The picture book market is in the doldrums. Publishers report that sales are flat and disappointed booksellers must box up the brightly colored, lavishly illustrated volumes - unopened, unread, and most dispiriting of all, unloved - and send them back to the warehouses from whence they came.
When I was a kid I brought home a paperback book that my parents didn't think I should read. Mind you, this was during an era when our neighborhood drugstore's book racks never sported anything but the most innocuous (by today's standards) sorts of pulp fiction, from detective stories to romance novels to true crime. So you can be assured that my selection was about as tame as, say, a Disney animated movie. But it had a lurid cover photo and a rather suggestive title, suggestive, at least, to my 12-year-old sensibilities. Also to my mom because when she spotted it on my nightstand she freaked. She asked my dad to speak to me about it and confiscate the book.
I love books. There's nothing like the experience of cracking open a brand new book and spending a lazy Saturday reading all day. My favorite places to spend an afternoon are the library or a bookstore. I am that person at the flea market digging through a bin of old books, looking to purchase a piece of history. I have books from my childhood and my mother's childhood that I enjoy sharing with my children. I hope to pass on my love of reading, and these books, to my grandchildren.
Talia Carner explains the extraordinary true story that lies behind her soon to be published novel, Jerusalem Maiden...
Rivka was fourteen. A Jerusalem maiden, she was already married, building a home in God's Holy City according to the mitzvah to hasten the messiah's arrival. Alas, Rivka's young husband died, leaving her no longer a virgin but neither a mother. She was doomed to never contribute her share to hastening the messiah's arrival through the good dead of procreation in Jerusalem.
A few weeks ago I asked our Facebook followers to share the name of their favorite poem. As you'll see below, the responses were both enthusiastic and eclectic!
Do you see any of your favorites here? Whether that's a yes or no, do take a moment to click on the comments option at the bottom and tell us about your favorite or favorites!
Phyllis SB got in first, within a few seconds of me posting, with her recommendation of "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service, which was seconded by Dana VB.
The New York Times reviewed Rebecca Hunt's novel, Mr. Chartwell, in the Sunday Book Review on March 13. Since I reviewed the book for BookBrowse not long ago, I was interested to see what the Times thought of it. (My review is only available to BookBrowse members at this time. Here's a PDF of it for those who are not members.)
Tadzio Koelb's review took a snarky tone from the start, and not just in reference to Mr. Chartwell, but to readers in general (who are apparently too stupid to know what good books are). My blood didn't really start to boil, however, until Mr. Koelb condescended to reveal the obvious truth about Rebecca Hunt's novel, the glaring fact that those of us who liked the book sadly missed: