What I’m Reading This Week: “Journey of Dreams”; “The Secret Life of Louis IV”; and “Growing Up Global”
Lots to read this month, and the candy hangover from last night is not helping me concentrate. Self-inflicted torture, I know. Damn you, miniature Milky Ways and Hershey bars. haha.
Veronica Buckley’s new book, “The Secret Wife of Louis IV, Francoise D’Aubigne, Madame de Maintenon” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $35, 498 pages), would be a great pick for a book club, but only if your book club actually reads. Do any of you belong to book clubs, out there? I know you do. Is yours more about the wine and the talk-talk, or the books? I like a good mix of both — it’s hard to find. This biography has loads of art, family trees and salacious gossip. Perfect. Buckley’s other biography, “Christina, Queen of Sweden,” also sounds great. Check ‘em out.
That one was for the grown-ups, but the next two are for young adults and families.
Marge Pellegrino’s “Journey of Dreams” (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, $15.95, 250 pages), is one I think more serious students will enjoy. It’s the story of Tomasa, her journey north with her brother, baby sister and father, running away from the Guatemalan army and in search of her mother and brother. Nicely written, with good descriptions and a fast-paced (but not too fast) plot. (Themes of genocide and danger.)
I have to admit, the cynic in me fought a little against opening up “Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be at Home in the World,” by Homa Sabet Tavangar (a “businesss consultant” and mother of three. I think that sort of got the hackles going, too. Business consultant? Alrighty). (Ballantine Books, $16, 281 pages.) You know who doesn’t fly anywhere anymore? Me. I can’t fly anymore. So long, Caribbean. I probably won’t see you. Paris? Ditto. But I can still venture to Canada… Mexico… anywhere in the U.S. (Love road trips — just have inner ear and motion sickness that prevents me from flying.) But this book has lots of tips and suggestions, even if you’re an “armchair global citizen.” There’s nothing to stop you from learning about other cultures, at school, in your own living room, or at your local library.
* Did you know, for instance, that Papua New Guinea (find it on the globe) contains fewer than six million people, but has the most languages of any country — 832. Mexico has 295 native languages.
* She has to throw in her little promo’s for the Gates Foundation. Blech.
* But then rebounds with lists of movies, books and activities.
* Websites? Sure. With tips on investing responsibly, saying “no” to violence” and information on UNIFEM, UNICEF, Save the Children’s Annual Mother’s Index, Worldpulse.com and the Girl Effect.
All right. It’s worth purchasing, this one.