The transformative power of literary fiction is debated, challenged, and celebrated in "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi. A former professor of literature in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nafisi uses prolific authors the likes of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov to connect with students coming of age during a very tumultuous time in Iran's history. The Memoir illuminates the delicate fabric that is Iran by weaving a story set against the backdrop of a revolution and subsequent war with neighboring Iraq.
In this novel Dan Simmons portrays psychic vampires in a horror genre, which he uses to illuminate real evil in this world. I read this book in 1989 when it was first published and it has stayed with me.
Donald Spoto’s account of the Redgraves has the feel of a readable “intellectual” soap opera, for the talented Redgraves were well known for their work in the theatre and film world but their private lives were anything but conventional. There are many instances of infidelity, divorce, dysfunctional parenting, and the insecurities that resulted from these issues.
I'm finding it difficult to begin a review of this book--this story packed into this little volume is large in scope and dense in detail. The story told is of a group of smart folks coming together as friends and being friends when one member finds evidence of life in Alpha Centauri. Another member, a Jesuit priest named Emilio Sandoz then makes a proposal to the Society of Jesus that this group travel to this other star system, find the planet these other beings live on, and go meet them.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of biographies have been written about Winston Churchill, but none are as insightful, or as gracefully written, as this brilliant work by William Manchester. The book is in two parts: Visions of Glory, which covers the first 58 years of Churchill’s life; and Alone, detailing the 1930s, when Churchill was out of government.
It is the 1950s and seventeen year old Kit Corrigan has not had an easy life. She is part of a set of triplets that were raised by their poor, Irish, immigrant father in Providence, RI. The triplets (aka The Corrigan Three) lost their mother during their birth. Kit has always had big dreams of being a performer on Broadway and after the break up of her rocky relationship with boyfriend Billy, Kit heads out to New York City with stars in her eyes. Meanwhile, Billy and Kit's brother, Jamie, enlist in the Army together and are preparing to ship off to Korea.
What do you get when a weak-willed compulsive liar marries a charming sociopath? You get Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. This gripping mystery begins on Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary, when Amy disappears. The narrative weaves between the present, as Amy's disappearance is investigated (Nick, as the husband, naturally becomes a suspect) and the past, where we see how both characters are experts at manipulating each other. It is a rare for me to enjoy a book when I don't like the characters, but this novel is an exception to that rule.
I purchased this book in the spring and it was on my "to read" shelf for months. Then, someone in my book club suggested the title and it was chosen for our October book selection. I don't know why I didn't start reading it sooner! I LOVED it! Loving Frank is a historical fiction novel based on real events. It tells the story of world-famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and his affair with one of his clients, the also married Mamah Borthwick Cheney. The unique perspective of this book is that it is told from Mamah's point-of-view. Wright is a larger than life character.
On the night before her fifteenth birthday, Liz gets into a heated argument with her mother that ends with Liz running away from home. Laura, the anguished and guilt-ridden mother, is left sitting in their Baton Rouge home praying for Liz's quick and safe return. To pass the time, Laura decides to write her daughter a letter about her own troubled adolescence. In doing so, she hopes to give Liz insight that she does understand what she is going through.
An airplane full of teen beauty queens, on their way to the Miss Teen Dream pageant (sponsored by The Corporation), crash lands on a remote tropical island. Many of them, of course, do not survive, but never fear...Miss Texas, Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins (don't you love it?), is there to assume the leadership role! She promptly divides the girls into two groups. The Lost Girls trek into the jungle to check out their new surroundings, while the Sparkle Ponies stay on the beach and salvage what they can from the wrecked plane.
The Immigrant Advantage recounts 7 separate cultural traditions observed by some members of immigrant groups after coming to America: the Vietnamese Money Club; the Mexican Cuarentena; South Asian Assisted Marriage; Korean and Chinese Afterschools; West Indian Multigenerational Households; Barrio Stoops, Sidewalks, and Shops; and Vietnamese Monthly Rice.
This book was sitting on my shelf at home for quite a while after I picked it up at a book sale somewhere. I quite literally had to dust it off in order to read it! I am sorry I didn't pick it up sooner because I really enjoyed it. Amy and Isabelle are a teen daughter and her single mother living in a small town in rural Maine in the 1960s. As typical mother-daughter relationships go at this age, the two cannot relate to one another at all.
When we last left Ace Jones (Diary of a Mad Fat Girl) and her adorable Chiweenie Buster Loo, she had decided that the love of her life, Mason just may deserve to be given the second chance he has asked for. In Happily Ever Madder we find that Ace is ready to leave Bugtussle, Mississippi and follow Mason to Pelican Grove, FL. If leaving her beloved home wasn’t hard enough, leaving behind her smart-mouth and sassy ways may be even harder.
I read this book in 1980 when it was first published. From the very first chapter, the story grabs your interest. An envelope is given to a new district attorney assistant, Jennifer, to deliver to the star witness. From there the story has twists and turns. Every few years, I will read this book again. This still is my favorite Sidney Sheldon book. I am signing off now; I have to check this book out again.
July 5th, 2012 was the fifth wedding anniversary for Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne. They did not celebrate the day together. In the bestseller "Gone Girl", author Gillian Flynn takes the classic elements of a good mystery novel and transforms the story into a psychological thriller by shining a provocative lens onto the intimate details of a fragile marriage. Circumstances trigger that which once was meant to be private and between husband and wife into tantalizing fodder for a hungry public.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore mixes books and research with romance and friendship to make a fun, light story. Pop culture references make this book feel a bit like Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, but the prevalence of Google and ereaders ground the story in the present.
Kenneth Ray Rogers traveled a long way from roots in the “projects” of Houston Texas. He knows what it is like to eat beans and rice for dinner, father a child while a senior in high school, suffer through multiple divorces, feel guilt over estrangement of his older children, and he was downright broke when most of us would think he was living well. His is a true rags to riches story of overcoming adversity with a lot of bumps along the road. Rogers got his start performing in a high school band called The Scholars, even though the band members were all C students.
This is a very worthy reference text for cooks at any level. Yes, you can now “Google” white sauce, etc and get any amount of suggestions, but this book was my go to place for all things cooking before that option was available. And it still holds.
Jacob Portman loves his grandfather, who tells him fabulous stories about his childhood adventures and kids he once knew. As Jacob gets older, and his grandfather disappears on mysterious hunting trips, they start to grow apart. Jacob begins to doubt the truth of his grandfather’s stories, and asks him whether they really happened. His grandfather pulls out some faded photos of childhood friends, and they are very peculiar. After this Jacob begans to doubt the truth of the stories.
I came to become a fan of Ivan Coyote through seeing videos of her telling stories. My interest in reading her first novel, Bow Grip, comes from feeling connected to her as a person through her stories. You can have this same experience easily as she's got quite a few videos embedded on her site at: http://www.ivanecoyote.com/videos
Wonderful book. The lighthouse captivated me right from the start. Seeing them in New England when I was a child gives them a special place in my imagination. I have always wanted to stay in one. My mother has told us only recently that dad actually thought about chucking it all and buying one. But back to the book. I loved it and had a hard time putting it down. The characters were alive, and every single thing felt real. There is much pain and sadness, but you feel it inside yourself without actually having to wade through depres
Volume 1 of Bakuman introduces Moritaka Mashiro, an 8th grade student with decent grades and a habit of drawing in his notebooks during class. His drawing talent is noticed by Akito Takagi, fellow and best student in Mashiro's class. Takagi attempts to persuade Mashiro to join him in creating manga--he'll write and Mashiro can draw. Takagi's a skilled operator and manages to get Mashiro's crush, a classmate named Miho, involved, climaxing with a humorous scene in which Mashiro ultimately agrees to Takagi's plan.
Perhaps it is the time of year, but I love reading books about trees, especially books that include awesome pictures of trees. One of my favorites is Thomas Pakenham’s” Remarkable Trees of the World”. His previous book, “Meetings With Remarkable Trees” concentrated on trees in Britain and Ireland, but this book takes him all around the world. Each featured tree is illuminated with a large picture and a page or so written about why it is included in the book. I am hard pressed to pick a favorite.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was a former one-term congressman and two-time failed senate candidate from Illinois. Despite this feeble resume, he managed to outmaneuver the top leaders of the Republican party—all far more experienced and better known than Lincoln—and win the nomination for president. Once elected, and as the southern states began pulling out of the Union, Lincoln selected these same political rivals as the members of his new cabinet.
Tana French is a master of tension and mystery. Her latest novel, Broken Harbor, tells the story of Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, one of Dublin’s top murder detectives, as he attempts to solve the murder of a young family in a largely abandoned new housing development. Only the mother has survived, and she is in the hospital in critical condition. Although Brianstown, the location of the murders, is the site of a major trauma from Kennedy’s youth, he feels like the case will be a simple solve that will make him untouchable on the murder squad.
The Mind is very similar in structure to one of my earlier staff picks: Future Science. Editor John Brockman presents contributions from some of the world’s leading scientists on the workings of the brain and aspects of human consciousness, development, memory, and learning.
The "Rules of Civility" is a delightful tale that parachutes the reader straight out of the Manhattan skyline into the lives of three friends poised to resurrect leftover dreams placed on hold during the era of the Great Depression. Author Amor Towles begins the story starring two best friends and one wealthy, eligible bachelor by igniting the promise of a hopeful future on the eve of New's Years 1938.
Libba Bray's The Diviners mixes mystery and supernatural horror and sets in Prohibition Era New York. The effect is excellent--if I were a wine connoisseur and this book were a wine, I'd note hints of HBO's Carnivale, Stephen King's novels, and a liberal peppering of 1920s slang. I'll hold back from getting cutesy using the slang in this review.
Okay, I'll admit it, I've never actually read J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, so I began reading this only knowing the Disney movie version of the story. This is Tiger Lily's story as told from Tinker Bell's point-of-view and it works marvelously! Folks expecting a nice, neat Disney tale are in for a rude awakening.
Sadie Turner is still reeling from a nasty divorce. She needs time away from her controlling mother and cheating ex-husband, so on a whim, she decides to pack up her kids and spend the summer at her eccentric Aunt Dody’s beach cottage on Lake Michigan. Sadie had spent many wonderful summers there as a child and figures it may be just the place to get some peace and quiet. Little does she know that her two cousins are also living at Dody’s cottage, one of which is flamboyant Fontaine, who can’t wait to get his hands on Sadie’s boring and mundane social life.
Captain Ivan Xav Vorpatril is a dedicated and loyal officer of the Barrayaran military. He is tall and handsome and rarely lacks female company. While his relatives may address him as “That idiot Ivan” at times, he is not stupid. He avoids controversy whenever possible and keeps a low, almost slacker, profile while efficiently analyzing top secret information. Though he appears in the previous books mostly as a sidekick to his cousin Miles (whose manic life has plenty of forward momentum, with explosions and chases--despite being crippled in utero by an poison gas at
I really loved this book! One of the blurbs on the back references Charles Portis, and the voice of this story's narrator, Eli Sisters, reminded me very much of the narrator of True Grit. I feel like I got to know Eli better, and liked this story better than True Grit, not that they need to be compared as they are both enjoyable stories. But, if I'm left with only the two books to read and have to choose one to read first, this would be the one.
The short version: A science fiction and fantasy adventure featuring excellent characters, intrigue, and deceptions that will grip your attention such that you'll neglect the things you need to do in order to read more.
Another just plain fun read! If you like the Stephanie Plumb books, you'll like this series too. Diesel, one of Ranger's employees, breaks out on his own set of adventures. They are full of the same madcap mayhem we see with Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger, but these add a layer of magic and mystical powers. Lizzy is a pastry chef in Salem Massachusetts who also happens to be a "finder". Her talent is sensing special properties of inanimate objects. Lizzy and Diesel are off on a mission to find another one of a set of magical stones before Wulf or any other bad guys can get it.
From the 1920s to the 1960s, Edna Ferber was one of America’s most popular writers, turning out a string of best-selling novels, such as So Big (Pulitzer Prize winner), Show Boat, Come and Get It, and Giant, many of which became equally successful plays and films. Ferber herself also wrote successful plays (Stage Door, The Royal Family) with theatrical legend George S. Kauffmann, and was peripheral member of the famed Algonquin Round Table of notable wits.
Russian Winter is a novel about jewels, ballet, love, betrayal, and secrets. It centers on Russian ballerina Nina Revskaya, The Butterfly, a star of the Bolshoi Ballet in communist Russia. The tale weaves back and forth from her life in Russia to present day America, where she is auctioning all of her jewels.
The short version: The story of a break up from the very beginning of the relationship, starring authentic characters and presented in a unique format--each chapter starts with an object from a box of mementos Min collected and is giving to her ex-boyfriend, Ed. For more details, read on.
This is definitely one of my favorites; it is not, however, a self-help book (if you peruse Amazon reviews, many readers’ expectations were defied and disappointed by that fact – most likely due to a misinterpretation of the sub-title). Rather, Redirect presents the practice of story-editing to effect successful interventions in personal and social issues.
A hilarious take on a 7th grade boy's life from the pen of Tim Carvell, head writer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The book is in diary format and follows Tad on various adventures & life lessons throughout the year.
Welcome to Icicle Falls, home of the Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company, which has been run by the Sterling Family for generations. Samantha Sterling has just been given a heavy burden. Her recently deceased step-father, Waldo, has left the company near ruin and it is up to her as the eldest daughter and newly appointed CEO, to save the family business. To make things worse, there’s a new bank manager in town, the handsome Blake Preston who has given Samantha less than two months to repay the company’s debt. Can Samantha and her family save the chocolate factory in time?