Blog Editor Amy Mercer is reading Amy Bloom’s Away: A Novel. “I received a free copy of this book thanks to Writers Revealed Virtual Book Club. Away tells the story of Lillian Leyb, a Russian immigrant who comes to America alone in the 1920’s after her family is murdered. When Lillian hears that her four-year-old daughter may have survived, she leaves the home she’s dug out for herself and travels across the country and beyond to find her daughter and re-discover herself. The following description will give you a feel for this awe-inspiring story: ‘Lillian is making almost twenty miles a day, although it’s hard to keep track. She counts steps when she’s too tired to think and forgets the days’ final number while she sleeps. . . For the rest of her life when she closes her eyes, she finds only three images of the thousand she intended to keep: a line of low purple flowers, sparse and underfed, sprinkled among the fallen trees; green light rippling noisily across the night sky; a pink-and-coral-streaked dawn near Tagish. . .'”
Suzanne Kamata, Fiction Co-Editor, is currently engrossed in Glory in a Line: A Life of Foujita – The Artist Caught Between East and West by Phyllis Birnbaum, which offers a view of expatriate life in 1920s Paris through the experiences of a flamboyant Japanese artist. Birnbaum started out as a novelist,and she remains an expert storyteller.
Columnist Deesha Philyaw had begun Dorothy Roberts’ book Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare when she “had the privilege of hearing the author speak at an international conference on adoption and culture. Roberts has documented race-based disparities in child removal policies and how the child welfare system has failed to protect the interests of black children. She notes that social factors such as poverty and its attendant problems — not parental inadequacy — are the main causes of child abuse and neglect in this country.”
Literary Reflections Co-Editor Violeta Garcia-Mendoza states: “After last summer’s beach vacation with toddlers in tow didn’t turn out (anywhere near) as smoothly as we had expected, we decided to give up on any travel plans for a while. Instead of stressing over packing enough pairs of socks and sippy cups, I’m engaging in some armchair travel with the next book on my to-read pile, The Best American Travel Writing 2007, edited by Susan Orlean. In her introduction, Orlean writes, ‘Travel is not about finding something. It’s about getting lost — that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment. The little things that tether you to what’s familiar are gone, and you become a conduit through which the sensation of the place is felt.’ I’m looking forward to letting go of the familiar for a bit — an essay and a nap time at a time.”
Kathy Moran, Literary Reflections Co-Editor, has just finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Classified as young adult fiction, this New York Times’ Bestseller List book has a broad appeal. As the narrator, Death gives us a look into the life of Liesel Meminger, a foster child who lives in Munich, Germany, during World War II. Liesel loves books and will take great risks to obtain them — thus, the title. Writing sparsely, Zusak creates a memorable tale about the power of words.