Reader's Link - February 2014 Staff Picks Archive


Artist or scallywag?

The mad potter: George E. Ohr, eccentric genius

Title: The mad potter: George E. Ohr, eccentric genius
By: Jan Greenberg

"For most of his adult life, folks called George Ohr a scallywag, a rascal, a braggart, a clown. He called himself a genius, an artist, an outsider, a mud dauber, the mad potter."

Lively quotes from George Ohr and lots of color photos of his ceramic works make this book fun to read for children and adults. His work ranged from whimsical (see p. 19 or 38) to sophisticated (see p. 20-21), and he prided himself on making each piece unique. The authors describe George Ohr’s hardworking and unconventional life with a humorous touch and interesting anecdotes. Ohr persisted in his pottery dreams for more than 30 years, even though his artwork was largely unappreciated at the time. His pottery did become a key tourist attraction in Biloxi, Mississippi; he used to do demonstrations blindfolded, reshaping the jug on his wheel through several transformations by feel alone. He retired in 1910, and his work was not rediscovered until the late 1960s, when it finally found an audience that could appreciate his experiments with form and color. A new museum in Biloxi dedicated in part to his work was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and has been reconstructed, a tribute to Ohr’s own tenacity under adversity.

View similarly tagged posts: biography,kids nonfiction
Posted by April on Feb. 26, 2014 at 8 a.m.
1 Comment

Love, loss, and memory

The history of love

Title: The history of love
By: Nicole Krauss

This is a beautiful story about love, loss, and memory. The first narrator (and central character), Leo Gursky, is an old Jewish man in New York who is recalling his youth in Poland and his life as a writer. Leo is wonderful: funny, cantankerous and imaginative. He is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. The story is told by at least four different narrators, including Alma, a teenage girl whose mother is translating her favorite book, The History of Love, from Spanish into English. There is also a neutral, third-person narrator. I found this confusing, as all the other narrators are characters in the book. Although the transitions between the narrators are clearly marked, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out who the neutral narrator was, only to realize that it wasn’t a person at all. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this poignant, complex tale and the gradual revelation of the mystery at its heart. Leo Gursky survived the Holocaust, but lost his family, his friends, and his manuscripts. He believed that all were gone forever--but were they? There is an excellent audio recording of this book, with multiple narrators.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction
Posted by Logophile on Feb. 24, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.
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