Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three Books You Should Love

Remember when I used to blog about other people's books instead of whining about MY book all the time? No? Me neither. In any case, though, I read three FANTASTIC books this week that you must love.

1. The Spanish Bow, by Andromeda Romano-Lax

This book for grown-ups was recommended by MoonRat back in the fall (click on her site for a good summary); I bought it for my mom sight unseen on that recommendation and she loved it, so I stole it. Ms. Romano-Lax seems very cool and is the inventor of Project Fill-in-the-Gaps, which is like my 15 Classics in 15 Weeks project, but gigantic-er.

Why you must love it: It is sweeping and epic and beautiful. It rides from elation to secrecy to love to hatred to bitterness and takes you every step of the way. Plus, it delves bravely into the question of WHY we bother to create anything and whether any of it is worth it. Also, it will make you want to bust out that violin you haven't touched since third grade.

Caveat: You are going to read the first chapter and say, "Um, Jacqui? That would never happen." You are right. Keep reading anyway, okay?

2. Knucklehead, by Jon Scieszka

I know; everyone's already recommended this sort of autobiography. But I hadn't read it. If you haven't either, you should. And you should give it to your sons, especially if there are a lot of them.

Why you must love it: It is hilarious, and it's the best kind of hilarious, which is to say that it is full of "Omigod, we totally did that" moments.

Caveat: It may teach your kids new ideas...

3. You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!
by Jonah Winter, André Carrilho

Why you must love it: Because you must love Sandy Koufax, who struggled and overcame and stood up for his beliefs and retired on top. And was a good guy, it seems. The voice is perfect and the story has what I consider the perfect level of information for a picture book biography.*

Caveat: The illustrations. I like them and they're very cool, but the faces are warped and it freaked Destructo out quite a bit: "Why he YOOK yike dat? He really yook yike dat?"

* By the way, Boni has more picture book biography recs over at her blog this week, if you're interested.

PS It's Maurice Sendak's birthday, speaking of books you must love. Rumpus rumpus rumpus, as we say around here.


cath c said...

i love sandy koufax.

and maurice sendak, of course. the wild things is my fav childhood book, and my sons, too. i still feel like max most days.

the spansh bow is now added to my ever growing must read list. it's about 4,002, now. i did peomise my kids i'd live forever, but now i just may have to, if i'm ever to finish my reading list.

Diane T said...

Those do look interesting ... I wonder if The Spanish Bow is anything like John Hersey's Antonietta, which is a tour de force of sheer writing skill, all about a Strad violin.

Sadly, I must get to my summer reading list first ... where are your suggestions?

[word verification: tamtru, a fit thrown because something is true and you don't want it to be.]

Mary Witzl said...

I love the sound of that first one. (And I DID break out that violin I hadn't touched since third grade, and how my husband wishes I hadn't... ) Romano-Lax is such a great name -- doesn't it sound like a fancy pharmaceutical company?

Jacqui said...

cath c, I think in heaven there are a ton of unread books too.

Diane, aak. Yes, they are coming. Apologies.

Mary, I know. I have total name envy for Andromeda too.

Boni Ashburn said...

You have such great taste in books :) My kids were split on the Carrilho illustrations- some liked them, some thought they were weird- but they were all fascinated by them.

And to anyone who likes Knucklehead, I always highly recommend How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen (and vice-versa). You'll LOVE it.