Books NYRB

NYRB Reading Week: A Reflective and Summative Postscript

The NYRB Reading week has successfully concluded yesterday (November 7-13, 2010), although for some other parts of the world, one can still submit as late as today, I think. Thank you very much Honey from Coffeespoons and Mrs B from The Literary Stew for hosting such a lovely event.

Looking at the summary posts done by Mrs. B here and Honey here, I noted that there are a total of around 51 blog book reviews done during the week – there are some duplications,

Skylark, one of the more popular titles during the week

though, such as NYRB Titles Skylark, The Summer Book, A High Wind in Jamaica, Alien Hearts just to cite a few. There were also quite a number of reviews shared which were written before the NYRB Reading Week as could be seen in the highly prolific blogger, William Rycroft in his blog Just Williams Luck. There are also other interesting posts connected to NYRB such as favorite NYRB classics by Thomas at My Porch, NYRB covers also by Thomas at My Porch (another prolific blogger), NYRB photo competition by Honey from Coffeespoons, and a competition on Best NYRB Cover design from Lizzy’s Literary Life. Frances from NonsuchBook has also generously shared a number of NYRB titles to bookbloggers based in the UK which Thomas from My Porch helped to disseminate while he was in London – simply for the love of it. Such generosity of spirit! What a heady NYRB week indeed!

I am also very happy to share that we have churned out a total of 8 (technically 9) book

One of our chapter book contributions for the week

reviews for the week. An astounding feat considering how heavy our workloads are (Mary is going crazy with grad school and corporate work; while I am literally drowning in paperwork in the academe). It is also a pleasure to share that we are the only ones who actually reviewed NYRB’s Children’s Collection, thus far! While we can claim monopoly in this genre at least for the week, we are imploring other YA lit bloggers and those from the kidlitosphere to join this lovely bookblogging event the next time around.

To summarize our posts, we have covered picture books for very young children in Esther Averill’s Jenny Goes to Sea written in very simple straightforward language to Frank Tashlin’s The Bear that Wasn’t which deals with environmental concerns and identity issues (perfect for children aged 4-9 years old) to the classic The Man Who Lost his Head by Claire Huchet Bishop and Robert McCloskey (again perfect for kids between 2-222 years old – yes, that ancient).

The Man Who Lost His Head
Frank Tashlin's The Bear that Wasn't

My highlights for this week, though, in the children’s literature genre is my discovery of three children’s classics – unbelievable find, both of which between 50-nearly100 years old. I have to admit that as a child, I was introduced more to American Lit – Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott (until my university years I suppose when I took up around 12-15 units of English Lit and contemporary American lit as my electives). Thus, knowing the Australian children’s classic The Magic Pudding is such a lovelylovely treat, and the genius James Thurber with his boundless imagination, wordplay and lyrical prose as seen in his books The Wonderful O and The 13 clocks both illustrated by Marc Simont. If not for this event, I would not have been introduced to such gut-wrenching laughter (truly a joy) this week – I don’t think I’ve read as much books as I had in all the recent months put together.

The Wonderful O by James Thurber
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber

I would peg my review of Rumer Godden’s An Episode of Sparrows to fall within the YA category where some of the themes I believe would resonate best with a tweener or a young adolescent rather than a child aged 7-10. Mary ventured writing in the adult category with Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book. Finally, we have something in the non-fiction category with The Company they Kept, Writers on Unforgettable Friendships as edited by Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein. Truly a comprehensive list! What a lovely way to end the NYRB Reading Week.

Tove Jansson's Summer Book, our contribution for the Adult Literature Genre
Our first non-fiction post in GatheringBooks, The Company they Kept

Admittedly, I have several more NYRB titles that I have not yet reviewed – which I am reserving for the next NYRB event. Here are the photos that I have taken this morning to remind me that there are still six luscious titles waiting to be eaten up, digested, mulled over, and regurgitated through a perfectly laid-out blogpost here in GatheringBooks.

Six more titles for the Children's Collection (more in the YA lit genre, methinks)
I am now starting on Charlotte Sometimes, I wonder when I'd finish all six
A cup of coffee and my books... perfect for this rainy Sunday afternoon

Knowing how rare these books are in other parts of the world – I feel that it is my responsibility to at least read these lovely literature and blog about them. Here’s to another NYRB Reading MONTH (week is way too short, haha).

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “NYRB Reading Week: A Reflective and Summative Postscript

  1. You’re right–a week is too short. Thank you, once again, for Gathering Books’ participation in our reading week! It’s fantastic to discover great literature with other book lovers, and I enjoy having you guys along for the journey.:)


    • myragarcesbacsal

      Hi Honey, it was our pleasure. Do let us know when the next journey will be. We shall try to actively participate as much as we can. =)


  2. Mary of GatheringBooks

    I am now a convert of NYRB. I spied another children’s book at fullybook that I might buy. It’s called The Sorely Trying Day. To me, this week, has been an interesting week both in terms of reading and reviewing books. I’m glad we joined, it opened my world to all sorts of books (those I like and those i sort of liked). However, it did lead me to a new specific book addiction that will most likely hurt my wallet.
    I still envy you for your access to a community library. 🙂


    • myragarcesbacsal

      I know. The libraries here are just way… beyond.. words. I found Ninotchka Rosca’s State of War here – would probably read it alongside Ilustrado. =)


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