Book Review: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

August 28, 2010
Title: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
Author: Alexandra Fuller
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir
Year Published: 2003
Source: I purchased this book

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller, is the author's account of growing up in the countries of Rhodesia , Malawi and Zambia. Fuller's family was originally from England, where Alexandra was born. Her family moved to Africa during a time of great unrest. Rhodesia was still white-ruled, but at the tail-end of British colonialism. The parents like to live in isolated areas, far away from towns and cities.

However, Fuller's parents were not rich, titled landowners, but rather poor farmers barely eking out an existence. Of course, they still had black servants. Even if Rhodesia didn't have an official "apartheid" which in Afrikaans means "apartness", everything is separate. The different races go to different schools, stores, and hospitals.

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

August 25, 2010
Title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Author: Betty Smith
Genre: Fiction, Classics
Format: Paperback
Year Published: 1943
Source: I purchased this book

When A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was originally published in 1943, it was a huge success, and Betty Smith's book became an instant classic. It is about several years in the life of the Nolan family in the early 20th century and it is mostly about the coming-of-age of the main character, Francie Nolan. It is that rare novel that can be enjoyed by both teenagers and adults.

This book very definitely has its own style, I think partly because it was written as a memoir and changed into a novel. Smith obviously poured her heart into this book. Her other novels are charming, but they don't have the depth of this book. Because Smith could fictionalize apparently real people, she could flesh out the characters until they seem like real people, not characters in a novel. Sometimes even minor characters are given thoughts and feelings, as how they relate to the main characters in the book.

Book Review: My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond

August 19, 2010
Title: My Sparkling Misfortune
Author: Laura Lond
Genre: Children's Literature
Format: E-book
Year Published: 2010
Source: I was sent a copy of this book for review.

My Sparkling Misfortune is a children's book by Laura Lond. The book is set in medieval times, in the days of knights, sword-fights, and vast kingdoms. What makes this book so unusual is that it is told from the point-of-view of the villain

What is even more surprising is that it is told with a great sense of humor. The protagonist-villain is Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle. 

As Arkus says:
I am the villain. What? You wanted a noble hero? Well, tough. You've got the wrong book then. But let me tell you something before you put it down: there are no heroes without us villains.  

As the book progresses, however, the line becomes blurred between the villains and the heroes. The apparent hero really becomes the villain, and Arkus . . . well, it turns out that Arkus has some surprises ahead.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

August 9, 2010

Right now I'm reading so many books! I have books in every room and I'll pick one up, read it for awhile, then put it down and read another. Here is my current list:

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter. Because I love cats and libraries.

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan. I love dogs, too.

An Innocent, A Broad by Ann Leary. An American gives birth to her son in England.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. A classic coming-of-age novel.

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller. Growing up in a dysfunctional family (is there any other kind?)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

Time Out for Books

August 5, 2010

(Public Domain photo from Wikipedia)

More than anything else, I love to read and write. So if I could choose anyplace to have a time out, it would be a bookstore or library. I love going to bookstores, drinking in the cafe and reading magazines. I always carry a small notebook and pen in my purse, and will sit in the bookstore, writing away at essays, short stories and blog posts. I love to write with pen and paper. I even collect small notebooks -- I love anything that is in the shape of a book! I also love to wander the aisles of books in the bookstore and look out for new books that I want to read.

Wordful Wednesday #1: Daisy the Cat, a.k.a. Shortcake

August 4, 2010

Why did I pick a photo of one of my dear, departed cats for Wordful Wednesday? Because Daisy looks so self-satisfied (and spoiled) in this photo. This photo was actually taken with a Polaroid camera! It not only captures her cuteness but her outgoing personality.

One of the reasons I chose this photo is because I love cats, which is partially why I chose the name The Literary Lioness for this blog. Cats and books just go together! Everyone knows that, right?


August 2, 2010

In the late 1960's my Swedish grandmother visited the United States. She was supposed to stay for two weeks but ended up staying for two years! "Mormor" had an effervescent personality and was eager to try new things. She loved America – the food, the people, and the garage sales! She’d never been to America before and just loved it.

Her favorite American television show was "The Lawrence Welk Show." It featured bubbly “champagne music” – old-time music that senior citizens loved. She loved the effervescence of the bubbles in the champagne bottle in the opening credits. The cast was full of very attractive, wholesome-looking men and women with effervescent personalities. Mormor loved singing along with the songs in her fractured English.

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Effervescent is the Word Up, Yo vocabulary meme's word this week. You can read about the Word Up, Yo meme here.
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