Saturday, December 30, 2006

Digging to America

I finally got a chance to read an Anne Tyler book. I just started Digging to America. I am not quite finished but so far this is a very interesting book about two families adopting children from Asia. You would think this is a book about raising these children in America but it is not primarily about that. It is about the interaction between the two adopting families. One family is white American and the other is a younger Iranian American family. It is all about family interaction and being seen as foreign and exotic in America even when one is American born.

The white American mother, Bitsy, has these very specific ideas about raising children and wants the Iranian American mother, Ziba, to follow suit. She is shocked for example that Ziba wanted to be a working mother. Also, Bitsy sets a pattern with an Arrival Party for the baby girls and Ziba feels obliged to continue the practice the following year. Their lives become so intertwined that the Iranian American family moves into Bitsy's neighborhood and Bitsy's widowed father starts dating Maryam, the Iranian born paternal grandmother.

Tyler has a very good understanding of what it means to be foreign, to be an outsider and apparently has a very excellect idea of what it means to be Iranian. She obviously knows about Iranian foods, customs, and the Farsi language.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Year Resolution: Do Just One Thing

Many people are at this moment thinking about making changes in their lives. They are getting ready to write down their new year's resolutions. I am a bit of a pack rat. I accumulate magazines then periodically I purge by taking them to the nearest recycling bin at the supermarket parking area. However, I held on to my Prevention magazine from 2001 that suggested that readers focus on doing just one thing.

If you want to save money next year, do just one thing. How about borrowing more books, DVDs, videos from the library and reducing some of your entertainment budget. Don't complain about how expensive it is to go out.

If you want to make new friends next year, join a book club or a gym or take a continuing education class at the college nearest to your home or work. Don't complain about being lonely.

If you want to get rid of clutter, start purging. Don't complain about the mess you live in.

Focus on one resolution this year or try twelve; one for each month. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Library Love Connection

Moving along from news in Africa is this bit of news from Australia. What a unique icebreaker to get conversation going among book lovers who are meeting for the first time. This is really an interesting speed dating concept.

Link here to read more Those who make a long term love connection can tell their friends, children and grandchildren, "I met the love of my life in a 150 year old public library in Melbourne."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Timbuktu's hidden libraries

This fact is interesting: In Timbuktu, ancient texts covering all the fields of knowledge, have been found under mud homes and in desert caves proving that Africa had a written history possibly as early as the 13th century. READ MORE.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

100 Notable Books of the Year

The Waycross College Library has some of the most notable books of the year. According to The New York Times Book Review dated December 3, 2006, the following books are among the “100 Notable Books of the Year.”

Digging to America by Anne Tyler

Jane Goodall by Dale Peterson

The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

Queen of Fashion by Caroline Weber

The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley

Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz

Monday, December 11, 2006

Teacher Man Now In Paperback

In the latest edition of Book Page, an article by Julie Hale recommends the following for reading groups:

Frank Mc Court's third memoir, Teacher Man, which is now available in paperback.

Look out also for this paperback,The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster. If this becomes a book club selection we have a reader's guide available at

Also in the November edition of Book Page, Tasha Alexander's debut novel And Only Deceive, is recommended reading for book clubs. A reader's guide is on

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Notable Books of the Year

In The New York Times Book Review dated December 3, 2006, is a list of 100 notable books of the year. There are some strange titles on the list.

Take this one by Charles D'Ambrosio titled The Dead Fish Museum.

Anne Tyler's Digging to America is on the list.

The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen is another interesting title. And how about this title, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about sisters in the midst of the Biafran War.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Top Five Bestselling Books

Bestsellers on USA Today
1. Cross
James Patterson, Little, Brown
Thriller: Alex Cross hunts his wife's killer

2. For One More Day
Mitch Albom, Hyperion
Troubled man spends a day with his dead mother

3. Dear John
Nicholas Sparks, Warner
Love, duty in the aftermath of September 11

4. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
John Grisham, Doubleday
Story of a man wrongly sent to death row

5. You: On A Diet
Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, Free Press
Subtitle: "The Owner's Manual for Waist Management"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Festival of Trees at the Public Library

No book club meeting this month but find some time to see the Festival of Trees open to the public tomorrow at the public library on Lee Avenue. They are absolutely wonderful. In the spirit of the season, each tree will be donated to a needy family when the Festival ends on December 16.