Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Intriguing List

Newsweek has published a list of "50 Books for Our Times" that looks interesting. I always make myself familiar with the books on these lists because we inevitably have patrons come in looking for the titles. Midnight's Children is on the list! I think this book is going to haunt me.

Also, they have a list of the Top 100 Books that they compiled based on 10 other lists - their meta-list. Hmmm.... maybe I should try to read the books on this list instead? I like that it includes non-fiction and poetry. So, keeping to my guidelines for the Telegraph list I decided to read from (no series, no books over 1,000 pages, only books the library owns) I will start with #99, The Color Purple. And, yes, Midnight's Children is on this list too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Anthony Horowitz

Right now I'm reading The Gatekeepers series by Anthony Horowitz. I'm never reading a series again. I think that it's safe. That if there are four books it has to be done, right? No! The fourth book is not the last in the series and the fifth has not been written yet! It's a pretty good series, though. It's reminiscent of The Dark is Rising series written in the 70's except I like it a little better. The concept is that centuries ago the Old Ones, evil beings whose only purpose is to destroy everything on earth, ruled the world. They were banished by five children (well, 15 year olds) who constructed a gate to keep them out. Flash forward to present day. The Old Ones have faithful followers who are working to release them into the world, hoping for power and glory. The Old Ones are aided by an evil corporate giant (because what corporation isn't evil?) called Nightrise. The Five have been reborn and are being brought together by unexplainable forces to once again banish the Old Ones. They are aided by various native tribes throughout the Americas and a secret group called the Nexxus who are the only ones that know about the legend of The Five. Anyway, it's a pretty good series, like I said. Just don't read it if you don't want to wait for the fifth book!


I don't really have anything to write about, but I didn't want to let a week go by without a post. I'm reading a ton of awesome books right now so I should have a lot of reviews soon. I have almost too much to read! Not that I'm complaining...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

True to the Game by Teri Woods

Oh my goodness, I think I might be going to hell for reading this book. This novel is part of the "street lit" genre of fiction that is incredibly popular with some African-American readers. We are discussing these books for our genre study at work and I chose this particular title because it was one of the first contemporary books of its kind to be published, and self-published at that. The plot centers on Gena, an 18-year-old hustler who survives by acquiring drug dealer boyfriends who pay her way in life. One night at a club in Harlem she meets, Quadir, the biggest drug dealer in South Philly. They immediately get together and the rest of the plot revolves around all of the money she spends, the sex they have, the raunchy, depressing lives of their friends, and Quadir's battle with the Junior Mafia, a rival drug dealing operation. The amount of cursing, nasty sex and disrespectful attitudes toward women in this book nearly made me sick every time I read it. But I have to say, Teri Woods knows how to keep the story going. Her writing is sloppy and the transitions between scenes are terrible, but her plotting is good. I did want to find out how the story ended and what would happen to Qua and Gena. However, I feel that my mind has been dirtied by reading this. It was just...yuck. Not recommended!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oprah's Summer Reading

I normally detest most things associated with Oprah, but I might have to read a few books on her "25 Books You Can't Put Down List" just because I know the library patrons will be asking for and about them. In fact, I've already had people asking for #3.

Friday, June 12, 2009


So I started reading Midnight's Children and it has been excruciating so far. Rushdie's writing style is confusing and I don't really know what is going on, but I am going to struggle through. Discipline!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

I've posted a review of Bruno, Chief of Police on the More Than Books... blog that I write for work. Check it out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Under the Tuscan Sun is the now classic travel book that launched an obsession with Italy and lyrical travel writing. The author, Frances Mayes, lovingly recounts her purchase and restoration, with her poet husband Ed, of a crumbling, yet beautiful house in Cortona, Italy. I read this book when it was first published back in the '90's, but I love Mayes' writing so much that I decided to read it again. There is no one like her when it comes to describing the mundane details of shopping in town, picking olives or hauling stones out of the garden. She makes everything sacred and has a true gift for finding beauty in everyday life. I can only take her way of living as an example for when I am feeling that my life has no beauty or mystery - she creates beauty and that is something I forget sometimes, that we can create our own miracles.
By the way, the film of the same name starring Diane Lane, although lovely, bears hardly any resemblance to the book.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Reading Project

I occasionally get the urge to have a more directed program of reading, one that will provide a goal for reading classic novels. This weekend I got one of these urges and found this list to work from. Out of the 100, I have read 24 of the novels. I decided to work backward from #100, and to skip series for now, and to read only books that we have at the library. Because of those parameters I will start with #94, Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. I don't know if this goal will last, but I'm going to try to get through as many as I can. Do you have any reading goals?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I just went back and read the archives of this blog and realized that I published the first post on June 1, 2006. So we are 3!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

The latest novel by Lisa See continues her focus on Chinese culture, but this novel is relatively modern compared to her others. The story begins in 1937 in Shanghai and centers on two sisters, Pearl and May, best friends and "beautiful girls" who model for calendars and live the good life in Shanghai, earning their own money, frequenting dance clubs and spending large chunks of money on expensive Western dresses. All good things must come to an end though, so when their father loses the family money while gambling, the sisters are sold off in marriage to repay their father's debts. At the same time, the Japanese army invades China. The rest of the novel relates the tale of their escape from China and their struggle to connect with their new family while experiencing poverty and racism in the United States. See is an engaging storyteller who keeps the busy plot moving in a swift and concentrated manner. Her characterization is nearly flawless as she brings Pearl and May to life, rarely resorting to cliche. It was fascinating to read about the experience of Chinese immigration in the early twentieth century and how hard it was for the Chinese to be accepted in this country. If you enjoy multi-generational family sagas or reading about Chinese culture, this would be the book to put on your summer reading list.