Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Reading

Hi there,
Some of you were wandering where I was - well, I was READING! Such a bliss! Summer is here and all I want to do is crafts and reading, eating tons of watermelon under the sun-brella and going to the pool. Does it have anything to do with my kids' vacation you think?

I just finished Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. It wasn't the light summer reading I usually start with. Strout has a very sincere, pointing right at you kind of writing. Her sharp, analytic view of her characters puts things very close to home, shows us the social tissue we are all part of, without the cover ups we do to make us feel better. So that was the difficult to read part, too honest to ignore, yet too close to say: "that's not me" or: "not in my community".
The cute part was that the title bearer of this book, Olive Kitteridge, was actually a guest in it. She had couple of chapters where she was the subject, but most chapters had her as a guest, once you see her once you don't kind-of-thing. The chapter might have been about this couple, Jennie and Bob, who are going to a theater show and see Olive there, think of a few gossip pieces, or say something about her, or reflect about something they had together, what they felt towards her... than the thoughts and plot go elsewhere and so does Olive. I came to wait for when Olive will visit the plot again, how she'll be reflected upon this time, like a visitor in her own title. Great idea!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


It's summer here in Jersey and the heat is on. Our air condition is on too, fireflies light the garden in the evening and the neighbors tend to their yards fiercely. New flowers bloomed, backyard pools opened and the trampolines have sprang.

With all that outside, I'm reading Meir Shalev's book 'Hadavar Haya Kacha' or 'My Russian Grandmother and her American Vacuum Cleaner' - family stories from Nahalal and Jerusalem. A lot of the family idioms and 'histuar' reminds me of my own and I think about the stories my kids will have as their bank-of-memories when they grow up. What will their roots sound like in their mind 20 years from now? 30? 40 years from now?

Outside the neighbour's plants just arrived, some of them are trees. I like the site of those trees, all luscious green, standing by in their cloth and string packaging, looking so fresh, so promising.
I point them out to my daughter: "Look," I say "how lovely these trees are" than I try to figure out for myself what draws me to this sight, what's so beautiful about it, and I say "these trees are wrapped so nicely, look at their roots, packaged neatly and tight in that cloth bag so they can be re-planted!"

Stay cool, tend to your roots.
Yours truly,
Sara Brown.