In preparation for tomorrow's discussion on A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book based loosely on the life of E. Nesbit, one of Britain's most loved children's authors, I found a website called the Classic Bookshelf that has free great literature. If interested, there are some of E. Nesbit's books available to read for free online. The Five Children and It was the first in a series of books she wrote to supplement the family income much like Olive Wellwood. Edith Nesbit was born in 1858, the daughter of Sarah and John Collis Nesbit, the head of a British agricultural college. She met and married Hubert Bland E. Nesbit when she was 18. She and her husband, a journalist, were both socialists and founders of the English Fabian Society. Bland was a philanderer who couldn't make a living. Nesbit was unconventional, cutting her hair short, dispensing with corsets, smoking habitually, and living flamboyantly. She was a prolific writer as she raised five children, one an illegimate offspring of her husband. The Nesbits inhabited Well Hall in the Kent countryside. They entertained many famous friends and colleagues. She died in May 1924. Read more on E. Nesbit at The Edith Nesbit Society website.
Today, I read a provocative article about Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo by Dishan Boange for The Nation titled Fictionalising histories of war. He writes about the ethnology-religious aspects of the siege of Sarajevo, yet Galloway never mentions who keeps the Sarajevans under siege other than "the men on the hills." Why does the author chose to do so and at the same time chose to center the novel on a true person, Vedran Smailovic. Let me know what you think.
From Blah to Ta-Daa! blogger Sara has a great idea for New Year's resolutions. She decided to incorporate Michael Pollan's Food Rules into her lifestyle a little at a time. Each week she will post new Food Rules to her blog to encourage her readers to become healthier versions of themselves.
Michael Pollan's latest edition of his Food Rules: An Eater's Manual has been illustrated by Maira Kalman. LIsten to Michael Pollen talk about Ilustrated Food Rules. Cheeky Kitchen: Recipes with Personality writes about Food Rules 2012 with a peek at the fun illustrations by Maira Kalman. She writes, "All of Pollan’s food rules strike at the very heart of what my conscience tells me I should be eating."
Culture Vulture: Everyone can benefit from my opinion from Chicago is not a fan of A.S. Byatt but finds the plot engaging though melodramatic. She writes that "she [Byatt] does a fairly admirable job presenting a whole swath of socio-political issues embodied in actual people.
The Children's Book is on Uzma Aslam Khan, the author of The Story of Noble Rot, Trespassing, and The Geometry of God, bucket list of books to read. Her novel, The Geometry of God was voted one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2009.
Beth from Southern Bluestocking is rereading The Children's Book because "(a) I’m a little obsessed with Byatt’s work, (b) the period in which it is set is absolutely fascinating (1895-1920), and (c) I just hate feeling like I missed something good." She does suggest when reading this difficult book to make notecards for all the characters, "...you’ll get completely and totally confused if you don’t remember that Charles Wellwood changed his name to Karl after he went to Germany..."
Parnassus Reads gives The Children's Book 4 out of 5 stars writes "this book is really amazing in its historical sweep, but this is also part of its flaw."
I just finished Nina Sankovitch's Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Readings. After the author's sister dies at forty-six, Sankovitch turns to reading a book a day for a year to mend her broken heart and reconnect with the memory of her sister. She documents all the books read on Read All Day blog and discovers through the experience, a community of book lovers to share the power and love of reading. If you are looking for book suggestions, she lists her favorites on the website.
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.