TBTB (Throwback Thursday Books) – Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars


 Lois Lowry’s historical fiction account of ten-year-old Christian Annemarie Johansen and her best friend, Jewish Ellen Rosen in World War II-era  Denmark made quite an impression on me in elementary school. Many things appealed to me about this book – the genre, the setting (my  surname, by the way, is Danish), the Johansen family’s act of selflessness, and Denmark’s peaceful resistance. I joyfully read Number the Stars   again at various points in my academic career. A few weeks ago, I led a tour at the library. When I showed the group the Newbery Medalists, I  mentioned this classic. Why hasn’t Hollywood made this into a movie?





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TBTB (Throwback Thursday Books) – D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri…



My fascination with Greek mythological melodrama probably stems from this gloriously illustrated tome. Whenever library patrons seek mythology, I always hope D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths is on the shelf. Just last year, I purchased my very own copy from Barnes & Noble.






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Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex

Eugenides, J. (2002). Middlesex. New York: Picador. 9780312422158

I actually read this book in Summer 2007 whilst between semesters in grad school. It was Oprah’s pick at the time and I read it at warp speed. Unfortunately, I never reviewed the book. Seeing a copy of Middlesex for sale by the Friends of Freeman (HCPL), I bought it. I took a more leisurely pace began rereading it after Christmas 2010.

Cal Stephanides, a forty-one year old who identifies himself as a man, climbs his gnarly family tree. He possesses a recessive gene, 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, which made him appear female at the time of his birth. Believing him to be a girl, his parents named their “daughter” Calliope and called her “Callie”. After learning about the syndrome as an adolescent, Calliope changes his name to the masculine name, Cal. Taking on his Greek-American genealogy, Cal tells the story of a dirty little secret of his grandparents, Desdemona and Lefty, which shapes Calliope into Cal.

Upon hearing Oprah selected a book about hermaphrodite, I didn’t imagine myself reading this book. Yet, summer doldrums beset me and I stayed up several nights in a row reading Middlesex. The language Eugenides implements relates this story in a beautifully visual way. He crammed so much between the covers. Throughout, I learned more of the Smyrna fire, Prohibition-Era Detroit, the Nation of Islam, and the Pleasant Valley of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Eugenides encapsulates much of the contemporary life of Cal in Foreign Service Berlin as well. I enjoyed the mysteries he creates in his brother Chapter Eleven and catalyst The Obscure Object. I laughed at Desdemona’s work for the Nation of Islam and Aunt Lina’s droll tones. Above all else, I considered the sex versus gender argument in a fresh light.

Four and a Half Out of Five Pearls

Song: “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha & the Vandellas

Places: Mt. Olympus, Smyrna, Turkey, Greece, New York City, Detroit, San Francisco, Germany

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With Middlesex being The Detroit Novel, I must link the following Super Bowl Ad:

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