The New York Times: Footsteps

If you enjoy dreaming of visiting the places whose beauty and spirits inspire some of literature’s great authors, you may love The New York Times‘s “Footsteps” column. Their newest book is a collection of a few of these columns, if you want to keep a physical copy of these little bursts of literary travel to flip through. After all, it makes sense that someone who wants to see the physical spaces that inspired stories we have only lived in our imaginations might relish the physicality of flipping the pages of this book.

http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9780804189842

I’ll admit that The New York Times: Footsteps was not the best book for me to read during my subway ride. Normally, I think anthologies of short stories are good for my commute, as I only get about 15 minutes each way (20-25 minutes if I decide to read while I walk!) and it can be very frustrating to have to break up my reading time if I’m reading a very addictive book. (You don’t want to put it down!)

Additionally, I found that this wasn’t as enjoyable for me to read because:

  1. I wasn’t familiar with all of the authors referenced throughout.
  2. I wasn’t familiar with all of the destinations referenced throughout.
  3. The differences in writing style sometimes felt a bit disjointed.

The columns I enjoyed most were, of course, about authors whose work I am familiar with and/or with travel destinations I am familiar with. Columns about a place I haven’t heard of that inspired a poem I’ve never read were difficult for me to feel any connection to. That being said, some of the columnists used their words to craft a beautiful image of a destination that drew me in, and/or they were able to describe a piece of literature in such a compelling way that I want to read an author for the first time.

I’d recommend having a look at the list of authors and destinations and seeing if any are of interest to you. I love the idea of retracing the footsteps that inspired a piece of literature or an entire body of work and looking at that destination through this lens.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Favorite Childhood Books (part 1)

I often find myself wondering if elementary school students today are reading the same books that I was reading back in the day. Even though new books get written, I like to think that some will be read by generations of children who want to read them to their own children someday.

Here are a few of my favorites books from early childhood, mostly pre-elementary to elementary school. I know I’ll have more to add to this soon:

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie DePaola
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  • Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series  by Betty MacDonald
  • Wayside School series by Louis Sachar
    Sideways Stories From Wayside School
  • Max and Ruby series by Rosemary Wells

Honorable mention goes to The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, because it was kind of a tradition for me to read it every holiday season although I don’t remember much about it. (You know that all I really took away from the movie was that stellar hot chocolate musical number.)

Another honorable mention is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, which I never really loved as a child, to be completely honest. But again, it was kind of a tradition for me to read it when I was young.

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are_(book)_cover.jpg (400×355)

I definitely have more to add, but I’ll leave you with these for now. I had fun reminiscing, so I’ll be back with more!

What were your favorite childhood books? Did I mention any of them? Which ones did I miss? Have you read all of these?

So…

Yesterday, I spent about half an hour trying to explain to my boyfriend iambic pentameter and Shakespeare’s influence on the English language. Ironically, this came up as a topic of conversation because I was telling him that I sealed my fate as the class nerd when I knew all about iambic pentameter in 9th grade […]