Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Three Books

I am a huge fan of NPR. All of Team Lawson is, actually. It's a bummer of a Saturday if we somehow miss Car Talk. Sloane keeps hoping something odd will go wrong with one of our cars so she can call in and talk to Click and Clack. We've actually been late to appointments because we were sitting in the parking lot listening to the end of a piece. My shelves are full of books somehow affiliated with National Public Radio. Some of my favorite children's books ever were discovered listening to the radio. I cried as I listened to the last This I Believe a few weeks ago. I cried because this amazing series was no more.

I told you, I love NPR. But, this post isn't intended to be an homage to NPR.

It's about books. And, I absolutely love NPR's series called Three Books. Modern authors share three books they love, linked around a theme. These aren't reviews of the sort you might read in the New York Times. They are teasers. In my classroom we call them book commercials, and we all take turns giving them about books we love. The other day I heard Augusten Burroughs' talking about books for summertime. Books to make you feel like a kid again.

He said: So, if you suddenly find yourself feeling altogether entirely too grown up, do this: Take one of these three books, open it up and begin reading while you suck on a red hot Atomic Fireball, which, by the way, you should always have in your pocket.

Once you've finished reading his recommendations, maybe you'll try mine.

Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The bees came the summer of 1964, the summer I turned fourteen and my life went spinning off into a whole new orbit, and I mean whole new orbit. Looking back on it now, I want to say the bees were sent to me. I want to say they showed up like the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, setting events in motion I could never have guessed. I know it is presumptuous to compare my small life to hers, but I have reason to believe she wouldn't mind; I will get to that. Right now it's enough to say that despite everything that happened that summer, I remain tender toward the bees.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jane Birdsall
There was a loud oomph in the backseat. Rosalind glanced around to make sure violence hadn't broken out, but it was only Batty struggling with her car seat--she was trying to twist herself backward to see Hound. Jane was jotting in her favorite blue notebook. So they were both all right. But Skye was blowing out her cheeks and imitating a fish, which meant she was even more bored than Rosalind had feared. They'd better find this cottage soon.

The Inn at Lake Devine by Eleanor Lipman
My older sister and I often rowed past the Inn at Lake Devine, and studied it as best we could from offshore. It had a very green lawn, broad and sloping to the water, a white flagpole, and a chalky string of buoys marking off its swimming area. Closer to us, a raft covered with teenagers floated on shiny black oil drums. My sister and I had only each other for company, and a dock with no wading area, but here there were kids our age from what had to be a dozen families, swimming and diving as well as if they were on teams.

Instead of writing a little commercial, I thought I'd borrow an idea from my friend, Ms. K. The selection above is simply a teaser; a random selection straight from the book itself.

Happy reading.
And don't forget the Atomic Fireballs.

Radio image by YalvaS. Check it out, this picture has a very interesting story behind it. I found out about Teaser Tuesday here. I love it! Here's how to play along: Grab your current read & open to a random page. Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. Be sure not to use a spoiler. Give the title and author.


dutchbaby said...

I subscribe to the "Car Talk" podcast along with "Fresh Air", "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me", and "Sunday Puzzler". I listen to them on my daily walk or we'll listen to them in the car when we can't agree on music as a family. They are all free and you can download them from the iTunes store.

I recently went to a book club mixer at the local independent book store where my book club is registered. Local authors were given the opportunity to advertise their own books and then they recommended three books. It was great!

Fantastic post!

Char said...

I love "this american life"

great recommendations

beth said...

~the secret life of bees~...will always be on my favorites list !

did you read ~my sister's keeper~that was the first book I ever read by jodi piccoult which was years ago and now they've made it into a movie that begins june 26th...

from the previews, I'll need an entire box of kleenex in my purse for that one !

Joanne said...

I haven't had an Atomic Fireball in years! When I was a child, we used to buy them and all sorts of little candies at the Penny Candy Store. I like the sounds of the Lipman book, will definitely give it a try.

Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

Congratulations to you and Jeffrey for your anniversary!

Your peeks into these books certainly makes them intriguing. And I was taken by your friend's Tuesday Teasers post. I must give it a try!

~ ennui ~ said...

Thank you for the recommendations...and the "Atomic Fireballs" suggestion- brilliant! Laughed out loud with this one.

When I was younger I was the kid who always had the candy in her pockets- I'm going to start that up again.

spread your wings said...

i LOVE NPR, i LOVE your post.
NPR is really all i listen to and i almost always cry at "this i believe" . i enjoy listening to all of their programs if i'm in the car.
perfect what Augusten Burroughs said about the fireballs. i need to get me some.
i can't wait to check out your book suggestions. i loved secret life of bees so much

Marilyn Miller said...

I loved Secret Life of Bees, but haven't read the other two. Now they have been added to my list along with the Atomic Fireballs.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Bravo! 3 very worthy choices!!! Please check out my little tribute to you on my latest blog post ~ just couldn't help myself! Lets go play soon together! Love and am missing you! me

Jerusalem said...

I have been picking up the Penderwicks for weeks here at the Library, now I know I will have to grab it! Also, I am about to go look for The Inn also... thanks friend!

Jessica said...

I am a big lover of NPR as well but I haven't heard car talk...must investigate. I'm putting those books on hold...I'm in the mood for some summer reading.

Southern Drawl said...

We love to read, period! Great suggestions and good ideas! That was always my biggest goal as a mom getting my children "addicted" to reading. Nothing beats a good book...except enough time to read one!

Meri said...

I heartily recommend "Two Old Women" by Velma Wallis. Several years ago, when my youngest was in middle school and had assigned summer reading, I would read chapters to him every night at bedtime (because I knew it was the only way I was going to make sure he mastered the assigned reading list). I loved this book! It's such a vindication of the wisdom of women and elders.

Patti said...

Oh- the Secret Life of Bees...one of my all time favorite books- ever, but it took 3 tries to finally read it.

The Elenor Lipman book sounds great- although it sounds JUST like the place we go to in MI- seriously from the floating oil drums packed with teens atop to the roped off swimming area. I might have to pick this one up- although I am not a huge Lipman fan.

Augusten Burroughs- how can you go wrong with him? What a hoot!

corine said...

I download that show and this american life to my ipod and listen to them as i do my daily walks. Without NPR I would get much less exercise.

Suvarna said...

I assume that your NPR is something akin to our beloved CBC (which is slowly being dismantled by the powers that be.)
I loved "the secret life of bees" can't wait to check these others out. I am working on 3 books at the moment ( the way I always read) Late Nights on Air, Crow Lake and my current favourite "The Brain that Changes Itself" which is a fascinating account of how adaptable and changeable our brains are.
Wonder what would happen if I read it with an Atomic Fireball in my mouth! thanks for the sneak previews.
Have a great Thursday!

Jeanie said...

Given that I work for an NPR (and PBS) station, I'm always happy when other people say good things about the "mother ship" unprompted by me! I know this series as well, and it's one of my favorites. I loved how you wrote and pulled together all the elements of this post! And the books made me smile!

OK, time for an atomic fireball!

The Lil Bee said...

I loved The Secret Life of Bees, too!

paris parfait said...

Such fun, these teasers. And I remember those Atomic fireballs from childhood!

Jaime said...

I happened upon a copy of The Secret Life of Bees which had a note inside telling me to read it, then leave it somewhere to be found by someone new, who could read it and pass it on. There was a tag number inside the cover and a website where I could go and track the book on its journey.

I left it on a bench in the Vancouver train station. I eventually went online to see who had found it, and a lonely girl had discovered it as she was travelling. She wrote a little paragraph saying she was uncomfortable being in the big city and when she saw this book with the little note inside, it helped her to feel a little less alone..she felt connected.

Funny thing is, I never finished that book (which is rare..I hardly ever abandon books half way through), but I did see the movie and LOVED it!

spudballoo said...

Oh The Secret Life of Bees, I'd forgotten all about that book. I will look at your recommendations as I need to pick up novels again, I'm currently rather obsessed with photography books!

susanna said...

I *heart* NPR, too! I listen to it every day. My husband and I get a kick out of Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on the weekends. I hadn't even heard of Three Books before...I'm going to look that up in second.

As for your book selections, I've read The Secret Life of Bees several times and I think our brains must be linked in someway because tonight, I thought of adding the film adaptation to my netflix.

The other two books I hadn't heard of before but I'm writing them down. Maybe my library will have them. Thanks, Relyn!

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