|It’s Monday…What are you reading?? is hosted by Book Journey|
|Nonfiction Monday is hosted by The Swimmer Writer today.|
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles–and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.
Although the medical descriptions (Verghese is a doctor after all) can be a little too detailed for me at times, the story is so compelling and beautifully written that I find myself completely transported to Madras, India and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the intertwined lives of these characters . A great read – and it is good to be enjoying adult fiction again!
2. Maira Kalman’s Looking at Lincoln. This picture book biography of Lincoln is told through the perspective of a little girl who sees a man resembling Lincoln and goes on a quest to learn more about this remarkable man. I first learned of Kalman’s unique way of telling a story through art and text through her New York Times blog “And The Pursuit of Happiness” – she is a visual columnist there (what a totally cool job!). Her vibrant, quirky and utterly appealing artwork is hard to resist – I can spend hours just looking at her paintings – and her highly personalized way of telling her story (great examples of “thoughts and feelings” lessons for writing workshop) makes you fall in love with her various subjects (Jefferson, Franklin…and Lincoln). I loved Lincoln before…and now (through Kalman) even more so…
Here is a reading of the book to give you some idea of the richness of text and art:
3. We are reading John Boynes’ The Boy in the Striped Pajamas for our historical fiction genre study, and I re-read the book in preparation for this. Although I remember the story well, using it as a readaloud necessitates knowing it in a whole new way – where to pause, where to provide more information, where to stop and open a line of discussion. The jacket description reads:
This work was set in Berlin, 1942. When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But, Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than what meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
I have not seen the movie version of this book, although some of my students have. The unusual perspective and the power of the story and its historical context itself make this such a special book to read and think about…especially with a class full of rapt students.
Based on the true story of Salva Dut, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan airlifted to the U.S. and safety in the ’90s, this is one of those books you have to read in one sitting – which I did. Here are the author and subject discussing this must-have book:
…and here is Salva’s website: Salva’s Story, which my students now want to explore and participate in.
I’m hoping the new week brings calm and therefore more opportunities to read and live up to my reading challenge goals!