Afterwords Acquisitions

Much like I never tire of hearing how people meet one another, I could sit for hours and listen to how one comes across a good book to read.  A Brownie and Book Club Babe mom, Miss Toni, and I were discussing books via email.  She mentioned The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I purchased this book last summer at Afterwords Bookstore for my teen neighbor with the understanding I could borrow said book, but as to date, I am still waiting.  So, I felt a visit to the local bookstore, Afterwords Bookstore, needed to be added to my to-do list (any excuse works for me).

Post-Its in Place after a Late Night of Reading
English 111 Student with the Highest Average Wins a Copy in My Class

Although I had a purchase in mind as well as a book to pick up, Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (which I inquired about through e-mail and received a response the same day from LuAnn, the owner- customer service at its finest), I like to walk on the wooden floors and roam between the rooms of books.  


Some of my discoveries . . .

My Youngest Daughter’s Namesake 
Included Are Beautiful Illustrations and a Brief Background of the Reading                
Ideal Reference Book for the Emergent Reader

Shop local.  Visit Afterwords Books at 232 S. Buchanan St. in Edwardsville, IL.  You will be glad you did.

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Looking Glass Playhouse’s The Diary of Anne Frank

Discovering there was a community theater in Lebanon, Illinois, while driving home from work, I knew I wanted to view a performance.  Perusing the Looking Glass Playhouse’s site, I saw The Diary of Anne Frank was showing in March.  Having recently watched a six-episode documentary on Auschwitz, I had to purchase tickets.

Recruiting my Hot Yoga/Yoga under the Arch buddy, Beth P. agreed to sit in the first row with me, front and center, for opening night, March 13, 2014.

Directed by Kathleen Dwyer and Rob Lippert, the utilization of the stage was mesmerizing- not a nook or cranny was wasted.  With different scenes highlighted through lighting, the audience was led through two tempestuous years of the life of a young girl.

Anne Frank, played by Diana Risse, Margot Frank played by Victoria Symonds, and Peter Van Daan played by Connor Sanders truly embraced the metamorphosis from innocent children to burdened young adults due to the horrors of warfare.

Close attention to detail was made by the costume designer, Cathy Symonds.  Characters initially dressed in white socks and kempt attire for Act I were found to be in holey socks and ragged sweaters for Act II showing the progression of time and the effects of lingering circumstances.

The visual impact of the final scene with all characters on stage standing at attention as excerpts of Anne Frank’s diary projected across their bodies had quite the influence on the audience.  When lights were brought up again, there was brief hesitation as to whether the audience should clap or cry after such an absorbing orchestration.

My only complaint was the lack of biographies on the cast, staff, and directors in the program.  Overwhelmed by such a production, I wanted to learn more about those involved in The Diary of Anne Frank’s fruition.

Future showings are March 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 2014.

Carol Galusha’s The First to Fall Book Club

Carol Galusha’s third novel, The First to Fall, released June 2012, fails to disappoint.  Much like Ms. Galusha’s first novel The Same Birthday, The First to Fall is geared for the young adult, yet engages not only the adolescent reader, but also the adult reader through her written word.  The novel begins by introducing the reader to five childhood friends of differing races in the segregated early 1900s.  This historical time frame does not distance the young or mature reader, but draws him/her in with the exploration of enduring friendships despite familial and cultural influences.  The plot does not cease there, though, but instead branches out to include a bounty of themes such as dealings of the corrupt, consequences of revenge, and life after reinvention all while transporting the reader to the present day.
What is interesting to note is Ms. Galusha’s clever use of the non-written word allowing the reader to infer necessary detailed conversation, rising action, and dealings of the heart through surrounding descriptions.  These thought-provoking conversation starters are not only ideal for book club, but also for the reluctant-to-volunteer secondary classroom student.  In addition, Ms. Galusha again generously provides on her website a literacy guide to accompany The First to Fall making life easier for not only the overworked educator, but also the underappreciated book club facilitator.

Carol Galusha