25 September 2014

Reading On Topic: Literary Roots

Reading: On Topic @ www.BethFishReads.comHow do you organize your books? My answer: I don't.

However, I often mentally group my collection into broad topics or categories. Today I want to talk about eight books I think of as having literary roots. Some of the novels provide a different perspective on a classic, others explore real-life people who were connected with a famous book or author, and one resets a favorite story in contemporary times. Welcome to this edition of Reading On Topic.

Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig; Juliet's Nurse by Lois LeveenGetting Her Say

The literary connections of this pair of novels are easy to spot. In Ruth's Journey, Donald McCaig imagines the life of Mammy from Gone with the Wind. Not only do we learn the servant's name, we discover just how she came to Tara from her native Saint-Domingue (Haiti). McCaig focuses on Ruth's relationship with Ellen O'Hara (Scarlett's mother) and imagines Scarlett's childhood up to the famous barbecue at Twelve Oaks. (Simon & Schuster / Atria; October; ISBN: 9781451643534) Juliet's Nurse, by Lois Leveen takes us inside the home of the Cappellettis, where Angelica, mourning the loss of her own daughter, is hired as Juliet's wet nurse. Through the nurse's eyes, we discover the events leading up to the moment when, fourteen years later, Juliet meets Romeo and then her tragic death. (Simon & Schuster / Atria; September; ISBN: 9781476757445)

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood; Goodnight June by Sarah JioWho Was She?

This duo imagines the lives of five women who were well-known in the book world. In Mrs. Hemingway, Naomi Wood gives voice to all four of the famous author's wives, and from their perspectives we get to know the private Hemingway. Although a work of fiction, this story of the women, their marriages, and the man they loved is based on thorough research. (Penguin paperback; May; ISBN: 9780143124610) Can you even count the number of times you've read Goodnight Moon (to yourself or to a child)? Now ask yourself what you know about author Margaret Wise Brown. Curiosity drove Sarah Jio to explore Brown's life, and the result is the novel Goodnight June. Based on fact and fleshed out by imagination, this novel brings the author of the beloved book to life. (Penguin / Plume; May; ISBN: 9780142180211)

The Furies by Natalie Haynes; A Burnable Book by Bruce HolsingerClassics Gone Mysterious

The roots of these mysteries are found in ancient Greece and medieval England. The Furies by Natalie Haynes features an ex-actor who is mourning the death of her finance while starting a new career. Alex, now a drama therapist, teaches the Greek tragedies to a class of very troubled teens in attempt to help them face their personal issues. But what happens when the kids relate a little too closely to the stories of murder and revenge? (Macmillan / St. Martins Press; August; ISBN: 9781250048004) In A Burnable Book, Bruce Holsinger takes us back to the 1300s to solve a mystery surrounding a subversive book. Geoffrey Chaucer teams up with John Grower to find the manuscript, thereby protecting young King Richard II and saving the monarchy. Sharp period details color the action. (HarperCollins / William Morrow paperback; September; ISBN: 9780062240330)

Sway by Kat Spears; Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeA Retelling and a Return

Rounding out this edition of Reading On Topic are a contemporary retelling of a classic and a novel that asks, What happened next? In Sway, Kat Spears takes Cyrano de Bergerac and sets the story in a modern high school. Every student knows that Jesse is the go-to guy for whatever you want, so when football star Ken asks for help to win a date with the beautiful Bridget, Jesse assumes it will be a snap. Until, that is, he gets to know the girl and starts to fall in love. (Macmillian / St. Martin's Griffin; September; ISBN: 9781250051431) Do you remember the ending of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Danielle Paige wants to know what happened after Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch of the West and finally found a way home. Dorothy Must Die revisits an Oz in which Dorothy has returned to rule and has let power go to her head. Can Amy--another Kansas-native, tornado-traveling girl--undo the damage and restore Oz to its former glory? (HarperCollins / Harper Torch; April; ISBN: 9780062280671)


grammajudyb 9/25/14, 9:19 AM  

What a fun new way to look at books. Thanks for the comparison reviews. My books are organized by what to read next and books that I have read are organized by author. Not very original, I know.

Beth Hoffman 9/25/14, 10:09 AM  

Great post! I organize my books by subject and how I've rated them on my own scale of 1-5. It sounds crazy, but it works for me.

rhapsodyinbooks 9/25/14, 10:23 AM  

I'm a Dewey Decimal kind of person!

Katherine P 9/25/14, 3:30 PM  

What a great way to look at books! To be honest I tend to group mine into have read and haven't read and that's about it! I love how you looked at books that have similar feels. I absolutely loved Goodnight June and have been wanting to read Mrs. Hemingway. I'm definitely going to have to move this up on the list!

Vicki 9/25/14, 4:20 PM  

Now that's an interesting way to organize your books!

I'm in the process of re-organizing my books, because even though I'm very organized in every other area of my life, I tend to just stick a book wherever I find a spot on a shelf. That makes it really hard when you need to find a book! My son keeps telling me to organize them alphabetically by title, but I think I'm going to do it by author last name.

bermudaonion 9/25/14, 7:19 PM  

My books are alphabetized by author's last name but I do make stacks according to subject from time to time.

jilllora 9/25/14, 10:29 PM  

I tend to lump like books together on shelves...history, fiction, travel, books about books. And then as I get rid of books and add new books they get jumbled until I move and then I start the organization to disorganization process all over again.

Daryl 9/26/14, 12:19 PM  

i organize my book shelf by author .. its how i roll … and you've given me some good suggestions here .. thanks!

Nise' 9/27/14, 9:21 PM  

I do organize my books in a variety of ways depending upon where they are placed. I have seen Dorothy Must Die at the library and am intrigued enough to want to bring it home. I loved Goodnight, June.

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