“The Life of Pi”

Since I couldn’t get to the library last week, I looked around the house for a book that I had been meaning to read and never have gotten to.  I am so glad I had a copy of this book at home.

Everyone by now knows the basic plot of the novel, especially with the recent release of the movie.  I, however, didn’t realize how easily I got into the story and how quickly the reading went.  Pi is an unusually interesting character.  There is so much to enjoy about this character from how he deals with his difficult name to his quest to learn about the major religions of India.  Once his sea journey begins, we learn even more about his character and intelligence.

It is not until the very last pages of the novel, that the author reveals what a great storyteller he and Pi are.  When faced with the choice of accepting the “true version” of events or the epic journey of boy and tiger on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there is no contest in my opinion.  Go with the strong storyteller and his vision.


Solace of the Road (con’t)

Sorry, I should have given the author, who was Siobhan Dowd. Though a talented author, her life was cut short by cancer, and she died in 2007. Ms. Dowd had received several awards, including the Carnegie Medal and nominations, such as the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult. She was born to Irish parents but brought up in London, which is the setting for Solace. The novel was also shortlisted for the Costa Book Award, one of the U,K.’s most prestigious awards.


Solace of the Road

I just finished reading this title set in England, about Holly, a young teen, who was living in Templeton House and has just been placed into a foster home. She finds a wig of her foster mother’s, Fiona, who had needed it previously for her cancer treatments. The wig transforms Holly into Sister “Solace”, her new identity, as she leaves her foster home to run away to Ireland, where she believes her “mam” is. From Holly’s memories, the reader gets a picture of what her home life had once been, and one can’t help but feel sorry for her.  I would recommend this title to older teens, (there are some sexual references) who enjoy realistic fiction. This novel comes with a stiff dose, but does have its lighter moments…


I finally got to see this fantastic movie.  When you hear people say truth is stranger than fiction, this story is a prime example of that adage.  Even when you factor in “dramatic license,” this is an incredible tale that is truthfully told.  The direction, acting, and screenplay were all well done.  Even though we lived through this event, no one, of course, was aware of this episode until the information was declassified by President Clinton.

When we try to understand the situation in the Middle East today and the attitudes of its people, it is important that we reflect back in time to what happened more than thirty years ago.  This film brings us back and helps the viewer remember that time in our history.


Article in TOON books newsletter

While reading my email the other day, I came across a newsletter from TOON books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, that publishes easy to read graphic novels for younger readers. The first article was entitled:  “Keep our schools safe: Let’s talk about kids and guns.”  I was a little surprised to see this, as the usual articles tend to be more tame, focusing on upcoming titles and related matter. But apparently the recent horror at the Sandy Hook Elementary School prompted the publisher and editorial director of TOON books, Francoise Mouly, to discuss the topic with her staff during a recent discussion. The article explains that Mouly’s husband, the famed graphic artist Art Spiegelman, had recently posted a New Yorker cover titled “Kids with Guns” that he had designed in 1993, along with his hope that Newtown be remembered as a turning point towards a safer future for our children. Spiegelman’s 1993 cover is then compared to the first New Yorker cover of 2013, titled Threshold and designed by Chris Ware, remarking that Ware’s cover  “… is more understated than Art’s shocking image, and yet it still gets to the heart of our fear”. Ware had designed it as a follow -up to his Sept. 2012 “Back to school” cover. You can see the two covers here.

I found the article very thought provoking; it includes a link to a blog where Mouly gives her own thoughts as well. She is a fascinating figure herself, with quite a list of accomplishments. She is art editor of the New Yorker, a published author, and according to Wikipedia, she was awarded France’s highest award: the Légion d’honneur, in 2011. If anyone is interested, you can read a bit more about her.