Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review - Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue was a bit of a tough sell to Hattie's Third Tuesday Book Club. There were several members who simply opted out this month. Some read the book and came to the discussion out of loyalty to the group. The subject matter was challenging.

But, having said that, everyone who came to the discussion was glad they read Room. Some members were absolutely enthralled with this unusually narrated story. Another member reported that they had stayed up until 1:30 am to finish reading an important section even though she had to wake up at 5 am later that morning.

Are you curious? What is this oddly titled book about? What is "Room?"

Jack, the narrator, is a five year old boy imprisoned with his mother by "Old Nick." To the reader, their situation is horrifying, but to Jack, it's just his life. Jack was born in "room" and has never left it. Jack and Ma are held in a soundproofed 11x11 shed, outfitted with basic necessities. In "Room" Ma has created a life for Jack that is intellectually engaging and "safe." She has also led him to believe that everything he sees on their TV is not real.

I'm not going to say any more about the story, to do so would be to venture into spoiler territory. What I will say is that Room is an amazingly beautiful book about a very painful subject. I don't blame you if you are hesitant to read it, but you should know, you'd really be missing out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Friday Author - October 7

Meet Ann Hite, author of Ghost on Black Mountain on the first Friday in October. 

There will be two opportunities to meet Ann on October 7th, we'd love to see you at one or both of these events.
2:30-4:00            Book Club Discussion
5-8                     First Friday fun.

Ghost on Black Mountain is told in the stunning voices of five women whose lives are inextricably bound when a murder takes place in rural Depression-era North Carolina, Ann Hite’s unforgettable debut spans generations and conjures the best of Southern folk-lore—mystery, spirits, hoodoo, and the incomparable beauty of the Appalachian landscape.

Ghost on Black Mountain was picked by the major book clubs including Woman’s Day, Double Day, Mystery Guild, Literary Guild as the alternate pick for October.

Marcia has plenty of copies of Ghost on Black Mountain on hand now!

Stop by, pick up your copy and as a thanks for following our blog, ask her for double points on your reader's reward card! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review - The Westing Game

Ellen Raskin won the Newbery Medal in 1979 for The Westing Game. My girls book club read this book over a year ago and they still mention it when we are trying to determine our next book. They always say they would like to read another mystery like The Westing Game. Aside from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, this is still the girl's favorite book. I keep being surprised by this fact. The book doesn't fit in with their typical favorites.

The book was written over 30 years ago, there is no romance hook and the main character is a bit younger (or at least acts younger) than the girls in my group.

Even with all these "negatives", the girls loved it. Now, I know these really aren't negatives, but for young teen readers, they could be.

The mystery in The Westing Game is so well done, that it overrides any other considerations. We read this book over three meetings, so at each club meeting, there were lots of questions to discuss. The girls really enjoyed trying to solve the mystery as they read the book.

The premise is convoluted. Sixteen people, seemingly unrelated in any way are convinced to move into Sunset Towers on the shores of Lake Michigan. A few weeks later they are called to a reading of the odd will of Samuel Westing. They could become millionaires, depending on how they play the game laid out for them. The sixteen are divided into 8 teams and each team is given initial clues. The winning team wins his fortune!

Excitement, danger and suspense follow.

I highly recommend this mystery, but don't take my word for it. I've got five girls who think it is one of the best books they have ever read!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New in Paperback - September 2011

This month we feature six books becoming available in paperback, evenly divided between fiction and nonfiction.

Bloody Crimes
The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Chase for Jefferson Davis,
by James Swanson
“Bloody Crimes relates the gripping stories of President Lincoln’s funeral and the hunt for Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Swanson, an acknowledged expert on Lincoln’s assassination, writes with passion and authority, offering a powerful story enriched with vivid details that sweeps readers back to the dark, uncertain days of late April 1865. A triumph!”
—Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

A Life, by Stacy Schiff
“Beneath the myth and legend, Cleopatra was an educated, intelligent, and extremely forceful woman. For much of her life she had to stand virtually alone against the mightiest empire on earth and showed brilliant political gifts as she attempted to preserve Egypt’s autonomy. Stacy Schiff delves deep into ancient history and culture to portray a person far more interesting than the Hollywood version, and does so with a verve and sardonic wit rarely found in historical writing.”
—Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Emperor of All Maladies
A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
“The struggle against cancer eventually touches the lives of every person on this planet. In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee displays remarkable skill in blending a definitive history of this disease with a compelling narrative. The book is informative, moving, and provocative, and teaches us a powerful lesson about humanity. We live in the face of inevitable uncertainty, but the knowledge in these pages makes us stronger and more compassionate beings.”
—Geoffrey B. Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

The Gendarme
A Novel, by Mark T. Mustian”Injured in WWI, Emmet Conn suffered amnesia as a result of a head wound. Now, at 92, a brain tumor causes long-lost memories to return, as Emmet recalls an earlier life as a Turkish gendarme leading a group of Armenian refugees to the border. The
brutality and despair, filth and degradation these people must endure on the forced march mean little to him until he falls in love with Araxie, one of the Armenian refugees, and he begins to perceive his actions and his attitude through her eyes. Mesmerizing, beautiful, and heart-breaking.”
—Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The Good Daughters
A Novel, by Joyce Maynard”The Good Daughters follows the lives of two women, born on the same day, in the same hospital, to two very different families. Their lives couldn’t be less similar, but the one thing they have in common is a feeling of never quite fitting in. At times comic, at times tragic, at times horrifying, this novel is a fascinating study of what it means to be part of a family. This is not a book to simply read and enjoy, but one that that calls out to be shared and discussed.”
—Joe Eichman, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO

Great HouseA Novel, by Nicole Krauss”The best books haunt and sometimes confuse you. They will make you think, feel, wonder, go back to earlier chapters, and finally, fully experience the story being told. Nicole Krauss’s new book does just that and more. This powerful novel contains multiple stories of loves lost, families torn apart, and secrets kept and revealed. The suffering of many in Nazi Germany, in Pinochet’s Chile, and those seeking a new life in Israel are woven together by the narrative thread of a stolen desk. This is a powerful book that will leave you reeling.”
—Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT