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Posts Tagged ‘maus’

Papa was a rolling stone, my son, where ever he laid his hat was his home -The Temptations

“There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible.” -Harper Lee

This week I need to do a Top Ten Thursday instead of a Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve got A LOT going on right now. My mom is very sick and my dad has his hands full with taking care of her so I’ve been trying to help both of them and finish up the school year and find a new apartment in a new town to move to and read and rest from the last awful school year and blog and I’m just now getting to the blog part and I haven’t really done any of the other parts. So for this weeks TTT I decided to list my top ten favorite fathers in literature in honor of Father’s Day being last Sunday. (*note: links to the books will now be accessed by clicking the picture of the book. All links will be from IndieBound.org- be a part of the story*)

10. Dr. Murray from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. Publication Date: 1962– The missing, but brilliant, dad.

It has been a really long time since I’ve read this book, and I don’t think I fully appreciated it when I did read it so this is one that I will need to revisit. Dr. Murray isn’t really in the first book very much I discovered (and failed to even remember) after some researching. This is a really cool dad though, he’s a physicist studying space-time continuums who is missing and NO ONE, not even the freakin’ GOVERNMENT knows where he is (and you know how those guys know EVERYTHING).

9. Charlie Swan from the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Publication Date: 2005-2008. The aloof dad.

The twilight saga hardback.jpg

I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again: I am a fan of Twilight. I am not sure if I am 100% a fan of Chuck Swan, father to Bella Swan-Cullen, Grandfather to Reneesme Cullen. Charlie is so distant from his daughter when first we meet him that he is awkward and it’s hard to believe he cares and actually wants her to live with him. Charlie develops the love I had hoped he would for Bella (and honestly, it was there all along, but dads can be weird most of the time) and has some touching moments with her, like at her wedding for example. One thing about Chief Swan that I can’t overlook is how he is so meek. He lets Bella fly out of the house and to ITALY without making much of a stink? He watches her become a vampire and yet doesn’t give it much thought? He doesn’t see her for almost a year and shrugs it off? Whaaaaaa? Overall, good guy, loving dad, I like him, but I don’t love him.

8. James Henry Alden from The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Original Publication Date: 1924. The Grandfather Dad.

Though not actually a dad the grandfather in the boxcar children acted as a dad to the four boxcar children in Gertrude Chandler Warner’s AWESOME mystery series for children. After the death of the children’s parents, Grandfather steps in and cares for them. He’s wealthy, he’s kind, he’s patient, he’s full of advice, he’s not overly stern, he’s the worlds best grandfather! Too bad he’s fictional.

7. Matthew Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery. Publication Date: 1908. The adorable, adoptive, loving dad.

I promised you a few weeks ago when I did my Mother’s Day blog that I would touch on the awesomeness that is Matthew Cuthbert and here is where I do it. How awesome is Matthew Cuthbert? Let me count the ways:
1. He loves Anne at first sight. Sure he wanted, heck, NEEDED, a boy and ended up with Anne instead. He could have just left her at that train station, but you know that the thought never even entered sweet Matthew’s mind.
2. He had to put up with Marilla. Though she’s really a softy, she sure can come off as a mega b-i-t-c-h.
3. He is SO SHY! It might kill him to have to talk to anyone so he keeps to himself A LOT.
4. He’s Canadian.
5. He bought Anne that dress!
6-infinity. There are so many reasons to love this character, and I do!
(And yes, that is a picture of Richard Farnsworth who played Matthew PERFECTLY in the 1985 movie and not a cover of the book. Farnsworth did such a great job, I had to feature him. I’ll also do the same later in this post for Gregory Peck. See if you can guess which father from literature he played!)

6. Sirius Black/James Potter/Arthur Weasley/Albus Dumbledore/Severus Snape/Remus Lupin/Hagrid from The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. Publication Date: 1997-2007. The Harry Potter Dad(s).
The Coat of Arms of Hogwarts, featuring scarlet and gold Gryffindor colours with the mascot Lion, yellow and black of Hufflepuff with the symbolic badger, bronze and blue Ravenclaw colours with an eagle, and Slytherin green and silver with a serpent mascot.

 When the story opens on Harry in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone we learn quickly that poor Harry is an orphan. Having lost both his parents to Lord Voldemort, Harry now is forced to live under the stairs with his awful aunt, uncle and cousin. During the series progression, however, Harry is able to have many characters step in as surrogate father figures to him. Each character offers something to Harry that the other’s can not. Sirius Black is Harry’s actual Godfather and James was his actual father. But all of the characters mentioned above were Harry’s fathers in some fashion.

5. Steve Miller from The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. Publication Date: 2009. The Dying Dad.

The Last Song was probably the last Nicholas Sparks book I read all the way through. I used to enjoy Sparks’ books, mainly because they are all based in coastal North Carolina which is where I am from and where I grew up. I loved that he used real places that I could actually recognize; it made me feel like I was actually a part of the story and the characters lives since I too had been to those locals! However, after this book I realized that all of his books are exactly the same. Exactly. The. Same. Start off with a dysfunction in a family, throw in a disease or an accident, add a death, and there is _____ by Nicholas Sparks. I wanted to include Steve Miller on my list though because he really is a good dad. He has to contend with a spoiled, selfish daughter and try to connect to a son and try to help a neighboring church all while dying. He does all of these things with grace. Sparks’ characters are generally ones that are good role models for the other characters as well as for the readers and Steve Miller (not the musician, I should have mentioned earlier) is no exception.

4. Robert “Bob” Quimby from Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary. Publication Date: 1977. The fun dad.

 Ramona actually makes appearances in several of Cleary’s books, but I chose this one since this is the one where Ramona gets to connect with her dad after he looses his job. I can’t rave enough about all of the Ramona books in this series and this one is no exception. This book is awesome because it’s difficult to find one where a young daughter can connect with a father the way these characters do. The plotline from this novel makes an appearance in the movie Beezus and Ramona which came out in 2010.

3. Vladek Spiegleman from Maus by Art Spiegleman. Publication Date: 1980-1991. The survivor dad.

What makes mouse Vladek Spiegleman seem so real in Art Spiegleman’s graphic novels is the fact that, well, he is. Through the use of animation and storytelling Art is able to tell his father’s story of his father’s history as Holocaust survivor. The illustrations in Spiegleman’s novels tells more of a story than the actual written words. I’m not a very big fan of comics, but this one flows so smoothly and the story is so gripping that you find yourself reading it as if it were an actual novel.

2. The dad from Go The F*** To Sleep by Adam Mansbach. Publication Date: 2011. The frustrated dad.

I don’t think that this dad ever really reveals his name, but with the honesty given in this book about the sheer impossibility of getting a young child to sleep, we have to assume that the dad’s name is Adam and that he is writing from personal experience. The book is hilariously funny and honest and loving and I dare you to read it without laughing out loud, especially if you have ever been in that boat of trying to get a child to sleep who just wants one more glass of water and one more story. For an even bigger laugh, get an audio copy of the book read by Samuel L. Jackson.

1. Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Publication Date: 1960. The moral dad.

Not only is Atticus Finch my #1 dad in all of literature, but he is also my #1 character. Atticus is the person that I hope that I as well as everyone else in the world will grow up to be. Atticus is revered by people the world overand the group The Atticus Circle which is a group of LGBT Allies named their group after them. Atticus is a hero to everyone in the book and he is the reason that my first born son will be named Atticus. Again I elected to place a picture of Gregory Peck instead of the cover of the book. This picture is perfect- it shows Atticus in court next to the African American man that he is defending much to the chagrin of Macomb County, Alabama. Plus, I wanted to put in a picture of Peck’s Atticus because…well… LOOK at the handsome man!

Who are some of YOUR favorite dads in literature?

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“There’s a fine line between being private and being ashamed.”  -Portia de Rossi Unbearable Lightness: A Novel of Loss and Gain

I want to start off by letting you know just how much I despise memoirs and biographies. It is very rare that I will read (and enjoy) a memoir. I don’t really much care for non-fiction of any type, actually now that I think about it. Ever since I was a child I have always had a very active imagination and have prefered fiction. However, surprisingly, I don’t much care for the fantasy and sci-fi stories. I do love a vampire and I loved vampire fiction BEFORE it was cool (so take that, Edward Cullen. I like the wolf better in those stories ANYWAY!).

I was browsing GoodReads the other day and decided to make a list of all of the memoir books that I had read and added to my list there. They are as follows:

My First Five Husbands (And the Ones That Got Away) -McClanahan
If I Knew Then What I Know Now…So What? -Getty
Here We Go Again: My Life in Television -White
I adore the Golden Girls and that’s why these books got on my list! Had Bea Arthur written one I would have devoured that one too!

Eat, Pray, Love -Gilbert
I read this one this past summer because I love Julia Roberts and I was dying to see the film. It was a pretty good book. I did not hate it! I actually rather enjoyed it, though it was very hard to connect to a narrator who has the luxury of being able to drop everything and move to three different countries for a year and a half. Too bad her readers in the real world go to mindless jobs every day and just read about those lucky few.
Me Talk Pretty One Day
(and ALL the David Sedaris books because they are just 100% hilarious!)

The Diary of Anne Frank -Frank
I read this one in school and was blown away by what this girl had to go through. I think that this was one of my first exposures to Nazism.

Night -Wiesel
I remember reading this one in school as well. I remember thoroughly loving it.

Lucky -Sebold
I borrowed this one from a feminist roommate I had in college. I remember reading it thinking that it was a fictional story. I was so surprised to discover that it was a memoir. Surprised and infuriated.

Marley and Me -Grogan
Sentimental dog love. I remember taking this copy from the library I worked (volunteered) at in graduate school. I also remember I read it right after I got my sweet baby Sheldon (a sprightly little sheltie). I paced the living room of my apartment at the end clutching baby Sheldon and weeping.

Three Cups of Tea -Mortenson
What a mess this author is in right now! I did not like this book. I felt like it was just one big pat on his own back. A “look at me! I’m so selfless, I’m so great! I do great things for other people! You should love me!” kind of book that I am just not into reading.

Girl, Interrupted– Kasen
Again, I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie because I adore Winona Ryder. I think that I was way too young to have understood this book at the time and I would like to re-visit it now that I am older, wiser, and more understanding of BPD.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier -Baeh
It’s hard to believe as I sit in my comfortable townhouse in America that these kinds of things go on in another part of the world.

Prozac Nation -Wurtzel
In the same vein as Girl, Interrupted. I think that I need to re-visit this one. I do remember reading it in high school and loving it. I lost my copy that I dragged around with me everywhere back then and ordered a new one in college.

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia -Hornbach
I didn’t care one way or another about this one. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful. It wasn’t memorable at all.

The Bell Jar -Plath
I love this book. I think I read this one when I was way too young (8th grade, roughly) but I remember reading sneakily any chance I got. It felt like i was doing something wrong and I loved that feeling alone!

Maus I -Spiegleman
As much as I detest memoirs, I detest graphic novels even more which it why I was surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying these two books that were assigned to a contemporary authors class I took in college.

Go Ask Alice -Anonymous
Teen Drama!

sTori Telling– Spelling
Yes, I read this book. Yes, I enjoyed this book. No, I didn’t absolutely love it.

The Things They Carried -O’Brien
Wow, Really? I was surprised to see this one listed as a memoir on GoodReads, but I guess that it was. I remember having to read this book for not one, not two, but THREE classes in college. I guess I am now somewhat of an expert on it!

Skin Game -Kitwell
One memoir of self-harm is the same as another.

Fugitive Days -Ayers
I found this guy to be obnoxious. I heard an interview with him on NPR in grad. school and HAD to read this book. If only the book were as good as the interview…

The first book that I read for my month of memoirs was Unbearable Lightness: A Novel of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi. I started out LOVING this book! It was so interesting to get insight into the life of a relatively unknown actress like de Rossi. It moved along so quickly for the first 3/4 of the book, but then it just started repeating itself. We heard a lot about dress sizes and Vera, her costume person on the set of Ally McBeal, as well as all of the places that she burst into a run in her platform shoes; and that was great, at first. I wanted to hear more about Francesca and Ellen and Mel! I wanted the dirt!
I understand that when a person elects to pen a story of their life, that they are able to discuss certain things and they may also leave things out. However, I wanted to hear more about her private life that is only glossed over with back-alley photographs and airbrushed wedding portraits in the tabloids. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some tabloids, but I also love getting the real inside scoop straight from the horse’s mouth which is why I thought that this memoir in particular would be a little bit easier to swallow.

It was a pretty good book overall though. I thought that the end section with Ellen was very rushed and I would have liked to have read more of the happy-ending stuff that was so forced and so quick and then suddenly over. I found myself skimming as I got more towards the end to get to the happy and away from the misery.

I think that I would recommend this book to someone, especially someone who may be gay or who may be struggling with an eating disorder. Overall, one of the better memoirs that I’ve ever read (not that I’ve read many!)

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