All posts tagged: research

Daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of Nazi occupation, a remarkable portrait of resilience and strength in this tremendously researched new book, THE LIGHT OF DAYS by Judy Batalion

By Leslie Lindsay  In these history-changing times, one thing has remained hidden until now: the daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of the Nazi occupation. Now, let’s see the light.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Recently optioned by Stephen Spielberg for a major motion picture Memoirist Judy Batalion (White Walls) delivers a remarkable portrait of young Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII in THE LIGHT OF DAYS (William Morrow, June 23 2020). Drawing from “dozens of women’s memoirs” and “hundreds of testimonies,” Batalion documents an astonishing array of guerilla activities, including rescue missions for Jewish children trapped in Polish ghettos, assassinations of Nazi soldiers, bombings of German train lines, jailbreaks, weapons smuggling, and espionage missions. These women were couriers, smugglers, spies, and also…inspirations.  “A vigorous narrative that draws on interviews, diaries, and other sources, Batalion delivers an objective view of past events that are too quickly being forgotten—and a story much in need of telling.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review But be warned: no details are spared …

NYT bestselling author Bob Kolker talks about his oprah book club pick HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, the history–and future–of schizophrenia, family trauma, resillience, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A razor-sharp tale of one American family ravaged by the devastating effects of mental illness, schizophrenia, in particular. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WEDNSDAYS WITH WRITERS OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR ONE OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR PEOPLE’S #1 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR  Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, TIME, Slate, Smithsonian, The New York Post, and Amazon  Meet the Galvins. They are your all-American family living in Colorado in the 1950s-70s, except they have one big secret, and one big family: half of the dozen children are afflicted with mental illness. Welcome home to HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: Inside the Mind of an American Family (Doubleday, April 2020) and meet Don and Mimi, their ten good-looking boys, and equally stunning daughters. After WWII, Don’s work with the Air Force brings them to Colorado, where the baby-making doesn’t seem to cease. But not to worry, Mimi has it all under control. She’s …

Amy ShEARN talks about her sublime new book, UNSEEN CITY, BROOKLYN, how she believes in ghosts, old houses, books she was influenced by and asks me a question, too

By Leslie Lindsay  A multigenerational tapestry of homes, neighborhoods, ghosts, and more in this bold and atmospheric novel. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ When I heard UNSEEN CITY by Amy Shearn (Red Hen Press, September 2020), I knew I had to get my hands on it. It’s a bit of a love letter to NYC (Brooklyn, in particular), but also to those childhood books that shaped us as readers (and writers!) and also about a little-known neighborhood called Weeksville. But it’s also about love and grief and ghosts and oh gosh…it’s just so good. Meg Rhys is a self-identified spinster librarian. She lives alone–with her beloved cat–in a rent-controlled Brooklyn apartment. On Friday evenings, she grabs her pile of holds from the library and bikes home, staying in most of the weekend, because that’s how she likes it. But she’s mourning the loss of her dead sister, who died tragically in an accident. She soon becomes obsessed with a library patron who is researching a possibly haunted house. His house. Rather, his parents. That house has it’s own story to …

Lisa Selin Davis talks about her new book, TOMBOY, what it means to defy borders and boundaries, how parents may have participated in the blue/pink divide and so much more in this insightful and daring new book

By Leslie Lindsay  A thorough and engrossing sociological, historical, and psychological examination and the antiquated term ‘tomboy,’ an imagined future for children who defy categories, and so much more. ~BookS on MondaY|Always with a Book~ TOMBOY: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to Be Different (Hachette Books, August 11 2020) first came to my attention this past spring and I knew I had read it. As a ‘soccer mom,’ I often hear this on the pitch, “Oh, she’s just a Tomboy” or something of similar ilk. I started thinking about why we use this term and if there really was such a thing. And then I read Lisa Selin Davis’s insightful and daring new book and felt we were cut from the same cloth. Here’s thing: I don’t really think ‘Tomboys’ exist. People do. And we need to stop with the labels and marketing that supports (or doesn’t support) this divide. Davis takes us deep into the history of the term ‘tomboy’ and provides stunning examples of how advertising and marketing have played to the stereotypes of gender, gender …

From cradleboards to ‘firking like a flounder,’ wet nurses, and more, Sarah Knott unravels the history of mothering in MOTHER IS A VERB

By Leslie Lindsay Timely and fascinating investigation and examination of what it means to be a mother–from the early 15th century through present-day.  MOTHER IS A VERB: An Unconventional History (FSG/Sarah Crichton Books) by Sarah Knott is such a sweeping piece of historical, personal, and lyrical research. It begins with the author’s decision to have children, and thus an examination of who has children and who doesn’t. This is a keenly researched book that is part-memoir, part-history lesson, and to some, it might come across as academic (Knott is, by profession, a college professor at Indiana University). That said, I found the anecdotes and archives presented fascinating and intriguing. The structure of MOTHER IS A VERB is not linear, but rather divided into topics from pregnancy, quickening, miscarriage, labor/delivery, early days, sleeping infants (sleeping parents), including co-sleeping (or not), types of beds, feeding/breastfeeding/other types of nourishment, clothing, and even welcoming the second child. Scattered throughout the narrative are glimpses of the author’s mothering journey, which I felt helped to personalize historical context. Knott’s writing is scholarly, but also companionable. It’s lyrical and …

What happens when you’re inspired by a piece of visual art & you’re short story writer? This stark, moving collection, SCENES FROM THE HEARTLAND is born

By Leslie Lindsay  What happens when a contemporary writer of semi-autobiographical short fiction turns her gaze to the iconic images of America’s past? This glimmering collection, SCENES FROM THE HEARTLAND I’m a sucker for anything Missouri, anything Midwest. That’s probably because this strange little state smack in the U.S. is what shaped me, the place I still think of as ‘home,’ even though I’ve lived elsewhere more than half my life now. There’s a realness, an authenticity to the state, which is a conglomeration of everything and nothing–North, South, East, and West. It has the rolling Ozark mountains, the winding Mississippi, big cities and tiny ones, wealth and poverty. To be a Missourian is to contain multitudes. So when I heard about SCENES FROM THE HEARTLAND (Serving House Books, March 31 2019), I knew I had to read it. The reader enters the imagined landscape of one of the most well-known American painters, Thomas Hart Benton, slipping back to the 1920s, 30s, and 40s to Southern Missouri, Arkansas, SW Illinois, St. Louis, Kansas City, Hannibal, and more. We …

The Teacher is Talking: College Towns

By Leslie Lindsay (image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dartmouth_College_campus_2007-10-20_09.JPG)  I truly have a love for this time of year–the crisp fall days, the freshly sharpened pencils, eager students–and a love for college towns.  Take away the college and you have a small town with not much ambience.  I know, I’ve lived in one–two, even (Columbia, MO and Northfield, MN).  With a college at the heart of the town, you get a whole new vibe, transforming a sleepy little town into an oasis of food, music, academia, culture, and more.  It’s fun and it’s always moving forward.  So, why not introduce your children to the benefits of a college town (kudos if you already live in one)?   In fact, September is national “Save-for-College” month.  I recall my dad taking me to the campus where he got his undergrad degree.  I was awe-inspired with the size, the number of buidlings, and the science department.  The skeleton model dangled from a stainless steel pole, it’s mouth ajar in a bit of a creepy smile.  The smells, the labs…the possibility!  (Maybe this was …

The Teacher is Talking: The Winner’s Brain, a Quiz

By Leslie Lindsay So, I have been reading this book and thought:  aha!  I need to share this with others.  The book is called “The Winner’s Brain,” by Jeff Brown,PsyD APBB and Mark Fenske, PhD.  Originally, I thought the title was a little cheesy–but alas you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, uhem…title (at least not always).  What I like about this book is that it uses actual brain science (MRIs, fMRIs, etc.) to track–or identify–the areas of the brain that “light up” for those folks who are particularly adept at being “winners.”  I suppose it’s the description, “winner” that kind of irks me: I mean, aren’t we all winners in our own right?!  (Image retrieved from Amazon.com 4.24.12) The book starts out with a chapter on “The Winner’s Profile Quiz.”  The authors suggest the reader take this quiz as a way to gauge to see if you have what it takes to set yourself up for success.  They claim the quiz isn’t “brain science,” but rather derived from their experience and research associated with …

The Teacher is Talking: Nurturing your Child with Praise

By Leslie Lindsay There is something about the brain that I love.  The seat of imagination, intelligence, emotion, bodily regulations, it’s a pretty darn amazing thing, the brain.  But there is more it than just those things…it has to do with love. According to a Washington University study, positive reinforcement may increase brain size.  The article, from the St. Louis Post Dispatch indicates supportive mothers who practice positive reinforcement actually help their children’s brains grow.  I remember hearing something along those lines when my babies where younger–loving them, cuddling them, holding them doesn’t just get them to be quiet and content, it actually makes them smarter.  Thus, the message: you cant’t “spoil” your baby by holding them. Brain scans show that school-aged children of nurturing mothers have a 10% larger hippocampus–the region of the brain that has to do with learning, emotion, memory, and stress response as compared with children whose mothers were deemed less responsive/supportive/nurturing. How did they do it?  Researchers gathered 92 children between the ages of 3 and 5.  The watched how they …

Write on, Wednesday! Writing (and editing) a Book

By Leslie Lindsay “Hey, I’m busy over here–I’m writing a book, ya know?!”  Here’s the thing with writing a book:  It’s a BIG job.  Most folks don’t realize how big it is till they really get into it.  And the bottom line is most people don’t get into it. In fact, I read somewhere that out of 100 people who want to write, only 10 actually do.  Of that 10, 9 will get rejected or give up.  One person is left with a manuscript and a contract and a finally a book.  One out of 100 want-to-be-writers actually end up with a book in hand?  Yikes.  Why bother?  Well…it has to be something you are completely 100% passionate about.  One has to have drive, ambition, good skills (and I’m not just talking writing skills here…but also negotiating skills, creativity skills, professionalism, etc.), persistence (but politely so), the desire to continue learning, the innate ability to obeserve the world (and the people in it), and to have a thick skin.  There’s probably more, too but this is …