Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak died today at age 83.  I spent 45 incredible minutes listening  to and wiping away tears from a tribute to Mr. Sendak on Fresh Air today:  Sendak's comments to Terry Gross at the end should remind us all to live each day as if it were our last.  

To see the more caustic side of Sendak, watch his recent interview with Stephen Colbert.  This is the second part of the interview which is about children's literature.

Mr. Sendak, thank you for the wonderful illustrations in the Little Bear series.  Those pictures helped me learn to be a parent. Thank you for Pierre and making it okay to say "I don't care" even if a certain child drove me nuts repeating it.   May you "sail off through night and day and in and out of weeks to where the wild things are."  Rest in peace. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Books for Mother's Day

With Mother’s Day fast approaching here are some ideas for the special mother or grandmother in your life:

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen is a witty, caring, kind, and thought-provoking memoir/essay collection filled with observations by the Pulitzer Prize winner.  It reads as if Quindlen were the friend who knows you better than yourself sitting across the table enjoying lunch while talking about the rigors of aging, marriage, family and best of all friendship.  If your mother values her friends then this wise volume will be a gift she’ll cherish.  Quindlen, the queen of the quotidian, has hit a home run with this one.

The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan is a compulsive page-turner based on Harvard’s famed, every-five-year, red-covered book featuring short essays about graduates’ personal and career details.  The class of ’89 is arriving in Cambridge for their twentieth reunion and all is not exactly as the Red Book says.  Mom will enjoy this homage to living an authentic life with those you love.  It’s packed with romance and sensual rendezvous.  While at first a witty, seemingly carefree novel about beautiful people who have it all, it soon percolates with secrets, betrayals, forgiveness and all that gives life meaning.

The Darlings by Cristina Alger brings the financial crisis to a human level. Merrill Darling, the daughter of a billionaire financier and her lawyer husband Paul Ross live a perfect life until things go tragically wrong.  Money, power, the SEC, hedge funds, and a delightful dose of engaging characters make this novel soar.

More Than You Know, a novel by Penny Vincenzi, is 589 pages that Mom might just read in a day or two (if you do the dishes and the laundry).  If Mom likes fashion, British sagas and revisiting the 1960s and 70s then she’ll adore this romp of a romantic comedy.  Vincenzi’s Lytton family trilogy was hugely successful and this tale of Eliza, an upper class fashion editor who falls for a driven-to-succeed working-class mate, should appeal to the same readers.  Stir in Summercourt, the family estate that may be lost due to a downturn in the family resources, and you have a perfectly delectable read for a long flight or for those awaiting more of Downton Abbey.