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April 8th, 2014 (11:49 pm)

Here is the Wednesdawww_wednesdays4y book meme from the website, shouldbereading.wordpress.com. To play, just answer these three "W" questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you'll read next?

You can answer them on your own blog, at the shouldbereading.wordpress.com site, or in a reply to this post. Go into as much detail as you want, or just answer with the book titles, if you prefer.

What are you currently reading?
I'm between books. A couple hours ago I finished reading one, and haven't started the next one yet.

Gates - Blue WillowWhat did you recently finish reading?
I have just finished reading a Newbery Medal-winning children's book called Blue Willow, by Doris Gates. It's set during the Great Depression, and the main character, Janey, is the daughter of migrant farm workers who never stay anywhere more than a few weeks. Janey's prize possession is a china plate in the Blue Willow pattern. It's the only object she has that is beautiful and refined -- and that belonged to her mother, who passed away when she was very young. A long time ago, Janey's family lived in a real house, her father ran a ranch, and the family owned pretty things, but that was before the Depression. Someday, her stepmother tells her, they will have a home again, a house where they can stay for as long as they want. When they have a permanent home, Janey will display the Blue Willow plate proudly. Until then, it stays packed away safely, though Janey loves taking it out to look at it.

Janey, her father, and her stepmother arrive in the San Joaquin Valley of California and move into an abandoned shack, and Janey meets neighbor Lupe Romero, a girl just her age. Lupe is down to earth and practical; Janey is imaginative and dreamy. But despite a few misunderstandings at first, the two become best friends. Janey lives in constant fear: now that she has a friend, she's terrified that the harvest will be finished, her father will have no more paying work here, and the family will have to move on. She always hated leaving, but never as much as now. She never before had a friend she would miss so badly.

Roth - DivergentIt's a setting that hasn't been done a lot in children's books, which made it an especially interesting read. In fact, I enjoyed the book a lot, and even found myself tearing up at the end. My only criticism is of the narrator's voice, which I found annoyingly intrusive at times. It's a product of the times; this book came out in 1940, when children's literature tended to be told from a more adult point of view, compared to today's kid lit, which is more tightly focused on the young characters. The narrator of this one would occasionally jump in to add an observation or description, but i found the effect to be condescending and a bit preachy. It happened only here and there, so I don't want to say it was a major distraction. It was just annoying.

What do you think you'll read next?
That's a hard one. For Book Club a week from now I have to read The Thirteen Clocks, by James Thurber. But it's very short; I could easily read another book before I begin it. I'm considering Divergent, by Veronica Roth. Or maybe Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Or perhaps something else altogether; I have a long list of possibilities.


Posted by: 6of8 (6of8)
Posted at: April 10th, 2014 10:29 am (UTC)
My answers

Currently reading: Walla Walla Suite (a mystery); An Accidental Athlete (a memoir); and Living on the Edge by Jeff Corwin.

Just finished: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Long and with that lovely ominous foreshadowing that Steinbeck always has, but in the end I did enjoy the book. And I took away a few philosophical nuggets.

Next up: possibly Leap of Faith by Queen Noor or The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks, which is on my "must read because someone gave it to me" list.

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