Oscar Wilde!
Oscar Wilde!

This week we are all enjoying that crazy thing called civilized living.  Lights, heat, indoor plumbing that works!  Whacky!  Here is what we have to offer you this week.  We have some trolls, some Hamptons, a naked boy on a porch, LBJ, a sworn enemy, Biafra (for the first time ever!), London, Manhattan,  Nazis , a true Staff favorite, and some sins!

Let us begin!

John has left the bad girls behind it would seem but he is still involved in all kinds of sketchy. “I'm currently reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and it is so totally my kind of yarn!  It has secret societies, computer programming, underground libraries, font design, copyright trolls, Google, boob simulation software, love, ebooks, books, and illicit book scanning.  It's sort of like Cory Doctorow meets The Night Circus meets The Magicians.  It's one of those novels that meets at the strangest intersection of disparate (and interesting) things, yet it all works together to create a dashingly fun book.  This is a must-read for all geeky bibliophiles.”

Erin the Programming Diva is poking around some bad behavior.” I am about four pages into Indiscretion, which is what seems to be a contemporary Great Gatsby. Claire, a young half-French Manhattanite is invited out to the Hamptons by Clive, the  new man she is dating. There is drinking. There is nudity. Claire is getting closer to Clive's married friends. I can't wait to find out what the indiscretion is!”

Amanda the Tech Goddess is listening to the audiobook of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.  The book starts by telling the story of a girl being mauled by starving wolves. Grace lies there on the ground, unmoving and helpless. Then she makes eye contact with a yellow eyed wolf. Years later, Grace does not remember how she survived the attack or how she arrived home. What she does have is an obsession with the yellow eyed wolf that stands behind her house every winter. Strangely though, the wolf disappears every summer. Enter Sam, a yellow eyed boy that Grace finds wounded and naked on her front porch. In the woods a wolf hunt is going on…Shiver is the epitome of adolescent romance and longing.  I have not read many werewolf novels, so I have no idea what is standard for the genre, but Stiefvater’s world is almost tangible as you buy into her explanations. The intensity of Grace and Sam’s relationship is only heightened by the fact that soon Sam will be a wolf forever.

Miss Stephanie of the RA feels that her reading material might be a bit dry this week. BUT, it was election week after all and why not carry that political theme right on to your reading? “ This week I finally finished Master of the Senate, the third volume in the LBJ biography series by Robert Caro. Yes, I am a nerd, and I love presidential biographies. And this series is just as good as they get. Actually, it’s not an exaggeration to call them some of the best books I’ve ever read. Caro is a master researcher and his writing verges on perfection sometimes. This series not only explains LBJ (who was possibly one of the most complex Americans of the 20th century, so that’s no small task) but also his times, making it the most interesting history lesson I’ve ever read. This volume, which focuses on his time in the Senate, where he was the youngest Majority Leader in history and, among other things, pushed through the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction, is fascinating. It’s like the West Wing, but better. Suffice to say that I watched the Senate election returns with more interest than the Presidential on Tuesday night, all because of this book, and what it taught me about the US Senate. If you are even slightly interested in US history or politics, you owe it to yourself to read these books at some point. Why not start now?”

Abby has put down the magazines and is back to books this week!  “Perhaps it's the election season that led me to literary jingoism but whatever the reason I dug into The Last Man by Vince Flynn.  It's the latest in the Mitch Rapp series and is coming out November 13th.  In this book Mitch is once again in Afghanistan and seems in a particularly impatient mood.  And you really don't want to be in the same room (or country) with Mitch when he believes you are not being Fully Cooperative.  When Mitch asks a question, just tell him what he wants to know.  You're going to tell him anyway. Mitch continues to work for CIA Director Irene Kennedy using his efficient style of eliminating problems and cutting to the chase.  Corrupt Afghan officials and a long-time sworn enemy are featured. This is a light post-Sandy, no more political phone calls please, Nor'easter Athena escape.”

Judy, for those not in the know, is the Wonderful Woman responsible for making sure the Book Goodness gets into your hands. Here is what she has going on, and boy is it a lot! “I am almost through reading Dearie about Julia Child and am about to start Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher about the life and  photography of Edward Curtis.  I have also just begun Chinua Achebe’s There  Was a Country about Biafra.”

Caroline has been using some spicy fiction to warm her!  “Wicked Pleasures, a new arrival by Penny Vincenzi, is not quite as risqué as the title suggests, but more than enough to get you through 6 days with no power.  This 639 page family saga centers around Virginia, Countess of Caterham, who is an American, and moves to London after marrying Alexander, Earl of Caterham.  Hidden scandals slowly emerge as the story spans between London aristocracy and the New York City banking world from the 1950’s-present.  It has great momentum, and many likeable characters and side stories.  However if you haven’t read Vincenzi’s “No Angel” trilogy, I would definitely start with those.”

Miss Elisabeth is reading The Diviners by Libba Bray.  “In her second foray into period drama, Printz-award winning Libba Bray goes dark – nightmarishly dark. Evie is a young flapper hiding a big secret. She lives with her uncle, the curator of New York City’s Museum of the Occult and Supernatural. When her uncle is called to assist police in investigating a series of gruesome occult murders that have plagued the city, Evie is lured in as well. The book draws together a wide array of bright young things in Jazz-era New York, and does an absolutely fantastic job placing you in the 20’s. Bray apparently spent 3 years researching this period in New York City history and it will shows. Additionally, the murder plot is spine-tingly scary. I had real nightmares while I was reading this book. Naughty John is a villain for the ages.”

Babs B! is reveling in having power back and is catching up on movies! “I just finished watching a foreign film Black Book.  It's the story of Jewish fugitives during WWII attempting to escape occupied Holland but they are ambushed by the Nazis.  One person survives the attack and joins the Dutch Resistance to avenge her family.  She then must infiltrate German headquarters by seducing a high ranking German officer, only to find out that a murderous traitor is within Resistance ranks.  There are so many twists and turns and it's based on true events.  This movie gets an A+ from me!”

Ann and Marianne are reading the same book which is turning out to be a huge favorite for us all; The End if Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  Ann says, “This wonderful book is the true story of a remarkable woman, Mary Anne Schwalbe, who is dying of pancreatic cancer and the time she spends with her son Will sharing books and stories through her cancer treatments.  This is a book of a loving family who you would want to know and invite to share Thanksgiving dinner with you.  Yes, the subject matter is sad but your heart will soar with the love of this family and just the strength of the human spirit.  It touched my heart as I am sure it would touch yours.”  Marianne’s take is this: “This is one of my favorite reads of the recent past few months.  The author's memoir of his family's last days with their dying mother was touching, uplifting, sad and beautiful.  I loved the fact that mother and son filled the hours of her chemo treatments reading and discussing books.  And there was not a bad book in the long list of those they read.  This mother was a truly remarkable woman who had spent a lot of her life working with refugees in third world countries.  The way she faced her illness with strength and courage was inspiring.  This book will stay with you long after you've finished reading it.’  Please read this.  It is truly a love letter not only to Will’s mom but to books as well. 

Jeanne is reading  Hostage by Elie Wiesel. “Shaltiel Feigenberg is an ordinary man; a good man who lives in Brooklyn in 1975. He makes his living through words. He is a storyteller. He is Jewish and his captors are Palestinian. Weisel, one of the greatest storytellers himself, tells a grimly honest, starkly beautiful tale where the victim is also the witness. Shaltiel is being forced against his will to represent the sins of others. Hostage reads like a holy book. I can't put it down.”

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