Monday, December 31, 2007

Extreme evil; extreme goodness

In the midst of extreme evil, there is extreme goodness. That is the message I got from reading Dean Koontz's book, The Good Guy. In fact, that is also the message of his other book, The Husband. In both books the evil guy had a dysfuncitionl childhood. In the Good Guy the antagonist can't even remember his childhood. He is a hired killer with a tech support team behind him. It was a case of mistaken identity that got Tim the protagonist involved in this story in the first place. In the end, it turns out Tim was in the right place at the right time to protect Linda, the target of the hired killer.

The Good Guy reminded me of the other book club selection, The Last Breed by Louis L'Amour. Both books involved the bad guy chasing after the good ones. It's a battle of the minds. Both the good and the bad are equally intelligent and the challenge for the good guys is to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and defeat them.

Get ready book club members to talk about The Husband on the third Friday of January.

To all those who read my blog from every corner of the globe, affirmation by affirmation, day by day, go out and radiate peace, love, prosperity in your corner.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reading Guides

According to this site, ReadingGroupGuides.com, in November this year the most requested reading book guides were for the books Water for Elephants, The Glass Castle, A Thousand Splendid Sons, and Eat, Pray, Love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Food, Drinks, and Used Books

Interesting article on a book cafe featuring food, drinks, live performances and celebrities who buy and/or donate used books. There is for example, a 7th grade English book at the cafe that used to belong to Gwyneth Paltrow. She has her name written all over the book and underlined her favorite short stories. As you all know anything that comes with celebrity sitings will be popular. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What're you reading?

I am reading The Jane Austen Book Club: A Novel. So far it's going good. I just noticed there is a movie based on this book with Jimmy Smits as one of the stars.

I am hoping to add another Dean Koontz book, The Good Guy to my reading list and perhaps later in the Christmas holiday I will try The Pirate's Daughter.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas is in the air


.... and this Santa is in the Okefenokee swamp, his boat is being pulled by gators. A real southern Christmas!

Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of Eat, Pray, Love, was back on Oprah this week with her friend Richard from Texas. One of the audience members actually went all the way to Bali to visit some of the characters mentioned in the book. Some people really take their reading very seriously.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Book Club Selection

We are reading The Husband by Dean Koontz for discussion at our January meeting. Since that title came out Dean Koontz has about two other new titles: The Good Guy and The Darkest Evening of The Year.

We need a non-fiction suggestion for February and Karen is thinking about it. Linda wants us to consider Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen for March.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Last Breed

In our November book selection, The Last Breed by Louis L'Amour, remember the similarities between the character Major Joe Mack, part Sioux Indian, and his Yakut enemy, Alekhin from Siberia? Well look at this article showing that Native Americans share similar genetic traits to people of Siberia.

Also, read this interesting article about A New Way of Publishing Cookbooks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love

I am still reading, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. So far I am finding it a very honest and gutsy memoir. The writer is honest about her flaws and her issues with men, intimacy and love.

The book was named by The New York Times as one of the 100 most notable books of 2006, and was chosen as one of the best ten nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly. See more on Gilbert's website.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What are you reading this fall?



I am now reading, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Here are some ideas from People magazine, November 12 issue:

Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig.

What Is the What by Dave Eggers

Breakable You by Brian Morton

Born on A Blue Day y Daniel Tammet

Friday, November 09, 2007

Random House Podcast

Remember our past book selection, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi? Well listen to the voice of Azar on the Random House podcast.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lad Lit

Well who knew? If I had not attended that library conference I would not have heard about Dick Lit also known as Lad Lit and Guy Lit, a subgenre of fiction written by men for men. It appears that they are not as attractive as the Chick Lit subgenre if I am to go by this article.

I had heard the expression Chick Lit and figured, correctly I might add, that it was related to the movie equivalent, Chick Flick. Now that I have been enlightened I can see that my favorite fictional character Agatha Raisin, created by MC Beaton, is a middle aged version of the typical Chick Lit protagonist. She is smart, sassy, humorous amateur detective with romance issues. Dead bodies pop up whenever she's around and she always fumbles through and manages to get the bad guys.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spooky Reads on Display in the Library


"Chilling Reads" by writers Anne Rice, Anne Rivers Siddons (The House Next Door), Stephen King, Jodie Picoult (Second Glance), Mary Roach (Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife) are on display at the Waycross College Library as Halloween approaches.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oke Book Club Selections 2007

January 19
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

March
Atchafalaya Houseboat: My years in the Louisiana Swamp by Gwen Roland

April 20
Under Orders by Dick Francis

May 18
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

June 15
Digging to America by Anne Tyler

July 20
Ice Bound: A Doctor’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole by Jerri Nielsen

August 17
The Pact by Sampson Davis et al

September 21
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

November 16
The Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour

Monday, October 22, 2007

Library Conference Theme: Beaches, Blogs, and Books

I had the pleasure of attending a Georgia COMO library conference with the theme Beaches, Blogs and Books. I really enjoyed Claire Matturo's presentation on Chick-Lit, Pink mysteries, Chickton, Dick-Lit and Tart-noir.

So what exactly is the popular Chick-Lit? Taken from my notes at Matturro's session, this is the pattern for Chick-Lits:
  • Targets female readers

  • Mystery with romance, no sex

  • Young heroine, 20 – early 40 age group, she’s hip, fashionable, perfect hair and figure

  • Heroine relies on wits not weapons, not violent

  • Heroine is amateur sleuth, smart, competent

  • Heroine is sassy

  • Fast paced, snappy dialogue

  • Humorous tone

  • First person narrative

  • Urban, big city setting

  • Female friendships critical or gay male friend

  • Bad guy is likeable

Pink mysteries are similar yet different:

  • Targets female readers

  • Romance novels with a dead body

  • Book cover is pink

  • Book begins and ends in paperback

  • Women are quirky

Claire Matturro's new book is Sweetheart Deal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mayor Peyton's Book Club

What a cool idea to promote reading and literacy! Read about the Jacksonville, Florida program to attract young readers here. These are what the young book clubbers are reading:

• Big Dog ... Little Dog by P.D. Eastman
• Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros
• Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
• A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
• We're Going to the Beach! by Fran Peacock Coker

Friday, October 12, 2007

Book Awards Nominees

USA Today's Book Buzz says Christophe Hitchens' God is Not Great, Edwidge Danticat's Brother I'm Dying and Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA are among the finalists for the National Book Award for non-fiction.


Oprah's Book Club selection, Love in the Time of Cholera, will have its film version out in November. Watch for it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

All About Scandalous Harry

Harold Robbins: The Man Who Invented Sex by Andrew Wilson is featured in USA Today's October 8 issue. The Daily Mail also has an interesting article on raunchy Robbins.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Oprah's Pick: Love in the Time of Cholera

The Oprah book club pick has a strange title, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I like the character guide on oprah.com. Read an excerpt.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Women's Murder Club series Fans

Women's Murder Club Series by prolific writer, James Patterson can now be watched on ABC starting Friday, October 12 at 9:00PM (channel 5 in Waycross).

Remember we read The Pact recently by three doctors from Newark? Well read an interesting article in USA Today (Oct. 3) on their new book, The Bond. Kathy is on her way to meet the three doctors next week in Atlanta as they promote this new book. The website of their foundation is www.threedoctorsfoundation .org

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hispanic Heritage Month


We are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 - October 15. On display at Waycross College Library are some books by Isabel Allende. Remember we discussed her version of Zorro at our bookclub some time ago?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quill Awards


Take a look at the Quill Book Award winners, then you can vote for the Book of the Year along with other readers by linking here. Voting ends October 10, 2007. Watch more on the Today Show with Al Roker and Ann Curry here filmed on September 10. Remember our book club selection The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield? That's a winner.


I would like to show off the Waycross College Library display for Constitution Week; September 17 to September 23.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Eat Pray Love

Oprah.com is featuring Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. And if you've had a spiritual journey, tell Oprah.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Oprah's Pick and Okebookclub's Pick

Oprah had an interesting show yesterday on intersex gender inspired by the book she selected for her book club, the novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, which has an intersex narrator.

What did we select for our next meeting? We had two suggestions at yesterday's meeting: The Honk and Holler: Opening Soon by Billie Letts and Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour. Sounded perfect since we just needed one for October and one for November. Alas, October is looking so busy we may not meet. Here is what we decided finally in the carpark of Cavagnaro's; it's Louis L'Amour in November, the book that is not a western and is set in Siberia of all places.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pirate's Daughter

I have mentioned the online book club that I belong to in previous posts. Well I have been getting from the book club chapter 1 of a book called, The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezaire-Thompson, a writer originally from Jamaica. The book will be available on amazon.com October 2007. The True History of Paradise was Margaret's first book and amazon readers have given it 5 stars.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Giving: Number 1 Bestseller on USA TODAY

The top three bestsellers this week listed on USA Today are:

Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton,

74 Seaside Avenue by Debbie Macomber

The Collectors by David Baldacci

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dick Francis has a new book

Dead Heat is the title of the latest book and this one is co-authored with his son Felix.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Books read by college campuses this summer

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman is what Meredith College read this summer. Theme for the year: Ethical leadership

The Water Planet: A River Runs Through Us by John Graves is what Texas StateUniversity read and the theme was of course, water.

Groucher College's incoming first year and transfer students read The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri. The themes were modern India and human mortality

College of the Holy Cross read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Best Sellers

On the New York Times Best Sellers Fiction list this week are:

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. All of ten weeks on the List!

The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva. Just one week on the List!

The Quickie by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.

High Noon by Nora Roberts

Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We meet this Friday

It's the third Friday in the month. We meet at 5:15PM to dicuss The Pact.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What are you reading now? Ahora, que estan leyendo?

Don't be shy, register your comment! What are you reading now?

I finished Land of Mango Sunsets. It started off slow but it got better after a new young tenant, having a relationship with an older married man, moves in and brings a new dynamic into the household. The interaction between the leading character, Miriam, and her tenant and closest friend, Kevin, reminded me of Will with a middle aged Grace as in the TV comedy, "Will and Grace". In the prologue readers get a hint that the book is going to be about Miriam making mistakes, forgiving herself, and starting afresh.

It's a story about family dynamics: the mother-adult daughter dynamic, the mother-adult sons dynamic, the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law to be dynamic. It also deals with the abusive man-woman relationship and the middle-aged man-woman relationship.

Charlotte just finished reading The Skeleton in the Closet by M. C. Beaton and it does not feature Agatha Raisin or Hammish Macbeth. Of course, she passed the book to me. I am only on page 9 and already it is interesting. Fellworth Dolphin is a forty year old virgin and only son who gave up his youth to serve the needs of his parents. He spent his youth working as a waiter handing over his pay check to his sick father to support the family. On his death, he continued handing over his check to his elderly mother so at 40 he never had savings acount. On the death of his mother he discovers he has inherited a large sum of money from his parents. The mystery is where did the money come from, and why did the parents allow the family to live from hand to mouth when there was money in the bank?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lottery

Read about Patricia Wood's new novel called Lottery. The novel is about a mentally challenged man who wins the lottery. This is Patricia's first book. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii and lives on a boat with her husband..

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mango Sunsets

I have put away Three Bags Full for a little while to read Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank. The cover of the book is very attractive. So far it's holding my interest. The story at this point is about a middle-aged woman facing some post-divorce problems: social misfit, ex-husband now has a trophy wife and additional children, estranged adult sons. In the mix is her mother living "green" in the Sullivans Islands, South Carolina and a new young tenant bringing excitement in the household. Her closest friends seem to be her faithful and sincere tenant Kevin and her chatty parrot Harry. I'll see how it develops.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What are you reading? Que estas leyendo?

I have been reading Three Bags Full but it is not as interesting as the reviewers on amazon say it is. I am still reading and hoping the story will hold my interest. In the meantime, I have requested The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones through Interlibrary Loan becuase it sounds like the chinese version of Pig Tails N Breadfruit with a little family drama thrown in the mix.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pig Tails 'N Breadfruit

Pig Tails 'N Breadfruit by Austin Clarke is the title of a very entertaining culinary memoir that I just finished reading. Clarke is a Barbadian (aka Bajan) who loves Barbadian food aka "Bajan hot-cuisine".

I loved the conversational and humorous tone in which it is written. The Bajan vernacular is used to narrate the story in every chapter except the introduction and the last chapter.

The introduction covers the writer's childhood and how he became interested in food. This section introduces us to old time Bajan life in the 1930's and 40's. Also, this section introduces the terms he intends to use in the rest of the chapters such as "ingreasements" for ingredients. Each chapter covers a typical Bajan meal: how to select the ingredients and how to prepare the meal. One chapter is about a dish called Bakes, another about a meal called Privilege made with pig tails, okra and plain rice, yet another covered the Breadfruit Cou-cou. There are no measurements since good Barbadian cooks don't measure foods.

I found the Bajan dialect interesting. I knew that the English speaking Caribbean islands use repetition a lot and that the pattern is also a feature of West African languages. It was not a surprise that the writer used expressions like big-big, vex-vex, fast-fast, thin- thin. I was surprised however that the Bajan vernacular tripled their repetition for emphasis; as in dark-dark-dark, good-good-good and cut up small-small-small. I never noticed prior to reading this book how much Caribbean people like to use the preposition "up" in the vernacular as in: feel-up, touch- up, love-up, and slice-she-up. Some Caribbean dialects use the pronoun "she" instead of "it" so slice-she-up is not refering to slicing a person.

The friendly competition amongst the English-speaking Caribbean islands comes out in this memoir. The writer humorously explains why sharks are plentiful in Barbadian waters: they were sent from Trinidad to eat Barbadian fishermen. The writer does however concede that Guyana has the best rum and that Jamaica has the best hard dough bread. Also, he devotes a whole chapter called Pepperpot to the Guyanese, not just their food but also their political history. He almost devoted the whole chapter on Pelau to the Trinidadians.

I also enjoyed reading about the different concepts of the dumpling. Apparently every country has a different concept of dumpling and some meals require a different specie of dumpling. In the end, there are dumplings for split peas soup, dumplings for peas and rice, Jamaican dumplings, African American dumplings, and Barbadian dumplings.

There is even advice as to what music to play and what to drink while you cook. In one chapter the advice was to listen to music by Whitney Houston, most times the advice was to listen to some Bajan calypso.

If you like multicultural books, Caribbean foods and culture then you will enjoy this book.

Friday, July 27, 2007

People Recommends

The August 6 issue of People Magazine has a list of books that we can check out. Of course the Critic's Choice is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and under the Great Reads segment, there is The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud.

Also, Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 by Katie Roiphe gets a 4 star rating by People book reviewer Judith Newman.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Pact

The Pact, written by three young doctors, is the book we selected for our book talk for August 17. Here is an interesting link to the three doctors' website . Interestingly, the doctors Sam, George, and Rameck, have a new book that will be released in October this year called The Bond: Three Young Men learn to Forgive and Reconnect with Their Fathers.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Matarena's Wedding Plans

I just finished reading The Breadfruit: a novel by Celestine Vaite, a Tahitian born writer. If you like multicultural family stories, you will like this book.

The story is set in Papeete, capital city of the French Polynesian island Tahiti.

The storyline is simple. Matarena, the protagonist, wants to get married and formalize the longstanding relationship she has with Pito, the father of her three children. Pito is lazy, indifferent and an alcoholic and clearly has no interest in formalizing their relationship. His only interests in life are alcohol, practicing the ukulele, and belittling Matarena. From the very beginning of the relationship he showed no affection and never used any words of endearment to Matarena. The closest he came to showing any concern towards Matarena is when she fell out of a breadfruit tree and he thought she was badly hurt. However, one night in a drunken stupor, Pito proposes to Matarena. Even though she is aware that he was drunk, Matarena, the romantic, goes right ahead planning her wedding in secret. The city seems to be populated mainly by Matarena's cousins so Matarena goes to her cousins to get quotes for the wedding cake, the music, and the transportation to and from the church. She buys a new bed and gets carpet on her floor, all in preparation for a wedding. Although this is the basic story, the book is filled with anecdotes about Matarena's children, Matarena's mother and cousins, and Pito's mother.

Breadfruit is the first of a trilogy. The writer has followed up with books titled Frangipani and Tiare.

The breadfruit, grown in tropical countries, is a versatile and starchy fruit that can be baked, roasted, fried, or boiled. When it is baked or roasted the white flesh tastes a bit like hot bread. Periodically the breadfruit is mentioned in the book. Breadfruit is a typical food in Tahiti and perhaps Matarena's story is typical of Tahiti hence the title.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Journey of Self Discovery: "Eat, Pray, Love"

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is on the New York Times Bestsellers list. The movie version of the book starring Julia Roberts should be out in 2008. Visit the writer's official website; link here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gore's House

Sammy's House is the name of the sequel to Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore. Thirty year old Gore is already working on a new novel but she says it has nothing to do with Sammy. Link here to her interview.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mark Your Calendar ... Queen Hatshepsut

On July 15 at 9:00PM, watch the Discovery channel for more on the lost Queen of Egypt, Hatshepsut. We may have to discuss the J. Suzanne Frank book again, Reflections in the Nile, at our meeting next week.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Three Bags Full

You may be wondering, three bags full of what? Well that's the title of a book written by none other than an author with the name Leonie Swann. This is a murder mystery where the sheep solve the crime. Yvonne Zipp reviewed this book, among others, on page 15 of The Christian Science Monitor, July 6, 2007.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Reading with "Diane: The Curves Magazine"

In Diane Magazine's summer 2007 issue, there is an article by Ellen Michaud in which she highlights these book titles and more; she recommends them for summer reading:

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This is one of five nominees in the Quill Award Romance category.

River Rising by Athol Dickson.

The Road to Home by Vanessa Del Fabbro. This book won for the South African born writer, the 2006 Christy Award for best contemporary novel.

Key Lime Pie Murder: A Hannah Swenson Mystery with recipes by Joanne Fluke. This is the writer's 9th book in the series. Click on the writer's name to see her attractive website with the fascinating name, murdershebaked.com.

Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank. Frank is a New York Times bestselling author. In the month of July she will be participating in an online discussion of this book on B&N.com.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pharoah Queen Hatshepsut

Remember that time traveling book we read some time ago? It was Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank. We discussed this book in September 2006. Well there is a recent report that Egyptian authorities found a mummy in 1903 and it has now been identified as the pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut who ruled over Egypt in the 15th century. DNA bone samples are being compared to the mummy Nefreteri, Hathshepsut's grandmother.

This month, the Discovery channel will broadcast a documentary about these findings.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

August Book Club Selecton

The correct title of the book selected for August is just The Pact by Sampson Davis. The other title I mentioned covers the same subject but seems to be geared toward the grade 7 to 10 reader.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What are the most popular words in the title of best sellers?

Who knew that the Top Five Words, most often found in the title of bestsellers, 1906-2006, were:
  1. Men
  2. Diet
  3. House
  4. Woman
  5. Sex/Sexual

See Newsweek, July 9, 2007, page 70.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Book Club Selections

For the third Friday in July, we will discuss Karen's pick, Ice Bound: A doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole , by Jerri Nielsen. We have seen this on CNN. This is the true story of a Doctor who self administered a biopsy, found a cancerous lump in her breast and administered chemotherapy to herself while stuck in the south pole. Karen says there is more to the book. There a bit of family drama going on.

In August we will discuss Kathy's pick, We Beat The Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis et al. We have seen this on TV too. Oprah featured these three young men who had made a pact to leave the poverty of their New Jersey neighborhood to attend medical school and they succeeded.

Wow! I am just realizing we selected two non-fiction books about Doctors.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Richard Bachman

I had no idea, until I read a book review by Carol Memmott in USA Today, that prolific horror writer Stephen King had an alter ego. Read More about his new book Blaze.

We meet on Friday to discuss Digging to America by Anne Tyler at 5:15PM.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Oprah's Book Club Selection

In case you missed it, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is the book selected for discussion on Oprah's Book Club. It's a book about an hermaphrodite that promises to be a very interesting family drama.

Monday, June 04, 2007

What the Dead Know

Just finished reading What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman. I highly recommend this book.
Here's the storyline:

Two sisters who go to a shopping mall and disappear, one almost 12 and the other 15. Thirty years later the police detain a female hit and run driver. She reveals that she is one of the missing girls, the younger one. The detective on the case is skeptical. She gives him some information to verify who she is but every lead turns into a dead end.

Lippman is an excellent storyteller. I loved how the twists to the story were very cleverly revealed one by one. I could not put the book down.

This story had some similarities to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. In the two books, the main characters say they want to reveal the truth about themselves but they want to release bits and pieces of the truth on their own schedule. Also, both stories made reference to the classic fiction Jane Eyre. What I did not like about this story was the unnecessary crudeness in the language. The F word is frequently used.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sssh! It's The Secret of the Secret

As we have seen with the Davinci Code, there are now some new self-help books and reprints of old self-help books hanging on the coat tail of the bestselling book The Secret.

There is the Law of Attraction: The science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don't originally self published by Michael Losier and of course this title: The Secret of "The Secret" by Karen Kelly. There is also a parody Who Moved My Secret? by Jim Gerard.

Read about other titles being reissued in USA Today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Anne Tyler

We will meet June15 to discuss Digging to America by Anne Tyler, 1989 Pullitzer Prize Winner. Someone compared her fiction writing to Instant Oatmeal: bland, warm and comforting. I thought Digging to America was a wonderful multicultural family story. We'll discuss this at our next meeting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Books to Movies

This is an interesting link to a list of books that have been made into movies. So, how many of these books have you read? And, how many of the movies have you watched?

Notes of a Scandal is the most recent movie that I saw. I haven't read Pursuit of Happyness but I enjoyed the movie.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Book Club Blogs

Found an interesting blog on controversial books by African American writers. Click here.

Also, check out this Paradise Valley Community College book club blog.

This British based book club blog for "connoisseurs of fine literature, books, clubs and blogs" no longer seems to be current. Not enough connoisseurs?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ann Rule Recommends

See what Ann Rule, bestselling author, recommends in The Wall Street Journal. These titles are included in her list:

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)

The Corpse Had a Familiar Face by Edna Buchanan (Random House, 1987)

Bitter Blood by Jerry Bledsoe (Dutton, 1988)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tony Wheeler

British-born Tony Wheeler has an interesting guidebook out called, Tony Wheeler's Bad Lands: A Tourist on the Axis of Evil. He is supposed to have devised an "evil meter" to rate the countries he visited.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We Loved The Thirteenth Tale

Our book club met last week to discuss The Thirteenth Tale, a first novel by Diane Setterfield. This was a very strange and fascinating story set in England about family scandals, secrets and lies which haunt the major and minor characters. The story interestingly is divided into four sections: Beginnings, Middles, Endings, and Beginnings. The writing is excellent. The images are vivid. The ghosts seem real.

The theme has to do with truth. There is a quote from one of the major characters, Vida Winter: “My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth itself....What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.” The story is not very exciting in the first few pages. In the third paragraph, the protagonist, Margaret Lea, makes a big deal about a letter she receives before actually opening it. Right away you get the image of a protagonist who lives a very dull, unexciting life.

The letter is from Vida and she wants Margaret to write the true story of her (Vida's) life. Margaret is skeptical because she normally does not write biographies of living people plus Vida has a history of creating multiple versions of her biography. In fact there are 19 versions of Vida's life. Vida is old and sick plus she has a connection with Margaret. They both had twin sisters. Margaret predictably accepts the job and a dark gripping tale enfolds that includes incest, masochism, and child neglect and abandonment in a strange English family.

There are several references to the novel Jane Eyre. Just as in the classic Jane Eyre story, this story has a governess, fire, and disfigurement. It has characters that are hidden away, romance, and madness.

Okay, go read the book!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Book Awards Finalists

Some of the books on the British Book Awards shortlist are:

Thomas Hardy:The Time-Torn Man by Claire Tomalin, Biography of the Year

Londonstani by Guatam Malkani, Writer of the Year

Some of the Finalists for the 2007 Audies are:

Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood by Teri Garr

Mama Made The Difference by T. D. Jakes

Since 1996, the APA has been hosting The Audies to honor excellence in audiobook publishing. This year The Audies will be held in the Rainbow Room in New York City on June 1, 2007.

And here are some of the 2007 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards Finalists:

City of Tiny Lights by Patrick Neate

The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower

The Bloodwater Mysteries: Snatched by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue

Click here to see more Edgar Awards Nominees 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

Intimate Stories

Check out what USA Weekend magazine, May 18-20, 2007 is calling The Next Classics:

Blindsided: lifting a life above illness by Richard Cohen

Drinking: A love story by Caroline Knapp

An Unquiet Mind: A memoir of moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

A Whole New Life by Reynolds Price

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What are you reading?

I am reading The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan. Before reading this book, I had no idea that there was a theory that Mary Magdalene and Jesus had three children: one daughter and two sons. I had no idea that there was a theory that John the Baptist was the true Messiah. This book was written before the Da Vinci Code and has similarities to the Code: hidden art messages, anagrams, secret societies. The writer herself claims to be a descendant of Mary Magdalene.

Here are two books I'd like to read before the end of the year:

Breadfruit by Tahitian writer Clestine Vaite. This is the second book in a trilogy by Vaite.

Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy. The protagonist in this story goes back to the Jamaican roots of her parents and returns to England with a new perspective and understanding of her parents.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Washington Post's Award Winning Books 2006

Best Fiction Books of 2006 according to Washington Post include:

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle
Nowhere is a place by Bernice Mc Fadden
Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Best Nonfiction include:

Mussolini's Italy by R. J. B. Bosworth
Revolutionary Characters by Gordon S. Wood
The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina by Frank Rich

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Award Winning Books

From the Quill Awards 2006, the Winner of the Book of the Year and Humor Winner ...(drum roll)

Don't Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings by Tyler Perry

From Library Journal's Best Books 2006, The Best Mystery is In Plain Sight: A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box, Best Science Fiction/Fantasy is Odyssey by Jack Mc Devitt and Best Thriller is Promise Me by Harlan Coben.

On the Publisher's Weekly Best Books of the Year are Justice for All by Jim Newton and Pretender by C. J. Cherryh.

Final drum roll, on the Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year, there is Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Darryl Wimberley In Waycross

Author Darryl Wimberley was at the public library last night for a book signing and lecture. Not familiar with the writer? Click on his April 2007 book, The King Of Colored Town, on amazon. Also, coming in July 2007 is his book, Pepperfish Keys.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Recommended for Book clubs

Under a section titled Great Reads in People (April 30 issue), the book reviewers of the magazine recommend the following for Book Clubs:

Easter Everywhere: A Memoir by Darcey Steinke
To My Dearest Friends by Patricia Volk
Body Surfing by Anita Shreve.

The book that really sounds interesting though is the one highlighted on page 49 as the Critic's Choice titled, If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation, a memoir by Janine Latus.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Silent Partner

In the May 14, 2007 issue of People Magazine, Dina Matos McGreevey's memoir, Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage, gets only a two star rating while Flower Children by Maxine Swann gets 4 out of 4 stars.

Mrs. Mc Greevey was the wife who stood by the side of former New Jersey Governor, Jim McGreevey, as he announced to America that he was gay. She's divorced and now doing the rounds on the talk show circuit. Unfortunately I missed the Oprah interview with her. I am sure the book will be a best seller despite the low rating from the reviewer at People.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Book Selection for May

Our next meeting will be on May 18, third Friday of the month. The book selected for discussion is Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Memorable Books

There's an interesting article in USA Today dated April 9, 2007 listing 25 of the most memorable books in the last 25 years. Link here. Our past book club selection, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, made the list. Read an Excerpt.

Also, in the top 25 are Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, Chicken Soup for the Soul by Mark Hansen and Jack Canfield, and Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Book

Woman's World's April 17 issue is highlighting another interesting new read. It's Obsession by Karen Robards.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Books

In Woman's World, April 10 issue, two new books are highlighted in the What to watch, read and do this week! section. One book is I Heard That Song Before by prolific writer, Mary Higgins Clark. The other new book on the market put out by Holly Kennedy is called The Penny Tree. The Penny Tree is Kennedy's second novel.

Just a little note to say we had a wonderful time with Gwen Roland yesterday. She held our interest talking about her life and showing us photos of her life on a houseboat in the Louisiana swamp. Photos of her life then are featured in National Geographic, in the September 1979 and January 2004 issues.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Secret: Number One bestseller

The Secret is the number one best seller according to USA Today, followed by Two Little Girls in Blue; a Mary Higgins Clark fiction, and Nineteen Minutes by Jodie Picoult.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Book for The Boomer

Reader's Digest has a list of Five Things We Don't Want You to Miss in the April 2007 issue of the magazine. One of them is a book called Leap: What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives. Read More

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Author Chat & Book Signing at Waycross College

  • Chat with Gwen Roland, author of Atchafalaya Houseboat: My years in the Louisiana Swamp, about living the simple life in the swamps in the 1970s.
  • Come view her personal slide collection.
  • Monday, April 2 at 11:00 A.M. in James M. Dye Student Services Building, Waycross College.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I read the Secret

I bought and read a copy of The Secret because I heard the buzz yet I had missed seeing the Oprah Show and Larry King Live about The Secret. It is now number 1 on USA Today's bestselling list. This is not a book with a lot of depth like other positive thinking books I have read yet it is inspirational and I see where it has the power to change lives. In my opinion, The Power of the Subconcious Mind by Joseph Murphy which I read many years ago was a far deeper book.

The big secret which all successful people, living and dead, know is ... (drum roll) that the Universe offers all good things to all people through the Law of Attraction.

The book says all you have to do is think it, see it, feel it, and be grateful for it and let go of all limitations. See what you want as if it were an absolute fact. You can look at everything you desire and order it as if from a catalog. You say, "I can afford that, I can buy that" and the universe says, "Your wish is my command." Leave the "how" to the universe because the universe knows the shortest, quickest, fastest, most harmonious way to meet your needs. This is a very encouraging message.

The books says that if you believe, then you can do and have and be what others say is impossible to do and have and be. These are life changing words.

Most encouraging is the message that if you have baggage from the past, you can simply erase what does not serve you and start over again. This is very encouraging to people who have been abused and feel defeated by life.

It's simple and easy to read. Some will find the message too simplistic. I did not agree with the comment on food and overweight. Eating food in excess will make you fat; there's no avoiding that fact. Other than that there can be no harm in practising to speak words of praise and blessing, in visualizing and affirming all that is good for us and in letting go of all negatives.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Namesake

Boy are we good at picking our books. One of our Book Club choices, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri has been made into a movie starring Kal Penn. People magazine has given the movie 3 1/2 stars out of a possible 4.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Thirteenth Tale

Hey let's think about adding this book to our reading list in May: The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield. Lynn is recommending it. And isn't the website really cool?

We meet for book club discussion this Friday. Don't forget!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Book Club Meeting

We have not met yet to discuss Gwen Roland's book, Atchafalaya Houseboat: My years in the Louisiana Swamp. Hopefully next Friday we will be able to meet and talk.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jodie Picoult's Hot Button Theme

It's Jodie Picoult again with another hot button theme. This time it's school shootings. Her latest book is Nineteen Minutes .

Friday, February 23, 2007

People's Picks

The March 5 issue of People magazine has a section called Picks & Pans on page 49. The following books have been rated 3 or 3 1/2 stars out of a possible 4:

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky

All Saints by Liam Callanan

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Secret King: Joseph Hillstrom King

The secret is out! Joe Hill author of Heart-Shaped Box is the son of Stephen King and his real name is Joseph Hillstrom King. Read More.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Historical Fiction

USA Today featured Historical Fiction recently. Link Here for reviews on The Welsh Girl , In the Last Blue, Patriot Hearts, and Charity Girl.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Gwen Roland: Original "Survivor" and "Simple Life" participant

Coming soon to Waycross College is Gwen Carpenter Roland who wrote about her experiences leaving civilization and living in a houseboat in the 1970's on the Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. And imagine she did it without any expectation of an enormous monetary prize as is offered by the TV program Survivor. She and her friend Calvin voluntarily lived a simple life, for more than eight years, in the swamp.

Book Clubbers Charlotte and Lynn have been in contact with Gwen. She now lives right here in the state of Georgia. Watch out for news on her visit on April 2.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

James Patterson Entertainment

This was an interesting article in USA TODAY on one of the most prolific writers in the USA today, James Patterson. His latest book is Step On A Crack, written with Michael Ledwidge.

Link here and read an excerpt.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Books

In Woman's World, dated January 30, there is a section on page 6 called What to watch, read and do this week! These two new books are highlighted:

White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz. This is supposed to be a psychic/paranormal thriller with some romance thrown in the mix.

The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer. This is a strange book. Apparently, the narrator of the book is the devil's top lieutenant. It is about Adolph Hitler's immediate family: his father, Alois, his mother, Klara, their relatives and his siblings. Mailer covers the period 1837 to 1903 which is the actual lifespan of Hitler's father, Alois.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Book Club Selections

Before Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie, there were Gwen Carpenter Roland and Calvin Voisin living the Simple Life in the Louisiana Swamp. For next month, we'll be discussing their story, Atchafalaya Houseboat: My years in the Louisiana Swamp.

For March the book selection is Under Orders by Dick Francis. I'm looking forward to that one since I have not read a Dick Francis book since high school.

Friday, January 19, 2007

No more ReganBooks

After scrapping the controversial plan to publish If I Did It by O. J. Simpson's ghostwriter, parent company Harpercollins will fold the ReganBooks imprint and close the L.A. office. Read More

We meet today at 6:00PM to discuss a far more interesting book Gods in Alabama.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Book Club Meeting

We meet this Friday at 6:00PM to discuss Gods in Alabama , the first novel written by Joshilyn Jackson.

Have you seen the ads for the movie, Notes on a Scandal? That movie is based on a book I read maybe three years ago titled, What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal: A Novel by Zoe Heller. READ MORE. Excellent storyline and very topical with all these recent arrests of female sexual predators in the classroom.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Month of Nora Roberts on Lifetime

Happy New Year everyone!

The Lifetime Channel is having a month of movies based on books written by Nora Roberts. READ MORE

Make sure to watch the novel Angels Fall starring Heather Locklear come to life on the small screen on Monday, January 29. Be sure to check out Nora Roberts' website as well. You will read there that Nora won the Quill Award in 2006 for Best Romance for her novel titled Blue Smoke.

Some of you may be familiar with her other futuristic police series written under the pseudonym J. D. Robb.