Jul 5, 2010

July Bookswap

A new retreat started a few days ago, which means a new slew of books from new residents were donated today.

After we had crepes and homemade dandelion, apricot and fig jams (as well as Kerry's homemade cherry compote!) the writer Sheryl St. Germain donated some of her own books first, talking about the artists who designed the cool covers: Let It Be a Dark Roux (by artist Francis Pavy), The Journals of Scheherazade, and Swamp Songs (by Jacqueline Bishop).

Because she hails from New Orleans Sheryl also brought along Why New Orleans Matters by Tom Piazza, a book "about the world, not just New Orleans," as well as a recent collection of 108 sacred poems, Mala of the Heart, and Sherman Alexi's Face, a writer Sheryl said "writes with a lot of anger and interesting gusto." Sheryl also generously gave the library two books by Paul Guest, One More Theory About Happiness and Notes for My Body Double.

The artist Daphne Leighton talked next, about Israel, a book of photos by Annie Sacerdoti, Meir Shalev's novel The Blue Mountain, and a Sotheby catalogue featuring Israeli art going back to the beginning of the last century.

Daphne also donated two catalogues of her most recent art Images of Thought and unknown familiar land (that's one of her paintings to the left).

Camille Goodison then donated her grandmother's memoir From Harvey River, a book about where she's from, as well as a collection of stories, Creole Folktales, by a writer that inspires her a lot, Patrick Chamoiseau.

Deborah Clarke, an artist from South Africa, who lives in Grenoble and who was here last year too, donated Africa House by Christina Lamb about the Englishman Stewart Gore-Browne because it is "about a house as well as a man" who built it from scratch and helped people in the process even if "the dream turned sour."

On a different note Deborah donated Francis Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun a book she loves because it emphasizes "a new life in a different country" but also because she "includes recipes" that give you a real feel for the place and the people.

Next up was the Australian Mary Delahunty who is here working on her memoir Public Life, Private Grief. Mary donated Colm Tóibín's Bad Blood because it is "another way of looking at the Troubles" starting in reportage that bleeds into "a beautiful story of a walk along the border." Mary's other book was Chloe Hooper's The Tall Man about her homeland as "an unreconciled country, but also a book about why justice can never be served."

Kathleen Smith, a filmmaker and producer, is also "drawn to the Troubles" as Mary put it, and so gave the library her friend Darren O'Donnell's Social Acupuncture, a book about confronting change, no matter where we are.

Then Kathleen donated "a book about where I grew up, but more because of the universal truths in it," Alice Munro's Dance of The Happy Shades

The jewelry designer Toni Freitas came next donating The Vintner's Luck, (she compared it to Marquez's magic realism) a novel by Elizabeth Knox about a guy who meets an angel.

Toni also brought along 1000 Years of Annoying the French, a funny repackaging of history from the same man who wrote A Year in the Merde.

And finally came the writer and designer David Trujillo-Farley's cool children's book This Is Edinburgh by M. Sasek, about the city he and Toni live in.

David's second donation was Ilustrating Children's Books by Martin Salisbury, which "talks about structure, characterization and many other things" that David says are "a lot more useful than many of the pretty books on the subject."

Again, THANK YOU to everyone for the books!

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