So I was glancing over at Jane's blog and noticed this post on a reading challenge.
I'm not sure I could name 56 books I want to read before the end of the year, but I can start with a short list:
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys who Flew the B-24s over Germany by Stephen Ambrose
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurston
I'm almost finished with a book called The Tale of Beatrix Potter, which is a biography about the children's author by Margaret Lane. I'd like to find a couple of other biographies to read about authors. The thing I love about reading biographies, especially biogs about children's authors, is I am reassured that every author has ups and downs in his or her writing life. I've had some frustrations lately, in the midst of some nice school visits, and it's always good for me to hear about other authors who have gone through the same sort of thing. Here's a really nice section about Beatrix Potter's work from this book:
"Conveying truth by means of fantasy, enlarging our perception of life by poetic means, is one of the highest functions of art, and it is not extravagant to say that in her small and special sphere Beatrix Potter performed it. ... Displayed in the trappings of their human counterparts [the animals Potter created] reveal their own true natures by oblique methods, and we ever after know more about them from having observed their behavior in significant disguise" (p. 106).
Last, this afternoon I stopped by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, where Allen Say, another children's author/illustrator was doing a book signing. There is a nice display of his beautiful original artwork from three of his books.