Books By The Fire - The Un-Book Group

It was a full house at Books By The Fire, long lost members returned with.....

…… out-of-town guests (hello Litchfield County, welcome!).  Spread the word, BBTF is not a closed group, we’re open for business and we love to have visitors. We don’t make any demands, we are the UN-book group, more a reading group.  We gather to hear what everybody else is reading.  Feeling shy?  Bring a friend, bring a spouse, bring a lover.  We don’t bite and we don’t ask too many questions.  We just talk books, and topics, and trends, and food and movies and Broadway shows and…..

….digital electronics (yes we do!):  Hoopla to listen to music, Podcasts for Serial radio shows, 3m and Overdrive for books.  Confused on how to get on?  Come! Bring your devices, we’ll get you all sorted out. 

At today’s meeting Marianne brought favorite titles from the book groups in town -- good reads that have been well tested.  As well, the last four suggestions in the list below are BBTF member’s picks.  Check them out.

And don’t forget to look for Jen’s recent blogs: “You Are What You Read,” “Nice New Book Goodness,” and “What Are My Neighbors Up To” which can be found on the Library’s Catalog page (when there, just scroll half way down the pageher blogs will all be there.)

Ciao. Till next week!

Meet Us on Main Street -- Mystery Edition

This week Abby focused on the novels of SOHO Crime. Last Wednesday they did a program for us, so we thought we’d revisit some of the titles they highlighted. To quote from their site: “At Soho Crime, we have a motto: Crime has no time zone."  

Best known for their atmospheric international and multicultural literary crime fiction, their titles feature parts of the world frequently overlooked by mainstream publishing. Some of their most popular series whisk readers away to China, Laos, Northern Ireland, Australia, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Denmark, and Palestine. Their books blend social consciousness and political awareness as they entertain a growing readership. One of their June releases looks especially intriguing. Innocence by Heda Kovaly is a “rediscovered gem of Czech literature, a crime novel by renowned Holocaust memoirist Heda Margolius Kovaly, depicts a chilling moment in history, redolent with the stifling atmosphere of political and personal oppression of the early days of Socialist Czechoslovakia. In 1985, Czech Holocaust memoirist, literary translator, and political exile Heda Margolius Kovaly turned her pen to fiction. Inspired by the stories of Raymond Chandler, Kovaly knit her own terrifying experiences in early 1950s Socialist Prague -- her husband's imprisonment and wrongful execution, her own persecution at his disgrace -- into a gorgeous psychological thriller-cum-detective novel.” Abby also recommended:

Books by the Fire

Children Librarians Claire Moore and Lisa Nowlain chatted about the books they are reading at Meet Us On Main Street 

Stephanie and Sally's MUOMS

Stephanie recommended books that are great to curl up with in case of a snowstorm, like The Song of Achilles, Cloud Atlas, The Writing Class, and The Malice of Fortune. She also rhapsodised about George Saunders, especially his new collection, Tenth of December.

Sally recommended some of her favorite forthcoming books of 2013, saving her highest praise for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. (This isn't yet available to put on hold, but keep your eyes peeled--it's going to be big!) She also loved The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge) and Benediction by Kent Haruf, the third book to visit his fictional town of Holt, Colorado that first appeared in Plainsong and then Eventide. To round things out, she also recommends two new books set in the South: The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher and The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley.

Erin and Elizabeth's MUOMS Picks

Erin and Elizabeth with their picks
Erin and Elizabeth with their picks

Erin's Picks

Wild by Cheryl Strayed. After watching her mother succumb to cancer in her 40s, ultimately leading to the dissolution of her marriage, Cheryl decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail all by herself at age 26. This memoir is for any girl who loves hiking, dreaming about hiking, has ever gone through something, has ever been married, has ever lost a mother, has ever been 26. Heck it is for every girl! And boys too. After returning it to the Library I immediately bought a copy from Barrett Bookstore because it is just that good.

The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich. I read this because of an excerpt from Wild:

I’d read The Dream of a Common Language so often that I’d practically memorized it. In the previous few years, certain lines had become like incantations to me, words I’d chanted to myself through my sorrow and confusion. That book was a consolation, an old friend, and when I held it in my hands on my first night on the trail, I didn’t regret carrying it one iota—even though carrying it meant that I could do no more than hunch beneath its weight. It was true that The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 1: California was now my bible, but The Dream of a Common Language was my religion.

Pariah This film is about 17 year-old Alike in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood (where I live, holla!) who is just beginning to embrace her identity as a lesbian. She lives in a conservative household though with a very religious mother who refuses to accept Alike's sexuality. A very powerful movie with a wonderful father/daughter dynamic. I'm a sucker for those. Adepero Oduye's performance is extraordinary.

Elizabeth's Pick

Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison. We all know what ultimately happened to Russia's Romanov family, but author Kathryn Harrison imagines a special and brief friendship between the your Tsareivich Alexei suffering from hemophilia and Gregory Rasputin's eighteen-year-old daughter Maria in the months following the royal families house arrest. Enchantments is a love story about two people who come together as everything around them is falling apart. The prose is magical. Historical Fiction.

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