Tag Archives: Wonderstruck

2011 The Year in Reading Part Deux: The Actual Books

Without further adieu, here they are, in reading order (more or less):

1. Great House by Nicole Krauss

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

4. The Boys of My Youth by Joann Beard

5. City of Thieves by David Benioff

6. Tinkers by Paul Harding

7. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Vergese

8. Flashlight Memories Ed. Ginny Greene

9. Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

11. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

12. Carry Me Across the Water by Ethan Canin

13. Quiet Americans by Erica Dreifus

14. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal

15. The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure

16. Composing Ourselves as Writer Teacher Writers: Starting With Wendy Bishop ed. Pat Bizarro, Alys Culhane, Devan Cook

17.Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Allison Bechdel

18. Alligators, Old Mink and New Money:  One Woman’s Adventures in Vintage Clothing Allison Houtte

19. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

20. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

21. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

22. Last Will and Testament by Jim Tinker

23. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

24. The Architect of Flowers by William Lychack

25. One Nation Under Goods by James J. Farrell

26. Dispatches from the Classroom: Graduate Students on Creative Writing Pedagogy ed. Chris Drew, David Yost, Joseph Rein

Lots of really great reads in there, despite the brevity of the list.  Wordamour will forever remember 2011 as the year she discovered Nicole Krauss (where was Wordamour living? under a rock?); Great House was mesmerizing. The Architect of Flowers and Quiet Americans, two more riveting, and in the former case, luminously iconoclastic, reads also got the kudos they deserved in other end of year lists.  Wonderstruck started slowly but ultimately transported the reader to late 1970’s New York City (one of Wordamour’s favorite times/places) as all the story strands came together as if stitched by an invisble hand. Composing Ourselves as Writer-Teacher-Writers, about Wendy Bishop, was the only “festschriften” of sorts Wordamour has ever read that frequently brought tears.

But as my friend and colleague Graeme Harper likes to say, Onward!

What’s on deck for 2012?

You’ll find out in the The First Book of 2012, coming soon!

Bye y’all,


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Wonderstruck at last!

So this finally came in the mail.

Perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated packages in a long time.  Needless to say, I began reading it immediately.

At first, I was a little underwhelmed, perhaps because the lead up to this book by game-changing author Brian Selznick was so great.  More lovely writing than The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I was told.  A stunning achievement.

I loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret; I thought the writing was fine the story absolutely enchanting, transfixing.  In other words, Wonderstruck had some pretty big shoes to fill and at first, it wasn’t happening.

Sure, the stories, the textual story about a boy in search of his father, the illustrated story about the girl, fifty years earlier, in search of a her mother, were interesting enough but there were no fireworks.  Until. . .

The stories began to merge.  The Museum of Natural History came into play in a big way with cabinets of oddities and allusions to the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,  Then there were the references to he 1964 World’s Fair, the Queens Museum and the panoramic replica of New York City that is housed there (I’ve stood before it in awe myself) and finally, the New York City blackout of 1977.

A children’s book, yes, but also a Generation X book if there ever was one, right up there with Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, about growing up in New York City in the ’70’s.

One smile of recognition after another.

People lost and people found.  Yes, a beautiful symphony.

Read it, y’all.


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