As part of my self-imposed challenge to read or re-read all of the Newbery Award winning books from 1922 forward, I re-read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Timea couple of years ago. (I actually listened to the audio CD version narrated by the incomparable Hope Davis and it was wonderful.) I was excited to hear that a movie was in the works, and released in the theaters just last week!
I have since discovered that 2018 is a big year for book to movie releases. Although we are somehow well into 2018 already, you still have time to read a number of great books before the movies are are released. Because we all know, the book is always better than the movie – or is that the other way around? Well, whatever your perspective, you’d better get started with Ernest Cline’s Ready Player Onewhich is due out in the theaters at the end of March. This is another book that I recently listened to, read by Wil Wheaton, American actor and arch nemesis of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. The plot is so far out of my comfort zone and yet I REALLY enjoyed it. If you are still living in the 1980’s you will thoroughly enjoy it too but you don’t have to be an 80’s fan (I can’t say I am) to like the book.
This is a tricky one, actually! At least one Patuxet warrior spoke English, and the Indigenous people probably had as much religious liberty as the English colonists. But we do know:
Both the British and the Native peoples celebrated the harvest, and
The colonists would have died without the help of indigenous people. In fact, nearly half of the colonists at Plymouth died of starvation during their first winter.
That’s why we celebrate Native American culture in November, when we celebrate Thanksgiving. There are millions of Native Americans from many different tribes, and some of them are well-known, award-winning authors. Here’s just a sample of books, music, and more, by or about Native Americans.
The magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of a stranger in his native land.
When his mother slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with three friends to find the person who destroyed his family.
“Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find.”Booklist, starred review
An excellent introduction to modern Native American music.
And that’s not all! We’ve also got biographies of the famous shaman Black Elk, many more books by Native American authors, well-received books about Native Americans such as Tony Hillerman’s mysteries, and more. If you’d like to find out more about Native American life and literature today, these blogs are a great place to start:
I cannot stop singing the praises of this book. Nor, it seems, can anyone else. The novel met with wildly positive critical acclaim when it was released in 2016. And a year later, the 158 copies of the print book owned by the Westchester Library System still has a hold list 269 people long.
No matter how compelling a book is, I can no longer read 462 page books in a reasonable time span – I only have time to read at night and I fall asleep two pages in. You can see the dilemma. So anything over 300 pages must be in an audio format. I waited quite some time for the audio CD to become available and from the first sentence I was in love. With the narrator, Nicholas Guy Smith, who has a voice like silky velvet, with the author, Amor Towles, who writes too beautifully to be of this world, and the story, which I thought could never work for a book that long but it did!
I am including links to the Washington Times review which tells you a bit about the plot, and an interesting Q & A with author, Amor Towles which is well worth the read but I urge you to find this book and read it, or better, listen to my new favorite narrator Nicholas read it to you. I, meanwhile, am on the hunt for Towles first novel, Rules of Civility which I’m told is just as good, if not better, and, is also on hold everywhere in the system! Darn!
Yesterday was the end of the month of Ramadan, and Muslims around the world celebrated. If you’re curious about the culture, we’ve got information at the library! Here are a few books, and even a movie or two.
Firoozah Dumas was just seven years old when she moved to the United States with her family. She had no idea what to expect. This collection of essays documents her struggle to adjust; the book’s been called hilarious and touching.
And do we have books (and DVDs and CD Audiobooks) about mothers! Mothers of all varieties; working mothers, stay at home mothers, divorced mothers, single mothers, teenage mothers, surrogate mothers, foster mothers, and even mothers of presidents. And as many books on mothers and daughters or mothers and sons as you could think to read (or view or listen to).
Recent books about mothers and daughters include Lisa Scottoline’s humorous Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s beautiful generational novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, Amy Gentry’s psychologically suspenseful Good as Gone, or Kimberly Williams Paisley’s heartrending biography, Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again.
Good choices in the mothers and sons subject area include The Nix, Nathan Hale’s recent bestseller about family secrets and self-realization, Anderson Cooper’s The Rainbow Comes and Goes : a Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss, the fascinating collection of correspondence between Cooper and his mother, the celebrated Gloria Vanderbilt or Lisa Scottoline’s psychological thriller, One Perfect Lie. Continue reading “It’s Nearly Mother’s Day!”
Big Little Lies premiered as a TV series last week on HBO. With its all star cast and its crazy mad beach houses, it looks promising. The setting has been moved from Liane Moriarty’s fictitious Pirriwee Beach just outside of Sydney, Australia to the fictitious Otter Bay in beautiful Monterey, California. The scenery alone should be worth the price of admission!
There is a ton of angst to work with in any Moriarty novel; Angst could be her middle name. But she does it SO well! If you haven’t read, or better yet listened to Caroline Lee read, any of her books, grab one and get busy! Her books are probably longer than they have to be, but, in my humble opinion, I wouldn’t forfeit a word. She takes on really tough subjects and puts them in the hands of the everyday people who are grappling with them, adding a touch of mystery, a wry sense of humor, and a cast of characters you can’t help but identify with. We have her books and her books in audio form at Armonk – I just finished listening to Truly, Madly, Guilty. Loved it! Come on in and check one out. And let me know what you think of the TV series!
Gong Xi Fa Cai! And welcome to the year of the Rooster.
We’ve got many excellent books about China here in the library. I’m going to highlight just a few that are either by Chinese authors, or about China, or both. We’ll start with a quick and easy read by a young American student of Chinese culture.
If you haven’t yet read this memoir, you’re in for a treat! In the 1980’s, Mark, a graduate student at Yale, goes to China to teach English and study Kung Fu. He lives in the city of Changsha for two years. The New York Times remarked that his stories of that time “Take the form of a series of lightly sketched episodes; almost without exception they produce the gulp of feeling you might get from an unusually fine short story…”