Archive for November, 2016

Sonderling Sunday – In the Tapestry Room

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books.

sonderlinge-2

Tonight I’m back to my stand-by, with the wonderfully odd things to translate, The Order of Odd-Fish, by James Kennedy, otherwise known as Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge. (The existence of this book is what gave me the idea for Sonderling Sunday.)

We left off on page 288 in the original English version, Seite 366 auf Deutsch.

The first sentence of the new section would be a practical thing to be able to say in German.
“Dinner at the lodge was loud and rowdy, as usual.”
= Das Dinner im Logenhaus fiel wie üblich laut und ungebärdig aus.

“Jo stewed impatiently.”
= Jo saß wie auf heißen Kohlen.
(“Jo sat like on hot coals.”)

“cut off the stinger” = Stachel abtrennen

“follow the gold thread” = dem goldenen Faden folgen

This seems like a good way to describe someone who’s wide awake when you wish they weren’t:
“wide awake” = hellwach

“surprisingly polite and sociable” = überraschend höflich und umgänglich

This one’s a tongue twister:
“woven” = geknüpft

“roll by” = vorbeiglitt

“tapestry” = Gobelin

“tapestry” = Wandteppich (“wall-carpet”)

And lest we forget:
“special” = besonders

Here’s a nice long word:
“responsible stewardship” = verantwortungsbewusste Hände

“All-Devouring Mother” = All-Verschlingenden Mutter

“nobody knows which is true” = niemand weiß, welche zutrifft

“cramped and packed” = eng zusammengepfercht

“the Silver Kitten of Deceit” = das Silberne Kätzchen der Arglist

“vomit out” = auswürgt

“vengeful” = rachedurstiges (“revenge-thirsty”)

“terrifying” = einflößender

“crashing into each other” = ineinanderkrachten

“melting into” = zusammenschmolzen

“lest she miss a single word”
= damit sie auch nicht ein Sterbenswörtchen verpasste

“Jo cringed.”
= Jo zuckte zusammen.

“All these secrets and plots and skullduggery!”
= All diese Geheimnisse, Ränke und Gemeinheiten!

“glory of battle” = ruhmreichen Schlacht

“with her arms crossed” = mit verschränkten Armen

“stalked” = schlich sich

“slammed the door” = schlug die Tür hinter sich zu

“ran downstairs in a panic”
= rannte in panischem Schrecken die Treppe hinab

“trapdoor” = Falltür

And that brings me to the end of Chapter 21. It was überraschend höflich und umgänglich.

Bis bald!

Review of Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

dept_of_speculation_largeDept. of Speculation

by Jenny Offill

Vintage Books, New York, 2014. 179 pages.
Starred Review

I began reading this book today while waiting for my son’s dental appointment. I finished tonight before doing anything else. Couldn’t look away.

Dept. of Speculation is the story of a marriage. But it’s also the story of how it feels when your husband has an affair. And that’s why I couldn’t look away.

I didn’t cry when I read this book, so I can’t say it brought it all back. I was oddly detached, looking at it in some ways like the wife in the story is looking back on their history together, numb.

The story isn’t coherent and ordered. It’s from the perspective of the wife, looking back on their marriage. I like the way it changes from first person when the marriage is good to third person while the affair is happening, talking about herself as “the wife” in this scenario.

Her marriage and her husband’s affair weren’t very similar to what happened to me at all — and yet — the emotions of the time, that detached, crazy feeling, the sense of incredulity — so much here that I can’t put into words — It was all so, so recognizable to me.

Just yesterday, my cousin expressed surprise that after her ex was nice to her, she was feeling down — and I remembered that feeling so well. While reading this book, I found myself actually jealous of the protagonist, that she ultimately kept her marriage — even though staying with the person who hurt you so incredibly deeply has its own sort of horror.

This isn’t a book about rational thought. It is a book about feelings.

I’m not sure it was therapeutic to read this book and remember what that horrible time felt like. But since I didn’t cry, I think that shows I’ve gained some distance, thank God. I think something was gained to see that I could look at an affair from a new perspective. And be thankful that time is past.

I do have to say that my heart bleeds for this wife in sad recognition. The way she finds something she did wrong that she thinks set him off. Her simple bewilderment that the stars in the sky have changed position. Sigh.

This part:

People say, You must have known. How could you not know? To which she says, Nothing has ever surprised me more in my life.

You must have known, people say.

The wife did have theories about why he was acting gloomy. He was drinking too much, for example. But no, that turned out to be completely backwards; all the whiskey drinking was the result, not the cause, of the problem. Correlation IS NOT causation. She remembered that the almost astronaut always got very agitated about this mistake that nonscientists made.

Other theories she’d had about the husband’s gloominess:

He no longer has a piano.
He no longer has a garden.
He no longer is young.

She found a community garden and a good therapist for him, then went back to talking about her own feelings and fears while he patiently listened.

Was she a good wife?
Well, no.

Evolution designed us to cry out if we are being abandoned. To make as much noise as possible so the tribe will come back for us.

I find myself hoping that anyone who’s thinking about having an affair will read this book and realize that the utter devastation it brings to multiple lives is not worth it. But it’s not a message book; it’s a story.

Spoiler alert: The book ends happily, and I’m glad for that. It’s an exploration of feeling, an exploration of the fragile thing that marriage is, and the bewildering process of holding on when life falls apart.

jennyoffill.com
vintagebooks.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/dept_of_speculation.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Camino Divina, by Gina Marie Mammano

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

camino_divina_largeCamino Divina

Walking the Divine Way

A Book of Moving Meditations with Likey & Unlikely Saints

by Gina Marie Mammano

Skylight Paths Publishing, Woodstock, Vermont, 2016. 178 pages.
Starred Review

Full disclosure: The author of this book is a long-time friend of mine. In fact, this past week I was writing my Project 52 post about the year I was 20, and the post included several pictures of Gina at Disneyland. We had invented the S.I.K. Club — a group that wasn’t afraid to be silly and whose theme was Joy. And a couple days after posting that, something Gina said in this very book blessed me.

Camino Divina is lovely. It took me a long time to read it, because I started reading a short section every time I go for a walk, and I usually only go for a walk two or three times per week. But it has added richly to those walks, and I plan to go through it again.

I’ll let Gina explain what she’s doing in this book, from the Introduction:

What is camino divina? Well, since camino simply means “road” and divina means “divine,” the pair of them together could be thought of as “the path of the Divine” or “the divine way.” It’s a merging of the Spanish camino and the Latin divina, a lingua marriage of sorts. In my vernacular, it just means taking a meaningful stroll out in nature, on a labyrinth, under the moon, with divine words laced in rhythm along with it.

She’s talking about taking a phrase with you and mulling it over as you walk.

This book is designed to take you on a journey — no, many journeys — of both outer landscape and inner landscape. The outer landscapes are all around you and can be explored through a well-planned or serendipitous trip, a pilgrimage to a sacred site, or a meandering somewhere in your own neighborhood. The pith, though, is found in the inner landscape. That is something you take with you wherever you go. It is your inner self, the very soul-housed uniqueness of time and space that you bring into the world and bring into your life’s experiences.

I’ve created twelve adventures that give you the chance to traipse into both of these realms — the inner landscape and the outer landscape. On each adventure I’ve paired you up with a spiritual guide whom I call a “saint” — a sage who has spoken inspiring words and ideas into my soul and out into the world. I’ve then chosen a theme that highlights one aspect of the featured sage’s wisdom and legacy, but by no means encompasses it. As you wander into themes like Amazement, Wildness, Darkness, the Liminal, the Surprising, or the Familiar, know that they can be explored not only with the saint associated with that particular theme, but with the others as well, serving as launching points for you to explore many other possibilities in your camino divina practice. When you’ve finished this book, I encourage you to create a list of your own “saints,” those whose words and thoughts have inspired — and continue to inspire — you.

Gina’s writing is beautiful — She’s a poet — and she opens windows into the words of these twelve writer-saints she’s chosen.

I’ve been walking with these meditations for months now, and they’ve opened my eyes. And I know if I make the journey again through this book, I’m going to uncover all new riches.

skylightpaths.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/camino_divina.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Learning to Swear in America

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

learning_to_swear_in_america_largeLearning to Swear in America

by Katie Kennedy

Bloomsbury, 2016. 340 pages.
Starred Review

17-year-old Yuri Strelnikov, PhD, has been sent from Moscow to help NASA. An asteroid is headed for earth and is going to explode above Los Angeles and destroy the entire region. Unless they can figure out how to stop it. Yuri has done work with antimatter for which he hopes to win the Nobel Prize. If he survives the asteroid.

There are many factors in play. The scientists at NASA have trouble respecting a teenager. Nor do they want someone from Moscow to know what weapons are available to use against the asteroid. Never mind that this information would help with the calculations. But Yuri learns they don’t intend to let him go back home. If they survive.

Meanwhile, Yuri meets a girl, a janitor’s daughter. She is interested in showing Yuri what it’s like for a normal teenager in America. She gets him to come to high school with her to deal with her sadistic algebra teacher. He even offers to take her to prom – during which there’s a message that news about the asteroid has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

I like the scene where Dovie and her brother Lennon take Yuri to a mall.

“You see that?” Yuri said. “If we ever have to figure out who is American spy, it will be very easy.”

“Um, what?” Lennon said.

“Look,” Yuri said, gesturing expansively. “Everybody standing near wall is touching wall. They lean, or put hand on it. It’s like you people have magnetic spines. You get within half meter of some wall and — sloooop — you touch it.” Yuri stood on one foot and then tilted toward the front of a candle store as though caught in its pull. “You tell Russian to stand by wall, hour later he’ll still be standing by wall. Not touching it.” He shook his head. “Your spies have no chance.”

This story is full of charm. Yuri’s just a kid who’s trying to save the world. Oh, and win a Nobel Prize.

katiekennedybooks.com
@katiewritesbks

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/learning_to_swear_in_america.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Ghost, by Jason Reynolds

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

ghost_largeGhost

Track: Book 1

by Jason Reynolds

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016. 180 pages.
Starred Review

Castle Cranshaw, who’s giving himself the nickname Ghost, learned to run the night his dad shot at Ghost and his Ma.

So when I was done sitting at the bus stop in front of the gym, and came across all those kids on the track at the park, practicing, I had to go see what was going on, because running ain’t nothing I ever had to practice. It’s just something I knew how to do.

It turns out that Ghost is as fast as the fastest kid on the team — so the coach lets him join. But Ghost’s Ma will only let him stay on the team if he can stay out of trouble. And then all the other kids have nice shoes. How can he ask his Ma to pay for shoes like that?

This story is simple — a kid’s life is transformed by becoming part of a team — but it’s carried out well. There’s nothing stereotypical about the story, even if you can sum it up in a stereotypical way.

The details of Ghost’s life — the particular ways he gets bullied, his particular temptations that get him in trouble, the particular kids he gets to know on the track team, the particular coach with a bald head and missing tooth who drives a taxi — all those particulars make this story come to life and feel like something we haven’t heard before.

I cringed when I saw “Track: Book 1” on the title page, because the last two books I read were also Book One. But this book is complete in itself — Okay, they don’t tell you who wins the race at the end, which is slightly annoying, but the story is complete and gets us to Ghost’s first race.

All the same, I’m glad I’ll get to find out what happens next for Ghost and his new family on the track team.

jasonwritesbooks.com
simonandschuster.com/kids

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/ghost.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?