librarianreadseverything:

Zainab Salbi joins the ranks of Barbara Demick (North Korea), Barbara Kingsolver (Democratic Republic of Congo), Katherine Boo (Mumbai), and Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan). Particularly with Demick and Hosseini, Salbi opens up doors to an otherwise closed society of which Americans have, at best, a glossed-over knowledge. 
Besides of her family’s relationship with Saddam Hussein, we get a very unique perspective on Iraq during his reign. She details the “prison bars” her mother metaphorically felt trapped the family in Iraq, as Hussein set one family against another in order to instill fear in all. Her pathway to escape was difficult, and yet it wasn’t until she began working for others that it nearly overcame her.
A fascinating story, and a great summary of a regime that is quickly being forgotten by the western world.
Book 11 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

Zainab Salbi joins the ranks of Barbara Demick (North Korea), Barbara Kingsolver (Democratic Republic of Congo), Katherine Boo (Mumbai), and Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan). Particularly with Demick and Hosseini, Salbi opens up doors to an otherwise closed society of which Americans have, at best, a glossed-over knowledge. 

Besides of her family’s relationship with Saddam Hussein, we get a very unique perspective on Iraq during his reign. She details the “prison bars” her mother metaphorically felt trapped the family in Iraq, as Hussein set one family against another in order to instill fear in all. Her pathway to escape was difficult, and yet it wasn’t until she began working for others that it nearly overcame her.

A fascinating story, and a great summary of a regime that is quickly being forgotten by the western world.

Book 11 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

librarianreadseverything:

I can count on one finger the number of anthologies I have read in my life. I attribute this to the fact that I pick up new books based on one of three criteria: read a review, have read something by the author before, like the plot. It’s very infrequent to read book reviews of anthologies. I don’t want to read a 400-page anthology just to get at a 10-page story by an author I like. And there’s as many plots in an anthology as there are authors.
And now I’m upset by how much good writing I’ve probably missed over the years! This anthology was friggin fantastic! It contained great works by authors I know - Jon Ronson (Lost At Sea, Adventures With Extremists), Kevin Brockmeier (A Brief History of the Dead), Junot Diaz - writing about really interesting stuff - the rise of the modern real-life superhero, the interaction between the living and the dead, and childhood. And I was exposed to a number of really interesting authors as well who I now want to read more from, such as Judy Budnitz, Louise Erdirich, and Michael Poore.
Just an overall really phenomenal read populated with some great stories.
Book 10 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

I can count on one finger the number of anthologies I have read in my life. I attribute this to the fact that I pick up new books based on one of three criteria: read a review, have read something by the author before, like the plot. It’s very infrequent to read book reviews of anthologies. I don’t want to read a 400-page anthology just to get at a 10-page story by an author I like. And there’s as many plots in an anthology as there are authors.

And now I’m upset by how much good writing I’ve probably missed over the years! This anthology was friggin fantastic! It contained great works by authors I know - Jon Ronson (Lost At Sea, Adventures With Extremists), Kevin Brockmeier (A Brief History of the Dead), Junot Diaz - writing about really interesting stuff - the rise of the modern real-life superhero, the interaction between the living and the dead, and childhood. And I was exposed to a number of really interesting authors as well who I now want to read more from, such as Judy Budnitz, Louise Erdirich, and Michael Poore.

Just an overall really phenomenal read populated with some great stories.

Book 10 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

librarianreadseverything:

An intriguing piece of literature. The plot moves at a normal pace over the first 15 pages or so, then Patchett essentially hits a pause button on the plot and the lives of the characters for the next two hundred plus pages, before resuming. The pause button doesn’t stop their lives, I’m not inferring that the intermediary is set in flashbacks and out of sequence. But rather it’s the feel of the entire book set in pause. The characters are all living in this seeming netherworld, a purgatory, where they have only a tenuous link to the outside world. The comings and goings of the negotiator and the changing of the season are how they measure their days. Clocks are no longer meaningful. It’s like trying to measure the hours of a planet’s life, the scale is just off.
The writing is precise, the relationships well-crafted. A very interesting novel by Patchett, and it definitely has gripped me enough to read another of her works.
Book 9 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

An intriguing piece of literature. The plot moves at a normal pace over the first 15 pages or so, then Patchett essentially hits a pause button on the plot and the lives of the characters for the next two hundred plus pages, before resuming. The pause button doesn’t stop their lives, I’m not inferring that the intermediary is set in flashbacks and out of sequence. But rather it’s the feel of the entire book set in pause. The characters are all living in this seeming netherworld, a purgatory, where they have only a tenuous link to the outside world. The comings and goings of the negotiator and the changing of the season are how they measure their days. Clocks are no longer meaningful. It’s like trying to measure the hours of a planet’s life, the scale is just off.

The writing is precise, the relationships well-crafted. A very interesting novel by Patchett, and it definitely has gripped me enough to read another of her works.

Book 9 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

Anonymous asked:

I know you guys have answered questions about schedule concerns but this is a MAJOR concern--... I'm looking to try and drop three of my four classes.. is that possible or no--when I signed up I realized I was taking only classes I was comfortable with (many that I have already taken at a basic level in high school) and I would really like to get out of my comfort zone and take something new... Should I wait until orientation?

benningtonstudents answered:

Hey anon.  Big breath in: relax.  Be as this lioness.

There is literally nothing you can do about your schedule until you get here.  Let the future be the future.  We’ve got processes in place; it’s possible to drop as many classes as you need to drop, so long as you’re savvy about replacing them.  It’s awesome that you want to get out of your comfort zone like this, so I’d say go for it.  On the flip side, no Bennington class is going to be like anything you took in high school.  Go for it anyway, though.  It’s a good impulse.  Just — go for it in a few weeks, and let yourself enjoy summer until then.  When you get here, your adviser and various others will support you through whatever changes you need to make.  If you find yourself really stuck, talk to your house chairs.  They’ve navigated add/drop many a time before.  Heck, come find me personally.  I’m pretty good with schedules.  And just keep looking at that lioness.  That lioness has got it all figured out.

-Ray ‘15

Seriously, Ray has been nailing it on the Facebook group and Tumblr. Awesome responses.

librarianreadseverything:

Positives: Interesting novel format, working through two distinct perspectives, that of a Japanese teenager and a middle-age American writer. Good exploration of Japan and Buddhism. Both characters feel out-of-place within their place, oftentimes feeling like they are living outside of their own worlds. For Nao, she uses the cultural metaphor of a living ghost, while Ruth disassociates from the island’s culture.
Negatives: I never really felt drawn in to either character. I think Ozeki writes really strong characters, but I think they will speak more powerfully to certain readers. I think it’d be interesting to look at readers who both rate this book well and poorly and see the characteristics each group share within themselves. It felt more written towards character identity than plot.
Overall, a really strong novel from Ozeki, but one that just fell outside my zone.
Book 8 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

Positives: Interesting novel format, working through two distinct perspectives, that of a Japanese teenager and a middle-age American writer. Good exploration of Japan and Buddhism. Both characters feel out-of-place within their place, oftentimes feeling like they are living outside of their own worlds. For Nao, she uses the cultural metaphor of a living ghost, while Ruth disassociates from the island’s culture.

Negatives: I never really felt drawn in to either character. I think Ozeki writes really strong characters, but I think they will speak more powerfully to certain readers. I think it’d be interesting to look at readers who both rate this book well and poorly and see the characteristics each group share within themselves. It felt more written towards character identity than plot.

Overall, a really strong novel from Ozeki, but one that just fell outside my zone.

Book 8 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

librarianreadseverything:

There are a multitude of reasons that students recommend a specific book. Frequently the plot speaks to them, the message is important, it’s a great theme, or some variation. Less often because it brings back a certain memory, i.e. their father read it to them when they were a child, their mother gave them the book, etc. When I grab a book from the list, I usually try not to look at why the person recommended it, so I can get a fresh sense of the book. But in certain circumstances, I look at what the student said beforehand.I preface my review because I did just that for this book. I have never read Anne of Green Gables, nor any of the sequels, and this book seemed like the recommendation wasn’t going to be “it’s got a great plot.” What the student noted were the lush descriptions of the scenery, and the simplicity of the stories and the peacefulness.With those pieces in mind, I absolutely agree. I mean, I’m not going to pick up Anne of Green Gables, or in this case, Anne’s House of Dreams, because I’m going on vacation and need something for the plane. Or I want something while I’m on-line at the store. But this book makes it easy to read. When you open it up, L.M. Montgomery presents a slowed-down version of the world. Anne and her husband are enjoying their new home, sitting back and sipping tea with their neighbors. As a reader, your heart isn’t pumping fast through the thriller. You don’t have to turn on all the lights for a horror. And you’re not learning new things about faraway lands or faraway times. You’re just easing into a comfortable pair of slippers and a soft chair and letting the breeze trickle through the windows. Anne’s House of Dreams will lull you safely into a softer, gentler spot. The book doesn’t pretend to be any more than it is - a place to go when you want to hit the “pause” button on life.
Book 7 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

There are a multitude of reasons that students recommend a specific book. Frequently the plot speaks to them, the message is important, it’s a great theme, or some variation. Less often because it brings back a certain memory, i.e. their father read it to them when they were a child, their mother gave them the book, etc. When I grab a book from the list, I usually try not to look at why the person recommended it, so I can get a fresh sense of the book. But in certain circumstances, I look at what the student said beforehand.

I preface my review because I did just that for this book. I have never read Anne of Green Gables, nor any of the sequels, and this book seemed like the recommendation wasn’t going to be “it’s got a great plot.” What the student noted were the lush descriptions of the scenery, and the simplicity of the stories and the peacefulness.

With those pieces in mind, I absolutely agree. I mean, I’m not going to pick up Anne of Green Gables, or in this case, Anne’s House of Dreams, because I’m going on vacation and need something for the plane. Or I want something while I’m on-line at the store. But this book makes it easy to read. When you open it up, L.M. Montgomery presents a slowed-down version of the world. Anne and her husband are enjoying their new home, sitting back and sipping tea with their neighbors. As a reader, your heart isn’t pumping fast through the thriller. You don’t have to turn on all the lights for a horror. And you’re not learning new things about faraway lands or faraway times. You’re just easing into a comfortable pair of slippers and a soft chair and letting the breeze trickle through the windows. Anne’s House of Dreams will lull you safely into a softer, gentler spot. 

The book doesn’t pretend to be any more than it is - a place to go when you want to hit the “pause” button on life.

Book 7 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

nprfreshair:

Jonathan Lethem's novel Dissident Gardens is based on the radical lives of his communist grandmother and his protesting hippie mother. Lethem spoke to Fresh Air about what made him to want to write about his family:

"I knew that I had a kind of legacy: I grew up in a family of protesters. I never really had gone there. I wanted to touch it; I wanted to think about it. … I was ready to think about my grandmother’s weird, lonely, imperial existence in Sunnyside, Queens. And so those urges and those interests led me into the thicket."

Dissident Gardens is now out in paperback.
Jamaica Ave in Queens, NY in 1944 via Shorpy 

nprfreshair:

Jonathan Lethem's novel Dissident Gardens is based on the radical lives of his communist grandmother and his protesting hippie mother. Lethem spoke to Fresh Air about what made him to want to write about his family:

"I knew that I had a kind of legacy: I grew up in a family of protesters. I never really had gone there. I wanted to touch it; I wanted to think about it. … I was ready to think about my grandmother’s weird, lonely, imperial existence in Sunnyside, Queens. And so those urges and those interests led me into the thicket."

Dissident Gardens is now out in paperback.

Jamaica Ave in Queens, NY in 1944 via Shorpy 

Reblogged from nprfreshair