Spring Reading Groups
JUNIOR EDITION: New Books for Younger Readers will search recent releases to discover the best kids' fiction out there. We hope Celia's terrific choices help get kids reading, and help create the next generation of readers and writers!
The Children of the King
Sonya Harnett’s The Children of the King is an enchanting historical novel that nonetheless questions the idea of a burnished English past. That’s the kind preferred by the Lockwoods, a genteel, loving but occasionally bickering family of four living in London, “in a sweeping terrace of identically grand houses, each with pillars beside the front door and curved steps leading down to the footpath.” But a cruel reality insinuates itself into the apparent serenity of family and class, since it’s World War II, and the English await with dread what they know must be coming: their country under siege by German bombers of terrible, massed fire power, and the horrific destruction that follows. Mainly devoted to Jeremy, 14, his sister Cecily, “aged recently 12,” and a temporary new member of the family who brings, along with her meager suitcase, a new perspective for the coddled children, this is an entrancingly written novel with ghostly surprises, perfectly observed aristocratic set-pieces, and scenes of unbearable devastation. Much of the Lockwood children’s storybook England is in the process of being replaced by a modern world.
It was late autumn when Charlie Parker sidled up to one of the guys standing outside the 65 Club, on Fifty-Fifth Street at Michigan Avenue, and no one thought he might be dreaming about music. They gave him a look that was short on contempt but long on experience. These were night people, men in possession of the electricity, the anarchy, the pride, the suspicion, and the doubt of the times. They knew how it went. Whatever it was, they saw it coming. They lived in that part of the night known as after hours, when the streets were wandered by only the most intrepid party spirits, by musicians looking for someplace to pull out their instruments and jam, by johns ready to barter with some whores, and by the homeless, who had to keep in motion to hold back as much of the cold as they could.
One of the guys out in front of the 65 Club was a young Negro named Bob Redcross. Redcross, at that time, was a hustler by his own description. He worked hard at moving whatever he could and had a gift for clothing design that would come in handy later when he started suiting up entire dance bands. Light-skinned, thin, about five feet nine, Redcross had the spark of wit in his eye, but it was matched by an iciness that could be unnerving. When he went to New York in 1937, hustling the backside of the Apollo Theater with the notorious ruffians and desperadoes of 126th Street, people were heard to say: “Leave him alone. That’s a Chicago nigger. He’ll shoot you.”
Redcross also loved music. He was a serious collector, the kind who was there to help out famous musicians who were looking for a recording they’d made back in the day but which was no longer in print and was scarce on the ground. If it was good, chances were Redcross had it tucked away carefully in a brown paper sleeve inside a record-album book, practically brand-new.- See more at: http://centerforfiction.org/stanley-crouch-on-charlie-parker#sthash.RXpUIcUz.dpuf.... READ MORE
The Best International Journals
We've culled 16 of the best English- language journals from around the world—from Canada to England and Ireland, from Australia and Tasmania to the Middle East, from Spain to Sweden, and more—with stories for you to sample.
Miss Pym Disposes
by Josephine Tey
Selected by Kristin Henley, Managing Director
I’d heard of the crime writer Josephine Tey, but other than loving the sound of her name, I knew basically nothing about her, so I decided to pick up one of her stand-alone novels, Miss Pym Disposes. The novel takes place at the Leys Physical Training College in England (where else??), where a bunch of young women do gymnastics and take tests about anatomy, physiology, and whatever else young, athletic women studied back then. Into the students’ lives comes Miss Lucy Pym, the latest pop psychology bestseller who visits the College at the invitation of her old school chum, the headmistress, Henrietta. The crime of this crime novel doesn’t take place until the book is almost done, but the reader has gotten a quaint yet pointed snapshot of this microcosm, along with delightful sentences like, “She concealed the existence of the pork pie, which she privately considered a barbarism.” I admit that I’m a sucker for a) books about boarding schools and b) English books written in a sort of forthright and proper tone that are actually scathing exposes of society a la The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. If you’re that sort of sucker too, read Miss Pym Disposes (disposes what? I’m waiting to find out.)
You can find Miss Pym in our library
Noreen Tomassi, interviewed by Tracy Young
The Center’s Executive Director talks about our popular bibliotherapy program: Based on a 45-minute personal conversation about your reading tastes, your lifestyle, and the issues you’re facing, you'll get a list of a dozen hand-picked novels to offer insight, solace, and inspiration.
When did you start to think, wow, bibliotherapy could work for people?
In October 2012, a board member suggested we try this, and I began to talk to people about the idea. So many people reacted enthusiastically that I thought it was worth a try and might be especially good to roll out in advance of the holidays with the option of giving it as a gift.
Were you surprised that it caught on so quickly?
Not really. I think people who read a great deal believe that books can have a real impact... READ MORE
To order a session, click here.
Ben Marcus is the author of multiple novels. His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Harper's, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Tin House.
A person, not a book, made me a reader. Her name is Jane Marcus. She was born on January 23, 1938, in St. Albans, Vermont. We lived in the same area when I was growing up, and she brought me books. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton. That Was Then, This is Now—also by Hinton. A book called The Pigman, and then, its sequel, The Pigman’s Legacy. Jane Marcus brought me Slaughterhouse Five... READ MORE
Quote of the Week
“The book was in her lap; she had read no further. The power to change one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers. She...