When the summer began, I had all sorts of plans. One of my plans was to add variety to my reading by reading more fiction. Yes, you read that right — more fiction. This was sparked by a conversation with my husband.
Husband: Why don’t you read something for fun for a change?
Me: I am reading something fun!
Husband: But all you read is nonfiction.
Yes, that’s me. I like nonfiction. This summer was going to be different, but here it is, time for school to start up again. Those lazy days of summer have led to me reading mostly… nonfiction. In my defense, there are a lot of really good nonfiction books that have been published this year! I won’t mention all of them, but I will tell you about three that I really loved.
“Lab Girl” by Jahren Hope
“Because I am a female scientist, nobody knows what the hell I am, and it has given me the delicious freedom to make it up as I go along.” Jahren is a botanist who is passionate about her field. She weaves the insights she discovers in the lab and in the field seamlessly with her personal day-to-day life. “Lab Girl” is one of those odd books that is part science book, part memoir, with a bit of philosophy thrown in, and it reads more like poetry at times. “Each beginning is the end of a waiting. We are given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited.” Continue reading “Is Summer Over Already?!”
Noah Hawley is a great example of a writer who does not need this gentleman’s boost. In addition to the thousands of projects he has in the works (including a television adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle“), Hawley is the showrunner of “Fargo,” one of my favorite television shows ever. He’s also a novelist, because apparently brilliant, hard-working people get to experience all manner of professional satisfaction. (Join me, won’t you, in declaring it’s high time some of this good fortune is distributed to all the frequently recumbent and mostly slovenly gentlemen out there just trying to peaceably make their way through the world’s bakeries without having their various flasks constantly confiscated.)
“Before the Fall” is Hawley’s latest novel, and anyone who has experienced the rich tapestry of detailed characterization, deft and often hilarious dialogue, and rapid-fire plotting of “Fargo” will not be surprised to learn that is a delightful piece of entertainment. It tells the tale of a plane crash and the lives it ended or, in the case of two passengers, the lives it upended. The crash and the surviving passengers’ harrowing journey to safety occur in the first several pages, then the novel gives us a mix of flashbacks (fleshing out the characters and the possible reasons for the plane crash) and post-crash scenes largely concerned with one of the surviving passengers and government efforts to determine why the plane crashed. In reading the dead’s stories, the reader will learn some theories about the how the plane crashed (with one seeming particularly likely). Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Noah Hawley”
Congratulations to Barb, a Columbia Public Library patron, for winning our tenth and final Adult Summer Reading prize drawing of the summer. She is the recipient of a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble.
That is it for this year. Thanks to all of you who submitted book reviews this time around. We hope you enjoyed your summer or reading!
There once was a time that I scoffed at romance books, and I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead reading one. “They’re not literary,” I would say, high on my horse. Maybe my mind started to change when I read the genre-defying “Outlander,” or maybe I matured a little and realized I was being judgmental. I just know that at some point I found myself checking out “The Duchess War” by Courtney Milan, complete with a young woman in a poofy ball gown on the cover. And, guys? I loved it! The book was smart, well-written, had great dialogue and believable development of the romantic relationship — basically all the things I like in any book. And it’s not alone; there are a ton of great romances out there! In honor of August being Read-a-Romance Month, here’s a short list of books to help ease you into the waters of romance novels.
“A Knight in Shining Armor” by Jude Deveraux
A distraught, modern woman, abandoned by her lover, suddenly meets a real knight, complete with clanking armor, in a cemetery. Also, according to the gravestone next to her, he died in 1564. This classic romance, by the legendary Jude Deveraux, includes time travel, grand adventure and, of course, excellent romance. Continue reading “Read-a-Romance Month: Romance for Newbies”
“Cutting for Stone” is about doctors of mostly Indian heritage working in a mission hospital in Africa. The main characters are endearing, though sometimes we become saddened or frustrated with them. Most of the doctors are surgeons, and we are privy to the intricate details of some of the surgeries. I liked this book because I found the characters heart-warming, and I learned quite a bit of what goes on in the operating room. Interesting surgical details, without disturbing the story line. Continue reading “Reader Review: Cutting for Stone”
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
Website / Reviews
Rashida Jones plays Angie Tribeca, a 10-year veteran of LAPD’S RHCU: Really Heinous Crimes Unit. The show is a hilarious spoof of police procedurals in the spirit of “The Naked Gun” and was created and executive produced by Steve and Nancy Carrell. Continue reading “New DVD List: Angie Tribeca, House of Cards & More”
Lauren Williams, Public Services Librarian
“…sometime, at least once, everyone should see someone through. All the way home.”
– George Hodgman, “Bettyville”
As you may already know, this year’s selection for One Read, the community-wide reading program sponsored by the Daniel Boone Regional Library, is George Hodgman’s memoir “Bettyville” (Viking, 2015). This is the story of a son’s return from New York City to small-town Missouri, where he finds himself thrust into the uncomfortable role of caregiver. His deep love for his mother is complicated by the gulf of silence between them. Hodgman is gay, something his mother Betty has never directly acknowledged, and he is also a recovering addict, a fact he could not allow himself to reveal to his parents. Betty is likewise intensely private about her feelings and her past. Hodgman declares, “If I could ask her anything, it would be this: ‘What was it, Mother, that just shut you up, so tight and quiet?’” Continue reading “Literary Links: Aging Parents”
Congratulations to Linda, a Callaway County Public Library patron, for winning our ninth Adult Summer Reading prize drawing of the summer. She is the recipient of a $25 gift card from Well Read Books.
There is only one drawing left to go this summer, but you can still submit book reviews to increase your chances of winning. Good luck and happy reading!
“Cake Pops” by Bakerella is a wonderfully inspirational book that definitely inspired me to be more adventurous and creative in the kitchen. The author shares her baking passion with the reader in a way that is fun and easy to relate to. The book runs through different cake pop methods, tools you need, and lays out step-by-step how to create the perfect cake balls. The author then goes through a number of tutorials for different designs — pandas, froggies, pumpkins, etc. What I liked about this book is that it gave me so many new ideas and tricks. I can’t wait to try some of the recipes and practice in my own kitchen. My only dislike, the reason it was given four stars instead of five, is that I would have preferred more step-by-step photos. I learn best from reading instructions and seeing a photo of the step. If you are an individual who learns best by simply reading the instructions, then this will not be a problem for you. Continue reading “Reader Review: Cake Pops”
If you’re reading this in English, thank Geoffrey Chaucer. His “Canterbury Tales”, published in 1400, was the first book of poetry written in English, rather than Latin or Italian. By using the common language, he made literature accessible to the common person. Having opened the way for everyone from William Shakespeare to Janet Evanovich, Chaucer can rightly be called the father of English literature.
The poems in his book relate the stories shared by travelers in a group heading from London to Canterbury. The members of the group come from disparate backgrounds, and their tales run the gamut from bawdy comedy to sober religious parables. Pieced together, they provide a picture of life in Medieval England. The larger story, about the trip itself, serves as a frame for this picture.
Though this story-within-a-story framing wasn’t new with Chaucer, his use of it influenced later writers. “Canterbury Tales” is well worth reading, but the Middle English requires some effort. If you want a Chaucer-like read without as many trips to the footnotes, I can recommend a few titles with layered narratives. Continue reading “Classics for Everyone: To Canterbury and Beyond”