An #OpenBook: A New Linkup for Bookworms

Carolyn Astfalk has something new in the works: a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!


Here’s what we’ve been reading.


To close out Black History Month, we read Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper.  It’s the story of a little girl and her family who wanted to take a trip in their new ’52 Buick from Chicago to visit her grandmother in Alabama.  The story starts with Ruth’s mother… cooking for days to prepare for the trip?  This book was a great introduction through a child’s eyes to what life must have been like during the decades of racial segregation.  We hear about buses and lunch counters, but we don’t often hear about how difficult it would have been for an African American family to stop for gas, use a public restroom, find a hotel room, or locate a mechanic if the car breaks down.  This book introduces us to another little-remembered aspect of black history: the Negro Motorist Green-Book, which was a directory to black-friendly businesses where a traveler could work or vacation safely.  Ruth and the Green Book portrays the real fear a child must have felt on a trip like that, but it also shows how people–even the youngest among us–can reach out and help one another.

Next up was A Boy Named Giotto.  I picked it up for Second Shift’s read-aloud because I’m an art history nerd (not a geek, just a nerd), and I wanted to introduce her to “Giotto Eyes.”  The illustrations were a lovely homage to Giotto’s style without being copycats.  The story itself was a little predictable (mean dad doesn’t want son to be an artist but Obi-Wan Cimabue comes along and calls forth the prodigy etc etc).  Still, it was a nice little story and a great way to introduce young eyes to Florentine frescoes.

As for myself? Still working on The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.


I’m liking it but in the way I liked Catcher in the Rye many moons ago.  I’m not sure I see the point yet, but I can’t stop caring about these people and wanting to know what happens to them.  I have a feeling I’ll have to reread it when I’m done.  It feels like poetry in the sense that I’m intuiting what it’s about more than understanding it on initial digestion.  Hopefully I’ll have it more fully processed by April’s Open Book.

And as promised when I interviewed Not God’s Type, I snagged this from the library.


Quite a good writer… for a Jesuit.  I kid!  I kid.  He and T. S. Eliot are my two favorite poets.  Reading Hopkins is like filling my lungs the first full draw of fresh air after a winter spent in asthmatic bronchitis.  I know of where I speak.  If you haven’t read Hopkins yet, first of all, what’s your problem?  Second of all… you kind of have to read it out loud.  Or at least whisper it to yourself.  His meaning lies heavily in the rhythm of sound, and without it, his line breaks look awkward.  But when you read it out loud, ah!  There it is!  I see now!  You might not see exactly what he “meant,” but you will see your world more clearly.

What are your open books right now?  Link up with Carolyn or at least visit her page and comment. Looking for your next great read?  Visit the linkup and get some recs.


  1. I can tell already that this link-up is going to cause my TBR list to spiral out of control! I’m going to look for Ruth and the Green Book. Sounds like a case in which fiction really informs better than nonfiction. Thanks for linking up!

  2. LOVE Hopkins, and I’m not a poetry person (actually I also do like Eliot. Those are probably the only 2 poets I’ll voluntarily read. Shall I turn in my English-major card now?) But “Pied Beauty” gets me every time.
    And I think I’ll be recommending the Walker Percy book to Big Brother, who has about 2 hours of time on the train each day to read, and is always looking for good stuff.

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