Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Memoir Monday and Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series—I Am Jazz—making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults.

In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence—particularly high school—complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy—especially when you began your life in a boy’s body.

I had not heard of Jazz before seeing a blurb about a photographer taking photos of her. I didn't understand who Jazz was, but this book is surging in popularity and made me take notice. With all the talk about transgender, here is one teenager's take on navigating the world and trying to be a "normal" teenager.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bookish humor...

                                                                                            ©M.Patrinos/Buzzfeed

Monday, June 20, 2016

Memoir Monday and Food and the City by Ina Yalof

An unprecedented behind-the-scenes tour of New York City’s dynamic food culture, as told through the voices of the chefs, line cooks, restaurateurs, waiters, and street vendors who have made this industry their lives.

In Food and the City, Ina Yalof takes us on an insider’s journey into New York’s pulsating food scene alongside the men and women who call it home. Dominique Ansel declares what great good fortune led him to make the first cronut. Lenny Berk explains why Woody Allen’s mother would allow only him to slice her lox at Zabar’s. Ghaya Oliveira, who came to New York as a young Tunisian stockbroker, opens up about her hardscrabble yet swift trajectory from dishwasher to executive pastry chef at Daniel. Restaurateur Eddie Schoenfeld describes his journey from Nice Jewish Boy from Brooklyn to New York’s Indisputable Chinese Food Maven.

From old-schoolers such as David Fox, third-generation owner of Fox’s U-bet syrup, and the outspoken Upper West Side butcher “Schatzie,” to new kids on the block including Patrick Collins, sous chef at The Dutch, and Brooklyn artisan Lauren Clark of Sucre Mort Pralines, Food and the City is a fascinating oral history with an unforgettable gallery of New Yorkers who embody the heart and soul of a culinary metropolis.

I can't resist books about food. I love to read the behind the scenes books on chefs and cooks, and Food and the City looks to be a fascinating read. That the story here takes place throughout New York City just adds a touch of allure! On my TBR list! Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, May 2016.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Chick with Books goes South...


That's right, Chick with Books is going South! I've got my Kindle packed (actually a few physical books made it into the "luggage" too), my camera, my ukulele and we're off! Our first destination is the Outer Banks in North Carolina where we'll be roughing it in a tent! And then our roadtrip continues around the Southern coast and looping back to Connecticut. Searching for some great indie bookstores along the way, great food and places to kick my shoes off and relax! We will probably make stops in Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA... but this is a roadtrip, right, so we're going where the road takes us...

While I was vaguely planning our direction and seeking out campsites, I got an email from a publicist with Henry Holt & Co. wanting to know if I'd like to read & review Under The Stars: How America Fell In Love With Camping by Dan White. Was it fate that brought that book to me or a sign that camping the Southern states was a good idea? I'm not sure, but it sure was timely! I'm not sure I'll get it in time to bring it along, but here's what I look forward to reading when I get back...

Under The Stars: How America Fell In Love With Camping by Dan White...  From the Sierras to the Adirondacks and the Everglades, Dan White travels the nation to experience firsthand—and sometimes face first—how the American wilderness transformed from the devil’s playground into a source of adventure, relaxation, and renewal.

Whether he’s camping nude in cougar country, being attacked by wildlife while “glamping,” or crashing a girls-only adventure for urban teens, Dan White seeks to animate the evolution of outdoor recreation. In the process, he demonstrates how the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, Roosevelt, and Muir—along with visionaries such as Adirondack Murray, Horace Kephart, and Juliette Gordon Low—helped blaze a trail from Transcendentalism to Leave No Trace.

Wide-ranging in research, enthusiasm, and geography, Under the Stars reveals a vast population of nature seekers, a country still in love with its wild places.

Question... Do you bring books with you to read on vacation? 

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great rest of June and a fabulous Fourth of July! I'll see ya'll back here Sunday, July 10th! I'll let you know what great books I read and if I found any great indie bookstores along the way. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Couple Who Fell To Earth by Michelle Bitting... A Review

The Couple Who Fell To Earth by Michelle Bitting swept me into a sea that felt ordinary at first glance, but upon closer inspection was deeply personal and filled with thoughts not ordinarily spoken out loud. I felt a connection to these poems, as though I were part of that "couple who fell to earth", as though Michelle Bitting were speaking for me at times and other times showing me the way somewhere I've never been. These poems will take you on a journey...

What words would I use to describe Michelle Bitting's poetry... Crisp, beautiful, eternal. In this collection of poetry, The Couple Who Fell To Earth, Michelle divides the poems into Earth, Heart, Immanent, Body and Wind. Each infused with family and love, connections that seem ancient and yet contemporary, a thread that links us all, and words that dance off your tongue as you read silently to yourself. And I think the wonderful way the words flow and play with eachother is what makes me want to read and reread these poems. The sentiments, such as in the poem Immanent, Purgatorio (with Dante Alighieri),

"tell the ones who asked the angels who told
      me to retire my bent towards calamity's green:
From this time on, love governs my soul."  

makes me want to reread these poems to enjoy them for their subtle observations. This collection has something for everyone and would definitely be a nice edition a bookshelf. The Couple Who Fell To Earth also received a nice starred review from Kirkus Reviews

About the Poet... 
Michelle Bitting’s first collection, Good Friday Kiss (C & R, 2008) won the DeNovo First Book Award. Her second collection, Notes To The Beloved (SPC, 2011) won the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award and received a starred review from Kirkus. Poems have been published in the American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, The L.A. Weekly, diode, Linebreak, and The Paris-American, and have been nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University and is currently a Ph.D candidate in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She grew up in Los Angeles near the ocean. 

You can learn more about Michelle and her poetry at her WEBSITE. Check out Michelle on GoodReads too! The Couple Who Fell To Earth was published by C & R Press this past May and is available at your local bookstore now! Or if you prefer, here's the link to the book via Amazon.com.

I received a copy of The Couple Who Fell To Earth through Poetic Book Tours for my honest review. 


Monday, June 13, 2016

Memoir Monday and... Blackout by Sarah Hepola

Blackout by Sarah Hepola... For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure." She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.

But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn't remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead. A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, BLACKOUT is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure--the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It's about giving up the thing you cherish most--but getting yourself back in return.

The online magazine Jezebel had a post called "Ask a Former Drunk: When Do You Know You Have a Problem?". This post was written by Sarah Hepola and it's kind of an advice column where for the next four weeks on Tuesdays, Sarah will answer questions from people who have their own problems with alcohol. She mentioned that she had written this book, Blackout, she sounded interesting and the excerpt I read was good, so I'm highlighting it for Memoir Monday. The book has received a lot of praise and just came out in paperback last week. Published by Grand Central Publishing... it's on my TBR list! Want to read an excerpt? You can find one on Sarah Hepola's website.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Sunday Salon and a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words... especially to children!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And at The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news!


It's finally Summer in Connecticut! The sun is shining and life feels good. This morning we went to a juried art show at the local university and I feel inspired. As a previous art major in college I've always loved creating art, loved walking through a gallery, and appreciate art in all its' forms. Books and art go hand in hand. There's a lot of design that goes into a book, from the obvious design of a cover to the more subtle designs of a book such as type of paper, the weight and feel. One form of books & art are children's picture books. This week I'd like to highlight some outstanding picture books that children are bound to love, but can be loved and appreciated by adults too. These books highlighted today are filled with wonderful artwork and NO words... and as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words...


The Whale by Ethan Murrow (illustrator) & Vita Murrow (author)... A wordless epic sea adventure. There is a legend that a Great Spotted Whale lives in the ocean, although a sighting fifty years ago was never corroborated. Now two young whale watchers each set out to find the whale, one armed with sound-recording equipment, the other with a camera. When their boats collide, they pool their resources to capture incontrovertible proof that the mythical whale exists. The eventual sighting is a magical moment, especially when the children discover that it was their own grandparents who first glimpsed the whale fifty years ago. The Murrows’ spectacular wordless adventure is brought to life with stunning graphite drawings that convey the drama and haunting beauty of the ocean and capture the majesty of the awe-inspiring whale.

This beautiful wordless picture book is amazing. The black & white drawing are so beautiful!  Ethan Murrow is an artist well known for his ballpoint pen drawings, some of which are wall size. All very intricate and playful. This is his first children's book that he's worked on in collaboration with his wife Vita. I saw a little video about the process behind some of these drawings in The Whale and was fascinated by Ethan & Vita using actors to pose, which shouldn't surprise me having gone to art school, but never thought about it in terms of illustrating a children's book. 

Published by Templar an imprint of Candlewick Press April 2016.

Ethan and Vita are actually going to be at my local indie bookstore, Byrd's Books, on Sunday, June 19th to talk about their book. So, if you are near Connecticut I think it would be worth the trip. Why is my vacation starting on the 17th?! I am tempted to delay leaving for a few days so I can go to the talk. In any case, I'll be purchasing a copy of The Whale and will be reviewing it soon!

The Pool by Jihyeon Lee... What happens when two shy children meet at a very crowded pool? Dive in to find out! Deceptively simple, this masterful book tells a story of quiet moments and surprising encounters, and reminds us that friendship and imagination have no bounds.

Another beautifully illustrated book and the debut children's picturebook for artist Jihyeon Lee. The book is the result of Jihyeon visiting a public swimming pool and seeing the contrast of what was going on above the water and the calm emptiness far below the water. This book also won a Gold Medal in the Society of Illustrator's Original Art Show in 2015. And again, it's fascinating to see how this book came together... at the Picturebook Makers Blog you can read a behind the scenes take on how the book was inspired and then created. 

Published in 2015 by Chronicle Books

Float by Daniel Miyares... A boy’s small paper boat—and his large imagination—fill the pages of this wordless picture book, a modern-day classic that includes endpaper instructions for building a boat of your own.


A little boy takes a boat made of newspaper out for a rainy-day adventure. The boy and his boat dance in the downpour and play in the puddles, but when the boy sends his boat floating down a gutter stream, it quickly gets away from him. So of course the little boy goes on the hunt for his beloved boat—and when the rain lets up, he finds himself on a new adventure altogether.


Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole... Simple and stunning images tell the story of a cat named Spot as he weaves his way in and out of a city in this wordless picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Henry Cole. Through this gorgeous visual narrative, Henry Cole shows us a day in the life of a cat named Spot. Spot sneaks away from home by way of an open window to go on a wordless journey through the city. Follow Spot as he weaves through busy city streets, visits a farmers market, wanders into a park full of kite-flyers, and beyond. But while Spot is out on his adventure, his beloved boy owner is looking for him—seeming to just miss him every time. When all seems almost lost, Spot’s story reminds us that there’s always a way back home. With stunningly detailed black-and-white illustrations, readers will love following Spot on his adventure—along the way finding characters and objects that appear, disappear, and reappear—and cheering for the sweet reunion at the end.

Published by Little Simon in March of 2016.

Unspoken by Henry Cole...A young girl's courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story...

When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave
hiding in the barn, she is at once
startled and frightened. 

But the stranger's fearful eyes
weigh upon her conscience,
and she must make a difficult choice.
Will she have the courage to help him?

Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl
and the runaway as they each face a journey: 
one following the North Star,
the other following her heart.

Published by Scholastic Press in 2012


Henry Cole has illustrated over 80 children's books and here are two of his, Spot, the Cat and Unspoken, that he has written and illustrated without words. Both show off his beautiful ability to draw. Spot, the Cat being a more fun book, following the adventures of Spot, and Unspoken, a wonderful children's book about the underground railroad. To learn more about Henry Cole, about his inspirations and art, click on the Publishers Weekly interview. And there's a great write-up of Unspoken at Anita Silvey's Children's Book-a-Day Almanac.

Though I enjoy children's picture books for their artwork, wordless picture books are wonderful for children to use their imaginations. Why do we have to spell everything out in a picture book? In the PW interview with Henry Cole, Mr. Cole said that when he visits schools he likes to have the children write about the scenes in his wordless book, Unspoken, and enjoys reading how differently the children interpret what's going on.

Question... Do You Like Children's Pictures Books? 

What are your favorite children's picture books? And are there any other wordless children's books that you have found and love? Please share all those great books right here! I'd love to hear about them! Hope you've found something interesting here today! 

Happy Reading... Suzanne
  


Saturday, June 11, 2016

All Yours by Claudia Pineiro... A Review


The description of this novel... Infidelity and Obsession Lead to Murder... made me pick it up. The story kept me reading! And boy, what a couple of nice twists at the end!

I won't be giving anything away to tell you that the story is about Ines Pereyra, an Argentine woman who assumes that every husband will at some point in time cheat on his wife, so when she finds a note with a lipstick heart and the words "All Yours" in her husband's things, she's not surprised. But he hasn't left her, so she's convinced that it's not serious... One night, soon after the beginning of the book, her husband, Ernesto, gets a phone call late in the night. Ines picks up the extension to hear a women's voice. Ernesto makes some excuse to leave and Ines decides to follow him. She follows him somewhere dark and deserted, and see's that the woman meeting him is his secretary. "The lovers" have a terrible fight, and Ernesto tears the girl off of him only to accidentally throw her against a tree and kill her. Ines see's this and happily goes home to hear his confession and plot his alibi... but things are never that easy, are they?!

Ines goes through an amazing amount of trouble to protect her man... only to be betrayed AGAIN in the end, so the fierce love she feels for Ernesto (is it a fierc love, or just Inez protecting what is hers- and not turning out like her mother?) turns into a diabolical revenge...

Claudia Pineiro is a well known crime writer in her country of Argentina. This was my first sampling of her writing and I really enjoyed it. Towards the end I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what was going to happen. But this is a novella, so instead of a flowing, pretty read, there is a "precision" to the story. There's no time for the nuances of a 300 pages book, so things are layed out "matter of fact". 

But there is time for humor, because Ines is a great character and we are privy to her thoughts along the way, which at times are funny, especially when she's trying to rationalize Ernesto's behavior. And we get to know Ines and Ernesto as a couple quite well, along with their teenage daughter. There's a great subplot about their daughter, Lali, but I can't say anything because there would be spoilers, but just let me say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In 172 pages I had a fantastic story and a great read. It's a novel of crime and passion and I would give it at least 4 stars. After digesting it a little more, I might rate it higher. And I definitely will read more of Claudia Pineiro! 

All Yours by Claudia Pineiro is published by Bitter Lemon Press. It's available now at your local bookstore. Or, Here's a link for the KINDLE Version or Paperback at Amazon.

P.S. All Yours won the Clarin Prize for fiction, which is, in part, a Argentina literary award.

Friday, June 10, 2016

First Lines Friday...


God was once a woman. Before he exiled himself far from his creation, and while he had still not assumed the name of Nungu, the current Lord of the Universe looked like all the mothers in this world. In this other time, we spoke the same language as the oceans, the land, and the heavens. According to my grandfather, that kingdom perished long ago. but somewhere within us, there remains the memory of that far-off age. Illusions and certainties survive that have been passed on from ne generation to another in our village of Kulumani. 
          … Confession of the Lioness by Mia Couto

Question.. Would you keep reading? or put it down?
    Personally, I am loving Mia Couto's prose and want more!
my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Book & Blogs

New Feature! Follow Me!

giveaway over