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Morningstar: Growing Up with Books Hardcover – August 1, 2017
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“Poignant, touching, and enlightening. . . . Hood provides a new rich glimpse into an Italian American childhood. A treat for bibliophiles and readers of all genres.”
- Library Journal
“Not many people could point with such specificity to books that have imparted valuable life lessons, and Hood shares beloved works with an affecting and inspiring reverence.”
“Charming. . . [an] homage to the power of books.”
“Morningstar is a love letter to the very act of reading and the power of books to light the way. I can think of no better guide than Ann Hood, whose generosity of spirit, courage, humor, gumption, and grace are a powerful reminder that language and story have the capacity to heal, to instruct, and to change our lives. What a mighty little book, so full of heart.”
- Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion and Slow Motion
“As a childhood reader myself, I loved this enchanting journey through Ann Hood’s early fascination with reading and how it shaped her life and sensibility. Hood is a delightful writer, wise, charming, and lucid, and book lovers will find Morningstar irresistible.”
- Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of Ruined by Reading
About the Author
Ann Hood is the author of the best-selling novels The Book That Matters Most, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, The Obituary Writer, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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At a very young age, one of her teachers noticed that she was reading a pretty hefty book in class, when she was called upon, and that teacher noticed her love of reading. She promptly told Ann that she was to read every book they had at school and knew that Ann was reading far beyond her age level. While Ann’s parents never stopped her from reading, they certainly didn't understand it.
Reading was what made her the writer she is today. Not only did reading take her to a place of wonder, but she honed her skills as a writer.
Mesmerized by one of the first books that got her hooked, LITTLE WOMEN, which she was rarely without as a young girl, one day, Ann told her mother: “I’m going to call you Marmie.” Her mother, whom she called no-nonsense replied “What? No. No, you’re not.” There are many funny moments in the book like this that she recalls, all relating back to her book memories. They never seemed to get her down or keep her from reading what she liked or from deflating her dreams of as she referred to as “wanting to live inside a book.”
Ann has given back two-fold with her beautiful books. And, this sweet memoir
Hood discovered early on that reading warded off loneliness, opened up enticing possibilities, and satisfied her curiosity. When her small Rhode Island town finally got its own library, ten-year-old Ann became a regular: "In that library I was handed a blueprint on how to live…." The author tells us why certain books resonated with her. At sixteen, Hood read "The Grapes of Wrath." This masterpiece was a revelation. Ann was dazzled by the magic that Steinbeck conjured up; the vivid portraits he painted; and the range of powerful emotions he evoked. From this novel Ann received a master class in "Plot. Character. Conflict. Escalating stakes. Metaphor." She was blown away by the symbolism, social commentary, and lyrical language of this sweeping saga about migrant workers struggling to survive during the Great Depression,. In addition, Hood reveals why such novels as Plath's "The Bell Jar," Wouk's "Marjorie Morningstar," Segal's "Love Story," Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun," and Updike's "Rabbit Run" captivated her. It is easy to dismiss "Love Story" as a lowbrow tearjerker, but it was the first book Ann bought and the first one she gave as a gift. When she read it as an eighth-grader, it reduced her to tears.
In addition to her humorous and insightful account of her literary journeys, Hood alludes to the losses she has endured, the relationships she cherishes, and the fulfillment that being a novelist has brought her. Bibliophiles will appreciate this poetic, intimate, and heartfelt celebration of the joy of reading. The right book at the right time can enlighten, entertain, and transform us in unanticipated ways. "Morningstar" is a lovely, evocative, and eloquent little gem.
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