Monday, February 19, 2007

Fast Reads

I must have a little bit of a restless nature lately as the last three books have been short and easy to read. But I had a great time reading them and it was a great way to spend this holiday weekend.

I found the first book,Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy, as I read a recent blog at Semicolon. They had been doing a study of the Middle East and as I was reading the memoir of Queen Noor I was intrigued. I had to get the book via an inter-library loan but it was worth it. Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is a retelling of an Iraqi folktale from the 11th century. A poor merchant in Baghdad is the father of 7 daughters, too poor to provide much more than a meager living while his brother, the father of 7 sons, lives the life of a wealthy merchant. Yet riches aren't always what they seem! Buran, the middle daughter, angry with her uncle for spurning her and her sisters convinces her father to agree to her dearest wish - to masquerade as a boy and travel afar off to learn the traders art. Before Buran's story is over she has "not only established the family's fortune," but has bested her uncle and cousins as well! It was truly enjoyable!

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainia by Marina Lewycka was the Book Group read for AbeBooks. Certainly not one I had heard about or would have been apt to pick up on my own, but I stretched a little and tried it. Again it was another cultural jump. This time to England where an elderly Ukrainian immigrant decides to marry a much younger woman - much to the dismay of his two daughters! I must admit that I had to give this book the 50 page rule but finally fell into it. I didn't love it the way that many in the group did but perhaps that's because I worry often about my parents as they are approaching their later years. What was seen as humorous tended to hit me harder and perhaps much more close to the heart. I did learn a lot about the immigrant saga and the history of the tractor as well as the Ukraine - a great plus.

The last book was a little gem. Written in 1943, Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes, is the family memoir of a Norwegian family in San Francisco in the early 1900's. Each chapter reflects the sweet caring of a clever and crafty mother. I found myself giggling and laughing at every chapter. This little book can be read in an evening and is a real trip back in time. In it I saw my own mom, and both of my grandmothers!! This book counts as one of my "classic" reads of the year because my "classic" definition was something over 50 years old!!

My library stock has now been whittled down to 6 and none look like fast reads - but more opportunities to adventure!! That feels like the perfect thing as I continue on Jury Duty. I had a good laugh this week when one juror asked if I really read all the books I bring with me!!


Maggie said...

Oh, you must watch I Remember Mama, a 1948 movie starring Irene Dunne and based on Mama's Bank Account! Good Stuff! :D

Becka said...

People should read this.