Four-year-old Eli plays alone at the shore, inventing dramas out of sand and water. He is Builder, Fireman, Protector, and Scout, overcoming waves and conquering monsters. Enter Marianne and doll, Mother and Baby, eager to redefine Eli as a good father and homesteader. Their separate visions intertwine in a search for a common ground on which howling wolves and butterfly sisters can learn to understand and need one another.
What can the richly imagined, impressively adaptable fantasy world of these children tell us about childhood, development, education, and even life itself? For fifty years, teacher and writer Vivian Gussin Paley has been exploring the imagery, language, and lore of young children, asking the questions they ask of themselves.
In The Boy on the Beach she continues to do so, going deeper into the mystery of play as she follows Eli and Marianne through the kindergarten year, finding more answers and more questions. How does their teacher, Mrs. Olson, manage to honor and utilize the genius of play to create an all-inclusive community in which boys and girls like each other and listen to each other’s stories? Why is Paley’s fellow teacher Yu-ching in Taiwan certain that her children pretend to be kittens in order to become necessary to the group? And why do teachers in London see their childrens’ role-playing as the natural end to loneliness in the school community?
Rich with the words of children and teachers themselves, The Boy on the Beach is vintage Paley, a wise and provocative appreciation of the importance of play and enduring curiosity about the nature of childhood and the imagination.
In his second book of narrative, lyric poetry, Richard Blanco explores the familiar, unsettling journey for home and connections, those anxious musings about other lives: “Should I live here? Could I live here?” Whether the exotic (“I’m struck with Maltese fever …I dream of buying a little Maltese farm…) or merely different (“Today, home is a cottage with morning in the yawn of an open window…”), he examines the restlessness that threatens from merely staying put, the fear of too many places and too little time.
The words are redolent with his Cuban heritage: Marina making mole sauce; Tía Ida bitter over the revolution, missing the sisters who fled to Miami; his father, especially, “his hair once as black as the black of his oxfords…” Yet this is a volume for all who have longed for enveloping arms and words, and for that sanctuary called home. “So much of my life spent like this-suspended, moving toward unknown places and names or returning to those I know, corresponding with the paradox of crossing, being nowhere yet here.” Blanco embraces juxtaposition. There is the Cuban Blanco, the American Richard, the engineer by day, the poet by heart, the rhythms of Spanish, the percussion of English, the first-world professional, the immigrant, the gay man, the straight world. There is the ennui behind the question: why cannot I not just live where I live? Too, there is the precious, fleeting relief when he can write "…I am, for a moment, not afraid of being no more than what I hear and see, no more than this:..." It is what we all hope for, too.
Like waves ebbing and flowing, love surges and subsides among four friends who share a vacation at the house on the beach. As they navigate the seas of love and friendship, jealousy and unfaithfulness, Elena, Marta, Eduardo, and Rafael are swept up in the opposing currents that flow between security and personal freedom, marriage and sexual liberation, family and work, provincial and city life, and traditional and unconventional gender roles.
This deceptively simple novel, published in Mexico in 1966 as La casa en la playa and here translated into English for the first time, is an important work by one of Mexico's, and indeed Latin America's, major writers of the twentieth century. Juan García Ponce helped Mexican arts and letters break out of the ossified styles and themes of the post-Revolutionary "Mexican School" with works that explore the conflict between individual desire and the demands of family and work. Written at a turning point in his career, The House on the Beach foreshadows his embrace of the erotic encounter as a means of undermining rigid, socially constructed personal identity. It supports feminist views and probes deeply into the contradictions, backwardness, and progress of modern Mexican society.
Yes, you'll find the obvious-beaches and boardwalks, lifeguards and lighthouses, fishing and food. But Peter Genovese will also take you off the beaten track for an insider's look at this famous (and infamous) 127-mile stretch from Sandy Hook to Cape May.
Birders, tiki hut builders, beach cleaners, wheel-of-chance operators, she-crab soup makers-they're all here. You'll check out an Airstream-only trailer park and visit a Point Pleasant Beach house where the music of Frank Sinatra plays nearly 24/7. Genovese will introduce you to the owner of the Stone Pony and to participants at the grueling Atlantic City Around-the-Island Swim as they describe their battles with tides, exhaustion, and face-stinging jellyfish. All of that, plus you'll find out why Ocean Grove residents write their names on their flowerpots.
Beach reading just doesn't get any better than this.
Spend a summer with Peter Genovese as he chronicles a typical wild and wacky, kitschy and classy season along the New Jersey coastline.
Lifeguards, surfers, beachgoers, birders, ice cream vendors, seashell sellers, banner pilots-they're all here. You'll be on the scene when Atlantic City's mayor officially begins summer by "unlocking the ocean," get a whiff of the state barbeque championship, watch the nation's longest-running all-women lifeguard competition, and even spend a weekend, Survivor-style, on a Barnegat Bay island.
The Ocean City Baby Parade, Clownfest, the state's hottest bikini contest, and the World Series of Surf Fishing are all covered. You'll also meet the folks at the Diamondback Terrapin Conservation Project, the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.
Genovese introduces you to Little Miss Chaos and the King of Corn, the Jersey Shore Hot Dog Queen, and Lucky Leo. You'll go on patrol with the New Jersey State Marine Police, meet the man behind Big Mike's E-Z Bail Bonds, and find salvation at the Boardwalk Chapel.
The Jersey Shore Uncovered flawlessly depicts the timeless allure of New Jersey beach culture. Along with his stories, Genovese brings readers hundreds of color and black-and-white photos that brilliantly capture exactly what makes this 127-mile stretch of shoreline unique. Whether you've never been to a New Jersey beach or you're a Jersey native who spends your summers "down the Shore," you're certain to learn a thing or two from this book. So get settled in your beach chair, put on some suntan lotion, and enjoy.
No Day at the Beach
John Brehm University of Wisconsin Press, 2020 Library of Congress PS3602.R444N6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
With his trademark self-deprecating wit, unflinching honesty, and sparkling language, John Brehm’s latest collection invites readers along on his spiritual journey. No Day at the Beach traces a progression from loneliness and the magnetic pull of the past to the grace that is found through immersion in the present and the melancholy beauty of impermanence. Informed by Brehm’s Buddhist practice and enlivened by his comic insights, these poems take on a universal dimension, allowing the reader to both luxuriate in the moment and reflect on each poem’s spiritual depth.
By turns playfully philosophical and bracingly open hearted, Brehm’s engagement with the specters of memory, pride, yearning, gain, and loss illuminate the human condition with humor and empathy.
On the face of it, Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin—two icons of the twentieth century—couldn’t be more different. One is the grand statesman whose resolve led a nation in the struggle against Nazi Germany, the other the world-famous actor and comedian behind The Great Dictator, whose owns roots were in poverty and hardship. But in this moving novel, they are bound by a dark secret: both suffer from depression.
When a chance encounter reveals what they share, an unusual and unlikely friendship ensues. A series of therapeutic meetings across the world, in Germany, England, and America, sees each become the other’s confidant as they talk of their “black dog days.” With the eye of a masterfully subtle narrator, Michael Köhlmeier imagines a startling friendship of unique understanding between this extraordinary pair: a friendship of the twentieth century between art and politics, humor and seriousness, but which at heart remains an understanding between two men—the poor tramp and the grand statesman—who bring together the history of the century.