What’s On Your Bookshelf? March 2022

The rule of three seems to dictate my monthly reads. In March so far, I’ve read El Principito (The Little Prince), A Life in Parts, and Bone Black. Three different lenses on the world; all with a touch of coming of age themes. (En español: Lectura de marzo, más adelante)

El Principito/The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

El Principito by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a reread of this short allegory, this time in Spanish. (To practice my second language.) I found the description of volcano cleaning tickled me as much as the first time I read it. The way the book makes fun of adults’ stuffy myopic vision of the world makes me smile. The elephant in the snake’s belly (an adult views this as a hat) is still my favorite illustration from the book. The joys of being “tamed” by someone else is a key message; love. Good short story, excellent for language practice.

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston book cover

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston was a well written autobiography. He made a coherent story of his life’s narrative. He wasn’t lucky from birth, anointed to become a famous actor. He struggled with family difficulties and worked hard to overcome them or incorporate them into his characters. He was willing to go to great lengths to get acting jobs. Cranston proved it, for example when he learned rappelling the weekend before auditioning for a part in a commercial where the try out was to rappel down the front of a building. He got the part. His most famous characters are Hal, Dad for Malcolm in the Middle and Walter, the lead in Breaking Bad. On the front cover of the book, we see Bryan in makeup, then the reverse cover is him as Walter. That back cover he was too malevolent for me to look at, and I haven’t seen the show! Cranston’s book is an inspiring story of making most of the skills and background you have.

Bone Black by bell hooks book cover

Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by bell hooks is a poetic autobiography. The author selects elements from childhood and builds a collection of images that birth the woman she will become. Things she hates: lye soap, the color pink, women’s restrained roles. Things she loves: reading, books, time alone. Her family did not understand her emotional intensity, her wish for solitude and her preference for reading over playing outside. hooks speaks of life as a Black family; of faith, of societal racism, of school integration. She is clear that racism is a White perception problem. In her newly integrated high school, only a few White teachers and White students are welcoming to the Black students. hooks was earmarked as smart and invited to attend classes with White students. She noted that Black young men were rarely in those classes. hook was troubled, because they were more likely to get corporal punishment in the principal’s office than advanced classes. In her personal narrative we see the basis for her later social critique. Highly recommended.

What are you reading this month? ¡Olé! –Rebecca

Lectura de marzo

Parece que la regla de tres dicta mis lecturas mensuales. En marzo, hasta ahora, he leido El Principito, Secuencias de una vida, y Negro de hueso (Bone Black). Son tres lentes distintos para ver el mundo; todos incluyen el tema de madurarse.

El Principito (Le Petit Prince) por el autor francés Antoine de Saint-Exupéry era para mí una tercera lectura de esta alegoria corta, esta vez en español en vez de inglés. (Para practicar mi segundo idioma.) Encuentro la descripción de limpiar volcanes tan encantadora como en la primera lectura. La manera en la cual el libro burla de la visión estirada y miope de los adultos me hace sonreír. El elefante dentro de la barriga de la serpiente (que un adulto se ve como un sombrero no más) sigue siento mi dibujo favorito del libro. La alegria de estar domesticado por alguién más es un mensaje principal; el amor. Buen cuento corto, excelente para practicar otro idioma.

Secuencias de un vida por Bryan Cranston es una autobiografía bien escrita. El crea una historia coherente de la narrativa de su vida. No tenía suerte desde el momento de nacer, predestinado para ser un actor famoso. Pasaba por dificultades familiares y trabajaba duro para sobrepasarlas o incorporarlos en sus personajes. Estaba listo para hacer todo lo posible para ganar un trabajo como actor. Cranston lo demonstró cuando por ejemplo aprendió descender en rapel el fin de semana antes de una audición que requería que descendiera la parte exterior de un edificio de varios pisos. Ganó el trabajo. Sus personajes más famosos son Hal, el papá de Malcolm el de en medio y de Walter, el personaje principal de “Breaking Bad” (en rumbo a ser malvado). En la portada del libro, vemos a Bryan en maquillaje de actor, y en el dorso le vemos como Walter. Ay, en el dorso se veía demasiado malvado, no podía dejar el libro así expuesto, y ni he visto el programa. El libro de Cranston es una historia inspirante de hacer lo máximo con las habilidades y el fondo que uno tiene.

Bone Black (negro de hueso) Memorias de una juventud por bell hooks es una autobiografia poética. La autora escoje elementos de su infancia y crea una colección de imagenes que dan la luz a la mujer que llega a ser. Algunas cosas odia: jabón de sosa caústica, el color rosado, los roles sujetados de las mujeres. Otras cosas ama: leer, libros, tiempo sola. Su familia no entiende su intensidad emocional, su deseo para soledad, y su preferencia para leer en vez de jugar en el barrio. hooks habla de la vida de su familia negra: de la fé, del racismo de la sociedad, de la integración racial de la escuela. Ella se queda muy clara que el racismo es un problema de la perspectiva de los blancos. En su escuela nuevamente integrada racialmente, solo unos pocos maestros y estudiantes blancos dan la bienvenida a los alumnos negros. hooks tenía la fama de inteligente, así le invitaron asistir las clases mayormente blancas. Ella notaba que los estudiantes negros varones estaban muy rara vez en estas clases. hook se quedaba preocupada que los jovenes negros recibían más golpes físicos como castigos de los directores, que lugares en clases avanzadas. Así en su narrativa personal vemos la base de su crítica social posterior como autora. Te recomiendo la autobiografía de bell hooks.

¿Qué lees tu este mes?


Rebecca Cuningham

52 thoughts on “What’s On Your Bookshelf? March 2022

  1. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (a first novel that won the Booker Prize); The Beauty of Dusk by Frank Bruni, a reflection on the loss of eyesight, a topic dear to me with progressing AMD); Life Without Children – Stories by Roddy Doyle.

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  2. Those all sound like interesting books! I just finished “Dhalgren” by Samuel R. Delany for a writing critique group I’m in. It was a LONG book and took almost all month to get through. I’m starting “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab tonight. I’ve heard great things about it!

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      1. I’m not quite done yet…but it’s very disturbing and far more graphic than I usually like to read. I’d never have read it if not for the critique group I’m a part of. I do think there are some very interesting thoughts on writing, poetry and ones connection to their art. Have you read it?

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  3. Rebecca, you are multi-talented. I’m so impressed with your Spanish abilities. I learned enough to communicate with my student’s parents a little. But I never got fluent in French or Spanish in spite of years of working at it off and on. I have been hearing so much about Breaking Bad since Yvette’s story for Story Chat this month. I like that actor, so I guess I need to watch it. And I’m definitely going to put the book on my bucket list. Great post. 🙂

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  4. What an interesting trio of books! Thanks for sharing them with us. I’ve seen bell hooks name many places just this week so reading this helped further my curiosity! Thanks, Rebecca!

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  5. A very interesting selection! The Little Prince is my all-time favourite book and I cannot wait to read it in Spanish, too. I have a lot of respect for Bryan Cranston and for the actors who see success only in the middle age. Irish actor Gabriel Byrne also did not see his until he was past 40! If you have not seen Cranston in The Infiltrator (2016) and Wakefield (2016) (based on a short story by Doctorow) – I recommend.

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  6. Hi Rebecca, this was a great post for What’s on Your Bookshelf with three very interesting and intriguing books. The Spanish is certainly a struggle for me but obviously not for you! Thanks for linking up to my post and hope to see you again.

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  7. Hi, Rebecca – Thank you for joining us for ‘What’s On Your Bookshelf.’ I love that you have chosen three distinctly books that tie together with coming of age themes. And using some of them to practice your second language is brilliant.
    I’ve read The Little Prince several times and always find something new in each reading.

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    1. Thanks to you all for hosting. Next week is our teen’s spring break I may do Midwestern beach reads as my next theme. Yes, The Little Prince never stops teaching something new.


  8. I’ve read Le Petit Prince before (albeit in French, its original language) as part of my journey of learning French. It’s seemingly a children’s book, but actually deep and profound in its message of youth, dreams, and going back to your roots. It’s a good one!

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    1. Thanks for your comments on Le Petit Prince, Rebecca. Cool that you were able to read it in the original French! It is short and simple like a children’s book, true. However it seems to be a book to teach adults what they have forgotten – what and who is important. 🙂

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  9. I have certainly lost my reading speed due to work load but I have still managed to find time for reading a short novel called “The Call of The Wild”. It’s a beautiful and well-written book. If you have read it, how did you find it? I have finished half of it yet. But still it’s an improvement in my pace. 😊

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  10. Three intriguing books Rebecca! I’m reading Neveryóna by Samuel Delaney at present, a prehistory fantasy. I’ve just finished Reversing Type2 Diabetes by Professor Roy Taylor. Rather than reading I’m listening to lots of Podcasts. My three current favourites are about human origins, the Ottoman Empire and Shakespeare.

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  11. You’re way ahead of me on March reading! When I blog on April 4 about the books I read in March, I’m afraid it will be a short post. March is whizzing by.

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  12. A great mix of books, Rebecca. The Little Prince is one of my favourite books and I often give it as a gift. I am working my way through War and Peace, about 30% done and reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. A book I didn´t read as a child so thought I would read it now.

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    1. Thanks, Darlene! I liked hearing about your connection with the Little Prince and that you often give it as a gift. As a child, people would often say, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”! to me. So my parents gave me the namesake book and I’ve read it several times. Rebecca is about the age of Amanda, right? Wow, War and Peace, that’s quite a tome. Light spring reading? 😉

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      1. LOL! I joined an online read-along for War and Peace. We read a chapter a day and it will take us almost a year to read. I love it so much, I often read more than one chapter, but then some days I don’t read any so I’ll probably finish reading along with the others. I am enjoying Rebecca and can see why your parents gave you a copy. Yes, She is the age of Amanda at the beginning of the book and is as naive as Amanda can be as well. It’s a charming book, like Anne of Green Gables and Pollyanna.

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