Monday, April 20, 2009

Yonie Wondernose

Finished Yonie Wondernose by Marguerite de Angeli. It won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1945. Yonie is an overly curious, seven year old Amish boy. His parents leave him at home with his grandmother and sister, so he is to be the man of the house while they are away. He has many responsibilities on the farm and sometimes has trouble staying focused because of his curiosity. This is a lovely book with fun illustrations.

de Angeli won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1955 for Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes. She also won the Newbery Medal in 1950 for The Door in the Wall and the Newbery Honor Medal in 1957 for Black Fox of Lorne.

An American Tragedy

Finished An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreisser, finally. I have been reading this book, bit by bit, since last July. In a sense it is a masterpiece of American literature, capturing time and place with tremendous attention to detail. Dreisser gives us every thought, breath and motivation of every character in the book. This can be pretty daunting. On the other hand, there were moments when as the reader I was so far inside a character's head that I was able to recollect similar thoughts of my own and it was a bit unnerving.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Queen Lucia

Finished Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson. This is the first of Benson's six Mapp and Lucia books. Set in England in the 1920s Queen Lucia is about Mrs. Lucas, local diva, who runs the social and cultural life of her village. The book is amusing for a bit, but becomes somewhat tiresome (or "tarsome" as the character Georgie would say) since there are no actually likable characters. The introduction in the edition I read compared these books to the works of Nancy Mitford, but personally I find Mitford far more clever and amusing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Mother's House and Sido

Finished My Mother's House and Sido two books published in one volume, by Collette. These are both reminiscences of Collette's childhood and her charming mother. They are written with vivid, loving detail and at times seem almost dream-like. While reading these I was reminded of Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales, but the nostalgia here is more for a person than a time and place. A lovely read, but especially appropriate for vacation.

The Trumpeter of Krakow

Finished The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly. It won the Newbery Medal in 1929. Set in 1400s Poland, this is an adventure book which dabbles in alchemy. I found it a bit dull, but I think that's just because it's not my cup of tea.