Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Death as the Narrator

I am reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Death is the narrator. It is the book club selection for April. It starts off slowly. It is about a little girl who is the book thief and she is being cared for by foster parents. Setting is Nazi Germany during World War 11 and so I suppose that death is stalking the protagonists. I don't know yet. I am at page 216. It gets interesting for me when a family decides to hide a young Jewish man. There is a lot of foreshadowing in this novel to the point that it becomes a little annoying. It's supposed to be for young adults but the language is a bit rough for a preteen.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Heard it on the Grapevine

Here is a new book with the unusual title, Cutting for Stone, based in Ethiopia and covering the period when His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie was in power. I heard about it on the grapevine. A friend of my Aunt recommended it to her. Although she has not read it, my Aunt was recommending it to me and I am now recommending it to you based on the reviews in amazon. The author is Ethiopian Indian Abraham Verghese.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Books by Reality Stars

We are never going to get rid of them. They are authors now. In print for ever. Just saw it in People magazine. Yes, one of my trusted sources of new books in print info. Here they are:

Alex McCord, Little Kids, Big City
Jil Zarin, Secrets of a Jewish Mother
Bethenny Frankel, The Skinnygirl Dish
Luann De Lesseps, Class with the Countess

By the way, I actually do enjoy the Real Housewives of New York every now and then. I find Alex odd but likeable and my favorite is the feisty Bethenny. Bethenny actually has another book out, Naturally Thin and a body sculpting DVD.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Lost" TV show: Sawyer's Books

Since I am still hooked on Lost, the abc network show, I am liking this on Oprah website. All the books in one place.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Political Gossip

I am finally reading Game Change and I am enjoying it. Some amazon reader(s) calls the book political gossip. Hey, I read People magazine so I guess I would be entertained by something like Game Change that is based on interviews of persons in the 'know" involved in a US presidential campaign.

Will move on to Oryx and Crake , an apocalyptic science fiction novel, soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Club Selection for April

I enjoyed Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd. I found myself talking to the protagonist. For example, I would say aloud, "Don't touch the knife you idiot". "OMG why are you doing that, why don't you go to the police". And yes I read until 1:00 am one morning. One point of the story was to show how lives are interconnected. The resolution to the story was okay not great but I would recommend it to those who love a thriller.

Our book selection for April is The Book Thief by Markus Zusac a young adult fiction set in World War 11. The narrator is Death.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Waycross College Library pics

Waycross College's renovated library. The college logo at the entrance and on the main doors are covered up. The big reveal will be March 23. There are just so many things to consider when designing or renovating a library. These are just a few elements other than cost:
  • Lighting – natural light, energy efficient lighting, security lighting, glare reduction
  • Space that facilitates social networking and collaboration as well as privacy and independent study
  • Specialty spaces: group study rooms; student and faculty lounges; commons area with vending machines/a setting for special programs – book club meetings, book events, art exhibitions; storage spaces
  • Acoustics – location of noisy equipment e.g. photocopy machines, carpeted areas for noise reduction
  • Temperature control for collection preservation, for comfort
  • Indoor air quality –ventilation
  • Furniture – size, shape, color, quantity
  • Placement of furniture
  • Shelving: expandable, height, depth, quantity
  • Ambience - plants, color of carpet, artwork, color of wallpaper/walls

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Blue Night

My book The Blue Afternoon by William Boyd took me all night to finish and at the end of it all, I was annoyed. Four people died in the book and I still don't know who 'done' it. I am supposed to guess?

Loved the writing. Loved the history of the Phillipines and the hospital back in the early twentieth century. Loved the drama of the airplane. Loved the dynamics between the major character and her mother, and also, between the major character and her ex-husband. Enjoyed the love obsession/romance angle. Loved the characters; both the major and the minor ones. That's why I stayed up all night reading.

Starts off in 1936 with a quirky female architect who is approached by a man who says he is her Dad. As far as she knew her Dad had died and he had a completely different name. The Dad becomes the narrator as he tells Kay, the daughter, his story on their journey to Europe to track down a woman from his past. I get to the climax of the story. He's found his mystery woman. Then that's it. The story winds down and I get nothing. Who killed whom? Nothing is revealed.

I am not a happy reader. Yet, I am going to try another William Boyd book, Ordinary Thunderstorms. I'll tell you how that works out for me. Hopefully, I won't be duped into reading all night. I am telling you; I read until 3:00 a.m.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book club Selections courtesy of Oprah

Well, these may not be suggestions from Oprah herself but from the editors of O magazine. Take a look at the selection of 7 new books to watch out for in March. Here is one that sounds interesting: How to Escape from a Leper Colony is based in the Caribbean. There is no review on amazon at the time of writing. I will certainly try to put this on my reading list.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book club Suggestions

Since we will be few in number next week Friday, I am thinking of hosting the book club at my house. Does everyone eat curry? I will be furloughed so I have time to cook and be ready for meeting at 5:15 p.m.

I received a suggestion for our April book discussion: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. After looking at amazon, it seems that we should first read Atwood's apocalyptic science fiction novel, Oryx and Crake. The two are stand alone books yet they seem to overlap like Shadow of the Wind, our book for July 2009, and Angel's Game, our book for this month. We'll decide when we meet.

I also got a suggestion for The Book Thief. Death is the narrator in that story and that sounds intriguing. Also, I am now reading and liking The Blue Afternoon by William Boyd so I will suggest it.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Sophisticated Strip Tease

I thought this was an interesting comment from Jamaican educator and columnist, Carolyn Cooper, about autobiographies, "Writing a biography is a tricky business. It's a sophisticated strip tease. You want to disclose enough to intrigue your audience but you don't really want to fully unclothe yourself in public." She could not find any juicy details about the marriage or love life of former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga, in his book titled, My Life and Leadership. Mr. Seaga's first wife was a much loved Jamaican beauty queen and when that marriage failed after many many years, he took on a second wife who is a few decades younger than he is.

Here is another comment about Seaga's book. Interestingly, the book includes the surprise visit of the Jackson Five and their mother to his residence. The book is available through independent sellers on amazon right now.

Friday, March 05, 2010

What to read next

These are what the folks at NPR have been reading for February 23 through March 1 : The Man From Beijing, We've Got Issues, Horns by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son). This, however, is the book that caught my eye on the NPR website; This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Dick Francis, jockey turned writer, is dead

Dick Francis is one of our beloved writers. We chose two of his books for discussion at our bookclub in May and October, 2009. Here is some interesting information that I never knew before. Dick lived on Grand Cayman island in the Caribbean and will be buried there.

Also, I just found this link that readers will find interesting. It's Dick and his son talking about their novel Silks, our book club selection last October.