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W...W...W... Wednesdays


It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for the Wednesday meme from the ShouldBeReading website.

Here is how it works. To play along, you just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?


Post the answers on your blog and send a link in a comment to today's post on the ShouldBeReading site. Or, if you don't have a blog, just post your answers directly in the comments box there.




And here are my answers:


• What are you currently reading?

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
In this Newbery Medal-winning novel, sixth-grader Miranda lives with her mom in New York City in 1979. As the book opens, Miranda's mom is preparing for an appearance on the television game show $20,000 Pyramid, and Miranda is considering writing a letter to some mysterious "you" who keeps sending anonymous notes to Miranda, and who somehow knew ahead of time that her mom would be chosen for the game show and exactly when the announcement would arrive. Miranda says that if she were to write the letter, she would start with the day that Sal got punched, a few months earlier. Sal had been her best friend since they were babies, but he doesn't talk to her anymore and she doesn't know why, though she does know that their friendship seemed to have ended, inexplicably, the day another boy punched him for no reason as Miranda and Sal walked home from school. The story then proceeds along two timelines, the present time, as Miranda helps her mom prepare for her game-show appearance, and last fall, as events unfold after Sal stopped talking to her.

So far I am really enjoying this book. I can relate to the fact that Miranda's favorite book is the same as mine when I was about her age, also in the 1970s -- Madeleine L'Engle's classic novel, A Wrinkle in Time -- and that Miranda carries her old dog-eared copy around with her everywhere. I love the evocation of her New York City neighborhood, with Jimmy the Sandwich Shop owner, the tough boys who hang out near the garage, and the crazy homeless guy who sleeps with his head under a mailbox. And I'm intrigued by the mysteries that keep me reading: Why did the other boy attack Sal? Why did Sal stop being Miranda's friend? And what's with this mystery letter-writer? I can't wait to learn the truth about them all. I'm hoping I can interest my son in reading it next.




• What did you recently finish reading?

With Chatwin: Portrait of a Writer, by Susannah Clapp
Just a half-hour ago I finished reading this biography of writer Bruce Chatwin. I've read his book In Patagonia (and loved it) but have never even heard of his other works. Susannah Clapp knew him as well as almost anyone. She was his longtime editor and his friend. So this is an intimate look that is more concerned with exploring his personality and motivations than with a chronological recounting of the events of his life; not unlike something Bruce might have written himself, I think.

Chatwin was elusive, effusive, and often contradictory. He was charming and exasperating. He extolled simplicity, while vacillating between acquiring beautiful objects and purging his life of anything that wasn't strictly useful. He was a happily married man who was openly bisexual but rarely talked about it. He traveled widely; he touches again and again in his work on the theme of the nomadic life. But when he wan't on walkabout in the Australian bush or following the trail of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid through South America, he was often in the company of artists, writers, and other well-known people. Among his friends, acquaintances, and other contacts: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Somerset Maugham, Martin Amis, Werner Herzog, and Indira Gandhi. This is a fascinating biography of a fascinating person. It makes me want to re-read In Patagonia and read some of Chatwin's other books.




• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green
For once, this is an easy question. For July's meeting, which is next week, my book club is discussing John Green's young-adult novel, The Fault In Our Stars. So that one is next on my list. I'm waiting to see the film after I finish reading the book, and I'd like to do both before our meeting next Tuesday.


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