Great Reads Book Club – May’s Book

17802747

The term “Easy Read” is subjective to the individual reader. What one reader might define as an “easy read”, another might mark as a “hard read”. It was agreed by everyone in the Great Reads Book Club that What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman was not an easy read. Despite the fact that Wiseman possesses an undisputed talent for narrating a good story, the topic under examination is not an easy one.

Wiseman wanted to tell a story of what happens to different people admitted to mental institutions. She accomplished this through two storylines. The first is of Izzy Stone, who grew up without a mother because she was in prison for shooting Izzy’s father ten years prior. Traveling from one foster home to another, Izzy was forced to become self-reliant from her early years. Now, Izzy is seventeen and her new foster parents have asked for Izzy’s help in cataloguing abandoned belongings in a local, deserted mental asylum. While working, Izzy discovers Clara Cartwright’s personal journal, which gives Izzy a new purpose in life.

The second plot line tells us a story of Clara Cartwright’s appalling experiences in a mental asylum. Clara was 18 in 1929, when her conservative father arranged a marriage for Clara with a man she did not love. Clara rejects the proposal and her furious parent sends her to a public asylum, in order to convince Clara to change her mind. Clara’s experiences in the asylum are truly awful and some readers might find those parts hard to read. One of the biggest points that sparked up an excellent conversation in the book club was doctor’s authority over patient’s body. Is it ok for a doctor to make any sort of changes to his patient’s body just because he is considered to be a professional or can a patient reject doctor’s orders?

What She Left Behind can be considered a historical novel, for a large portion of the story is unveiled in the past through the eyes of Clara Cartwright. However, the novel can appeal to readers of fiction set in present times. There is a plethora of topics in the book, relevant to today’s world and its problems, like abusive relationships, motherly interference in child’s growth, bullying, women’s rights, professional authority, and birth control. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys leisurely-paced, character-driven, thought-provoking literary fiction and schemes of parallel narratives.

Ilya Kabirov
Advertisements

Enjoy A Good Mystery With The Chills and Thrills Book Club

 If you like mysteries maybe you would like to join The Chills and Thrills Book Club? The book club meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 7pm in our board room. Everyone is welcome!

Here are some of the upcoming titles that will be discussed in the upcoming months.

May 7th

sudoku_Murder2Mathematician and Sudoku whiz Katie McDonald,  a self-professed geek who works for a hush-hush government think tank, returns to her hometown of Granville, N.H., at the behest of her former mentor, P.T. Avondale. Katie is shocked to find him frail and preoccupied, his beloved puzzle museum in serious disrepair and dire financial straits. Before Katie can make sense of the situation, she discovers Avondale murdered in his office—slumped over an unfinished Sudoku puzzle that may provide a clue to the killer’s identity. She tops the brash new police chief’s suspect list and decides to solve the case on her own, not only to clear her name but to save the Avondale museum from the wrecking ball.

June 4th

Death AngelWhen the body of a young woman is discovered in Central Park, the clock begins ticking for Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to find the killer who has breached this haven in the middle of New York City. Is the body found in the lake, under the unseeing gaze of the Bethesda angel, the first victim of a deranged psychopath, or is the case connected to other missing girls and women in years past whose remains have never been found? Just as the trio gets their first lead, the investigation is almost derailed when Mike and Alex become embroiled in a scandal.

July 2nd

knockJacobia “Jake” Tiptree is deep in her latest home improvement project—repainting the porch of her lovingly restored house in Eastport, Maine—when she notices the man repeatedly biking past her house. His face is unsettlingly familiar, but his chilling message seems inexplicable: Blood shows up again. Murder will out. Then there’s the anonymous email warning her to beware the Fourth of July—just two days away. Jake remembers some shady characters from her days as a hotshot financial manager, but she’s baffled as to the identity of her nemesis—until she receives a photo of a murdered man. From home invasion to kidnapping, this twisted killer is slowly but surely plotting a knockdown, not just for Jake but for the entire town of Eastport.

August 6th

killineteen-year-old Jace Damon has had a hard life. His mother died when he was just 13, and since then he has been struggling to raise his younger brother, all while staying beneath the radar of Child Protective Services. With the help of an understanding Chinese benefactress, Madam Chan, the two have been living in L.A.’s Chinatown, where Jace works as a bike messenger. One dark and rainy night, Jace agrees to do a last delivery. He picks up a package from a shady lawyer, but when he gets to the delivery address, he finds an empty lot; suddenly, someone attacks him and tries to grab the package. The bike messenger takes off, but the attacker pursues him, nearly runs him over with a car, and takes a couple of shots at him. Injured and frightened, Jace returns to Lowell’s office only to find the place swarming with cops and the attorney murdered. The plot thickens as Jace attempts to elude both homicide detective Ken Parker, who wants some answers, and a menacing, shadowy figure, who is trying to get that package.

If you would like a copy of any of these books, please stop by our third floor Information Desk or call us at 630-685-4176. Hope to see you there!

-Christine

X Meets Y Book Club!!! January – March 2011 Reads

The X Meets Y Book Club is gearing up for it’s winter season with a slew of interesting and diverse titles!  Over the next 3 months (January – March) we will be reading and discussing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison, and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

 

 

Today, Saturday, January 15, 2011 we will be meeting at the Starbuck’s on 699 E. Boughton Road (just outside the Promenade) from 2:00-3:00 pm for another fun filled hour of book discussion!   The X Meets Y Book Club meets everything 3rd Saturday of the month.

 

The book we will be discussing today is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon.

 

From Booklist, Donna Seaman states: “Virtuoso Chabon takes intense delight in the practice of his art, and never has his joy been more palpable than in this funny and profound tale of exile, love, and magic. In his last novel, The Wonder Boys (1995), Chabon explored the shadow side of literary aspirations. Here he revels in the crass yet inventive and comforting world of comic-book superheroes, those masked men with mysterious powers who were born in the wake of the Great Depression and who carried their fans through the horrors of war with the guarantee that good always triumphs over evil. In a luxuriant narrative that is jubilant and purposeful, graceful and complex, hilarious and enrapturing, Chabon chronicles the fantastic adventures of two Jewish cousins, one American, one Czech. It’s 1939 and Brooklynite Sammy Klayman dreams of making it big in the nascent world of comic books. Joseph Kavalier has never seen a comic book, but he is an accomplished artist versed in the “autoliberation” techniques of his hero, Harry Houdini. He effects a great (and surreal) escape from the Nazis, arrives in New York, and joins forces with Sammy. They rapidly create the Escapist, the first of many superheroes emblematic of their temperaments and predicaments, and attain phenomenal success. But Joe, tormented by guilt and grief for his lost family, abruptly joins the navy, abandoning Sammy, their work, and his lover, the marvelous artist and free spirit Rosa, who, unbeknownst to him, is carrying his child. As Chabon–equally adept at atmosphere, action, dialogue, and cultural commentary–whips up wildly imaginative escapades punctuated by schtick that rivals the best of Jewish comedians, he plumbs the depths of the human heart and celebrates the healing properties of escapism and the “genuine magic of art” with exuberance and wisdom.”

 

On Saturday February 19, 2011, we will be discussing Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison.

 

Donna Chavez of Booklist states: “If one looked at only Robison’s impish sense of humor (he once ordered a blow-up sex doll to be delivered to his junior-high-school teacher—at school), or his success as a classic-car restorer, it might be impossible to believe he has the high-functioning form of autism spectrum disorder called Asperger’s syndrome. Clues abound, however, in his account of a youth encompassing serious inability to make and keep friends; early genius at pyrotechnics, electronics, and math; and pet names such as Poodle for his dog and Snort and Varmint for his baby brother. Much later, he calls his wife Unit Two. It is easy to recognize these telltale traits today, but Robison went undiagnosed until he was 40. In the 1960s, he was variously labeled lazy, weird, and, worse, sociopathic. Consequently, his childhood memories too often read like a kid’s worst nightmares. Not only did his parents fail to understand the root of his socialization problems but they were also virtually as dysfunctional as the pair Augusten Burroughs portrays in Running with Scissors (2002). ‘Nough said? Not nearly. Robison’s memoir is must reading for its unblinking (as only an Aspergian can) glimpse into the life of a person who had to wait decades for the medical community to catch up with him.”

 

On Saturday March 19, 2011, we will be discussing The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

 

“Former academic Setterfield pays tribute in her debut to Brontë and du Maurier heroines: a plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a house, which guards family secrets that are not hers and that she must discover at her peril. Margaret Lea, a London bookseller’s daughter, has written an obscure biography that suggests deep understanding of siblings. She is contacted by renowned aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire, where she interviews the dying writer, walks the remains of her estate at Angelfield and tries to verify the old woman’s tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one abandoned baby. With the aid of colorful Aurelius Love, Margaret puzzles out generations of Angelfield: destructive Uncle Charlie; his elusive sister, Isabelle; their unhappy parents; Isabelle’s twin daughters, Adeline and Emmeline; and the children’s caretakers. Contending with ghosts and with a (mostly) scary bunch of living people, Setterfield’s sensible heroine is, like Jane Eyre, full of repressed feeling—and is unprepared for both heartache and romance. And like Jane, she’s a real reader and makes a terrific narrator. That’s where the comparisons end, but Setterfield, who lives in Yorkshire, offers graceful storytelling that has its own pleasures”  – from Publisher’s Weekly.

 

 

So come on in for some diverse reads, great discussion, and good times to keep you warm in this frosty season!

 

 

-Brian S.

J. D. Robb’s In Death Series

indulgence in deathIt is hard to imagine that J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts) is coming out with the 32nd book in the In Death series in February 2011 (Treachery In Death). I just finished Indulgence In Death, and I found myself enjoying the book, but thinking that the plot sounded familiar. Then it hit me – it sounded like the movie Hard Target, John Woo’s first Hollywood movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Yancy Butler and Wilfred Brimley. Okay, so the book didn’t involve Cajuns and homeless veterans, and no money exchanged hands. However the murderers were bored rich men with nothing better to do than have a contest counting how many people they can kill in the most interesting ways.

Robb uses very descriptive language in the book, and vividly paints everything around the characters that you feel as if you are there with them. Indulgence In Death starts out in Ireland. I have visited Ireland, and I could picture the scenery as Eve describes the drive down a winding country lane. The flowers by the roadside, the farmhouse, and the park. I laughed out loud (I think that I scared some people) when Eve and Roarke and spending their first night in his Aunt’s home (I still smile when I think of it). Someone asked me what I was laughing at, and I read the passage (definitely G or PG rated) to the person. They sort of smiled, but I don’t think they thought it was as funny as I evidently did. Maybe they didn’t read J. D. Robb’s novels, or maybe I have a quirky sense of humor.

Anyway, I’m wondering how Robb is able to write such captivating books while publishing so often as both Robb and Roberts. I know that James Patterson has a new book every two weeks (or so it seems) but he co-authors with several different people so he is able to publish so many. I wonder if she just sits up late and writes them as one long book and then separates it into smaller books, or if she does have someone co-author them. Either way, I enjoy her (their?) writing style, and look forward to reading each and everyone of them.

-Lynnette

Week of the Zombies

It is finally here, and I missed it! Tor.com has launched its Week of the Zombie last week (9/13 – 9/17) and I didn’t find out until today. Curses! However, you can read all about the great cartoons, books, and movies on the website at http://www.tor.com. My personal favorite is The Twelve Days of Zombie Christmas http://www.tor.com/stories/2008/12/z12-00 that Sean Bieri created for the 2008 Christmas season. He created new cartoons for this year entitled Zombies vs. Scenesters. My favorite one is the Zombie vs. Stoner :

The website also has book reviews, and polls. Today’s poll is:

Fire, boomstick, bat or blade? What’s your weapon/zombie-killing implement of choice? (And please: feel free to be creative—after all, your survival may depend on it…)

The answers are great! Feel free to contribute your own ideas. Me? I would choose whatever weapon that would allow the maximum amount of zombie carnage while allowing the maximum distance between me and the zombies.

There will be a new book out next week The Living Dead 2 which is an anthology featuring 44 original zombie stories by such authors as Max Brooks, Kelley Armstrong, Robert Kirkman,  Simon R. Green, and David Wellington. It is a follow up to 2008’s The Living Dead also edited by John Joseph Adams. The first book was one of Publishers Weekly‘s best books of the year, and Barnes and Noble said that it was the best collection of zombie fiction. The website for the book is up and running. Check it out here: http://www.johnjosephadams.com/the-living-dead-2/ There you will find interviews with the authors, free (yes I said free) short stories, and events. If you happen to live in the New York City area, there will be a Zombie Experts Panel on October 6, 2010.

There will also be a movie in 2012 (possibly) based upon the Max Brooks classic World War Z. It will be directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace, Kite Runner) and is slated to star Brad Pitt and Milo Vantimiglia (Peter Petrelli from Heroes). If Brad Pitt plays a zombie, would you root for the zombies to win or Brad’s character to be killed in a gruesome and horrific way?

For some great zombie fiction or movies, check out the Fountaindale Public Library’s catalog.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim V. 1Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is coming to a theater near you! Who is Scott Pilgrim and why is he taking on the world you ask?

Scott Pilgrim is a typical 23 year old guy living in the big city in Canada with his roommate Wallace Wells. Scott plays bass in a garage band, he likes video games and he is “between jobs.”

Enter the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers. He meets her at a party, and falls for her immediately. But to win her heart, Ramona tells Scott that he has to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Seven evil ex-boyfriends! Volume 6, the final book is due out July 20, 2010.

The popular and award-winning graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley have now become a major motion picture. The movie opens August 13, and is based on the first graphic novel “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.” You can watch the trailer here:

There will also be a video game based upon the books and movie. The game is being developed by Ubisoft who has produced such games as Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia (also a movie), Splinter Cell, Resident Evil, and many more. The game is set to launch soon after the movie on August 25th. View the game trailer here:

The Fountaindale Public Library has all of the graphic novels. You can place a hold, or call us at 630-685-4176 and we can place the hold for you.

-Lynnette

First Time Author Intrigues Oprah

Laurie Fabiano and I at the launch of her new book,  "Elizabeth Street"
Laurie Fabiano and I at the launch of her new book, "Elizabeth Street"

Laurie Fabiano, held a book launch event in New York City’s “Little Italy” neighborhood this evening. Her book, “Elizabeth Street,” tells the story of the Italian immigrant experience in New York City during the early twentieth century. It is a tale of tragedies, triumphs, love, and the early days of the mafia. This book is based on true events, and the author has done extensive research in writing this book. Many of the characters are based on six generations of her family tree. The best part, for those of us who are unfamiliar with the Italian language, a glossary is provided at the beginning of the book. The book will also be appearing in next month’s issue of Oprah’s magazine O. So come in, or call us to reserve this book at the Fountaindale Public Library. Our copies are not in, but we can reserve one for you!