August. The last gasp of summer before everyone starts thinking about back-to-school clothes, back-to-school school supplies and back-to-school attitudes. I know my college has already adopted the attitude now that the athletes and international students have started arriving on campus. August was quiet compared to July’s crazy traveling. But, for books it was:
- The All-Girl Football Team by Lewis Nordan ~ Nordan is my emotional train wreck.
- Zarafa: a Giraffes’s True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris by Michael Allin ~ in honor of Napoleon’s birth month even though Napoleon is a teeny part of the story
- Zel by Donna Jo Napoli ~ the clever, psychological retelling of Rapunzel.
- The Meaning of Everything: the Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester ~ in honor of National Language Month, but I didn’t finish it. Not even close.
- Undaunted Courage by Simon Winchester ~ a really interesting account of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles ~ probably one of my all-time favorite books.
For LibraryThing and the Early Review Program: I started reading Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann. Review coming in September.
For fun I read:
- fit = female: the perfect fitness and nutrition game plan for your unique body type by geralyn b. coopersmith ~ the cover of the book didn’t use capital letters so neither did i.
- Nutrition for Life: The no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and researching your healthy weight by Lisa Hark, Phd, RD & Darwin Deen, MD ~ this is a really, really informative book.
Napoli, Donna Jo. Zel. New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 1996.
Zel is the very creative retelling of the fairy tale classic, ‘Rapunzel.” In Napoli’s version Zel and her mother live in isolation in the Swiss countryside, far away from human contact. Mother does her very best to give Zel everything she needs in the hopes of binding Zel to her forever. As her daughter reaches maturity mother realizes Zel will have an important decision to make, marry and raise a traditional family, or follow in her mother’s footsteps and sell her soul to become a witch. Afraid Zel will make the “wrong” decision Zel’s mother locks Zel in the tower everyone knows from the traditional story. Napoli does a clever job at including small details from the original story including the obsession with lamb’s lettuce.
The very first thing I noticed about this book was its voice structure. Zel is told from the point of view of three different characters: Zel (in third person present), Konrad (in third person present), and Zel’s mother (oddly enough, in first person present). In the beginning I wanted to complain about it, but by the end of the third chapter I found it ingenious. Through Zel’s mother’s thoughts you get the incredibly twisted psychology of love and obsession. The story wouldn’t have been as dark and dangerous if all voices were the same. We needed to see mother’s reasoning for locking Zel away in the tower. This psychological insight allowed us see the story from a different angle and not lean on the original story of Rapunzel.
Favorite lines (all from ‘Mother’), “Such crass people, whose warmth can be bought with a coin” (p 16), “Panic teases my skin” (p 59), and “I live the life I would have have lived if I never had Zel in the first place. Only it is far worse – for I know what I have lost” (p 142).
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called, “Fractured Fairy Tales” (p 94).