“Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice” by Curtis Sittenfeld is the fourth installment of The Austen Project. Sittenfeld stays true to Jane Austen’s narrative, character development and humor in her retelling of Elizabeth Bennet’s story.
Liz Bennet and her sister Jane are both nearing 40 years old, and living in New York City working as a magazine journalist and a yoga instructor, respectively. When their father has to undergo heart surgery, they return home to Cincinnati to care for him and their family for the summer. Mrs. Bennet eagerly tries to set Jane up with Chip Bingley, the former star of the reality show, “Eligible,” who also happens to be a financially well-off emergency room doctor and bachelor. Chip’s best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, a brain surgeon and California estate owner, proves to be quite proud and sees himself as being better than living in Cincinnati, which irritates Liz, causing her a strong dislike of his character.
Sittenfeld develops these classic characters not just in a modern setting but with modern issues facing today’s Americans such as race, financial distress, job satisfaction and sexual orientation. CrossFit and smartphones play a prominent role.
Three words that describe this book: funny, romantic, sequel
You might want to pick this book up if: You like Jane Austen and the future novels that she has inspired.
My family has been hoping and planning to go to Europe for several years, but something has always gotten in the way. Not this year! We are finally doing this: Germany and Austria, here we come! The library has been so instrumental in planning for this trip. Sure, there are travel guides, which have been helpful, but there are so many other resources beyond that.
We have watched travel DVDs to get a feel for what we want to see when we get there and to get a feel for the culture and language. When we first began planning this trip, my daughter was worried that it would be nothing but World War II and beer. The DVDs helped ease her fears — there will also be music, food and beautiful scenery. Our favorite DVDs were “The Best of Europe: Fairy Tale Europe, Germany and Austria” and “Visions of Germany and Austria.” We can’t wait to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the model for Walt Disney’s castle! Continue reading “Summer Vacation in Germany and Austria!”
Gabriel Wyner’s “Fluent Forever” is a book describing how to learn any language rapidly and effectively. It mostly assumes you are going to use a “spaced repetition” system for the primary means of learning and memorizing. I listened to the audio version of this book on Hoopla, and then listened to the Benny Lewis’ “Fluent in 3 months” audiobook. Wyner makes things more accessible, and he has a more encouraging, sympathetic voice that some may need in order to encourage them to try learning a language. Wyner’s methods are more specific, but less daunting than Lewis’ (compare Wyner’s 30 minute commitment per day plus weekend binges with what Lewis says should ideally be a two hour daily commitment), and they struck a chord with me as something that could be quite helpful. Flashcard learning may not for everyone. Consuming both books in quick succession allowed me to pick and choose from two different philosophies as I began to chart my own course for language learning. I am only one week into the spaced repetition studying, so I cannot say how well it works for me yet, but so far it is fun and I want to do it every day.
Three words that describe this book: encouraging, specific, inspiring
You might want to pick this book up if: You tried learning a language and failed, but would really love to do it.
I love reading, and I adore talking to people about books. One would think that I would be perfect in a book club, and I would, expect for one little thing: I hate reading books that are assigned to me. There were books I was assigned in high school that I would have devoured, but because I had to read them, I read them begrudgingly.
One day, I was online reading about books (as one does), and came across the Silent Book Club. The idea is that people meet up once a month, bring their own books, chit chat a little about books and then read in silence. It’s great for busy folks who find it hard to carve out time to read, as well as readers who just don’t fit into the traditional book club mold. I saw that there wasn’t a chapter nearby, so I decided to start one! Continue reading “Read. Sip. Repeat. The Silent Book Club Is Here!”
Sure, the month halfway over, but it’s not too late to check out some of the newest books for June. Between a fantasy, a classic whodunit and a book perfect for my fellow bibliophiles, there is certainly something for everyone! Read on to see some of the favorite books from librarians across the country in this edition of LibraryReads.
“The Waking Land” by Callie Bates
“Lady Elanna Voltai flees her adopted homeland when the king, who raised her like a daughter, dies under mysterious circumstances and Elanna is accused of murder. Forced to return to the magical homeland of her birth and her estranged father who was branded a traitor for inciting rebellion, Elanna must come to terms with the life she left behind and her destiny. I loved watching Elanna find her voice and her strength, and the rich world of magic around her makes this story even more fantastic!”
-Jessica Perham, Schaumburg Township Library, Schaumburg, IL Continue reading “June 2017 LibraryReads: Top Ten Books Librarians Love”
Unlike a lot of Mary Higgins Clark’s other books, “All by Myself, Alone” leaves her usual New York and New Jersey stomping grounds and enters the high seas. Celia, a gem expert, is invited on board a luxury liner’s maiden voyage as a guest speaker — it’s a great opportunity to get away from a failed engagement and a nasty ex. She meets an eclectic group of people including Mary Higgins Clark’s favorite returning character, Alvirah Meehan and her loving husband, Willy. Celia must solve a murder before they all reach shore. As a lifelong Clark fan this book didn’t disappoint. The only reason this book missed five stars in my mind was the love story (that I could have done without) mired the mystery.
Three words that describe this book: Excellent, Baffling, Clark at her best
You might want to pick this book up if: You have read her other books, or you like to match wits with the detective by trying to solve it before they do. (Good luck with this one!)
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
“I Am Not your Negro”
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Shown at the True/False Film Fest in 2016, this film by Raoul Peck was inspired by a book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and a flood of rich archival material. It’s a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. Continue reading “New DVD List: I Am Not your Negro & More”
Renowned as an author of “weird” literature, Jeff Vandermeer’s new novel, “Borne,” again showcases his spectacular imagination by placing his thrilling tale in an unthinkable setting: a world ravaged by climate change, war, a refugee crisis, poison rain and the mistakes and cruelties of corporations. He grounds the scenario by including a bevy of things we all fear and do our best to stay clear of on a daily basis: food scarcity, roving gangs of mutant children whose bodies are augmented by scavenged technologies and, of course, a giant flying venomous bear named Mord and the smaller proxy bears that do his bidding.
People that survive do so by eating bugs, lizards and whatever biotech they can scavenge. This biotech originates from an organization referred to as the “Company,” and it allows for such nifty items as “alcohol minnows” (tiny fish that provide both sustenance and tipsiness) and “memory beetles” (beetles that provide both sustenance and memories). The world Vandermeer created is vivid and interesting enough to sustain a much longer novel, but his focus is on the relationship between his narrator, Rachel (a scavenger living with her partner in a fortified cliffside) and Borne (a colorful chunk of biotech that initially seems inanimate). Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Jeff Vandermeer (again)”
As part of summer reading this year, the Columbia Public Library will be hosting a blood drive on Thursday, June 15, from noon-4:00 pm. Please drop by or make an appointment by visitng www.redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Your donation could save up to three lives and it only takes about 45 minutes.
If you’re planning on donating, you must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and feel healthy the day of. Avoid aspirin for 48 hours before you donate. And remember to eat healthy: don’t skip any meals, and drink plenty of fluids that day.
Continue reading “American Red Cross Blood Drive”
Images and stories of refugees fleeing war-torn nations are haunting and have unfortunately become a fairly regular sight in our news. The journeys these displaced people find themselves on are perilous and traumatic and for some, even deadly. Once they manage to arrive in their sanctuary countries, settling into a place where the language and cultures are different can be tremendously challenging. Continue reading “Center Aisle Cinema and Discussion With Refugee and Immigration Services”