Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Wednesday Afternoon at the BEL

Until today, I hadn't been to the Busan English Library for a couple of months.  The last time I was there, my checkout privileges were suspended for a week because I was 2 days late returning my books.  I won't say that I was mad or even annoyed, but it did put me off the BEL for a while.  Today was fine weather though, and it was my day off.  Perfect for a walk and for book-hunting.

Usually I'm a little hard to please when I'm at the BEL, but today, everything I saw looked so good.  Books fell off the shelves and into my hands like ripe fruit.  I had to ask the person at the Information Desk for a bag to carry my treasures home.  Here's what I found:

1. The Water is Wide - Pat Conroy.  Conroy's memoir of teaching on an island off the Carolina coast.  I remember when I was in 6th grade, our social studies class took a field trip to the base theater to see Conrack, the movie based on this book.  I had such a crush on Jon Voight, who was not yet Angelina Jolie's dad.

2. Tall Story - Candy Gourlay.  Book Rhapsody's book group read this YA novel.  When he mentioned it, I'd remembered seeing it in the BEL.  I know nothing about Filipino writers, so this is going to be fun.  No dust jacket is on this book -- or any book at the BEL -- WHY?  WHY?  but I like Candy Gourlay's cartoonish author blurb, which looks like it was inexpertly cut out and pasted to the inside of the front cover:

3. Miss Spitfire - Sarah Miller.  Juvenile biographical fiction about Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher.  This looks really good.  Again, a memory from my elementary school days.  At recess one day, the girl who sat behind me, Cindy, told me about "the best movie ever" she'd seen about a little girl who was blind and deaf and her teacher. Cindy described the famous battle at the breakfast table in detail.  Later, back in class, I couldn't stop thinking about Helen and Annie, and kept turning around in my seat to ask Cindy more questions until she finally told me to leave her alone and let her do her work.

4. Hurt Go Happy - Ginny Rorby.  Another YA novel.  Joey has been deaf since the age of seven.  She wants to learn sign language, but her mother won't let her.  Then she meets a neighbor who has a chimpanzee who knows how to sign.

5. My Mother The Cheerleader - Robert Sharenow.  Clearly, I fell into the YA section and couldn't get up. Oh, well. There are worse places.  The setting for this novel is 1960, the Ninth Ward in New Orleans. The "Cheerleader" in the novel title refers to the group of women who opposed integrated schools and would stand outside the school buildings and taunt 6-year-old Ruby Bridges (an actual historical figure) with racial epithets.  John Steinbeck wrote about them in the dispiriting last section of Travels with Charley.  The "My" is 13-year-old Louise, who narrates the story.  I'm really not sure about this one; I don't know if I have the stomach for it.


Michele said...

You did good!

Vasilly said...

I'm curious about My Mother the Cheerleader. I would probably have a hard time stomaching it too.

jenclair said...

I've fallen and been unable to get up often with YA novels! :)