Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Club Selections: Peek at 2011

These are the books we decided we would read and discuss for 2011:

January: Ape House by Sara Gruen
February: Tidewater Blood by William Hoffman
March: Confession by John Grisham
April: Vivaldi's Virgins by Barbara Quick

Bookclub meeting

We meet today to discuss whatever book we have been reading. I will talk about The Confession by John Grisham, one of the masters of the legal thriller, and The Testimony by Anita Shreve, one of the Queens of storytelling. I enjoyed reading those two books. I am curious to hear what other people read about this past month.

I will be offline for a while. I am on vacation. Keep reading and sharing!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Storytelling

I really like this link about storytelling . It deals with what the writer, Katherine Hansen, calls applied storytelling.

This quote brought back memories: "We don’t just vote for a presidential candidate, we buy into his story of what the future holds." Remember the stories of John McCain and President Barack Obama that were told and retold back in 2008?

Who knew that one could call oneself a "corporate mythologist" to explain one's role in telling the history, philosophy, values, vision of an organization and the stories of the individuals who make up the organization.

Take a look at the table of contents of this book link . Telling your personal story is quite interesting.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fascination with Royalty

Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Sage Fine was the title of a prepub book that I read with my email bookclub maybe three years ago. I read the first few pages with the club. I thought it had an interesting storyline. It's a real life story of a woman, daughter of hippie parents, who dreamt of marrying into the royal family as a child and never let go of that dream. Her fascination with the British took her to London where she now lives with her English non-royal boyfriend. See her blog.


I looked up Jerramy Fine on the internet some years ago and found this interesting story about the oddest employment dispute in publishing involving Jerramy.

The book has a 4.5 rating by amazon readers.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lorien Legacies

I am reading a magazine called, The Week. In the December 3 issue, on page 30, there is a very interesting article about James Frey, the talented but not so straight-forward author, who was exposed on Oprah. Well lately, he has been hiring writers to produce and complete manuscripts and this is being frowned upon by critics. He has a best seller on his hands, or should I say they have a best seller on their hands. The article says the title is, I Am Four, but amazon has it as, I Am Number Four using the pseudonym Pittacus Lore.

Monday, November 29, 2010

An Innocent Man On Death Row

"An innocent man is aboout to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him." Those are the opening sentences on the blurb of The Confession by John Grisham. Sounds fascinating to me so I will be starting this book tonight despite the average 3.5 star rating from amazon readers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am reading the Testimony

The Testimony is an interesting story and very topical since it covers young people having drunken group sex, taping it, and posting it on the internet and the resulting media frenzy over the scandal.


This book was unusual and sometimes confusing in that it was written from the first, second, and third person perspective plus an epistolary narrative voice in the very last chapter. As you can imagine, we heard the "voices" of several characters. Silas was a character that was speaking to "you" and the you was his girlfriend. The character Ellen was addressed in the second person; "you". Sometimes the you refers to Jacqueline Barnard, a researcher who is contacting the main characters two years after the scandal.

We see the action that takes place days leading up to the sex scandal, the day of the scandal, and the days after the scandal and then two years after the scandal.

The message essentially is that one's negative actions can trigger catastrophic consequences for so many others.

Silas is the character that I thought was a little unrealistic. His fury was realistic but I also think that a teenager in his siutation would have confided in his girlfriend and perhaps his fate would have been different. I noticed that the writer did not make the teenaged girl, at the center of the teen sex orgy, sympathetic. She was just a spoilt, out of control, lying brat.

Overall this was a good story.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things: The J List

Inspired by Oprah's Favorite Things and her O List in her magazine, I have come up with my J-List. These are a few of my favorite things:

Anita Shreve's Testimony and Cedric Miller's Testimony

I am reading Testimony by Anita Shreve. What I have read so far is that there was sexual activity involving alcohol, one teenaged girl and three teen young men of a basketball team at a private school in Vermont. The story is now getting into the negative aftermath of the sex scandal and how it affected each one involved, their parents, and the principal of the school. There is some indication that the 14 year old girl was not a victim but the instigator of this orgy.

This story reminded me of the real life testimony of a New Jersey pastor. He came to public attention because he wanted the elders in his church to stop using Facebook. He spoke of the negative effect on some marriages in the church when members reconnected with "friends". I wondered why he thought Facebook was the problem. I wondered why he did not consider having some kind of seminar on Internet Safety in the church as Trinity Methodist Church, Gainesville, Florida decided to conduct for their congregation. Lo and behold, it turns out that 10 years ago, without the assistance of FB, he and his wife had their own sexual orgy with a male church worker and his wife. Read it for yourself.

I am going to continue reading today. Right now I am just excited about enjoying my five day Thanksgiving week end. Whoo-hoo!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What should I read next?

Oh My Gosh! I just looked at Jenners of Find Your Next Book Here, on the blog Lost in Books. This blogger has read some of my all time favorite books: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

Maybe I should go check out the other two books on this blogger's reading list: The Host by Stephenie Meyer and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Next month our book club members will not select and read the same book. We'll read whatever we want and discuss our book choices at the meeting.

Someone in our club wants to read, True Memoirs of Little K. Little K is supposed to be a Russian ballerina and the mistress of the last Tsar. The other members have not yet decided what they want to read.

Monday, November 15, 2010

We're Reading "The Blood of Flowers"

We meet this week to discuss the historical fiction of The Blood of Flowers, a coming of age story set in 17th century Iran. The writer is Anita Amirrezvani and this is her first book.

The main character and narrator is a fourteen year old girl who is forced, along with her Mom, to relocate to a big city with relatives because her Dad died suddenly. She loves making rugs and much of the description in the novel is about the knotting involved in rug making.

On page 83 the narrator's uncle explains that rugmakers protest evil by reminding the world of beauty. Beauty is likened to a tonic. He explains to the niece that carpet designs have to have unity and integrity to achieve a beautiful design.

This novel educates the reader about the concept of temporary marriage. When the narrator reached the age of 16, her mother agrees to have her enter into a temporary 3 month marriage contract with a well-to-do older man.

I am at the point where the narrator is hoping to please her husband sexually so that he may extend the temporary contract into a permanent one. She is also hoping to master her rugmaking skills and make a big sale. This would enable her and her mother to leave the Uncle's residence. While the narrator and the uncle get along well, the uncle's wife treats her and her Mom like servants.

See what amazon readers think about this book.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Readers' Choice: Romance Novels

I came across a list of 100 popular romance novels . These 3, that I have never read by the way, seemed to have tied for the number 1 spot: Outlander , a time travel romance, by Diana Gabaldon; Dream Man , a romantic thriller, by Linda Howard; It Had to Be You, a romantic comedy, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Check the list of historical romances and other romance subgenres on eharlequin.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Movie Review of Larsson's Hornet's Nest

This is an interesting movie review of Steig Larsson's bestselling thriller,The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. The movie review is based on the third book in the trilogy. I noticed today that the movie based on the second book, Girl who Played with Fire, is now available through redbox.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oprah's book club pick: Freedom

I did not like Freedom. I couldn't waste any more time reading it. The characters were all dysfunctional; none was likeable. (What follows could have spoilers, if you are also reading this book.)

In the story, Patty is married to Walter and is in love with Walter's "friend", Richard. Walter is stable and husband material while Richard is a womanizer. Why would Patty fall for a character like Richard? Why would Walter be in love with Patty, a woman that was clearly stupid and naive? Patty made friends in college with Eliza, a manipulative and controlling person who established rules for their relationship. How could Patty not see right away that something was not quite right about Eliza?

Patty grew up feeling neglected by her parents yet she herself raises two children and repeats the pattern. She ignores one child, her daughter, and she overwhelms the other child, her son, with so much attention as if he were her best buddy. He grows up resenting her for burdening him with her issues. He gets his freedom by escaping and moving in with the family next door.

Walter and Patty move to Washington D.C. where Patty encourages Walter to have a relationship with his young Indian assistant who is actually in love with Walter. Patty and Walter are clearly unhappy with each other but not ready to end the marriage. Patty hooks up with Richard again.

I was intrigued with Patty's son and how his relationship with the clingy Connie was going to turn out. I skimmed the pages and saw that he actually marries her despite treating her so badly.

Yesterday, I moved on to read Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda. Only 213 pages so I finished in a day. It was a sad book about the bullying of a Chinese American boy in a predominantly white school. This is a mystery story where boys in his class start disappearing; in fact it is a good Halloween scary type story. There is no happy ending.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Your Lunch

I came across this site called Book Your Lunch while browsing the internet this morning. I love this idea of authors and readers getting together over a $25.00 lunch. This takes place in Greenville, South Carolina at The Lazy Goat and is sponsored by Fiction Addiction. Nice names.

Greenville novelist, Mindy Friddle, was there on May 26. Her second novel, SecretKeepers, deals with a dysfunctional southern family.

Georgia writer, Donna Ball, was there October 26. She is the writer of the bestselling Ladybug Farm series. Her third book, Love Letters from Ladybug Farm, was just released in October.

Coming up next on November 9 is the writer of My Only Sunshine, Lou Dischler. This is a story set in the 1960s about a rural Louisianna family.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Book Club Selection

We have selected the debut book by Iranian-American, Anita Amirrezvani for book club discussion in November. It is titled, The Blood of Flowers. Click on the link to read a biography of the writer.

This is an interesting interview with the writer about her inspiration for the narrator of the story, among other topics.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Children's Authors

I wrote to DearReader.com , an online book club, about my book purchasing dilemma which I addressed yesterday. I got an email response with some links to children's Authors on Kids Buzz. Here are just three of the authors that I discovered on the DearReader book blog:

First, there is the writer with the unusual name, Lit Judge, and her book, Born to be Giants, is for the 5-12 year olds with an interest in dinosaurs.

Lisa Brown has a vampire book for the 3-8 year olds; perfect for those who celebrate a not too scary version of Halloween.

Robert Forbes has a Facebook page promoting his second book of poetry for children, Let's Have a Bite!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Choosing a book for a Child

My niece turned 5 last week and I am just getting around to mailing a gift. I have been credited for helping to turn my 20 year old god -daughter into an avid reader by giving her gifts of interesting books when she was a child. My "reputation" was at stake. I had to find the perfect book for my 5 year old. I looked at the I Spy series online and they seemed like fun, especially I Spy Fantasy. The series was recommended to me by a mother with young children. In I Spy, the children get to hear or read a nice rhyme and look for hidden items in pictures. I looked at Wild About Books and Library Lion at the Waycross College library.

I liked the story in Library Lion aboaut a helpful lion and it included a demonstration of when to suspend the library rules. I didn't like how the librarian in Library Lion looked; too stereotypical. Also, it is an old story because there was a card catalog cabinet in the drawing. I could not decide on a book. I wondered if I should not just buy an item of clothing or a DVD instead.

In the meantime the days were flying by and I had to get this birthday gift into the mail right away. I decided on Library Lion this morning. Gosh, it's hard to choose a kid's book.


What kind of book was I looking for? I wanted a large book, a colorful book, a book with a good story, a book with a positive images, and a book that is age appropriate with easy words that a beginning reader could learn easily.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Memoir: Fastest Man in the World

Charismatic Jamaican athlete, Usain Bolt, has a book out, now available on amazon.com, and it is titled: Usain Bolt: My Story: 9.58: Being the Fastest Man in the World.

Usain won the hearts of the world when he won gold in the 100-meter, the 200-meter, and the 4x100-meter relay in Beijing in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Read the story that I was inspired to write about Usain on bukisa.com in 2009 titled, Usain Bolt Fulfilling his potential: an Inspiring Lesson.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is it just me or is it nuts out there?

That's the attention grabbing title of Whoopi's lastest book. Take a look at the book cover on amazon.com I looked at a few pages on amazon and I could almost "hear" Whoopi's voice in my head as I read. This is a book about her pet peeves. Speaking of Whoopi, there was controversy on The View yesterday.

Whoopi walked off the set of The View in solidarity with Joy Behar. Both were annoyed with Bill O'Reilly's claim that "Muslims killed us" on 9/11 thus demeaning all Muslims, rather than saying specifically that Muslim extremists or terrorists or radicals murdered people on 9/11.

Bill was on the show promoting yet another book. This one was titled, Pinheads and Patriots.

Really, I should be asking, "Is it me or is it nuts out there in talk show land".

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stieg Larsson's trilogy or more

I don't know what to make of this article. Is there or is there not a fourth (or fifth) book in the Stieg Larsson thriller series? If there is another book, I am betting that Stieg's companion, Eva, has it and she will complete it herself and have it published.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Guy Lit

I am reading a book that falls in the category of Guy-Lit, also known as Lad-Lit or Dude-Lit. I am reading Formosa Straits by Anthony Hyde. The setting is Taiwan. The first paragraph is an exciting attention grabber. The protagonist Nick Lamp, an American businessman of Chinese descent, finds the dead body of businessman and thug, Cao Dao. Nick met with a Japanese prostitute who was hiding in Cao's apartment while he was murdered but now she too has been murdered. An american lawyer, Robert Young, out of the blue is offering Nick legal services but Nick remembers his father's word, Trust no one. I am on page 95 and it is exciting so far.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Romance Fiction

I have written before that I am not a big reader of romance novels but I found this information on the subgenre Romance Paranormal fiction interesting. Romance paranormal covers a wide range. It may involve the following:

  • fairies, genies


  • angels


  • ghosts


  • vampires, werewolves


  • other planets


I came across this link with a list of books in this subgenre. Also, this is another reminder for romance fiction lovers to check out avonbooks.com for romance fiction.

Dude Lit?

The success of Franzen's new book, Freedom, has stirred up a discussion by Laura Fraser about "Dude Lit" versus Chick-Lit on The Daily Beast .

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Must Read for all Bloggers

If you are a "viral blogger', one who wants to spread ideas, as opposed to a "cat" blogger or a "boss" blogger, then you have to read Seth Godin's free ebook titled, Who's there? He is a man full of ideas and expresses them clearly, simply, and with humor. I would say I started as a boss blogger with a specific audience in mind but now I am branching into a viral blogger for a wider audience.

Be curious, click on the link to see what Seth means by a cat blogger, a boss blogger, and a viral blogger.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Nancy Drew Factoids

I found these interesting facts about one of my favorite series as a child:

  • Nancy Drew, teen amateur detective, is called Kitty in Sweden.
  • Nancy Drew was conceived by Edward Stratemeyer and written by serveral writers using the collective pseudonym, Carolyn Keene. Edward was also behind the Hardy Boys series and the Bobbsey Twins series which were also written using collective pseudonyms. Hardy Boys had the "writer" Franklyn W. Dixon and Bobbsey Twins had the "writer", Laura Lee Hope .
  • Mildred Wirt Benson, born Mildred Augustine, was the original writer of the series and she died in 2002.
  • Nancy Drew has a facebook page and so does Mildred Benson.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Book Club Blog selection

Here is what book lovers over at Book Buddies are reading for October: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1896-1972), a book that was first published over 60 years ago.

Going by amazon.com, this book would fall in the category of Young Adult, for readers 10 years old and older.

By the way, Book Buddies already read and discussed The Help back in July. That is our pick for our meeting in October.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Think for Yourself

Check out this blog's contribution to Banned Books Week, September 25 - October 2. "Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same" was the American Library Association's slogan this year.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding on the list of "Frequently Challenged" books was one of my favorite books in literature class way back when.

I remember watching the movie version of Clockwork Orange, also on the "Frequently Challenged" list of books, at Carib theatre in Jamaica in 1976 or 77. I remember it being very bizarre and very interesting. This book written in the 1960s and set in Britain, falls in the category of Dystopic fiction.

Go read and think for yourself and let others do the same.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Book Club Selections and Other Stuff

A small spelling correction to my last post - I meant to point out that so many children have tackled not "tacked" those huge volumes by JK Rowling and have come to love reading.

Today I want to turn the spotlight on Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, Oprah's book club selection. The feedback I am getting is that once you read pass the first chapter, it is really really good.

Now let me turn the spotlight on the Okefenokee Book Club pick for October: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a book that I already read and blogged about in May.

Kudos again to JK Rowling and also to Oprah for their promotion of reading. As a matter of fact, kudos to my Dad who read the comic strips to me, while I sat on his lap, and gave me a love for reading. Kudos to my teachers at Holy Rosary Prep school who taught me to read and at St. Andrew Prep school for fostering my love for reading.

I have fond memories of competing with my friends at St. Andrew Prep to see who could read the most books in the Nancy Drew series. In my pre-Harry Potter life as a child, I loved the Cherry Ames series, Bobbsey Twins series, and books by Enid Blyton, a British writer.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Harry Potter series

I agree; Jo Rowling, also known as J.K.Rowling, has done more to promote literacy than anyone on the planet. So many children tacked those huge volumes of the Harry Potter series. Read her interview with Oprah. Watch the trailer to a Potter movie.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Every Last One: A novel

Started reading Anna Quindlen's book Every Last One about three days ago. This is one of the saddest family dramas I have ever read. This is a story about grief and about friendship. The blurb prepared me by indicating that there was going to be a shocking act of violence in the story. I was on edge while reading to find out what the tragedy would be. The nature of the violent tragedy was worse than I had anticipated. This is a tearjerker. It was written to evoke much emotion. If you are a mother, if you have grieved for a loved one, you will be able to identify with Mary Beth, the narrator of the story. Mary Beth is the mother in the story. She was fully involved in the lives of her teen daughter and fraternal twin sons. The writer did an excellent job capturing the teenaged angst that goes on in many homes, the fears and anxieties of every good parent, and the survivor's guilt after a tragedy. Bring out the Kleenex.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oprah's Book Club Pick

What? Oprah's book club selection is Freedom by Jonathan Franzen? Isn't this the writer that did not want his book, The Corrections, to be an Oprah Book Club selection? Has something changed? Isn't this the book that President Obama chose to read over the summer? This book purchase or gift caused a minor stir in the media, as so often happens with every breath the President takes.


If you take on the Oprah challenge to read this book, then log in and write in the journal.

I didn't like The Corrections ; it was long and tedious to read so I am not planning to join the rush to read Freedom.

Corrections dealt with dysfunctional family members in the Lambert family. The oldest son Gary was stingy with his money and manipulated by his wife. Chip was the con artist in the family. He was the brilliant and sex obsessed middle son. Denise was the talented and competitive last child; an only daughter who kept falling for older men. The parents Enid and Al were an incompatible and unhappy couple.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Books about Food and Weight-loss

I finished reading Roth's book, Women Food God. I think I understand what she is saying in pages 198 - 201 but I am not sure how it really helps someone who is a compulsive eater, or who is obese to the point of having issues with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

Roth outlined the Sufis three journeys to a Spiritual Path: Journey from God, Journey to God, and the Journey in God and related them to using food as a doorway to God.

Journey from God which is equated to the journey from self: We believe we are what we weigh and spend life dieting, bingeing, exercising etc. until this journey ends with disappointment.

Journey to God which is on par with the journey to self: We stop dieting, we keep the weight on and we hold on to the drama of agonizing about the weight until this journey also ends with disappointment.

Journey in God and the discovery that we are one with God: We stop obsessing about food, dieting, and weight and the journey ends with kindness to self, freedom, and peace.

The Eating Guidelines are at the back of the book on page 211 and they sound very much like the point of view in Mireille Guilano's book, French Women Don't Get Fat. If I remember correctly, in that book Guilano pointed out that French women walk more than American women, they enjoy their food more and portion sizes were much smaller than what the average American eats at home and at a restaurant. Weight from her point of view had to do with culture; not God.

Read more from Roth and about Roth on www.oprah.com.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Still reading Women Food God by Roth. I am reading page 175 which seems to be saying to me that the struggle with food can not be controlled with self-discipline because the struggle is really about loving and wanting and having. Roth seems to be saying at one point that the struggle with food is a struggle with love and God.

In the chapter titled, Those Who Have Fun and Those Who Don't, Roth identified two distinct pattern of behaviors of compulsive eaters: the Permitters, for example me, and the Restrictors. The Permitters rebel against following food rules and are suspicious of diets. Permitters need to feel safe and merge with chaos because they feel that there is no point trying to control the uncontrollable. They are the "Oh, what the heck" kind of people. The "jolly fat" folks fit into this category because the "Eat, drink and be merry" attitude prevails. They are really in denial and walk around numbing the pain. The solution is for Permitters to wake up from the numbness and recognize hunger and fullness cues.

Restrictors are, of course, the opposite. They love structure and rules therefore they willingly deprive themselves and follow various diets.

I liked the If Love Could Speak chapter. Roth discovered her workshop group of compulsive eaters rebelled against Eating Guidelines so she framed them as "If Love Could Speak Instructions". If love could speak what would it say to you about food? Roth is confident love would say, Eat what your body wants then stop.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Women Food God

Started reading Geneen Roth's book, Women Food God yesterday. The message of the book is essentially that our body obeys the shape of our beliefs about love; that overweight is not about weight but about deficiency, emptiness and dissatisfaction; and that overweight is based on the story we tell ourselves about where we are supposed to be in life. I am on page 99 and the solutions so far to compulsive eating is acceptance of the moment, paying attention to now, treating the body as a friend rather than something that needs fixing, stop dieting. The message is for emotional eaters.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tiare

I have been reading Tiare in Bloom, the third book in the trilogy by Celestine Vaite. The other two books were very interesting, Breadfruit and Frangipani. The series is about life and love in Tahiti. The focus in this book was Pito the father of Tamatoa and the grandfather and guardian of Tiare. Pito has evolved into a man worthy of his wife Materena, the backbone of the family. She is a cleaner who became a radio talk show host. The theme in this book is fatherhood. Loved the insight into Tahitian life and the conversational tone of the writing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cheapskate Next Door

Frugality is the new black so this is a book I'd like to read, The Cheapskate Next Door : the Surprising Secrets of Americans living happily below their means, by Jeff Yeager. However, even a tightwad like me would never ever eat food off strangers' plates at a restaurant. This apparently is what one man interviewed by Yeager does.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writers visiting the troops

I saw an interesting article in Georgia Times Union newspaper about writer Steve Berry who left his position as a County Commissioner in St. Mary's, Georgia after ten years to focus on his writing. Also mentioned in the article was this upcoming visit to the troops by writers including Steve Berry (“The Paris Vendetta”) such as; David Morrell (“First Blood”), Douglas Preston (“Relic”), James Rollins (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”) and Andy Harp (“A Northern Thunder”).

Steve Berry and Andy Harp have been mentioned in my posts in the past because they have been to "Meet the Author" events in Waycross, Georgia. Steve Berry was in fact the first and only author we have had as a guest at our bookclub. He spoke about his first book and our book club selection, The Amber Room. I will always remember how his book draft was turned down over 80 times before it was finally accepted. I was also present when he was at the Okefenokee Public Library talking about yet another book. Just look at him now. He is a full time writer.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mary Roach: Science and Humor

Here is an interesting interview with Mary Roach on oprah.com. Mary's books have interesting titles: Stiff, Spook, Bonk and now Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void. I have read articles by Mary Roach in Reader's Digest. They are usually scientific and humorous.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Handle with Care by Jodie Picoult

I am now on page 193 of Handle with Care. Charlotte, one of the characters, is a mother in conflict. She wants to sue for wrongful birth. This means that she wants to sue based on the fact that the doctor did not alert her from the first scan that the baby would be born with OI, a genetic disease, that causes the baby's bones to be broken easily even from within the womb.

Here is why Charlotte is in conflict. The doctor is her best friend of some 8 years. Their older daughters are best friends. Charlotte's husband thinks the lawsuit is dishonest since they would have to say they would have aborted had they known from the first scan that something was wrong. The book is written from the point of view of several characters and most of it is written as if it were directed to the now five year old with OI.

Another drama is unfolding. The lawyer Marin is searching for her birth mother. Picoult introduces the supernatural in this book like she has done with at least one other of her books that I have read. Marin has been assured by a Psychic that her answers will come from certain key people. One by one these key people are coming into Marin's life to give her answers.

So far the most tragic figure is not Willow the sick child but Charlotte's older daughter Amelia who feels disconnected, like an outsider, in the family and at school. I read My Sister's Keeper. I'll really be upset if it turns out that Amelia, the well child, ends up dying.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Recession as a theme for Novelists

This is an interesting article about writers using the financial crisis as a theme or setting for their novels. This is figuratively taking lemons and making lemonade; good for these novelists.

I like the title, Recessionistas , the chick-lit written by Alexandra Lebenthal who is featured in the USA Today article. In case you did not know, the suffix "-ista" is a common one in spanish that we have been borrowing to coin new English words such as frugalista. In spanish the suffix has to do with one's profession such as dentista and periodista (journalist).

Friday, August 06, 2010

Eat Pray Love movie

Eat Pray Love will open in theaters August 13 starring Julia Roberts. See more on Oprah's website.

I liked the book, I especially liked the lessons Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer, learned about prayer, destiny and controlling one's thoughts.

She posed a very potent question on page 177 in relation to deliberate and specific prayer, "If I want transformation but can't even be bothered to articulate what, exactly I'm aiming for, how will it ever occur?"

I liked the cultural tidbits about the different countries Italy, India, Idonesia. In Bali, for example, we learnt that most people gave their children only four names: Wayan, Made, Nyoman and Ketut meaning First, Second, Third and Fourth; the names connote birth order.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ten Most Challenged Library Books

It is not time yet for Banned Books Week, usually a week in September, but I like this graphical representation of the ten most challenged books. This means that people want to ban these books from libraries.

One of my favorite books is on the list, My Sister's Keeper by Jodie Picoult.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

USA Today article on the Trilogy of the Moment

This is a very interesting article on Stieg Larsson's very popular trilogy. Nice pic of the Swedish actress playing the lead role of Salander.

Mitch Albom's Contribution to the Discussion of the Week

Link here for full article by author Mitch Albom

"I am," Breitbart boasted to the media last week, "public enemy No. 1 or 2 to the Democratic Party ... based upon the successes my journalism has had."

There are several things wrong with that statement. First, I doubt he counts that much.
Second, his journalism? It's not journalism if you look for only one point of view, post other people's stuff and don't even acknowledge how using chopped-up material to paint a full picture is wrong.

"Let me think about that," was what Breitbart said when asked whether he might have vetted the footage more carefully if given another chance.

Let me think about that?

Some people have called this incident a referendum on racism. I don't think so. It was a referendum on editing. A referendum on Internet blogging. A referendum on our blazing desire for explosive moments -- even out of context -- and our creeping slowness to see the full picture.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

United Nations in the Family or Diversity within the Family

This is a reminder that we are the ones who assign a race to people.

This post is not about a book. I started reading this story of the white (non-albino) child born of African parents in the Sun, a British newspaper. This story led me to the link nearby about two sets of diverse twins within the same family. Really rare. Then this article led me to look for the link about another set of twins with a Jamaican-British, German connection.

They really should organize into a support group. I can just imagine the questions and the stares the family gets for being different.

Vote for Best Thriller

Link here to NPR's website to select the best thrillers ever.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book 1: Trained by the Great White Lodge

Seems I am into trilogies these days. T. J. Francis' book published by Inner Circle is listed "in stock" on amazon. This is the first of three books. Yes, I have inside information that two more books will be published.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Blogs on Southern Fiction

Here is a list of southern fiction books that I found on this award winning blog. Some time ago I looked at southern gothic on Oprah's website.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stieg Larsson: Book 3

Well I finished the book, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, two nights ago and if you really want to know what I thought about it, check this link. Will Eva Gabrielsson complete the fourth book for the deceased Stieg Larsson? I would love to know what happened to Salander's twin.

I am also eager to see the film version of books 2 and 3 of this trilogy.

While I wait I have moved on to There Goes the Bride by M.C. Beaton, the twentieth in the Agatha Raisin series. This genre is referred to as Cozy Mystery like The Thin Woman by Dorothy Cannell.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Frugality

Frugality will become the new status symbol; I like that. Dilute the dishwashing liquid, cut the dryer sheets in half or quarters, and check out the business book titles in this article in Time magazine.

I bet Pia Catton and Califia Suntree, editors of Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less would like my Frugal Library Tips.

Also in the Times article are books by Richard Florida and John Robbins. Amazon readers gave Mr Florida's book, The Great Reset, an average of 4 1/2 stars and gave Mr Robbins' The New Good: Livng Better than Ever in an Age of Less, 5 stars.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time Magazine: James Patterson Interview

Want to know how James Patterson writes so many books and not get confused with his plots? Or maybe you just want to know the secret of his success as a writer. I like his answer to that question; he says his secret is story, story, story, just like the real estate agent's open secret is location, location, location. I also like that he points out that he started off his writing career by reading many books. I have met too many people who say they want to write books but they do not read. They do not even speak the English language well. Read this Times article.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Stieg Larsson's book 3

I am on page 82 of The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and Larsson has introudced a new character to the book, Gullberg, retired administrator of the Security Police. I am having a hard time, by the way, keeping up with all these Swedish-named characters. I initially had problems distinguishing Niedermann and Nieminem. Anyway, this Gullberg is the chief of an "invisible", ultra secret Section within the Securty Police, also known as the Firm of the Company. The Section was so powerful it could investigate the Prime Minister of Sweden.



The Section, according to the Larsson's novel, was particularly concerned about Prime minister Olaf Palme and his alleged Russian connections but had no concrete evidence. Olaf, head of the Social Democratic party, became prime minister for the second time in 1982 but was later assassinated. Immediately this rang a bell so I looked it up on the internet. This is historically true. I remember it. It was 1986. Olaf Palme hardly ever used his body guards so he was walking on Sveavagen Street, a major street in Stockhom, with his wife, Lisbeth, unguarded. The assassin was some how freed so the case is considered unsolved. The alleged assassin ended up living in the USA where he in turn was murdered. I smell a cover up somewhere.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stieg Larsson gets spoofed

Read this parody by Ephron; the humor will be appreciated by anyone who read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I got Book 3 yesterday, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. There is a smooth transition from book 2 to book 3 from pages 5 through 15. Salander is rushed to the hospital with critical bullet wounds. Her father, Zala, the former Russian spy is also in the hospital.

From pages 15 to 36, we are re-introduced to Inspector Modig and her senior officer, Bublanski; to Gunnar Bjorck assistant chief of immigration, the man who knows about Zala; and to Erika's Berger dilemma of how to tell Mikhael and her staff that she is changing jobs. Also, we are reminded about who shot whom in book 2 and the official but false police theory of Salander as a crazy, lesbian satanist. I am moving on today from page 49.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Book Club Selections for 2010

Believe it or not, we have been meeting since 2002.

January 15
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba

February 19
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

March 19

Angel’s Game by Carlos Luis Zafon

April 16
The Book Thief by Markus Zusac

May 21
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

June 18
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana Rosnay

July 15
Thin Woman by Dorothy Cannell

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stieg Larsson' Fourth Novel

I found some interesting information on Stieg Larsson's fourth book. I think one day it will be completed by Eva Garrielsson and it will be just as fascinating as the rest of the series.

Since I am being very frugal, instead of paying $19 and change for the hardcover copy of book 3, Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest at Walmart, I am getting a copy through Interlibrary Loan. I am looking forward to it since Book 2 of the trilogy ended with a cliffhanger.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reading Group Guides Contest

Here is information about a contest if your book club is interesested in sharing their Top 10 Favorite Discussion Books. The contest ends on August 31st. Fifty winners will be selected to receive a $200 gift card to a retailer of their choice. Groups also have the option to donate their gift card to a local library, school or organization of their choice

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Proper Pursuit

I am finding A Proper Pursuit very interesting. Violet Hayes' interaction with her grandmother and the grandmother's three very different sisters is very entertaining. At the end, I expect that Violet will be a changed woman. First, Violet has to contend with the very religious philantropist grandmother who shares a home with two of her sisters. One sister, Aunt Matt, is a never-been-married suffragist. She reads the newspapers (not very common in 1893), has an interest in politics and is against the institution of marriage and the resulting loss of women's rights. The second sister, called Birdie, is like Betty White's character in the "Golden Girls"; lovable but quite daft. Grandmother's other sister, who lives elsewhere in Chicago, is Aunt Agnes married to adulterous Uncle Henry. She is the rich sister that is determined to find a rich husband from the right social background for her grandniece.

I am on page 139 and so far Violet has picked up four suitors. There is the dull Herman Beckett from her home town. Her stepmother-to-be, Widow O'Neil, is pushing that relationship. Silas McClure, the traveling salesman, has declared his interest by visiting Violet at her Aunts' residence in Chicago but Violet suspects he is a criminal. Louis Decker, a student at the Chicago Evangelistic Society, is showing some interest and Violet's religious grandmother is pleased with this. Rich Aunt Agnes is favoring someone more like the handsome elegant Nelson Kent who will end up working with his Dad in a safe and secure business.

Who will Violet choose? I am eager to find out. The very imaginative Violet is a wanna-be detective pursuing other interests. She secretly wants to find her mother who abandoned her. Also, she wants to stop her father from marrying the Widow O'Neil, whom Violet suspects murdered her previous husband.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy Independence Weekend! I am using the long weekend to read. I finished Thin woman by Dorothy Cannell set in England. This is the first of a series. It had some humor but it was not as good as the Agatha Raisin mysteries by M. C. Beaton. Ellie is the main character and she is very conscious of her weight. She hires an escort for a family reunion of all things. The escort is the truculent Bentley Haskell, trained chef and writer of adult novels. The family reunion is at the home of eccentric curmudgeon Uncle Merlin's filthy old castle. Uncle Merlin dies almost immediately after the family reunion and Bentley and Ellie move into his home because the Uncle's will has given each a challenge. Ellie must lose weight and Bentley must write a blasphemy free book. They must also hunt for hidden treasure but no one knows exactly what the treasure is supposed to be. They have six months. Ellie, Bentley, their housekeeper, and gardner present a united front against Ellie's other relatives. Mysterious things happen - notes appear, a package with a portrait is left at the post office, the housekeeper is drugged, the cat almost drowns and finally the treasure is found and Ellie and Bentley are in love.



I have moved on to A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin. Violet Rose Hayes is the main character. She is a proper 20 year old young lady who just graduated from Madame Beauchamps finishing school in 1893. She gets three shocking bit of news in the first few pages of the novel. First shock, her father is engaged to marry the Widow O'Neill who has two children, Harriet and Horace who Violet nicknames, Homely and Horrid. Second shock, her father divorced her mother. Third shock, her mother was never sick as she was led to believe, her mother abandoned the family and lives in Chicago.

Violet convinces her father to send her to her grandmother in Chicago. Violet's goal is to find her mother. Her father's goal is for Violet to find a husband in Chicago and his rich Aunt Agnes in Chicago has been assigned to help with this matter.

Violet has to contend with her grandmother and grandaunts in Chicago. One formidable lady is Aunt Matt the suffragist. I am on page 99 and find that this is entertaining with quite a bit of humor as Violet learns about love and the rights of women in the late nineteenth century.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Exploring Zenhabits Blog

I found Zenhabits in Time magazine online as one of the Best Blogs for 2010. I have not finished browsing but I thought this list of 10 Books that Shaped My Life, and 40 Others I Love was worth passing on.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stieg Larsson's Second novel

This novel, The Girl who Played with Fire, is not holding my interest as much as the first one did. It's still a good novel now; it's not bad. What I can tell so far is that it is more sexual than the first and the violence is not as brutal as the first. I am still reading. I have just reached page 217.

I see real irony as I read this book. One of Stieg's characters is a journalist who is writing a controversial novel but he dies before the novel has been published. This is exactly what happened to Stieg who was a journalist in real life and died before his trilogy of successful books were published. How coincidental is that?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tips From a Frugal Librarian

I am compiling a list of frugal library tips to put on bookmarks and distribute to students. I intend to put some or all of these tips in Crossties and The Bay Leaf, a student newspaper and a library newsletter to which I contribute.

This list is likely to be helpful to Georgia academic library patrons. Galileo, which is mentioned on the list a few times, is a collection of databases for Georgia library patrons. Also, note that a list of frugal tips for public library users would probably be longer than this since it would include more diverse services such as free story telling events for children.

1) Borrow from the library; don’t overspend on novels, DVDs, magazines and newspapers.
2) Read Newspapers for free on Galileo databases.
3) Borrow books not available in your library (Interlibrary Loan, Gil Express).
4) Borrow Children’s books for storytelling at home.
5) Renew books online and return books on time; don’t incur library fines.
6) Trace your family tree for free on Galileo. Select Ancestry Library Edition Database.
7) Save paper; print more than 1 PowerPoint slide on a page.
· Go to File
· Print
· Properties
· Finishing tab
· Select a number under “Pages per sheet”, OK.
8) Remember to conserve on paper. Use paper wisely.
9) Use Computers for free. All computers have Microsoft Office Applications. Some have Sonic Digital Media software. (This applies to the specific library that I am targetting).
10) Scan pictures and documents for free at the library. (Print for a fee).
11) Create online flashcards at http://www.studystack.com/.
12) Get free research assistance. Ask a reference librarian.

Calculate the value of your library use.

Free Ebooks

Look what I found! More free books for your reading pleasure under the heading "Forgotten Books". You can purchase any from the list on amazon.com.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chick Lit video

Came across this recently; a book chat on the relevance of chick lit during a period of recession. Chick Lit not as popular anymore? I really can't imagine that is true.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stieg Larsson's Trilogy: Book 2

I am reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second book in Stieg Larsson's trilogy. I just read that the writer had plans to write 10 books but only submitted three to his publisher before his untimely dead.

I am on page 61 of the novel and just like the first book, I feel like I am reading three stories in one. There is the Story of the Kidnapped Teenager at an unknown location, Bjurman's Revenge set in Sweden, and The Case of the Faux Businessman/Presbyterian Minister/wife beater set in Grenada in the Caribbean. These are not titles used in the novel, of course, they are my own invention. I can't wait to see how the stories develop and mesh together.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Success Tips

Read about the Success Type Personality in the really interesting New Psycho-cybernetics:

Sense of Direction
Understanding
Courage
Charity (Compassion)
Esteem
Self-confidence
Self-acceptance

This book makes you think about your personal values and attitudes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Success Secrets

I was reading The New Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz; edited and updated by Dan S. Kennedy and The Psycho-cybernetic Foundation. However, I put it aside because it was not an easy read. I have to read it slowly. I borrowed the book from the library so I can not highlight some of the interesting concepts. Since I have been reading Outliers: the Story of Success, I picked up Maltz's book again today to see what he said about success.

Maltz said we all have a powerful built-in computer-like success machine or goal-striving mechanism. The brain and the nervous system make up this goal-striving mechanism that operates like a guidance system to steer us in the right direction, help us achieve our goals, give us answers, and provide us with ideas and inspiration. We have to use self-image to program the success mechanism. The book is supposed to help us communicate confidently with and through the self-image to control the success/goal-striving mechanism. One example given is about writers and speakers who give their subconscious instructions about a writing or speech task. They nap and awake with useful material that they may not have received through conscious thought or worry. Another example given is Thomas Edison who believed he got some of his ideas from a source outside of himself.

I liked the exercise on page 41 that suggests that success comes by making a detailed mental image of our target, consistently, for ten - 15 minutes. I am willing to give it a try.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Club Selection

We met today to discuss our book, Sarah's Key, set in 1942 and 2002. Everyone loved it; not everyone had enjoyed our last book, the dystopic fiction, The Year of the Flood. I personally would have rated both books 41/2 stars. I loved them both.

Our book next month will be a light read, Thin Woman , a humorous mystery by Dorothy Cannell. I hope everyone enjoys the light mystery because I will be proposing The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo for August which is so not light.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Story of Success

I am reading Outliers: the Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. He says he wants to convince us that successful people are beneficiaries of hidden advantages and cultural legacies that allow them to make sense of the world. The best and the brightest do not simply rise t the top. He thinks there is a pattern for success.

I also read the writer's previous book, Tipping Point. This was all about how little things can lead to big changes. I remembered that book when I came across this quote by Chip and Dan Heath in Switch, "Small targets lead to small victories, and small victories can often trigger a positive spiral of behavior".

I think Malcom has encountered a pattern to successfully writing bestsellers. Interestingly, his cultural legacy is Jamaican and I am looking forward to reading that part of his legacy in the last chapter. Just by chance, I read a fascinating article yesterday about the very successful Paula Madison from NBC Universal in the July issue of Ebony magazine. Her cultural legacy is Jamaican Chinese.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Book 1: Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Wow! This was a great psychological thriller with a message about sexual assault of women in Sweden and sexual abuse of charges in the care of the state through legal guardianship. There is also a message about journalistic ethics. Search for reviews of this book on epinions.com; I have my own comments there.



I have a few criticisms but these did not detract from the main story. I did not mention them all in epinions.com. The rape scene was too brutal but clearly well written since it evoked horror from readers. Some of the translation into English was a little unnatural. Who says they are going to the toilet in English? We would use the euphemistic "bathroom". Some words were not translated at all Advokat instead of lawyer but maybe the translator did not think lawyer was an adequate translation. The language was clearly British English and I noticed at least one amazon book reviewer had issues with the use of the word gaol; a variant of jail.



I am looking forward to the other two books and I wonder what the fourth book by Stieg Larsson is like. The fourth book is still on his laptop held by his long time love, Eva Gabrielssson, after his death.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stieg Larsson's Trilogy: Book 1

I finally bought Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Swedish wrier Stieg Larsson at Walmart. I feel as if I am reading three or four stories. First, there is the unsolved mystery of the Rare Pressed Flowers that arrive every year for thirty years by post from anywhere in Europe for a now 82 year old man on his birthday. Then, we move on to the story of financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist. There is the mystery of the Faulty Information that landed him in court for libel and defamation. By page 36, we meet the myterious Lisbeth Salander who works for a security firm. The story of Lisbeth has a link to Blomkvist because her job was to investigate him; find out his whole life story. The person who hired the firm is a rich retired businessman named Herr Vanger. By the time I got to page 92 he reveals that he wants to hire Blomquist for the Case of the Missing Grandniece, Henrietta. The mystery cases written in italics are all mine; they are not given those names in the book.



I am really enjoying the novel so far and as I mentioned in another post, the writer's real life is just as interesting as his fiction.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Free Books Online for Literature Studetns

What a great link for students of literature! Check it out here. Moby Dick is available but there are also books by Agatha Christie; so the target audience is actually wider than just literature students.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Business Life Books

I am looking at various library blogs and came across interesting book reviews on a book for people who work, Linchpin by Seth Godwin.

Here also is a freebie titled, What Matters Now, that is in pd format as well as powerpoint. There is an article by Seth Godwin on Generosity. Other interesting topics include: Fear, Excellence, and Vision.

Save New Jersey Libraries

People in New Jersey are rallying around their libraries in these difficult times according to these pics on Flickr. State funds are to be cut 74%. Yikes! What can everyday advocates do? Well, there is a To Do list which includes a facebook page. I like number 10 on the list. You can join your own library Friends group, not the facebook kind, and be an advocate for your own public library.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mothers in Fiction

I know we are approaching Father's day but I found these book titles about motherhood interesting. Link here on NPR. One of the books, Family Man, is actually written from a Dad's point of view.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Forgotten Mystery Books.

They Died in Vain: Overlooked, Underappreciated and Forgotten Mystery Books. That, dear readers, is the title of a book. I found out about this book on a blog called Neglected Books.

Twenty Writers Under Forty

Getting information for this blog has become so much easier for me lately because there is just so much news about books and writers these days. The problem now is that I can hardly keep up.


Read this article in the New York Times online about twenty young gifted fiction writers from all over the world. I am familiar with only one; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie age 32.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Book Suggestions for the Month of June

Summer reading suggestions from Oprah's website.

Salem Press: Blogosphere Excellence

Who said libraries were boring? I could spend all day looking at these award winning library blogs. The names of the blogs alone were fascinating. Take a look!

General Library Blogs
First place: Libraries and Transliteracy
Second place: Centered Librarian
Third place: Librarian.net

Quirky Library Blogs
First place: Awful Library Books
Second place: Library History Buff
Third place: Going Green At Your Library
Another Third place: Judge a Book by its Cover

Academic Library Blogs
First place: No Shelf Required
Second place: ResourceShelf
Third place: The Kept-Up Academic Librarian

Public Library Blogs
First place: Agnostic, Maybe
Second place: Blogging for a Good Book

There is more on Salem Press' page. The only one I was familiar with was, The Kept -Up Academic Librarian.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Destiny and Shadows

Some people like to think that there is just one person out there destined to be their life long spouse. Well, here is an article that will confirm that way of thinking. It's the story of two people born the same day in the same hospital who will be getting married on June 12 this year.

Just last night I was reading TJ Francis' book where he says that we are literally connected to each other. And get this, on page 97 he writes that, "We, the soul decide all that we will encounter, with whom our relationships will be closely linked, what family we will be born into ....". Did those two souls getting married on June 12 choose each other from some other spirtual sphere? Were they meant to be? Hmmm.

Today I was browsing through a new book at my library by Deepak Chopra et al titled, The Shadow Effect. Chopra writes that we have a shared unconscious (Jung's collective unconscious) meaning that we have a shared self; a coaliton of I and we. The concept reminded me of all the World War 11 books I have been reading lately with the bookclub where the collective self (the Nazis and supporters of the Nazis) shows up its dark side; its shadow side. It reminded me of the connectedness that TJ Francis says we have. Of course, TJ also has something to say about our good side and our dark side.

The Year of the Flood

Plague? Blue people? This article certainly reminded me of our book club selection in May, The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.

I first read about Craig Venter, maverick geneticist, in The Week magazine dated June 4, 2010 in an article titled, " 'Synthia': And then there was life."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

TJ Francis' Ageless Wisdom

I have finished Sarah's Key. Great read. Stirred up a lot of emotions.

I have moved on to the metaphysical Trained By the Great White Lodge Book 1 published by inner circle publishing and available on various online bookstores such as amazon. As you will read in the extract, the writer is a self confessed meticulous, demanding, and fussy individual with an interesting background. (OK I confess, I know the writer).

The point of the book is for the writer to share with us the truths that he has learned from his years with an esoteric (private or secret) group. This is the first of a trilogy by TJ Francis.

I am on page 51 and I think I just read what is possibly the essence of his message which some will consider controversial. It is that we are misinterpreting the will of God. There are no requirements to meet to get to Heaven and no physical Hell if we fail to meet them. On page 50, the writer advises readers to release their fear of God, their negative thoughts and beliefs and replace them with universal Love.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Children's Writer Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has written 26 books? Imagine that! Most of the books are for children. This writer apparently attracted a big crowd at the Book Expo in New York and it was not all about her writing as you can imagine. Link here!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

World War 11 historical fiction

I am reading an historical fiction titled Sarah's Key by Tatiana deRosnay, a writer from Paris, France. Listen to an excerpt here. It's our book club selection.

The story is about the rounding up of Jewish families by French police officers in France in 1942. The narrators of the story are a little Jewish girl named Sarah, who was living in Paris in 1942, and an American writer named Julia Jarmond, living in Paris with her French husband and daughter in 2002. The story goes back and forth from 2002 to 1942.

I am on page 57 and one of the interesting facts about this historical event is that the French are embarassed by the role of the French police in detaining Jews particularly children born in France and sending them to their death in German camps. The French want to forget it ever happened. An essential part of the plot is that Sarah locked her brother in a cupboard so that he could be saved before she and her family were frogmarched to the Vel’d’Hiv’. Sarah has the key to the cupboard and at this point where I have reached in the story, she does not know how to escape and get back to the apartment to free him.


Interestingly, I read this interview with the writer and she made it quite clear that her Julia character is not based on her own life.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book links from Oprah's website

The Big List of Best Books

1. 31 women writers you should know
2. 20 addictive true stories
3. 16 books any mom will love
4. 12 luscious literary reads
5. 11 unputdownable mysteries
6. 10 books on everything you ever wanted to know about sex (but were afraid to ask)
7. 10 terrific reads of 2009
8. 10 of our favorites for everyone on your list
9. 8 great adventure books
10. 8 books to read with a broken heart

Book Buzz: Book club Selection

I am reading yet another apocalyptic novel and this one is a bestseller titled One Second After by William Forstchen . I am only on page 45 and I am finding the grammatical errors irritating. No one proofread this book. The word "of" is repeatedly used in place of "have" as in "could of sold." "There is" was used in sentences where clearly the plural "are" was needed.

The bookclub members agreed to discuss another World War 11 fiction in June. This one is titled Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Here is a reading guide that we can use and this seems to be an interesting interview with the writer. Look at the list of Tatiana's favorite writers.

Q: Speaking of your writing career, who are some of your favorite authors?

A: I admire Daphne du Maurier, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Irène Nemirovsky, Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe. And Paul Auster, Joanna Trollope, Anita Shreeve, Penelope Lively, A.S Byatt, JM Coetzee, Maggie O’Farrell, Tracy Chevalier, Joyce Carol Oates, and Sarah Waters.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Must-Read" List

My list of Must-Read books is getting longer and longer. I came across a blog today called Book Buddies. It mentioned an historical fiction titled, The Wives of Henry Oades. This debut novel is based on the fascinating story of a man, in the late nineteenth century, who ended up with two wives and their persecution by the Daughters of Decency.


Meet the writer Johanna Moran. After reading Moran's website, it appears that there is some uncertainty as to whether or not Mr. Oades polygamous situation really existed or if California journalists made it up to demonstrate a loophole in bigamy laws.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Have you read the Stieg Larsson trilogy?

I have been hearing about the best selling trilogy by Stieg Larsson but have never read them: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, the Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Yesterday I was reading Times magazine at the library and discovered that Larsson's personal life is full of drama. He worked with anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations. He did not marry his female companion of 32 years because married folks in their native country Sweden have to make their home address public. Well, his line of work attracted enemies therefore he needed to keep a low profile. Larsson died just before his books got global exposure and hit the bestsellers lists. His will is invalid so naturally his next of kin, his father and brother, inherited everything including half of the apartment where lady-love lives. There is no palimony law in Sweden. The lady-love says Larsson was estranged from his family. The familiy has denied it. To add to the drama, she has Larsson's laptop with the script of an unfinished novel. The family wants to trade her the script for Larsson's share of the apartment. What a drama!

A fan has set up a website to help lady-love, Eva.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Abraham Bolden's story

This is one scary and sad story. Scary in terms of how the wheels of justice turned. The tear jerker moments are many. This sentence on page 228 was so hopeful yet it was a tear jerking moment for me: "You have to be strong because we are all counting on you to come back home to us. Nothing is going to happen out here, and I'm going to work and keep things together." Those were Barbara Bolden's words as her husband lost his court battle and headed for prison.

COLINET News

I was once the editor of COLINET News. I worked at a library in Jamaica which was the focal point of COLINET (College Information Network). I am looking at Vol. 8 issue number 1 dated April 1994 in which I wrote on the cover page: This is the dawn of the Powershift Era. All over the globe particularly in South Africa at this time, it is clear that there is a restructuring of power relationships taking place. I made reference to futurist Alvin Toffler who said that the very nature of power was also changing to include the knowledge factor,that is, money, muscle and mind-work: scientific and technological research.

The featured library in the issue was the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College Library. The motto for the college was Service, Commitment, Excellence. There is an article on page 11 written by Librarians Arlene Ononaiwu and Hermine Salmon titled, Social change and its Implications for Library and Information Services: a Jamaican Perspective. They wrote, "A pre-requisite for librarians to contribute to the process of sustainable development is the attainment of technologicl competence. This will ensure speedy and effective delivery of information services. To achieve this appropriate equipment andprogrammes must be acquired and personnel adequately trained in their managment and use."

Having a nostalgic moment this morning. These days I contribute to a library newsletter called, The Bay Leaf.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Links to Books about Food

Check out Oprah's links to the 9 books that will change the way we view food:


1. Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love by Lara Vapnyar
2. Righteous Porkchop by Nicolette Hahn Niman
3. Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky
4. The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
5. The Family Chef by Jewels and Jill Elmore
6. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
7. Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals by Jamie Oliver
8. Food Not Lawns by Heather Flores
9. American Food Writing edited by Molly O'Neill

There is also link on Oprah's website to Food Rules by Michael Pollan which is a little book that I have read. Here is something to do; read Women Food and God by Geneen Roth with Oprah.

What are you reading?

I am reading the Echo from Dealey Plaza by Abraham Bolden. The style is very easy to read and it's not a long story; just 285 pages. Abraham Bolden's story is a scary one though. I have reached page 125 and I think I am going to have nightmares. I say nightmares because it frightens me when innocent people serve time in prison. I am frightened when truth does not set the innocent free.

Bolden is claming that he was arrested and imprisoned by some trumped up bribery charges because he wasn't a team player in the Secret Service. He saw things that were wrong with the conduct of the agents assigned to protect President JFK and spoke out against it and he thinks that led to the false accusations. He makes mention of people who gave him a hard time and I looked them up; Maurice Martineau, Harvey Henderson, and Judge Sam Perry. These men are all deceased so we will never hear how they feel about how they have been portrayed in this book.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Romance Novels 101

I am on Galileo, a collection of databases for Georgians, and I am looking at an article on page
120 of Reference & User Services Quarterly, 2007 issue titled, Core Collections in Genre Studies: Romance 101.

The most elite and most classical subgenre of romance novels, according to this article, are the traditional regency romances. Regency means that the novel is set in the reign of the Prince Regent a.k.a. King George IV in the period 1810- 1820 but current writers have expanded the era to 1800 -1830. Evelyn Richardson, Allison Lane, Anne Barbour represent the traditionalists. The historical set regency novels are the ones that reign now in popularity. Look out for these names mentioned in the article Loretta Chase, Mary Jo Putney, Sophia Nash, Carla Kelly.

The Medieval, Victorian, and Regency periods with European settings and the Civil War and Pioneer periods with North America settings are most popular historical romance novels.

Characteristics of the Historical novel:

1. Female protagonists are rebellious.

2. Dates are accurate.

3. Clothing, dress, customs bring reality to novel.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

StoryCorps: Record your life story

Yesterday I wrote about Les Brown's advice to Toastmasters to tell your story strategically. This morning I am reading a journal called American Libraries and on page 42 there is an article titled Everyday Existence by Dave Isay. He is writing about StoryCorps, an oral history project. You and a family member or friend can make a reservation to record your story. There is even a list of questions to guide the story, check it out here. At the end two broadcast quality CDs will be created; one for you and the other for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

I think StoryCorps is a really great idea. Link here to find out how to bring it to your community. Georgians, you can record in Atlanta at WABE studio.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Les Brown inspirational moment

I attended a Toastmaster's luncheon on Saturday in Savannah, Georgia and the guest speaker was motivational speaker Les Brown. He said so many things that meant a lot to me and I want to share one thing that resonated with me.

In that audience of persons (toastmasters) who have an interest in public speaking, he said that we should find our core message and tell our story strategically. I understood him to mean that we could be effective public speakers, storytellers, writers by telling our story in an interesting and memorable way. He gave examples of people in politics who have told us their story in a memorable way: Senator John McCain and President Barack Obama. Les Brown suggested three questions that we should ask ourselves as we think about telling our own story:

Who am I?
What do I have? (talents, skills, experiences)
Why should anyone care?

Ok. I have put this in my own words. Go check out a Les Brown video or buy his books and be inspired.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Some Facts about Romance Fiction

I am not a big romance fiction reader but I just watched an archived Booklist webcast about Romance Fiction and discovered that more romance fiction is sold in America than mystery/suspense, science fiction and fantasy novels.

Here is an interesting stat from Romance Writers of America: 74.8 million people read a romance novel in 2008.

Have you ever thought about the subgenres of romance fiction? There is the paranormal, historical, contemporary, suspense, regency, inspirational.

Here are some facts I got from the webcast:

· Most people like reading a romance series like the Black Cobra Quartet by Stephanie Laurens

· Historical romance fiction is making a comeback.

· Romance based on the Victorian era, paranormal romance featuring vampires, and romance based Westerns are very popular

· Bestselling romance authors include: Stephanie Laurens, Amanda Quick, Elizabeth Boyle, Tess Dare and so many others.

· Avonbooks.com is the site to check for romance fiction published by HarperCollins.