22 September 2011

The Sunflower Library

For all my bibliophilic blogging friends...here's a peek at what I'm reading this month (with book jacket descriptions):

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet.  For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night...Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis--and two parts fairy godmother.  With Della Lee's tough love, Josey's narrow existence quickly expands.  She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them--and who has a close connection to Josey's long-time crush.  Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons.

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio 

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.  Nearly a decade later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune.  So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea.  Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life. 

The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew

On a scorching day in August 1954, thirteen year old Jubie Wtts leaves Charlotee, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation.  Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family's black maid, Mary Luther.  For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there-- cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father's rages and her mother's benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally.  Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of th anti-integration signs they pass and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south.  But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take.  Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents' failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence.

Happy Reading!

18 September 2011

The More Things Change...

The bell rings at precisely 12:10. 

A swarm of bodies fills the once empty hallways.

The metallic maws of lockers open and close, resounding definitively over the sea of voices.

Nearly 1,400 people scurry to cafeteria lines, cliques, and club meetings.

It is high school.  It is lunch time.

I trudge wearily, weaving my way across campus, swimming upstream against a tide of teenage hormones and sophomoric drama, to the faculty lunchroom.  Tucked away behind the bustling cafeteria, accessible only to those with a key (i.e. adults), it is a quiet oasis in an otherwise riotous terrain.

I sigh and then smile as I heat up my lunch.  I wait for the curious phenomenon that will undoubtedly occur- the social dance of adults as we gather to take our midday sustenance.

My colleagues file in: some pensively, some exhausted, some eager to vent or relay the more interesting episodes from their morning classes.  I take a seat and watch, as I have done for the last seven years, as the others do the same - armed with lunch bags and water bottles, papers and books.

I observe, amused, as we arrange ourselves by gender - men at one table, women at another - and prepare to eat.  The segregation fascinates, but does not surprise, me.  Much like our adolescent students in the adjacent quad, we are creatures of habit, subconsciously more comfortable in our homogeneous factions than we are in a coed group.  The same-sex assemblage somehow feels natural and the happy chatter from each table confirms my blossoming theory - that we will are still and will always be, in high school.

I shrug my shoulders and convivially turn to the women at my table, anxious to hear the latest tidbit from Sabrina's first period Spanish I course before the bell rings and we must shuffle off again to class.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Today's Gratitude List:
  • Time, finally, to blog (Oh, how I have missed it!)
  • Three new books to read
  • Another Back-To-School night under my belt
  • Sunshine streaming through the windows this morning (Molly Kittenclaws is also grateful for this)
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