Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Chabon, who originally titled the work Jews with Swords, described the novel as a "swashbuckling adventure story" and it definitely is that. The story grips you from the very beginning with sword fighting, hasty escapes and these two very interesting characters. Chabon's typical rich, verbose prose is present here as well. I found myself consulting a dictionary and trusty Wikipedia several times while reading this story. It's a fun, quick read-great for anyone who likes a good, old-fashioned adventure story.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
More than just a companion to the hugely popular show, No Reservations is Bourdain's fully illustrated journal of his far-flung travels. The book traces his trips from New Zealand to New Jersey and everywhere in between, mixing beautiful, never-before-seen photos and mementos with Bourdain's outrageous commentary on what really happens when you give a bad-boy chef an open ticket to the world.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
On a small island near New Guinea during the 1990's, a conflict is occurring between the island rebels and the invading "redskins." Matilda, one of the children on the island, recounts how the villagers attempt to go about their lives, but the war is always in the background. The sole white man on the island, Mr. Watts, agrees to take over as teacher for the village children. Mr. Watts introduces the children to "Mr. Dickens" by reading Great Expectations to them. The children love the story, especially Matilda, because it provides them with an escape from the everyday realities of the war. Matilda becomes fascinated with Pip, as well as with Mr. Watts. Her mother, on the other hand, dislikes that the children's heads are being filled with useless stories. When she hides the copy of Great Expectations, it has a disastrous result for everyone on the island.
At first, I thought this was a fairly good story. Not really substantial, but a good story nonetheless. But I don't think the author did a very good job of capturing the horror of the war and its affects on Matilda. When Matilda's mother steals Great Expectations, there are extremely violent repercussions, however Matilda gives very little thought to it. The story seems to be wrapped up rather neatly, with no lasting affects on Matilda, which just did not seem believable to me.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I've said before that I could listen to Frank McCourt talk all day. He has a wonderful Irish brogue that just makes anything he says sound great. I listened to all of his memoirs on CD, and it was wonderful to hear him speak in person. He is actually a very funny guy, and had the audience cracking up the whole evening. He talked about how strange kids can be sometimes and joked that they should be shipped out of the country after third grade and not allowed back until 19 (a thought I think many of us have from time to time). He also implored the audience "don't just buy one book. Don't be stingy!" He informed us that some of the proceeds for Angela and the Baby Jesus will be donated to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which if you remember from Angela's Ashes, helped the McCourt family survive by giving them food and clothes when they were poor. He reported that he is meeting with the screenwriter for a movie adaptation of Teacher Man. He said that he will have a say in this script, unlike in the movie of Angela's Ashes, because he wants to be sure that teachers are portrayed well. When someone in the audience asked if he will be writing any more memoirs, he declared that he is sick of himself and won't be doing any more memoirs. Fans will be happy to know that he is currently working on a novel that sounds like it will be set in Brooklyn. But according to him, "God only knows" when it will be published, so fans will have to be patient.
Follett will be writing a new trilogy called The Century Trilogy, which will cover the events of the 20th century from WWI, WWII and the Cold War. The first installment is scheduled for publication in 2010, with the second in 2012 and the third in 2014.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
You may be hearing more about Kidder in the upcoming months at the Deerfield Library, so stay tuned!
"A panoramic novel of life on the Mongolian grasslands during the Cultural Revolution, this masterly work is also a passionate argument about the complex interrelationship between nomads and settlers, animals and human beings, nature and culture. The slowly developing narrative is rendered in vivid detail and has a powerful cumulative effect. A book like no other. Memorable."
Worth $10,000, the prize is sponsored by the same company that sponsors the Booker Prize. The book will be published in English in March 2008.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Take a look at this article from Time on "Why Norman Mailer Mattered."
Friday, November 9, 2007
The Whitethorn Woods are woods near the Irish town of Rossmore. A well is located in these woods, and has been named St. Ann's Well because it is believed to be a source of miracles. A highway is proposed, which will go right through the woods and destroy the well. The town is divided on the issue and Father Brian Flynn is caught in the middle. Each chapter in the book is the story of someone who either lives in Rossmore, visits Rossmore, or is connected to Rossmore in some way.
Even though there are many characters, Binchy creates well-developed characters with distinct voices and unique stories that pulls the reader into their lives. A good read.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
A high school in Charleston, West Virginia banned two of Pat Conroy's books. Take a look at what he has to say about it. I especially like his point that banning the books will only encourage kids to read them.
"Because you banned my books, every kid in that county will read them, every single one of them."
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Judas Coyne is an aging rock star with an obsession for macabre objects. His collection includes a snuff film, a human skull, a hangman's noose and a cookbook for cannibals. When he sees a suit for sale on an online auction that is said to be haunted with a ghost, he decides he must have it for his collection. As soon as the suit arrives, strange things begin to happen and Judas begins seeing the dead man. In an attempt to learn more about the ghost, he contacts the woman who sold him the suit. It turns out that she is the sister of Judas' former girlfriend who recently committed suicide. The ghost in the suit is their father, who blames Judas for the suicide. The ghost is intent on killing Judas to avenge his daughter's death.
And that's about all I can tell you. I was so creeped out, I stopped reading. I admit that I am a big baby. Nothing really scary or violent happens (at least up to that point), but it was pretty creepy. And, Judas has two dogs, and I just know something is going to happen to those dogs, which I couldn't stand to think about. What I can tell you though, is the premise of the story is very clever and it is obvious that Joe Hill is a very talented writer. I am sorry that I couldn't stick with it, because it's a good book. But I need to be able to sleep at night. I have passed this one off to my husband, who likes all thing scary and creepy, so hopefully he can tell me how everything works out. This would be a great read for those who appreciate a good scary story.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Hope to see you there!
Time: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 7:00 PM
Location: Skokie School, 520 Glendale, Winnetka, IL 60093
No reservations necessary.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
This is a fascinating story of a very brave family. Ackerman gets much of her information from Antonina's diaries, which provide incredible details of their activities in the resistance, as well as day to day life in occupied Warsaw. A great read!