us to notice what is in front of us.

Sophie's Masterpiece by Eileen Spinelli (Aladdin Paperbacks, $6.99)

In her elder years, Sophie the spider, spins a magnificent baby blanket for a young mother who is too poor to provide her own.

Between the Doors by Susan Windle (Xlibris Corporation, $10.00)
For lessons in creating a path for another, read the simple poem on page 18 about learning to ride a bike. Or is it simple? And is it just about riding a bike?

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Penguin Books, $16.00)

I know, I know but this has been one of my all time favorites since before Oprah was on television. A book of truth that will definately go in the box.

April 2011, Janet Elfant

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Erica’s 5 Fairy Tale Retellings (In Honor of the Royal Wedding)

Erica’s 5 Fairy Tale Retellings (In Honor of the Royal Wedding)

Nothing says fairy tale like a prince getting married. On April 29, H.R.H. Prince William will wed Kate Middleton, or as I like to call her: Milady Trench Coat. Wills, why didn’t you wait for me? I waited for you. When you were four and I was ten I decided not to make my move until all of your adult teeth came in, and this is how you repay me—me, the Parker-Bowles to your Prince Chuck? I’m not saying you have to jilt your bride or abdicate or anything, just hit me up on Facebook when you’re free.

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, ed. Kathryn Berheimer (Penguin, $17.00).
‘Cause isn’t that what always happens in fairy tales, killing and eating? Contemporary authors like Neil Gaiman and Joyce Carol Oates drop breadcrumbs and invite you to follow the trails of their deliciously witchy short stories.

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter (Penguin, $13.00).
Remember that time I married that dude and moved into his house and he was all: “Erica, you can go anywhere except that one room,” and I was like: “uh, alright,” but then he went away on a business trip and I totally went into that room and then disappeared for a bit only to be replaced by what you suspect is some sort of clamoring haint in a gelatinous facsimile of my former body?

Ash by Malinda Lo (Little Brown & Co, $8.99)
A Cinderella retelling that I wanted to like more. There are sinister fairies and a cool stag-slaying Huntress and usually that’s enough to sell me. But there was something missing. Maybe it was those damned Disney door mice. Remember the chubby one that called her Cinderelly? Ah, good times.

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue (Harperteen, $11.99)

Donoghue’s latest offering Room is itself a dark fairy tale cast in the trappings of present-day abduction and captivity narratives. Kissing the Witch meditates on more traditional fairy-tale characters, however. Its 13 interwoven stories dovetail seamlessly from one to the next as old heroines awake in new skins.

The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block (Harperteen, $8.99)
Props to Maleka for introducing me to Block. Her Weetzie Bat series is a quirky, modern-day fairy tale set in a Los Angeles full of “slinksters,” ducks and dreams. The Rose and the Beast reinvents the lives of nine famous fairy-tale heroines in modern landscapes that manage to retain their magic through the transformative beauty of Block’s prose.

April 2011, Erica David