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The Week in Review: 04.26.2019

April 26, 2019


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I’m sure most people are aware of the violence that grips Chicago on a fairly regular basis.  If you’re removed from the area, you probably write it off as gang warfare or drugs and don’t give it a lot of thought.  In AN AMERICAN SUMMER: LOVE AND DEATH IN CHICAGO, Alex Kotlowitz puts a human face on the violence by telling the story of some individuals who live and survive in the Windy City.  People like Eddie Bocanegra who killed a rival gang member as a teen, served time for it, and is now working to prevent violence.  People like Ramaine Hill who witnessed a shooting, told police what he knew, and ultimately paid for doing the right thing.  People like Anita Stewart, a social worker who works in a local school, and tries to help students cope with violence and death daily.

This book is compelling and heartbreaking.  It made me angry and wonder why we’re not doing more to stem the violence and help the children affected by it.  It is heartfelt and well written and moved me to tears more than once.  It’s an important book and one that I recommend to everyone – it’s a must read for those interested in social issues.  The author narrates the audio version of AN AMERICAN SUMMER and does an outstanding job.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


BROTHER, SISTER, ME AND YOU by Mary Quattlebaum is published by National Geographic Kids so I had high expectations when I picked it up and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed.  This book features high quality, full color photographs of animals and rhyming verse that is sure to please youngsters.  It shows animals at play and reminds children that they do the same things with their own siblings.  There’s an Afterword by Dr. Tavah Klein that speaks to parents about the sibling relationship and there are Animal Facts about each of the animals pictured that parents can share as their readers get older.  This is a great book for early readers, especially those with a new sibling.  As a matter of fact, I think this book would make a great big brother/sister gift.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


SOUTHERN LADY CODE is an essay collection by Helen Ellis.  Ellis is from Alabama but has spent most of her adult life in New York.  She’s adapted to life in the north while holding on to some of her Southern values.  She writes of her love of gay men, her need for a Burberry trench coat, how to be a perfect guest, and when to write thank you notes, among other things.  I’d heard a lot about this book before I picked it up and, at first, I wondered why people recommended it and thought it was so funny.  It took a little while but the book did eventually pick up for me.  At times, though, I felt like Ellis was trying just a little too hard.  In the end, I found the collection to be uneven and I liked the book, but didn’t love it.  That’s not to say a few of the stories weren’t spot on but more of them were misses than hits for me.  Ellis reads the audio version herself and does a great job with it.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • We were happy to have a nice, quiet Easter with a family dinner followed by a board game.
  • Carl’s father passed away Tuesday morning and we’ll be heading up for the funeral soon.  The last few years were tough for him.  He will be missed by all who knew him.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged almost 17,750 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2019 4:16 am

    My condolences for your loss.

  2. April 26, 2019 6:42 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss!

    I want to read An American Summer, it sounds intense but very good. I’m on the fence about Southern Lady Code, it sounds like one that will depend on whether your sense of humor matches hers.

  3. Diane permalink
    April 26, 2019 8:42 am

    So sorry to hear about Carl’s dad.

  4. April 26, 2019 8:54 am

    An American Summer is on my list, but I’ve hesitated on Southern Lady Code. I thought her earlier collection was uneven, though I really liked a couple of the stories. So sorry to hear about Carl’s dad.

  5. Lloyd Russell permalink
    April 26, 2019 9:28 am

    Sorry to hear about Carl’s dad, Kathy. It alway sucks, no matter what the circumstances are.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 1:03 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: I’m sure > most people are aware of the violence that grips Chicago on a fairly > regular basis. If you’re removed from the area, you probably write it off > as gang warfare or drugs and don’t give it a lot of thoug” >

  6. April 26, 2019 9:59 am

    Condolences for the loss of Carl’s dad, Kathy.

  7. April 26, 2019 10:24 am

    So sorry for your loss of Carl’s father.

    An American Summer sounds like a book I want to read. I also like the look of The Summer Guests.

    I’m impressed by your walking! Enjoy your weekend.

  8. April 26, 2019 10:29 am

    So sorry to hear about Carl’s dad. My profound sympathies to you and your family!

  9. April 26, 2019 1:05 pm

    So sorry about Carl’s dad. Prayers for his family and friends.

  10. April 26, 2019 2:37 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Carl’s father. Sending hugs and good thoughts. An American Summer sounds like a really good read, I’m adding it to my TBR list.

  11. April 26, 2019 2:41 pm

    Condolences to your family

  12. April 26, 2019 2:42 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that your father-in-law passed away.

  13. April 26, 2019 3:14 pm

    I am sorry to hear about Carl’s dad. It’s always hard to lose a parent. Doesn’t even matter what the circumstances are.

    I was not really aware of the violence in Chicago. I visited the city once and was surprised by how friendly everyone was and walked around at night, even alone and didn’t feel the slightest threat. That was some time ago though.

  14. April 26, 2019 3:42 pm

    I am so sorry about your father in law…I will be thinking about you.

  15. The Cue Card permalink
    April 26, 2019 6:35 pm

    Very sorry about your father in law. That’s sad. You have me interested in the book An American Summer now. It seems important.

  16. April 28, 2019 12:02 am

    I am so sorry about the loss of your father-in-law.
    An American Summer sounds very moving.
    Your step count is great, as always.
    I hope your weekend is relaxing.

  17. April 28, 2019 8:19 am

    I am so sorry for your loss.
    An American Summer sounds like an eye opener. Enjoy your week 🙂

  18. April 28, 2019 9:51 am

    First and foremost, my sympathies to your husband on his father’s passing. I pray you have, are having, or did have safe travels to the funeral. Second, I like your honest reviews and not going along with the trends, e.g. Daisy Jones and the Six. I did check it out from the library, but I’m not going to lie it’s going to take a lot to win me over, especially starting with the format. We’ll see how it goes.

  19. April 28, 2019 8:57 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss and for Carl’s grief. This will be a hard time. Hugs, my friend.

  20. April 29, 2019 10:07 am

    I’m very interested in reading American Summer. My daughter-in-law is a reporter in Chicago, and I think this book deals with many of the issues she reports on every day.

    It’s hard to lose people we love, even when they are ready to go. I miss those who have gone on so much. I send my sympathies to you and your family.

  21. April 29, 2019 10:19 am

    I wonder if Southern Lady Code strikes you as trying too hard because after Steel Magnolias we’d about milked an old genre dry and the world is more homogenized now. Even southern accents are more rare, in my experience. The southern lady thing was already the subject of gentle satire in The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love and its sequels, which are already almost 20 years old. The Ya-Ya Sisterhood was less satiric but also almost as old, now.

  22. April 30, 2019 8:54 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Carl’s father. Sending both of you my deepest condolences. It’s never easy…

  23. May 2, 2019 9:23 pm

    I’m sorry that I’m so late reading this. I hope that Carl and you are remembering the good times. So sorry for your loss.

  24. May 15, 2019 6:29 pm

    AN AMERICAN SUMMER appeals to me! I’m sure it’s a tough read but an important one.

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