Tag Archives: books

Rocky Road – a summer read worth reading – Take the ice cream personality quiz at the end

I do like to read young adult fiction, I can say it because I am pre-reading for my children but that is only a partial truth – I like the quality of the writing, the story lines and the fact that I can read it in the time I could read a Harlequin romance…not that I read those now – but I did in college – by the armful, and the occasional Danielle Steele novel, too. I did say I would read anything…and I have – if you are judging me now, so be it. I also read “grown-up” books and am reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog now. Back to YA…

The last young adult fiction book that  I read was Rocky Road by Rose Kent  – Pragmatic Mom let me borrow an advance copy back in June but I am just getting around to writing about it now – it was already published in hard-cover by the time I got the  pre-published bound copy but it was still kind of cool – I walked around with it casually…on purpose. No one asked about the advanced copy but I had fun.

Anyway,  the story involves a more than usually dysfunctional family (Note to YA writers – you know how Disney  kills off a parent for the sake of the story line? YA writers sometimes rely too heavily on family dysfunction for their conflict), having said that and loving YA the way I do, I really liked this book.  The family was dysfunctional in an interesting way with a lot going on. Tess, a seventh grade Texas transplant, whose bipolar mother (father is not involved in this family) moves them to Schenectady, NY in the dead of winter to open an ice cream shop. Tess’s younger brother, Jordan, is deaf and struggles to make himself understood by their mother who can’t seem to manage sign language. The mom is charming and high-functioning and Tess is an artsy-crafty girl who struggles to fit in.  The story is believable and you really care about the characters – and there are plenty of well-drawn characters here,  A strong sense of community and friendship and good values like hard work and responsibility also run throughout the story. If that sounds like a drag, it isn’t. I liked the characters, the writing and that the author dealt with tough topics – bipolar disorder, financial troubles and even caring for a younger sibling (when you may not really want to) are all interwoven in a way that make these topics accessible to younger readers but also engaging to – ahem – older readers, like myself.

All in all, a good read that makes me want to find other books by this author. I found this one: Kimchi and Calamari about an adopted boy who is researching his roots.

About Rose Kent  –  a native Long Islander who spent her summers in the great state of Maine. She is a former naval officer who also worked for a major food corporation. Rose’s first middle-grade novel, Kimchi & Calamari (HarperCollins Publishers) was inspired by her adopted children from Korea. Kimchi & Calamari has been nominated for the NY Charlotte Award, the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Award, and the Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award.

Ice Cream Personality quiz that Pragmatic Mom found and I blatantly copied. Thanks, Pragmatic Mom!

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Filed under Authors, books, Books and More, Creative outlets, Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, mom blogs, young adult fiction

best 2010 summer books from NPR

Really – all you have to do is click on the image or any of the highlighted text below and you will go to the wonderful NPR site. They are running a special series on 2010 Summer books and here are the topics in the series. Exceptional.

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A Mom's Night Out with a purpose

A Step Up - Boston Globe photo

Suzanne Kreiter - photo Boston Globe

It is a hideously rainy night and I am slogging through serious puddles in a vain attempt not to look like a drowned rat when I reach my destination.  I am only mildly successful.  The house is lit up and I can hear the voices and laughter of the women (yes, this is a women only event) before I even open the door.  Is this some great party – on a week night, in the suburbs? – no, it is the brainchild of five amazing women who decided that they could do something more.  More than care for their families (which they all continue to do), volunteer in the community (still doing that, as well), more than work at home or out of the home (again, yes)? Yes, they went even further and saw a need for local charities to be given a bit more attention or, as they called it A Step Up.

I walk in and am warmly greeted and I write a check for $35 for the featured charity (tonight More Than Words) and place it into a large glass bowl.  The energy is wonderful and although I only know two people there, I am welcomed and made to feel comfortable. We mingle and chat over wine and lovely food and it seems like another Mom’s Night Out.  Then our attention is directed by the hostess to the reason we are here and we gather on couches and chairs and turn to the speaker.  She is engaging and well-spoken and sincere and clearly outlines the program and why she started it.  Her name is Jodi Rosenbaum and she if the founder and executive director of More Than Words*.  More Than Words is a physical bookstore on Moody Street in Waltham and it is also a social services connected program that helps some of the most marginalized youth through support and job training.  Jodi’s commitment and dedication are evident and we are all attentive but when we really sit up and become fully engaged is when the two teen speakers – graduates of the program – tell us their stories.  Their stories are a far cry from the comfortable suburban lives we are living and the opportunities that we are able to provide for our children. In turns, I feel guilty and blessed.

The amount of work that has gone into this evening is incredible. These women have, as a group, carefully researched the charity being showcased that evening and prepared for a party of 100 plus people, and made it look effortless. All five members of A Step Up invite their friends who are encouraged to invite their friends. It is a truly collaborative effort.

Here is a great article about the women behind A Step Up that ran in Sunday’s Boston Globe –

‘Giving circles’ boost donations, catch on in communities west of Boston – The Boston Globe and here are  A Step Up Events listings.

*MTW is led by Founder and Executive Director Jodi Rosenbaum.  She has over 13 years of experience in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and education fields and was a Teach For America  Corps member.  Jodi has an Ed.M. in risk and prevention from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education

**Check this out – I wrote about the non-profit Web of Benefit, when I had just stated this bog, here (way back in February) which was introduced by A Step Up

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Filed under Books and More, charitable works, Creative outlets, Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, local events, Volunteer

A Mom’s Night Out with a purpose

A Step Up - Boston Globe photo

Suzanne Kreiter - photo Boston Globe

It is a hideously rainy night and I am slogging through serious puddles in a vain attempt not to look like a drowned rat when I reach my destination.  I am only mildly successful.  The house is lit up and I can hear the voices and laughter of the women (yes, this is a women only event) before I even open the door.  Is this some great party – on a week night, in the suburbs? – no, it is the brainchild of five amazing women who decided that they could do something more.  More than care for their families (which they all continue to do), volunteer in the community (still doing that, as well), more than work at home or out of the home (again, yes)? Yes, they went even further and saw a need for local charities to be given a bit more attention or, as they called it A Step Up.

I walk in and am warmly greeted and I write a check for $35 for the featured charity (tonight More Than Words) and place it into a large glass bowl.  The energy is wonderful and although I only know two people there, I am welcomed and made to feel comfortable. We mingle and chat over wine and lovely food and it seems like another Mom’s Night Out.  Then our attention is directed by the hostess to the reason we are here and we gather on couches and chairs and turn to the speaker.  She is engaging and well-spoken and sincere and clearly outlines the program and why she started it.  Her name is Jodi Rosenbaum and she if the founder and executive director of More Than Words*.  More Than Words is a physical bookstore on Moody Street in Waltham and it is also a social services connected program that helps some of the most marginalized youth through support and job training.  Jodi’s commitment and dedication are evident and we are all attentive but when we really sit up and become fully engaged is when the two teen speakers – graduates of the program – tell us their stories.  Their stories are a far cry from the comfortable suburban lives we are living and the opportunities that we are able to provide for our children. In turns, I feel guilty and blessed.

The amount of work that has gone into this evening is incredible. These women have, as a group, carefully researched the charity being showcased that evening and prepared for a party of 100 plus people, and made it look effortless. All five members of A Step Up invite their friends who are encouraged to invite their friends. It is a truly collaborative effort.

Here is a great article about the women behind A Step Up that ran in Sunday’s Boston Globe –

‘Giving circles’ boost donations, catch on in communities west of Boston – The Boston Globe and here are  A Step Up Events listings.

*MTW is led by Founder and Executive Director Jodi Rosenbaum.  She has over 13 years of experience in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and education fields and was a Teach For America  Corps member.  Jodi has an Ed.M. in risk and prevention from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education

**Check this out – I wrote about the non-profit Web of Benefit, when I had just stated this bog, here (way back in February) which was introduced by A Step Up

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Filed under Books and More, charitable works, Creative outlets, Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, local events, Volunteer

Boston Book Festival: a dinner party and books (and their authors)

Am I dreaming? I just found out that I am going to a dinner party with authors Dennis Lehane and Joseph Finder. I am the  back-up, back-up date for a friend whose first two picks (her husband and a charming, beautiful accomplished friend) fell through…I don’t mind being the A-minus list date – it will be such fun!  It is a dinner set up through the Boston Book Festival – you can click through to their site.  The second annual festival is October 16, 2010 and here is a video of highlights from the first one.

So – two constant and current loves of mine – books and food –  what could be better?  I know, the featured authors will be discussing how they feel about the film adaptations of their books!  Really, this is too much – I am someone who always “casts” the book for a movie – (Note to Hollywood, I am available) and usually my book group does it together – and I have to say, we are pretty good at it.

How do you feel when a favorite books becomes a movie?  Trepidacious? Excited?

Joseph Finder Vanished
Dennis Lehane Shutter Island

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Filed under Authors, books, Books and More, dinners, Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, Food, library, mom blogs, Volunteer

“When Did I Get Like This?” book reading by Amy Wilson at Brookline Booksmith May 12

Amy Wilson, creator of the one woman show,  Mother Load (directed by Julie Kramer)  and contributing editor to Parenting magazine, wrote a funny, funny book. She is in Boston and reading from it at The Brookline Booksmith tomorrow night at 7 pm. Her blog, motherload: the blog is funny, insightful and I know you will like it. when did i get like this amy wilson at capability mom blog

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Swollen feet, social ‘ept-edness’ and flowers at the library

Swollen feet notwithstanding, I had a great night.  The library fundraiser went off without a (discernable) hitch.  Sure, a computer crashed during check-in but only because of an over-zealous book return.  The library was transformed in to spring-like bower (flowers by Whole Foods and 1-800-flowers).  Authors* hosted and honored – check.  Guests well-fed (wonderful food from Bakers’ Best) and entertained (Tom Ashbrook and Bill Novak  as hosts – check.  Great silent auction items scooped up – check.

The library was transformed by a team of dedicated volunteers and library employees who have been working towards this day since last year.  We range in age from 40 (ish) to 80 (ish) and share a love of books and the library. We are some or all of the following: visual, literary, quiet, chatty, giving, caring, considerate, kind, opinionated, employed, retired, SAHMs, socially adept**, talented, and dedicated.  We spend a good amount of time in the weeks leading up to the event putting together auction items, labels, programs, name tags, planning the catering, setting up the event, getting babysitters,chatting up the event to friends, selecting and buying books to go with each auction item (from the New England Mobile Book Fair  – long-standing supporters of the library) , and wrapping, wrapping, wrapping.  We are lucky to have a community that supports the library with donations of professional services, goods and one time events (Kiss 108 concert and tour of studio) and the wonderful people who host authors, bid on auction items, support the library with time, energy and showing up for events like this one.

* Authors celebrated last evening:  James Carroll, Anita Diamant, Lisa Genova, Jean Kilbourne, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, Mitchell Zuckoff.

** I have the temerity to invent the word “ept” as in inept or adept in front of the editor of the local paper, The Newton Tab.

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