Showing posts from March, 2019

Review: Dear Fahrenheit 451

Book lovers have a connection no matter their specific preferences. If you've read a book I love, or even one I didn't love, I don't care whether you consumed pages, pixels, or the dulcet tones of Juliet Stevenson or Bahni Turpin. You and I are pals. That is how I feel about Annie Spence, librarian and book lover. Our friendship began with the intriguing title Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks , and it naturally grew.  Flip this book open to any page, and Spence will grab your attention with her wit, compassion, insight, and appreciation for what books mean in a life. Take To Kill a Mockingbird . (Seriously, go to the library, take it out.) (Just kidding.) (Not really.) She couches her letter to this book in her reading relationship with her family, primarily her oldest sister. The glimpses into their years growing up was heartwarming and charming, and not mushy or sentimental. The revelation at the end of her letter made me gasp. Annie — and I

Review: Year One

Nora Roberts is an unstoppable powerhouse. Not content with being successful in a single genre, the author has changed names and genres because she just has to write. A lot. I wished her well, but I didn't think she was up my alley. Then I caught sight of Year One in the grocery store (of all places), the hulking crow swooping out at unsuspecting shoppers — and began my relationship with Nora Roberts, the Dystopian Novelist. So far, so good. Year One takes place in current times. An unsuspecting wealthy New Yorker bags a bird on a hunting trip in Scotland and brings home more than he bargains for. As with all fatal diseases in modern tales, The Doom is highly contagious, shockingly swift, and ruthless: one mother dies from The Doom while her newborn does not. Good people go bad, or surrender to fear. Survivors find themselves in a weird, dangerous, and polarized world that is a little Mad Max, a little Stephen King, and way too much Trump's America. Year One chron

Critical Reviews: Trustworthy or Trolls?

What a reader considers a good book is both very personal and very public. One person's favorite book very well could be another person's nightmare. What is a reader to do if she wants to find out if a book is worth her time? Of course you reach out to your reading friends, ones you can trust regarding the author or genre in question. (If you don't, find some now — your life will be richer, and reading will get even more fun.) You may have a professional critic or two whom you trust and (mostly) agree with, which is a nice way to add to your towering TBR pile. You can accost the occasional stranger or two reading the book of interest — but if they snarl, back away slowly and don't take your eyes off them until their eyes have returned to the page. Online? Think twice, and proceed with extreme caution if you dare venture in. Back in the day, many readers believed online reviews were reliable, and a community of readers discussing books — in part because the

Library Loot: Introspection, Legends, Language, and Ants

Going to My Library is like a gleeful shopping spree. I always pick up an unexpected variety of books snatched impulsively from the stacks, and I always have books on reserve, especially after consulting my trusted book sources. I never come home empty-handed. The last two stops at My Library were no exception. One of my husband's favorite musical soundtracks is  Oklahoma! , and a quick dive into the Internet unearthed some very interesting facts. Oklahoma! is based on the 1931 stage play Green Grow the Lilacs , which of course I had to read. Green was good — and it led me to Harvey , an even better play in the anthology I borrowed. If you haven't seen Harvey , go find it right away: the story about the delightful Elwood P. Dowd and his invisible friend is a madcap comedy that is sweet and surprisingly suspenseful. A friend at work mentioned in passing a book he read years ago about ants, originally written in French but translated into his native Korean. Did my libra

Polar Book Club: Discussion Begins in Three, Two...

We are mere days away from the discussion of the Polar Book Club. Are you ready? Join us in reading and discussing the novel The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks . It has two of my favorite plot devices: time travel and mystery. The author of the novel, Scott Wilbanks, offers a delightfully concise and tantalizing description of his novel: Annabelle Aster has discovered a curious thing behind her home in San Francisco: a letter box perched atop a picket fence. The note inside is blunt—“Trespass is dealt with at the business end of a shotgun in these parts!”— spurring some lively correspondence between the Bay Area orphan and her new neighbor, a feisty widow living in a nineteenth century Kansas wheat field.  The source of mischief is an antique door Annie installed at the rear of her house. The man who made the door—a famed Victorian illusionist—died under mysterious circumstances. Annie and her new neighbor, with the help of friends and strangers alike, mu