Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Book Thief, The Fairy Godmother, Good Omens, and What Would Jane Austen Do?

submitted by KRO (knowing KRO and reading the reviews on three of these books, I suspect they're as quirky and fun as she is).

I've joined a book club.  And while I love that it is alternate books and happy hour (because I work and it's all crazy) I've been forced to read somethings I might not have done on my own.  I have really been enjoying The Book Thief even though it can be dark at times it's written in such lovely prose.  And She's such a thoughtful girl.

For days when you need mindless and a little hope I like The Fairy Godmother from Mercedes Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdom Series.  A Girl who should have been Cinderella if the circumstances were right gets picked up to be a fairy godmother's apprentice.  She learns all about The Tradition and how to find her place in the world.  I love it when women rescue themselves.
If you have a sense of humor about religion and the apocalypse I recommend Good Omens By Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  An Angel and a Demon become friends during the countdown to the Apocalypse  which may or may not happen because someone lost the anti-christ.  Don't you hate it when that happens?
Editor's note:  This book gets great reviews on Amazon:  "This is one of the, if not THE, funniest book I have ever read," and "Great story with twists and turns and laughing out loud."  Available as lowish cost Kindle book.

What would Jane Austen do? Was fun too, for when you want Jane Austen but something you haven't read.  A Costume Mistress is sent back in time to stop the ruination of two sisters.  Turns out Jane Austen's time isn't as wonderful as it's cracked up to be.

Historical fiction

Submitted by SM

Paging through your blog tonight....gotta say, I loved Caleb's Crossing.  I came to it after finding Geraldine Brooks through her Year of Wonders (about the Black Death, and a village that saved itself by shutting out the outside world for a year), and People of the Book (the 'biography' of the Sarajevo Haggadah).  Both are fascinating snippets of history.

Another author I like is Anita Diamant.  The Last Days of Dogtown, about a down-at-heel settlement outside Gloucester, MA, Puritan era, and The Red Tent, a re-telling of a large slice of the Old Testament from the point of view of the women (the red tent is where women removed themselves from society during their periods).

There is little better than well-researched, well-written historical fiction!


by Lucy Knisley

I've never read a graphic novel, always thought them for sci fi fans, 'mature audiences', or teenagers. But this title was so appealing, and the first few sample pages off Amazon so charming, I went ahead and ordered it from the wonderful Amazon Vine program.

No foodie I, and I hoped based on the preview that Ms. Kinsley could introduce a new dimension, a certain relish to my relationship with food.  And her book delivered, delightful vignettes from her lifetime of daily food fiestas.  The cartooning is whimsical, her sense of humor engaging.  There are a number of recipes scattered through the book along with illustrated how-to details.

If you're already a skilled cook with an experienced palate, this may be a little basic for you.  It would be a very nice gift for someone just beginning to cook.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sum: Forty Tales From The Afterlives

by David Eagleman

Sum is a playful anthology of possibilities, a collection of 'what-if' alternatives to more conventional versions of heaven.  Dr. Eagleman, a renowned neurscientist as well as a best-selling author, offers forty versions of 'ever after', some happily, some downright unsettling. Several versions may resonate with the reader's fantasies, e.g. what-if we're part of some immeasurably large life form, a giantess, we merely atoms and our Earth a fleck of protein in one of her cells.

My favorite?  After death we are consigned for a time to a lobby, like an enormous airport waiting area.  Tables are spread with coffee, tea, and cookies; we are free to help ourselves as we wander about making small talk with fellow departees.  Callers periodically emerge with lists, and when you are called, it means your name has been spoken for the last time.  There is no one left to remember you. You exit through a door to who knows where.  Some of those left waiting--their reputations perhaps so soiled, their deeds so misunderstood as they live on in the heads of those who remember them through twisted history--watch with envy as you go.

This slim volume, each vignette a few pages long, is an intriguing read.  But it's far from Dr. Eagleman's only accomplishment, check out his web page.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn

Editor's note:  I haven't read this book but have received a number of e-mails from readers who recommend it.  Language offends? Morally bankrupt?  Hmm...

  • Our current book club book is Gone Girl and I recommend it. Some of the language offends a few women, but it fits the story line, which is edge-of-your-seat good.
  •  I am reading 'Gone Girl' and loving it. 
  • Read Gone Girl for Book Cub-- though hard to put down it was morally bankrupt and disturbing why it was so popular.