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The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund



We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
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Fritzy has commented on (3) products.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
My Family and Other Animals

Fritzy, March 29, 2006

Hands down the best summer reading ever. If you've ever spent time face down in the grass observing the microcosm in your front lawn you will appreciate Durrell's writing. This book brings the best of nature writing and wacky family memoirs together. Think of David Sedaris in the 1920's with a butterfly net. The book follows percocious Gerry as he roams freely on a small Greek island exploring everything from miniature scorpions to sea horses to the local eccentrics. It is this free childhood that causes Durrell to go on to be come a famous naturalist and the stories he tells about his family's time in a crumbling Greek villa are high comedy. Laced between the tales of life with a sulking adolescent sister, snakes in the bathtub, magpies at tea, a brother obsessed with English shooting and the quirky local customs are beautiful descriptions of the Greek countryside and all manner of sea and land life. It gives you a glimpse into one boy's endless summer of traipsing over the hills and beaches with collecting jars and buckets and the thoroughly enjoyable story of his outlandish family. Be sure to also check out the sequel, "Birds Beasts & Relatives" and Durrell's other adventures which range from Australia to Africa.
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Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Girl, Interrupted

Fritzy, March 29, 2006

Sure this book is about mental illness and one woman's trials and tribulations in a psychiatric hospital. And there are a lot of other books in this genre that explore similar themes but this book has something that other memoirs documenting this unhappy subject lack: it is uproariously funny. One of my all time favorites, "Girl Interrupted" is the kind of book that makes you laugh so hard that you have to read passages out loud to your friends just so you can get someone else in on the joke. In between gasps and guffaws you will also find a fragile poignance that sheds new light on the delicate line between sanity and mental illness. More than just a mental hospital memoir, this book transcends the boundaries of its theme and stands on its own as a wry piece of writing that is worth coming back to again and again.
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Watership Down by Richard Adams
Watership Down

Fritzy, March 29, 2006

This is not just an adventure story about fuzzy bunnies, though it does give you an in depth look at rabbit life and socialization. The rabbit warrens in the book made me think not just about what it's like to be a social creature living underground without any of the comforts humans take for granted but also about the collapse of modern dictatorships, about freedom and about loyalty. You can look at the book as an adventure odyssey but also as a metaphor for modern times, over crowded cities and what happens to the apathetic masses when a dark leader comes to power.
This book brilliantly synthesizes nature writing, adventure, fantasy and drama to make the perfect story. The author's use of maps and invented language further enriches the experience. Read it while you are curled up in your own snug rabbit warren and you will not be able to put it down.
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