Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Box Arrives

With limitations on luggage (and all those extra charges), I knew I couldn't get home with the books I picked up from the conference, so I lined up at the hotel Kinko's with lots of other conference- goers to ship a boxful home. Having a few days to wait gives me time to forget what was coming. Today they arrived and the reading can begin: I have my copy of Francine Prose's Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife as well as her novel Goldengrove. I also had Robert Hicks' new Civil War novel A Separate Country set in New Orleans. My book club enjoyed Widow of the South. I later learned that Hicks is also a Lipscomb graduate.

I also had a couple of Gregory Maguire books: his tribute to Maurice Sendak Making Mischief and his little Christmas story, a twist on the tale of the little match girl, Matchless.

I am looking forward to Jonathan Safron Foer's Eating Animals, knowing almost nothing about it, simply because I loved his last book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close so much--although I have difficulty recommending it because I can never remember the correct order of adverbs and adjective in the title . In the Holocaust course, we also use the film from his first novel Everything Is Illuminated. I was told that this new book is nonfiction, so I look forward to seeing how he made the transition.

I bought several books in part because I met the authors and, I'll admit, they were sometimes free. Zoe Ferraris's Finding Nouf is set in Saudi Arabia and won an LA Times Book Prize. I also picked up two new graphic classics, King Lear and Beowulf, written and illustrated by Gareth Hinds, who took part in one of my roundtable discussions at the Middle School Matters sessions. Malinda Lo was signing copies of Ash, something of a Cinderella story with a lovely cover. I missed Sonia Nazario's session on her book Enrique's Journey (too many concurrent sessions!), but on the recommendation of others who did attend, I picked up a copy for myself. I also got a copy of Don't Know Much about Literature, a sequel to Don't Know Much about History, by Kenneth C. Davis and Jenny Davis.

I also picked up a couple of other books about books, including one called What to Read When, which I gave to my daughter (the mother of my grandchildren) and Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick. Eerdmans always has several titles that attract me. I bought C.S. Lewis: The Man Behind Narnia, since I have always been fascinated as much by his life as by his writings.

I'm a sucker for war lit, so I brought home War Is, the first-person accounts of "soldiers, survivors and storytellers" edited by Marc Aronson and Patty Campbell.

In my box I also had several Advanced Reader Copies of new YA literature I'll share with my middle school/high school girls I teach in Sunday school. They are great judges of books aimed at them.

Now that Thanksgiving Day has arrived, amid all my blessings, I have to be thankful that my husband was so kind as to have the new wall of bookshelves built in our bedroom. It's filling u quickly.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Sometimes authors use a novel or screenplay to support political or social beliefs; or to cry out for morality and ethical principles. This is no more clearly evident than with Holocaust books and films. Whenever we stand up to those who deny or minimize the Holocaust, or to those who support genocide we send a critical message to the world.

We know from captured German war records that millions of innocent Jews were systematically exterminated by Nazi Germany - most in gas chambers. Despite this knowledge, Holocaust deniers ply their mendacious poison everywhere, especially with young people on the Internet. Holocaust books and films help to tell the true story of the Shoah, combating anti-Semitic historical revision. And, they protect vulnerable future generations from making the same mistakes.

I wrote Jacob's Courage to promote Holocaust education. This coming of age love story presents accurate scenes and situations of Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, with particular attention to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It examines a constellation of emotions during a time of incomprehensible brutality. A world that continues to allow genocide requires such ethical reminders and remediation.

Many authors feel compelled to use their talent to promote moral causes. Holocaust books and movies carry that message globally, in an age when the world needs to learn that genocide is unacceptable. Such authors attempt to show the world that religious, racial, ethnic and gender persecution is wrong; and that tolerance is our progeny's only hope.

We need books and films that allow individuals to comprehend the terror experienced by Holocaust victims on a personal level. They reveal the horror of genocide and the triumphant spirit of humankind.

Charles Weinblatt
Author, "Jacob's Courage"