Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
February, 2009

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This month's Now Reading list is perfect for those seeking an escape. From Southern California to France to Afghanistan, from World War II to Orthodox Catholicism, take your pick!

Download the list to find it fast at your local bookstore or library.

Suzanne Kamata, Fiction Co-Editor, writes, "I just finished T4: A Novel by Ann Clare LeZotte, a young adult novel-in-verse told from the point of view of Paula, a deaf girl in Germany during World War II. The title refers to the Nazi's program to "euthanize" the mentally ill and physically disabled. LeZotte's stark poems shed light on a harrowing slice of history, while illuminating the triumph of the human spirit."

Ezine Co-Editor Jessica DeVoe Riley, says, "I'm currently reading The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle. It is a novel about four people: an affluent southern California couple and a Mexican couple living illegally in the US who come together in a car accident. Funny at times and sad at others, The Tortilla Curtain’s depiction of the plight of illegal aliens and classism forces readers to acknowledge that the American Dream may not be as real and tangible to everyone in America as it claims to be."

Reviews Co-Editor and Columnist, Sybil Lockhart, shares, "I am just biting into Veronica Chater's Waiting for the Apocalypse: A Memoir of Faith and Family. It's a tender, funny, razor-sharp coming-of-age story about growing up in a ridiculously conservative orthodox Catholic family. Chater's prose evokes a kind of laughing longing in me; her childhood scenes are delicious, complex, surprising and yet and resonant. I grew up without any religion at all, so the way she manages to hold my interest while describing the most intricate workings of the church speaks to her incredible story-telling ability. Yummy, yummy reading."

Sarah Kilts, Literary Reflections Editor, says, "I'm still basking in the afterglow of reading Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. I inhaled this book at breakneck speed, much like I did his first novel, The Kite Runner (which I literally couldn't put down and stayed up until 3:30 a.m. to finish reading). This newest novel follows the lives of two Afghani women. In their characters, we experience the heartbreak of decades of war and oppression that their country has suffered. A master storyteller, Hosseini weaves a tale of complex family ties, betrayal -- and ultimately -- the power of a woman's love. It's all so rich that I'm tempted to go back and re-read it over again from cover to cover."

Caroline Grant, Senior Editor and Columnist, writes, "I confess I yawned through the movie, Revolutionary Road, irritated by this shallow couple who thought they were so special. But still it was clear the writing is special, and now I'm engrossed in Richard Yates 1961 novel. His writing is the best kind of realist prose: spare, true, and occasionally drily funny, as in this passage: "It was a strange time for the children, too. What exactly did going to France in the fall mean? And why did their mother keep insisting it was going to be fun, as if daring them to doubt it? For that matter, why was she so funny about a lot of things? In the afternoon she would hug them and ask them questions in a rush of ebullience that suggested Christmas Eve, and then her eyes would go out of focus during their replies, and a minute later she'd be saying 'Yes, darling, but don't talk quite so much, okay? Give Mommy a break.'"

Christina Marie Speed writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including Caper Journal, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune Online, and The View From Here. She lives with her husband and two sons in a sunny fourth-floor walkup in Brooklyn, New York.

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