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The Sunday Salon: Camping Out

I'm not really here today. I'm out in the woods camping with some friends - our annual women's campout. Sounds like the shady woods is one good place to be this weekend, with temps expected to be over 100. I don't think we'll be having any campfires! When I'm not talking, laughing, singing or eating, I'll be sitting in the shade of some tall Douglas firs and cedars reading. Hopefully I'll get to Olive Kitteredge sometime this weekend. I've read rave reviews of this book, with some comparisons to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. First, though, I'll finish The Madonnas of Leningrad - started it Wednesday night and so far I feel pretty lukewarm about it.

Books I've read this week:
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. This is a quirky little book! I feel like I need to read it again to take it all in. I would probably rate it higher on a second read. Written in 1961, it explores the influence of an unorthodox teacher on her students in an Edinburgh girls' private school. I was expecting laugh out loud humor, which this is not. Made famous by the movie starring Maggie Smith, which I've never seen (but plan to watch soon).
  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi, "a totally unique memoir about growing up in Iran after the Shah left power." This is a powerful graphic memoir, and Satrapi and her family are remarkable people. Marji's parents were very open and honest with her about what was happening in their country and encouraged her to express her opinions and take part in demonstrations against the fundamentalist government - to a point. I learned a lot about the Iran-Iraq war and the civil war in Iran in the 1970s -- and the people of Iran -- from this book. I'm looking forward to reading Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return next week.
You can read more about this remarkable book and an interview with Satrapi, "On Writing Persepolis," at this website. This is another movie I intend to watch soon.

I've come to appreciate the graphic novel - or memoir - as a very effective way of conveying story and emotion. It's more than just a sophisticated comic book. One of my favorite books last year was another graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, brilliant author of Dykes to Watch Out For.

I hope you're have a wonderful Sunday wherever you are!

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9 comments:

Jill said...

Can't wait to hear what you think about Olive, especially the last chapter.

Hugs,
Jill

gautami tripathy said...

Have fun camping!

Do check out my Sunday Salon posts :D

SS 1: Review of The Dark Child

SS 2: Musings about books

Table Talk said...

Do you know, I don't think I've every read or seen 'Miss Jean Brody'. It's one of those stories, at least in the UK, that you know without ever having had any first hand contact with it. I must put that right.

BooksPlease said...

I've recently re-read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and watched the film with Maggie Smith as Miss Brodie. I first saw the film years ago and watching it again just after reading the book I found, inevitably, quite a few differences. I enjoyed the book more, just. As you say it's not laugh out loud humour and I think the film is actually full of pathos.

Literary Feline said...

It sounds like you are having a great time on your camp out! It's been years since I last went camping.

I have plans this year to read both Persepolis and Fun Home. I am glad to hear you enjoyed both of them.

Have a great week!

wisteria said...

Seems like you are having a great relaxing time. Good for you.
I looked up Madonnas of Leningrad on Library Thing and it looks very interesting. Please give us a little review when you are done. I think I would like to read this one.

justareadingfool said...

I'm glad you're enjoying your camping.

Just curious, for you and anyone else, when do you stop reading a book? I noticed you said you were lukewarm on the one book, but you're still reading it? Is it because you feel that you have to finish it? Personally, I'm learning (haven't learned completely yet in other words) to just give up on books that I'm not enjoying. It's much easier for me with movies.

debnance said...

Miss Jean Brodie wasn't what I was expecting. I anticipated her being a teacher who opened up kids' minds and she did that. I anticipated a teacher who shook things up and she did that. What I wasn't expecting was her wrongheadedness and her stubborn wrongheadedness.

beastmomma said...

I feel the same way about persepolis.