This week has not been the most fab as far as the weather has been concerned and staff has responded by diving into some tasty book goodness. This week we have some dark and scary, some tradition, a day trip, sex and drugs and rock and roll, a dozen eggs, and some machismo.
Let us begin!
Miss Kiera is into some dark and scary stuff this week! “I know I'm hopping on late to the Gone Girl train, but I finally succumbed. I definitely get the hype. It's the story of an extremely dysfunctional couple told in alternating chapters. At first my sympathies lay with the husband, then with the wife, then suddenly back to the husband. By the end I hated them both, which I'm pretty sure was the point. Did I love the book? I'm not sure- but I couldn't put it down and I'm still thinking about it, so I'd say it's a winner for any book club. Very discuss-able and debatable. I also just finished reading Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Superheroes and Make-Believe Violence. It explains why it is not only natural but necessary for children to seek out scary books and seemingly violent pretend play. It's an essential component in their ability to build self-esteem, empowerment, and a sense of empathy. Fascinating stuff!
Stephanie has some very interesting things to say about a favorite author who is trying something new. ”After reading all the reviews, I had to read The Casual Vacancy this week, and you know what? I thought it was good. Not that I ever should have trusted reviews that came out hours after the book was available to read. In many ways it's a very traditional British novel, snuggled into the nooks and politics of a small village; it actually reminded me a bit of Zadie Smith's new book, NW. But it also has all the trappings of modern life, with the hacking of a website being the pivot on which the plot turns. It has the faintest hints of Harry--the character names in particular, and she does have a penchant for wrapping things up in a particular way--but if you didn't know Rowling was Rowling, I'm not sure you'd guess it. It didn't change my life, but I quite enjoyed it.”
Elizabeth of KLS has some day tripping in her future! “I’m going to Kykuit next week with a girlfriend, so I'm reading up and The House The Rockefellers Built : A Tale Of Money, Taste, And Power In Twentieth-century America by Robert F Dalzell is just what I need to prepare . Anyone looking for a great idea for an Indian summer field trip should consider it. It's in Sleepy Hollow, NY near Tarrytown and they are open through October. I can't wait to see the art!”
Abby is having some fun! “I recently enjoyed reading How to be A Woman by the bit crude, dash lewd, and passionately feminist Caitlin Moran. Moran is a British journalist at The Times, and has won numerous awards such as Columnist of The Year. The book begins with her account of growing up poor alongside her 7 siblings. They were home schooled which helped her develop a passionate love for libraries and that makes her even more appealing. As a precocious 16 year old she got a job as a music magazine writer which led to her own short-lived TV show. That adds up to lots of access to sex, drugs and of course, rock & roll. She really hit her stride once she settled in as a columnist with marriage, motherhood and celebrities providing plenty of fodder for her wicked observations. Personally, I find myself having great respect for her encyclopedia knowledge of pop culture. This was a fun read by a talented observer of people and culture.”
Jeannie is taking some advice this week and finding it more than worthy. “Good things happen when you are standing in front of our Book Club Corner with a patron trying to work your RA magic. Suddenly the patron says, ‘Have you read this? A bunch of us were at Dartmouth with this guy.’ Then she hands you City of Thieves by David Benioff. Lucky me! This is a brilliantly written black comedy recounting the story of a Jewish émigré and his Russian accomplice during the German siege of Leningrad. Through punishable infractions, the two have come to the attention of a Soviet colonel who needs a dozen eggs for his daughter's wedding cake! Don't let the premise fool you. Lev and Kolya embark on a war-time quest filled with danger, unlikely friendships and creative ways to survive and kill. City of Thieves is one of my new favorites.
Erin is revisiting an old friend in a new collection. Oh. And there is sighing going on. ”I am currently reading Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her. Readers who are familiar with the character Yunior from Diaz's previous work will be reacquainted with him this collection of nine short stories. Dealing with his Dominican identity and wrestling with his machismo exterior, Yunior describes his triumphs and setbacks in pursuing romantic relationships. There are some serious sigh-worthy lines in this one. My favorite so far? 'And that's when I know it's over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it's the end.’Sigh.”