For the Love of Reading

Between You & Me: confessions of a comma queen

Are you a grammar aficionado? Do you love learning the ins and outs of different jobs? Do you like reaffirming that your grammar and punctuation is spot-on, or why and how it has strayed from the path of correctness?  If so, Mary Norris’s Between You & Me is exactly right for you. 

Norris describes her life before and during her thirty year tenure at The New Yorker as a copy writer with the detailed knowledge to make sure that the correct word, usage and punctuation is always employed. To accomplish that, her best tool (other than her comprehensive knowledge of grammar) was her noteworthy stash of No. 1 pencils. What an odyssey it was to keep a supply of the best proofreading pencil in the world. And those in a perfect working state.  Solution: a passionate epistolary correspondence with one manufacturer of the yellow-painted rods.

With humor and great descriptive ability Norris describes her first jobs, as a foot checker at a public swimming pool (checking for Athletes foot before swimmers entered the pool), and milkman—make that milkwoman--a job those under fifty may not even know existed. Later, she went to graduate school in literature, and  moved to New York where she took a few lowly desk jobs before she scored an interview at America’s most prestigious literary magazine, The New Yorker.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante is a sensitive, thoughtful portrayal of friendship and finding yourself. Both of the main characters are teen boys who feel out of place in the world around them, until they find each other. Together they navigate the ups and downs of teenage life; friends (or lack of them), family, independence, and love. 

An added bonus of this particular book are the complex parent child relationships. Unlike many YA novels, the parents in this book are very present in their sons' lives. Dante is the only child of intellectuals and Aristotle is the youngest child of self made, hard working people. Both of them love their parents, but both of them find different aspects of their lives hard, if not impossible, to share with them.

This is a great realistic fiction for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. The world is a big place, just because you haven't found where you belong yet, doesn't mean you won't.

Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World

It’s National Poetry Month, and if you want to learn more about the form, pick up this book. Hirshfield writes fine poetry imbued with a Zen calmness and childlike wonder about the natural world. Her prose is intelligent, well-written and informed by a great knowledge of poetry--both modern and classical.

But it’s her descriptions about writing poems that I like best. As she says, “Poetic imagination is muscular, handed, and kinesthetic.” She describes the poet’s reach into the world as “prehensile.”

According to Hirshfield, poets bring the world of the senses to the page, “In poetry’s words, life calls to life with the same inevitability and gladness as bird calls to bird, whale to whale, frog to frog.”

While You're Waiting...The Liar

The Liar, the new book from Nora Roberts, will be released next week.  While you’re waiting for your copy to reach the hold shelf, why not try these other books about women dealing with the aftermath of their husband’s secret lives?


The Liar by Nora Roberts

Shelby only found out her husband married her under a false name after he went missing and was presumed dead.  Devastated, she returns to her hometown with her daughter ready to start over-in life and in love. Shelby discovers a key to a safe deposit box.  What she finds inside convinces her that not only was her marriage a lie, but the stranger she was sharing her life with is a very dangerous man.  Roberts’ expert storytelling leaves the reader on the edge of her (or his!) seat right until the very end.



You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Grace is a successful New York Therapist with a beautiful family and is about to start a PR blitz for her forthcoming self-help book about relationships-and how to identify the signs women tend to ignore that lead to heartbreak.  Active in her son’s school, Grace is shocked when one of her fellow committee members, Malaga, is found murdered.  Grace’s husband, Jonathon, has always been distant emotionally and works long hours, so it took Grace awhile to realize that he was missing, and not in the Midwest for a conference like he claimed.  Tension increases as Grace (and the reader) realizes that Jonathon’s disappearance and Malaga’s death are related.  Korelitz masterfully expresses Grace’s increasing anxiety as she pieces together her husband’s secret life while her own is falling apart.


The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The lives of three seemingly unrelated women collide when one of the women, Cecilia, finds a letter from her husband to be opened only in the event of his death.  Concerned, she reads the letter and everything she thought about her marriage begins unravel.  Meanwhile, Tess is facing her own marriage problems.  Her husband has just confessed that he and Tess’s cousin are in love.  Tess moves her young son back to her hometown to live with her mother and starts a relationship with the local school’s P.E. teacher.  Rachel, the school secretary, believes the P.E. teacher murdered her only daughter thirty years earlier. These three women’s lives collide in unexpected and disturbing turns of events.


The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreeve

A knock on her door at 3am shatter’s Katherine Lyon’s life.  The plane her husband Jack was piloting exploded off the coast of Ireland, killing all 103 on board.  The investigation indicates a bomb-and implicates Jack as being complicit in the plot.  Katherine desperately tries to protect her daughter from shock after shock as her husband’s secret life comes to light.  Shreeve is expert at revealing game changing details at just the right moment and will leave reader’s wondering just how much they know about their loved ones.

Flip Flop Flying Our Way into Baseball Season

Flip Flop Fly Ball: An Infographic Baseball Adventure by Craig Robinson

Written by an Englishman with a great love of America’s favorite pastime, Flip Flop Fly Ball is a book of infographics about all things baseball.  Craig Robinson came to New York for a business trip and went to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees play the Twins. He’s been hooked on baseball ever since.  The infographics started as a way to help him remember the rules and oddities of the game.  Now it features portraits of players with animals (Kevin Youkalyptus, anyone?), fun facts about teams and stadiums, and a Venn diagram demonstrating when the wave is appropriate at a baseball game (spoiler alert: Never. It’s never appropriate.) Baseball lovers and non-fans alike will delight in this book.


Haunted Baseball: Ghosts, Curses, Legends and Eerie Events by Mickey Bradley

Is there any sport that carries as many supersitions around it as baseball? Sprits, curses, jinxes and ghosts fill this book of tales from players, umps, stadium personel and front office staff.  Each chapter features an unexplainable story from baseball.  Has a Billy Goat’s curse really kept a team out of the World Series for 100+ years?  Did Roberto Clemente predict the plane crash that took his life? And where do those hidden passageways beneath Dodger Stadium lead?  A mix of lore and anecdote, there is something for every baseball lover in this book.


Willard Mullin’s Golden Age of Baseball by Willard Mullin

Willard Mullins is an American sports cartoonist, best known for his character the “Brooklyn Bum,” a personification for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This collection features Mullin’s drawings from 1934-1972- the golden age of baseball.  Depictions of the greats feature heavily-DiMaggio, Williams, Berra, Koufax.  Also included is the poem Mullin’s composed for the occasion of Lou Gehrig’s retirement. This book will appeal to the history buff inside any baseball fan.


34 Ton Bat: The Story of Baseball As Told Through Bobbleheads, Cracker Jacks, Jockstraps, Eye Black, and 375 Other Strange and Unforgettable Objects by Steve Rushin

What says baseball more than cracker jacks and bobble heads? What would the game be without cards, pennents, peanuts and hot dogs-not to mention bats, balls and gloves.  34 Ton Bat is the history of baseball told through ephemera.  This readable history is organized in order of importance-from most to least.  Rushin reveals the evolution of how the objects we most closely associate with baseball came to be as wells as the people and innovators behind those objects. As if that isn’t interesting enough, he includes silly anecdotes as well.  What happened when beer was reintroduced to stadiums after prohibition? You’ll have to read 34 Ton Bat to find out!

Leaving Before the Rains Come

If you’re read Fuller’s first two memoirs you know that 1. Her family drinks a lot 2. Is a tad dysfunctional 3. But everyone loves each other and also madly loves the people, wildlife, landscape of southern Africa.

In this book, Fuller (whose nickname is Bobo) recounts picking up stakes, giving up her