Twitterature: June 2014

I’ve come across a few gems in my summertime reading over the past few months.

h3. In my own reading time
American Born Chinese

“American Born Chinese”: (Gene Luen Yang)
This coming-of-age graphic novel deals with Asian American identity with a surreal complexity that turns out both beautiful and shocking. Jon recommended this to me, and after questioning his judgement through the first chapter about a monkey-god (?), I got completely sucked in and loved it. Now I see why the man has checked out a huge stack of Gene Yang novels from the library.

“Manage Your Day-to-Day”:—Day-Creative/dp/1477800670/ (edited by Jocelyn K. Glei)
I drank up this collection of essays about work and productivity by some of today’s most innovative thinkers and writers (like Seth Godin and Gretchen Rubin). I’m always grateful to have inspiration and concrete ideas about how to make life work better. One of my favorite lines from Aaron Dignan about your email inbox: “The most important rule in achieving your goals via your inbox is that distracting opportunities have to die for your most important goals to live.”


“Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage”: (Molly Wizenberg)
I loved this second of Molly Wizenburg’s memoirs — chronicling the birth of her and Brandon’s artisanal pizza restaurant — and it made me want to travel to Seattle even more than I already do. Her engaging, storytelling style pulled me into topics I wouldn’t that wouldn’t normally interest me (restaurant construction) and topics that do (tasting pizzas). Best of all is her self-awareness and emotional vulnerability in reflecting on this intense chapter of her life. Don’t miss the amazing epiphany she has at the “River Café”: in London over a bowl of pasta. The books is littered with amazing recipes, but I couldn’t believe that it lacked a recipe for pizza. Is there no help for the common home cook? I suppose it’s Brandon’s thing, and he’s got the wood-fired oven, but still — I was really hoping for some advice about my tomato sauce.

“Curtain”: (Agatha Christie)
{spoiler alert} Forty years after this one was released, I’m experiencing the same shock the world experienced then with the “New York Times front-page obituary”: of Hercule Poirot. How could she let him die? I didn’t think it would happen. And yet, even from beyond the grave, he wraps up the twists and turns of this murder mystery neatly.

h3. Read with the children.

Far from Shore
“Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage”: (Sophie Webb)
A fabulous account of an artist-scientist’s trip through the Eastern Tropical Pacific ocean as they study dolphins and the health of their colonies, particularly since the establishment of more dolphin-protection regulations in the tuna fishing business. The author’s prose and watercolor sketches are lovely, and the girls loved reading about this adventure. Bonus: we got really good at using latitude and longitude coordinates to find her location. Read with a world map on hand.

“Homer Price”: (Robert McCloskey
(Overheard while Jon read it to the girls.) I loved this book as a kid, and I love it as an adult too. Nothing like that chapter about donuts to give me a hankering, and the String-Savers story made me proud to be a knitter. Skip the rather racist last chapter, but the rest of it is gold.

“Bedtime Math 2: This Time, It’s Personal”: (Laura Overdeck)
We loved this second Bedtime Math book — improved, in my view, with more accessible math problems in the “wee ones” and “little kids” categories. It had to be returned to the library — but we may not even need to purchase our own copy now that we discovered their excellent, free “app”: and “website”: The girls and I have been huddling together with the nightly math story which makes math lots of fun around here.

“The Borrowers”: (Mary Norton)
It felt a little like cheating to read this book after we had already seen “The Secret World of Arrietty”:, but it didn’t seem to diminish the girls’ enjoyment after all. The delightful concept of a tiny house with tiny people contrasts beautifully with the fear and danger inherent in the Borrowers’ situation, which (it turns out) is perfect inspiration for outdoor play. It’s been a fantastic way to kick off the summer — visiting the “Thorne Miniature Rooms”: (to get a sense of tiny people perspective) on our last day of school, and hiding in the grass playing Arrietty every day since.

Lucy at the Thorne Rooms.

_Lucy peering in at the Thorne Rooms. Is anyone in there?_

h3. Audiobooks

“Caramelo”: (Sandra Cisneros)
Just re-read (on audiobook) this amazing fictional account of a Mexican-American family and their complex history from Mexico to Chicago to San Antonio and back again. Sandra Cisneros reads it herself, and she is amazing. Jon listened to it recently as well, and it has inspired us to continue our Spanish-language learning with “Duolingo”:, put some of the Mexican history films she recommends into our Netflix queue, and eat more tacos.

_For more about Twitterature, visit “Anne’s”: excellent blog._

Your comment?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.