Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
September, 2007

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Amy Mercer, Blog Editor, starts us off by gushing about some of her latest reading: “I just finished The Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander last night. Wow. What an ending. I won't give anything away but I haven't read a story like this in a while where I was looking forward to going to bed each night so I could keep reading. I never read the author's first book (For The Relief Of Unbearable Urges) but I got caught up in all the excitement surrounding the release of this long-awaited novel. It is set in Buenos Aires during Argentina's Dirty War and tells the story of a husband, wife and son struggling to survive in a desperate situation. Englander's characters are so complex, so real, so full of life that as a writer I felt like a student trying to learn from a master. A must read.”

Of her current reading, Columnist Libby Gruner writes, “I'm reading John Crowley's Little, Big. I first read this fantasy novel (or is it magic realism?) in college, when I had the opportunity to interview the author. It's a multi-generational saga of an insular family living on the edge of ... someplace different. Time, space, and size all seem to shift within the world of the novel--but I need to finish it (again!) to remember how it all adds up.”

Deesha Philyaw, Columnist, names Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of A Black Buddhist Nun by Faith Adiele as a title on her nightstand right now. She writes “Adiele writes about her spiritual journey with an unexpected and endearing natural wit and refreshing accessibility.”

Fiction Co-editor Suzanne Kamata writes, “I'm looking forward to reading Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham, which is a novel-in-verse about a fifteen-year-old girl who loses an arm in a shark attack, and what happens after.”

Susan Ito, Fiction Co-editor, adds, “I'm reading The Female Brain, by Louanne Brizendine, M.D. It's illuminating, fascinating, relieving and sometimes highly amusing.”

Literary Reflections Assistant Editor, Violeta Garcia-Mendoza, is "re-reading one of my favorite novels- The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty. I first discovered this book on one of the "Recommended Summer Reading" tables at our local bookstore several years ago. If you're looking for an engaging, well-written narrator, and a memorable coming-of-age story, this novel's a great find.

Marjorie Osterhout , Managing Editor, writes, “Barbara Kingsolver‘s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is having a huge impact on the way I feed myself and my family. Although I’ve been a fan of organic food for several years, I never fully realized that local food was just as important. I’m shopping at farmer’s markets, discovering new recipes, and driving my family crazy with heirloom tomatoes. One pleasant surprise: my seven-year-old son is an enthusiastic part of the process, sampling his way through the farmers market, helping me cook, and abandoning his picky eater ways.”

To this latest title, Columnist Vicki Forman adds, as a companion piece, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. “Another great work on the politics of food, from the over-domination of (subsidized) corn in our country, to the mechanics of the industrial organic, which brings us organic food from places as far away as Chile, creating the same huge carbon footprint, minus the pesticides. A must read.”

Kate Haas, Creative Nonfiction Coeditor, writes “I'm very much looking forward to reading At Large and At Small, the new essay collection by Ann Fadiman. Like every book lover on the planet (ok, in my little universe), I adored her first collection, Ex Libris. And I was so enthralled by The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down that after I finished my library copy I went out and bought it for myself - in hardback! I'm currently number 14 out of 37 on the library hold list for her new one, and I can't wait.”


Violeta Garcia-Mendoza’s poetry and fiction have recently appeared in Kestrel, Coal Hill Review, and Cicada. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two daughters.


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