This week we have pool-side sci-fi, secret friends, some advice, more advice and heartache,global warming, Vietnam, a decoy, prison, clinical depression and a pilgrimage. But!  Surprise!  There is no Paris.

Let us begin!

John aka The Warlock of Minecraft is working on the following:  “I'm shamelessly reading Amped by Daniel H. Wilson.  From the twisted mind that brought us Robopocalypse,  comes this summer’s sci-fi pool-side read.  Taking place in the not-so-distant future, Amped describes a world where medical brain implants are used to treat conditions like Down syndrome, Fetal alcohol syndrome, brain damage, epilepsy, and even ADD.  The implants dramatically improve the brain function and increase the intelligence of the patients they are surgically "installed" in and quickly become an elective surgery for people of average intelligence.  When the Supreme Court rules that altered humans or "Amps" may not be offered equal protection under the constitution, they are persecuted and herded into ghettos where they become organized and plot to secure their future and ready themselves for a coming war."

Pat T. is finding it hard to move forward after finishing one of my favorites of the summer.  This is a feeling I can empathize with!  “I have just finished reading a highly recommended book Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Fourteen year old June Elbus is a favored niece of her Uncle Finn, a famous painter dying of aids in the mid 80's. After her Uncle's death, June develops a secretive friendship with Toby, Finn's partner of 10 years, while dealing with the fragile bonds of sisterhood as she and her sister Greta act out their sibling rivalry. This coming of age story will spoil you for your next read!”

Erin is sticking with her recent obsession and some may say stalking tendency over a certain author.  "I just finished Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, a collection of advice columns she published under the pseudonym Sugar on The Rumpus, an online literary journal. If you enjoyed Strayed’s voice in Wild and decided you would be best friends with her after finishing that memoir, you’ll enjoy this collection of question and answer letters. Strayed is not your typical advice columnist. Her responses become her own life narrative and reading this after enjoying Wild is recommended because you’ll already have a good background on her past."

Ann is reading Gone by Cathi Hanauer.  “This was a good book with an interesting premise.  Eve and Eric are married with two children, a teen daughter and a younger son.  Eric is an artist who is experiencing a mental block and has been unable to produce his sculptures.  This is adding a financial burden to his wife, Eve, who has written a diet/advice book and has taken on private clients to coach to a healthy life style.  One night, Eric drives the babysitter home and does not come back.  Eve assumes he is off having an affair with the sitter.  Eric ends up going to visit his mom and learns some truths about her life and his upbringing.  Eric does try to call Eve to tell her what is actually happening but she refuses to take his calls. He does text his daughter to let her know he loves his family.  It is an interesting story, but as a wife I would have answered the phone when he called.  It would have saved a lot of heartache.”

Barbara M. is back from vacation!  Welcome back Barbara!  Here is what she is working on.  "I'm reading an advance copy of Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver and although it is clear that she has a message and an agenda (to make the world aware of global warming) her writing is absolutely lyrical, her descriptions vivid, and her characters so real that you care about them and want to know how it ends."

Marianne has a rather nifty suggestion this week.  “This is the second year that my book group at the Library has spent the three months of summer reading books and then watching the movies that were made from them.  Recently we did "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene.  This is the story of turbulent 1950's Vietnam when the French were engaged in fighting the Communists. The author also details the undercover actions the United States was taking in those days. Both the book and movie were controversial when they were released because of the anti-American stance that many thought the author took.  The main character and narrator of the story is Fowler, a middle-aged English journalist, who is covering the war in Vietnam, and is involved with a young Vietnamese beauty Phuong. Everything gets complicated when Pyle, a naïve American enters the picture and sets out to take Phuong and to pursue naive American political interests.  One member of our group said she's always looking for something meaty and this book was certainly that.  Read it or watch the movie.  You won't be disappointed.”

The Delightful Tech Goddess Amanda is letting her ears do the reading as she works on The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal.  Nalia is a shy princess, more content with reading and exploring her father’s castle than making grand appearances. In every way she has been raised up to be a fine leader of her country one day as the sole heir. However, that all changes when her parents reveal that she is actually a decoy for the real princess. The real Nalia with a cursed prophecy on her head and was hidden away till after her 16th birthday. Now, the false princess is Sinda and she is sent to her only relative and her princess education is useless to her now. However, magic is afoot and the plot thickens as Sinda returns to the capitol. The voice actress for this audiobook speaks with a reserved and proper voice for Nalia/Sinda and easily brings other characters to life as she manipulates her voice.

Jeanne is reading onward! “The saga developed in the Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game continues under the masterful literary pen of Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Just as gripping as the first and less surreal than the second, The Prisoner of Heaven is engrossing with the suspense, intrigue and danger that envelop these characters in the murky underworld of Barcelona. The prison scenes are especially chilling. The book is as much a page-turner as Shadow of the Wind with many of the same characters you rooted for and the ones you wished unspeakable curses on.”

Stephanie is in the middle of The Noonday  Demon: An Atlas of  Depression by Andrew Solomon.  “Because I am excited about his new book coming out this fall, and am taking it as an excuse to finally read this one, which has been recommended to me several times. So far I am just floored by how fantastic it is. The book, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2001 and was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize that year, is a personal and an academic journey into the world of clinical depression, in its many guises and on its many levels. Solomon examines not only what it is like to feel depressed and how depression is experienced by family and friends, but also the history, treatment, science, and politics of depression--and does it with a breathtaking amount of grace and intelligence. The material of the book is, well, depressing, and often fairly dense, but Solomon is a true craftsman, making the book almost joyful to read. Whether or not your life or the life of a loved one has been touched by depression, this is a book well worth reading, simply to marvel at the task Solomon has set out for himself, and how well he has achieved it.

I started The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce because of all the controversy surrounding it down in RA.  Marianne hates it like a Brussels sprout.  Others are cheerleading it like crazy so I just have to see for myself!  So far I am rather charmed by Harold and his pilgrimage of 500 miles across England to the bed side of a dying friend.  Marianne just may be wrong (this is a rare thing) as this was long listed for the Booker this week. 


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