Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

This week we have NaNoWriMo, an always interesting question, purgatory, a sick bed, a drug and alcohol fueled frenzy, some flowers, some more drugs, and Indiscretion.

The Amazing Amanda is reading, Book In A Month: The Foolproof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Victoria Schmidt in anticipation of our program on the 21st!  “Dr. Schmidt gives you a through overview of the mindset to get ready to produce a novel in such a short amount of time. She then gives you very detailed worksheets to help you get through the month. I'm more of a fan of the Plot, What Plot? drive of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where the idea is to leave behind all of your insecurities and just write!, but I believe this book has a place for someone who is ready to get beyond NaNo.”  Intrigued?  Details here!

Pat T. had finished a book I adore and has the following observations!  “I have just finished reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe and found it to be a delightful read   because of the relationship between mother and son, as well as the books they discussed. I laughed when the author wrote "the first question they would ask after greeting one another would be what are you reading?" They would fit right into our Readers' Advisory Department since we are always asking one another the same interesting question!”

John the Master of Minecraft is in a purgatory of a sort. “I just finished Age of Miracles and I would say that it is interesting enough to give it a read.  The premise of the novel is that all of a sudden, the earth's rotation suddenly begins to slow.  As the days and nights get longer, the narrator--a sixth grade girl--struggles with all the usual sixth grade issues in addition to a world that is slowly falling apart.  I picked up this book because it is ostensibly science fiction, but its problem is that it's not quite sure what it wants to be and the result is that it just kind of sits in limbo.  This really ought to be classified as a young adult book, yet there is some strong language (not that young adults don't use strong language).  It also wants to be a science fiction novel, but the core premise--the slowing of the earth--is unexplained and not based on physics, however its effects are.  That breaks the cardinal rule of science fiction, nudging this story into fantasy territory.  Finally, Walker, at times, writes with a sophomoric flourish that seems to indicate that she wants this book to be literary.  There are several stand-out passages, but ultimately, if you want to read this book, it will hold your attention; it just won't blow you away.”

It seems that Ann is RA’s Little Nell and is checking in from her sick bed.  She has developed pneumonia, bronchitis and God knows what else.  Here is wishing her a speedy recovery and hopefully there will be an Ann in Boots sighting very soon! “ I am reading Love Anthony by Lisa Genova.  I am a fan of Miss Genova and truly thought her book Still Alice was a wonderfully written novel that gave "life" to a person suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Her second book, Left Neglected, was also an interesting novel about a woman who could not see her left side. It was a good book but not as good as Still Alice.
Love Anthony is about two women living on Nantucket.  Beth lives there with her husband and three daughters. She is a writer who has let her writing go to the wayside until her marriage falls apart.  She then starts to write a novel about a boy, Anthony, who suffers from autism told from his point of view.  Olivia has retreated to Nantucket after losing her eight year old autistic son, Anthony.  You have to suspend belief to see how these women will connect and how the novel about Anthony becomes for his mother his true life story.  It's an okay book.  I think with Miss Genova's background as a neuroscientist she could have written a more interesting novel about Anthony and his struggles with autism. 

Abby can be found this week smashing a perfectly good guitar to paraphrase the Amazing John Hiatt.  “Since I heard Pete Townshend of The Who fame was publishing a biography, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release.  I’d heard about Who I Am even before Keith Richards (Rolling Stones fame) came out with his highly-praised and award-winning bio which I loved.  While both rockers come from the same g-g-g-generation, each book has a different purpose and voice.  While Keith’s bio was warm and written almost as a dialogue, Pete’s uses his book to explain his music and work through his demons which stem from a childhood filled with abandonment and sexual abuse.  One of The Who’s better known gimmicks was to smash up their instruments at the end of a show.  I had always figured it was some drug and alcohol fueled frenzy.  And it was.  But it was also based in the auto-destructive artistic movement Pete was exposed to in Art School.  The end of the night destruction was really part of a bigger artistic vision.  So committed is he to art, he actually finds Yoko Ono’s famous screeching music to be “brilliant.”  Pete does a good job describing the times and adds insight into other well-known musicians as they emerge onto the music scene.  It’s good to hear Pete’s version of how the rock-opera Tommy developed among other important moments in music history.  Also interesting is his competitiveness regarding wanting to be the loudest band and working to invent new and innovative sound systems.  I still have half the book to go, but so far it is a disciplined, soft-spoken, and thoughtful book lacking the playfulness I associate with rock & roll.”

Jeanne has just read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. “The book tells the story of a foster child, Victoria, who has lived in more temporary places (not homes!) than I could keep track of. There aren’t a lot of the sad details of her being shuffled around, but it is clear that she has been lastingly damaged by the absence of love. The constants in her life are her social worker, Meredith, her love of flowers and plants and her stubborn, aggressive personality. I did like that the author was able to draw on her own experience as a foster mother. The ending was a little soft, but it did give me a certain appreciation for the author’s view of helping others once you have been helped. This  rags to riches story is about much more than money.”

Miss Claire of the Children’s Library is reading some decidedly adult material! “I like Jacqueline Woodson's work because she is not afraid to tackle edgy topics in both her children's and young adult novels. Her newest, Beneath a Meth Moon is no exception as the narrator is a fifteen year-old methamphetamine addict. Laurel is attempting to cope with the deaths of her mother and grandmother during Hurricane Katrina. Laurel and her father and brother try to escape the tragedy by moving from place to place, finally settling in a small town. After making friends and joining the cheerleading squad, Laurel meets T-Boom, the star basketball player who woos her into a world of addiction. She eventually leaves home and after attempted bouts of rehab, Laurel eventually escapes to the streets. The novel floats between Laurel’s current predicaments and her recollections from childhood, making the story a compelling journey for both the main character and the reader. It has also recently been announced that the book is slated to be made into a movie.”

Last weekend I went to Florida to visit the fam.  My brother Peter met me there.  His seatmate was Karl Rove.  Mine was Indiscretion by Charles Dubow.  I so got the better end of that deal.  Indiscretion is a debut novel, due out in February about a couple with a seemingly charmed life.   Maddy and Harry divide their time between the Hampton’s cottage on the shore, and their Manhattan brownstone.  Harry writes novels which are not only critical successes but financial ones as well.  Maddy makes sure that Harry and their son are well cared for and that their glittering world is always sparkiling with a Martha Stewart like flair.  But then one evening, young, beautiful and intelligent Claire wanders into one of their summer parties and nothing is ever the same again.  This one reminded me a lot of Rules of Civility and I truly adored it.

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