Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation Book Club

I stumbled onto Atavist Books and was intrigued with the synopsis as well as the book cover of Karen Russell’s digital-only novella, Sleep Donation.  I am on a novella (short novel) kick, so I downloaded it to my Kindle straightaway.

The plot follows the protagonist Trish Edgewater who lost her sister, Dori, due to an incurable case of insomnia and now works for the not-for-profit Slumber Corps urging others to donate sleep through the emotional appeal of her sister’s death.  Furthermore, the story follows Edgewater as she works closely with Mr. and Mrs. Harkonnen whose infant, “Baby A,” possesses sleep vital for this life-threatening epidemic.

In unfolding the plot, Russell’s use of simile throughout offers vivid descriptions for the reader:

” . . . Donor Y wrote in tiny all-capitals, like a scream shrunken down into a whisper”  (Location 469).

“My wife just died, you see, and she’s saturated my sleep like coffin milk”  (Location 506).

” . . . the freak blue Maybelline [personally, I never know where to put that blue] smuggles in between the taupe and the gray, which Dori always said was like the strawberry you’re forced to buy in Neapolitan ice cream . . .”  (Location 1093).

In addition, the imagery of the moon found at the beginning and the end of the novella offers full-circle writing which could be discussed at length in the critical thinking classroom.  Yes!

While reading this short work of fiction, I was on the edge of my seat especially during the scene with Mr. Harkonnen and Edgewater, but ended up expecting a bit more.  Also, confusion for me was towards the end where Trish is referred to as “Mrs. Edgewater”  (Location 1565) when no mention of a husband occurred anywhere in this writing.  Instead, an intimate give and take appeared in Sleep Donation, but a co-worker shared the scene with Edgewater in lieu of a spouse.

For the purposes of book club, one may consider serving “loaves and fishes . . . ”  (Location 1004) or “poisoned apple[s]”  (Location 1034), but I prefer “green pistachios. . .” (Location 1165) and a risque “purple sleep cocktail. . .”  (Location 1316).

Book Club Babes II: Thank You Bear

The inaugural meeting of our kindergarten book club far exceeded my expectations.  Allotting two hours so that the kiddos would have time to eat, discuss, craft, and play, I was thrilled when our eating and discussion over Greg Foley’s Thank You Bear lasted fifty minutes.  A book lover’s dream . . .

Upon arrival, bookies were given a plain box to decorate to her liking.  The box represents the one given to Mouse from Bear.  Members may then take the box home and use it for whatever they would like. . . perhaps, a found mouse.

After decorations were complete, we had dinner as a group complete with Teddy Grahams for dessert.

While we were eating, we went over the two simple rules for book club.
1.  Listen to others.
If someone is talking, we need to listen to what she is saying.  We will all have a chance to talk.
 
2.  Respect others.
We discussed how we are going to read a lot of books.  I stressed that it was all right not to like all the books we read, but instead of saying, “I don’t like the book you picked,” to another member, a member is to brainstorm what she would change about the book if she could.  Only kind words will be said to one another.

 
Discussion of Thank You Bear ensued with the assistance of my second-grade facilitator.  

Members brought their books (one on a Kindle- cool!) and could read along if they wished.  

Then a lively back and forth occurred before distribution of the journals.  

Since it was our first meeting, we went over how to use the journals: 1) draw a picture of a favorite scene, character, etc. from the book, and 2) write what they liked about the book or any questions they may have.

After an hour of play, budding readers were sent home with the fixings to make a bear thank you card as well as a bag full of gummy bears.

Next book:  Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are

Need Tunes for Cleaning the House?

Keeping calm and mellow?
Enjoying the morning?
Taking a sunny stroll?

Then, download the FREE app at Songza

Without any help from the hub or my thirteen-year-old neighbor (I only needed her help increasing the volume on my kindle), I was able to download this FREE app to not only my phone, but also my kindle.  Oh yeah!  Who’s the techy now?  
As I’m sitting here typing this post, I’m listening to a mix of music designed specifically for cleaning house.  I may not clean house, but I can listen to music saying I do.