Tag Archives: Biography

Book Day: Groundhog’s Eve

Well, the year is off and running. I'm still creating elaborate lists to figure out how to spend my bookstore gift cards that I got at the end of the year, but I did get a couple of books  in the mail this month:

Baseball's Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues by Andrea Williams

She's the only woman inducted into the baseball HOF, and I hadn't really ever heard of her until I came across this book. The little Ghost is pretty interested in the Negro Leagues, so we might dive into this one together.

Ellis Island by Georges Perec

The latest in the New Directions subscription that I got for Christmas and I'm excited to read another Perec book.  I loved "Life: A User's Manual" and I've committed myself to reading "A Void" at some point this year. Maybe I'll do that this month to pair with my new acquisition.

Some links to interesting things I read in January:

We Didn't Have a Chance to Say Goodbye - Sabrina Orah Mark - She's one of those authors that I read every time I see her name and I'm never disappointed.

My husband and I were on our honeymoon, and I thought I only wanted the plague doctor. I didn’t know I’d eventually need him, too. “You can’t be serious,” says my brother. “Who loses a plague doctor during a plague?” “I guess I do,” I say.

“We’ll find him,” says my husband. But we never do.

Corvid Vision - Barbara Tran - A poem from Conjunctions that I thought had a lot of interesting images in it.

When something is said to come full
circle does this mark completion or make
a new form

an O
through which another
could fly?

Reading with the Little Ghost:

The Girl and the Ghost turned out to be far too dark for our current situation.  Lots of bullying and jealousy and anger and it just wasn't the thing we wanted to read before bed. We switched after about 90 pages after the main character had a nightmare about eating curry with human body parts in it.

So, instead we are reading Pip Bartlett's Guide to Sea Monsters which is a series that G has enjoyed. This is the third book, and it's much more light-hearted entertainment.

He really liked Monstrous: The Lore, Gore and Science Behind Your Favorite Monsters. This was  a book where he would go quiet for a while and I'd go looking for him only to find him nose deep in a chart about how to tell if you are dead or undead.  Thanks, Pepper!

He also just finished The Atlas of Vanishing Places which was full of geography facts and just about perfect for the obsessions of this particular third grader.

First Monday Book Day: Biography x3

This year, I decided I was going to re-read (or read for the first time) all of Kurt Vonnegut's novels. With that in mind, I looked around for some books that get into the background of both the books and the author. This month I read three biographies of various types.  I'll admit that by the end of the third, I was feeling a little like I was going over the same material, but each was different enough.  Listed below are the books that I read all or part of this month.



And So it Goes - Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields

The word that comes to mind is "workman-like".  It's about as straightforward as a biography can be.  Point to point without much editorializing or analysis in between.  Still, this filled in a lot of details about Vonnegut's life that I was not familiar with (the kids, the wives, the agents, etc.) and gave me a pretty good framework for the other biographical books that I read.


Letters by Kurt Vonnegut (edited by Dan Wakefield)

Reading this directly after the Shields biography was about perfect.  A lot of the details that were only mentioned in passing in this book I was already familiar with from my previous reading.  I enjoyed Vonnegut's writing even in this non-narrative format.


Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut

One of many "autobiographical collages" that Vonnegut published that collects some of his lectures and writings and attempts to connect them together. This is perhaps a little redundant with respect to the collection of letters above, but it was interesting to see how Vonnegut connects things as opposed to an editor or biographer.  This added some depth to some life events, but as noted in the intro, I did start to feel like I was reading some of the same material.

THE NOVELS:  (Analysis - I've only started these two, so any thoughts are preliminary)


The Vonnegut Effect by Jerome Klinkowitz

Klinkowitz has written a lot of analysis of Vonnegut's work.  This book breaks things down by novel.  Depending on how much I like this book, I might seek out some other Klinkowitz offerings (there are quite a few, here's his author's page on Goodreads, see if you can spot the theme).


Unstuck in Time: A Journey Through Kurt Vonnegut's Life and Novels by Gregory D. Sumner

Lest you think that I am some kind of truly original visionary with the re-reading Vonnegut idea, here's someone who already thought of it and wrote a book about it.  This might be the book I'm most excited to read in this post.  I've only gotten through the prologue (an abbreviated biography - Argh!) and the section on Player Piano so far.

So, fair citizens.  What are you reading?