Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Take Action

I'm reading "Seth Godin: Unboxed", offered by Daily Lit. These are exerpts from his new book, just released in March, called Poke The Box. It definitely gives you something to think about!

Poke the Box is a manifesto by bestselling author Seth Godin that just might make you uncomfortable. It’s a call to action about the initiative you’re taking-– in your job or in your life. Godin knows that one of our scarcest resources is the spark of initiative in most organizations (and most careers)-– the person with the guts to say, “I want to start stuff.”

Poke the Box just may be the kick in the pants you need to shake up your life.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Declaration

Gemma Malley's The Declaration. We meet Malley's heroine, Anna, in a society that's unraveling. One hundred or so years earlier, "Longevity," a new drug granting immortality, took the world by storm, only to lead to an untenable swell in population. Anyone who wants to live forever in this brave new world must agree by law not to have children (thus the eponymous declaration) ... or else. Anna is a "Surplus," a fallout of this decree who ekes out a stark existence (in a neo -Dickensian outpost known as Grange Hall) with the hope of becoming a Valuable Asset to the adults immortal. However, with the arrival of a new Surplus, Peter, who's lived on the Outside his whole life, she discovers a path to the life she might have lived. A world in which children struggle against the adults in charge isn't a new concept, but Malley gives it a provocative twist in a debut that echoes Margaret Atwood, Aldous Huxley, and--most recently--Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go as it explores what happens when you tangle with reproductive power. --Anne Bartholomew

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Miss Invisible by Laura Jensen Walker

I haven't read this or heard anything about it but this is right up my alley for a good read!

A feast of romance and laughter featuring a delightful and courageous heroine that you can relate to no matter what your size.

Convinced that her larger size relegates her to wallflower status, Freddie Heinz hides behind the wedding cakes she creates as a professional baker. But life is about to change for Miss Invisible.

First of all, Freddie's found a new friend who encourages her to come out of her shell. Then Hal, the cute veternarian, starts showing interest in the woman behind the delightful cakes. And when Freddie decides to break every rule in the "big girl's" book and find out who she really is, life gets even more exciting--and hilarious.

Cinderella, look out! Miss Invisible is becoming the belle of the ball--and having a ball in the process. Because when you finally find God's call for your life, any size is the right size--and love can see what the rest of the world passes by.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What's on your summer reading list?

Summer is less than 1 month away! Have you planned out what you're going to read? The LA Times has some great suggestions.

I think I'm going to start with Faith by Jennifer Haigh.

It is the spring of 2002 and a perfect storm has hit Boston. Across the city's archdiocese, trusted priests have been accused of the worst possible betrayal of the souls in their care. In Faith, Jennifer Haigh explores the fallout for one devout family, the McGanns.
Estranged for years from her difficult and demanding relatives, Sheila McGann has remained close to her older brother Art, the popular, dynamic pastor of a large suburban parish. When Art finds himself at the center of the maelstrom, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him and his reputation. What she discovers is more complicated than she imagined. Her strict, lace-curtain-Irish mother is living in a state of angry denial. Sheila's younger brother Mike, to her horror, has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.
As the scandal forces long-buried secrets to surface, Faith explores the corrosive consequences of one family's history of silence—and the resilience its members ultimately find in forgiveness.

Sound good to you too? Browse inside Faith.

Cant' wait for summer to officially begin! What else will you be reading in the upcoming season?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Young City by James Bow

Rosemary Watson and Peter McAllister think their future is clear: they're finally heading off for university. They're thinking about finding apartments, picking courses, living like adults.

But what happens when the future becomes the past? While helping Rosemary's brother move into an apartment in Toronto, Peter and Rosemary fall into an underground river and are swept back in time, to Toronto in 1884. It's a struggle to survive and adapt to the alien culture of the late nineteenth century. Peter and Rosemary are forced to work together, to live together, and to become the adults they've only been pretending to be.

As the days stranded turn to weeks, then months, Rosemary and Peter begin to wonder if they're really ready for a future together - and what they will do if they can't get back.

Then someone brings them a watch, powered by a battery, made in Taiwan.


Vincent Price's face floats in the darkness. There is the regal hairline, shaped like a sharp capital M. There is the manicured mustache. Beneath, the mouth opens, and the stentorian voice, gravelly and grave.
Vincent Price played a madman so often, he became a kind of on-screen spokesman for the mad. The delicious, campy horror was not so much embodied by Price as invented by him. This year is his 100th birthday, and horror superfan Tom Stockman has convinced a cabal of local groups to honor the St. Louis born actor with Vincentennial, a collection of exhibitions, theatrical performances, talks, and other disturbances, including a film fest, all devoted to the indefatigable movie madman.
Victoria Price, the daughter of Vincent, points out that her father adored St. Louis, and returned from his LA home to the Midwest many times to donate visual art from his impressive collection, to act in plays, and so on. Victoria claims he was very proud to be from St. Louis, In fact, when she was a kid she got the impression that there was some sort of homing device for people who came from St. Louis that allowed them to find each other. A group of complete strangers could be at a party, and they'd suddenly find out they were all from St. Louis. She always thought it was interesting, because nobody felt that way about LA!
Some will remember Vincent Price returning to town in the 70's to appear, appropriately enough, as the Devil in Damn Yankees and Fagin in Oliver! at the Muny. The Vincent Price Theater hosts student productions at his Alma Mater, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, in Ladue.
A number of Price's old "haunts" are still around, in fact. His boyhood home, at 6320 Forsyth, just west of Skinker, is now part of Washington University's sprawling property. Price's grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, moved to St. Louis in 1904 to sell candy at the World's Fair, grew wealthy from inventing a kind of baking powder, and created the National Candy Company, located near the corner of Gravois and Meramec Street. The huge, now vacant, factory, looking like nothing so much as a spooky set for a Vincent Price film, is still there. For more information about Vincentennial go to: www.Vincentennial.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Unlike the friendly but fictional food faces of Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, Chef Boyardee - that jovial, mustachioed Italian Chef - is real. Ettore "Hector" Bioardi(that's how the family really spells it) founded the company with his brothers in 1928, after the family immigrated to America from Italy.

Though Ameria came to know him as Chef Boyardee - in the apron and trademark tall hat - Anna Boiardi knew hom simply as Uncle Hector. Anna carried on her family's culinary tradition; her new book, Delicious Memories, is part cookbook, part family history and part homage to her ancestors - immigrants who made their way in a new country.

I heard Anna on NPR radio the other day. Her book sounds like it would be a two for one - nostalgia and recipes!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Glass House by Simon Mawer

The latest from novelist Mawer (The Fall) begins with great promise, as Jewish newlyweds Viktor and Liesel Landauer meet with architect Rainier von Abt, not just an architect but "a poet...of light and space and form," who builds their dream home, a "modern house...adapted to the future rather than the past, to the openness of modern living." World events, however, are about to overtake 1930s Czechoslovakia. Viktor, like most in the community, dismisses rumors of impending pogroms-"The only people who hold the German economy together are the Jews"-but once the signs of Nazi occupation become impossible to ignore, the Landauers must abandon their beloved home. In a bizarre twist of fate, however, Liesel insists on rescuing single mother Katra, unaware that Katra is Viktor's new mistress. As the world spins into chaos, the highly symbolic Landauer house is the only constant; though it shifts identities more than once, the house remains "ageless," a place "that defines the very existence of time." Mawer's writing and characters are rich, but his twisty plot depends too often on unbelievable coincidences, especially in the conclusion.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

This is by far my favorite book of all time. It is a timeless classic that will never go out of style. Yes, it is a love story, but it is much more than that. It is a story of survival, the idea that you can continue regardless of how you feel, how weak you seem; life and the will to live takes over. It also gives a true sense of the ability and strength of women regardless of the time.

-Scarlett was originally named Pansy

-Scarlett was partly based on Mitchell herself and her grandmother

-Rhett was based on Mitchell's first husband Red Upshaw

-the initials JRM in her dedication refer to her second husband John Reginald Marsh

-Margaret Mitchell maintained the only character taken from real life was Prissy the maid

-When asked who she'd like to be in the movie version, Mitchell said 'Prissy'

-Like a detective novelist, Mitchell wrote the last chapter first and the first chapter last

-GWTW is the only book to sell more copies than the Bible

-Mitchell nearly went blind just proofreading the manuscript!

-Mitchell scrupously researched every detail for GWTW, even going to the town register to ensure there was no Rhett Butler or Scarlett O'Hara alive during the Civil War

-The novel took ten years to complete, most of it was written in three years

-For style, she endeavoured to make her prose so that a five-year old could read it

-If she would have ever written a sequel, it would have been called 'Back With the Breeze' On that note,please avoid the Ripley penned sequel 'Scarlett', it is atrocious.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Group Picture-Room

What a book! It was a great discussion...highly recommended for book clubs!

The language of the book was loved by some of us and difficult for some of us, but Room is definitely worth reading.

To Have and To Hold by Jane Green

Alice Chambers has a life most women fantasize about. Married to Joe, a rich businessman who showers her with presents and takes her to exclusive London parties, Alice appears to have everything anyone could ever want. But before she was a glamorous wife, Alice was a shy wallflower who loved running her own catering business. Joe encouraged her to change her look and her interests, but at heart Alice dreams of a quiet life in the country. Joe, on the other hand, loves life in the city, especially the bevy of beautiful women who catch his eye. Joe wants to be faithful to Alice, but he just can't help himself. When Josie, a beautiful, sophisticated colleague finally gives into his advances, Joe is thrilled, until an ill-advised romp in the office reveals their affair. Joe's bosses promptly transfer him to New York. Alice, who doesn't know the reason behind the transfer, is upset until Joe promises her the country house she's always longed for. But as Alice starts to rediscover her old self, she and Joe grow farther and farther apart, and Alice finds herself attracted to the unlikeliest person--her best friend's boyfriend. This novel is as charming as Green's Jemima J (2000) and Mr. Maybe (2001), proving her mastery of the chick-lit genre.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

Growing up I had a role model that taught me the importance of reading--it was my mom. When I was thinking about what to post I remembered how much she loved Victoria Holt novels. I also read every one of them and found them exciting to read since I love history and reading--how could you go wrong. Many of her books are out-of-print but can still be found at the library.

Originally published nearly 40 years ago, this gothic classic has been frightening, romancing, and winning fans ever since. Part Jane Eyre, part Rebecca and all good, clean, campy fun, Mistress of Mellyn will keep you tearing through the pages, and looking for copies to lend out to friends.
Our heroine Martha Leigh is a prim and freshly minted governess who has been hired by the remote and demanding Connan TreMellyn to care for his daughter Alvean. As the departure of the three prior governesses suggests, Alvean is a difficult charge, though understandably so since the recent death of her mother, Alice. As Martha tries to connect with Alvean, she researches the history of Mellyn, and discovers hidden family secrets that still haunt the present. Now familiar with Alvean, she feels herself falling for Connan. Though the desire between Martha and Connan grows, Alice's tragic death continues to haunt them both and endanger any future they may have.

A delightful combination of highbrow writing and lowbrow sentiments, Mistress of Mellyn is a guilt-free treat you can indulge in. The romance, suspense, and mystery tromp across the pages with predictable frequency, and there are enough dark looks and dark corridors for any gothic fan.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

For the last two weeks I have posted about a trilogy by James Dashner. The final book will be in book stores on October 11, 2011; I know I will be getting it. Dasher's books are fast-paced and very addicting. For those counting, it will have 384 pages of, I'm sure, sit on the edge of your seat adventure.

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test. What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

David Thorne's Hair Tour

Did you know that a lock of Justin Bieber's hair is currently on tour? Said tour inspired the hilarious David Thorne, author of the way too funny new book The Internet Is a Playground, to launch a tour of his own locks. (check out www.HelpMeSellMoreBooksThanJustinBieber.com)

His hair is visiting Subterranean Books in the Loop, but only til tonight at 8pm. For $1, you can take a picture with The Hair, and that money will go to the National Children's Cancer Society, as will $200 from Tarcher, Thorne's publisher, for every participating bookstore.

David Thorne is a humorist, satirist, Internet personality and author. His website, 27bslash6.com, typically receives several thousand hits a day, he has more than 60,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook, and his work has been featured on the BBC, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He now lives in the United States.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Night Road

Night Road
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, NIGHT ROAD raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CHASING FIRE by Nora Roberts

"Chasing Fire" combines the best of Nora Robert's talents. There is mystery...romance...and learning. The amount of research she must have done for this book is incredible! The plot is engaging and interesting and is carried by characters who are truly fleshed out. You are a part of the team involved in the plot and that's the very best place to be.

This searing stand-alone from bestseller Roberts (The Search) celebrates the smoke jumpers of Missoula, Mont., who routinely risk life and limb to beat down raging forest fires. As close knit as any military combat unit, the "Zulies" include veteran Rowan Tripp, haunted by the loss of Jim Brayner, her onetime jump partner who was killed the previous season in a fall, and rookie Gulliver Curry, who soon earns the nickname "Fast Feet" for his speed and prowess. Threatening trouble is cook Dolly Brakeman, Jim's girlfriend, who blames Rowan for his death—and whose new baby may well be Jim's. Rowan and Gull grow closer as the team battles fires from Montana and Idaho to California and Alaska. Meanwhile, the Zulies are plagued by vandalism and sabotage as well as a killer with arson among his crimes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Keep Up-To-Date With The Hunger Games Cast

All of the District Tributes have been cast! Go see who they are!

Haymitch has also been cast...Woody Harrelson. What do you think?

Stanley Tucci has been selected to play television host Caesar Flickerman.

Who should play Cinna? My vote is for Adam Lambert!

Can't wait to see it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Puppyday instead of Wednesday

This Science Fiction/Fantasy blog post, has been interrupted by these two outlaws!
Josie is on the left and Jessie is on the right! I will return with a real post next Wednesday.
In the meantime, wish me luck with the potty training! Can you smell the puppy breath?

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Last week I posted the book, The Maze Runner, which is the first book in James Dashner's triolgy. Since the Hunger Games , this style of book has become very popular with young adults as well as many adults.

Questions for James Dashner

Q: Where was the worst place you’ve ever been lost or trapped? Did you use Thomas-like ingenuity to figure out the problem?
A: Interesting you should ask that, because The Maze Runner saved my life last Halloween! Ok, not really, but close. My son and I went to a corn maze, and we got lost and stuck. It made me realize how mean I am to my characters! I hadn’t been thinking when we entered and I have to be honest, I wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t think I’d get lost in a Halloween corn maze! But as soon as we realized that we had no idea how to get out I used the trick Thomas learned in the first book--turning right no matter what--and sure enough, we got out. I have a lot more respect for corn mazes now!

Q: The Maze Runner has been compared to other popular YA series like The Hunger Games and The Uglies. What do you think of those series? (And what do you think the draw is to post-apocalyptic societies for YA readers?)
A: First, let me start by saying that I love both of those series a lot! I think everyone is attracted to the idea of a post-apocalyptic society because it’s fascinating to imagine what the future could hold, and scary to know that maybe, just maybe, it could really happen. Although we hope not. Or do we?

Seriously, though, there’s so much that teens today have to deal with. Life isn’t as simple as it used to be with media everywhere at all times. And our country has been at war for a huge part of most teenagers’ lives. It’s a reality that kids face these days, and to see that life could go on could be almost reassuring.

Q: How did you come up with the shuckin’ Gladers’ slang? And have you ever accidentally used it in real life?
A: The slang had several purposes, but mainly it was to give the Gladers' language a different flavor. To show how a community can evolve. Not only is it in the future, but they've been isolated as well.

And on a more realistic note, an unsupervised group of boys would definitely be using language that could begin to take over the story itself. I wanted it to be realistic, but not a glossary of bad language. It would have become limiting for the book in terms of readership and, well, I’m a parent!

Q: What made you decide on a solar flare as a catastrophe (vs. all the other apocalyptic scenarios)?
A: I have to admit, I’m somewhat of an apocalypse buff. When I first started working on The Maze Runner I read an article somewhere about solar flares and I was fascinated. Not only were they a unique idea back then, but it seems completely plausible. Solar flares are natural occurrences, and the cycle for larger flares is again approaching. We’ll be seeing larger flares that really do affect things like communication and space travel. I just took things a little farther.

I also didn't want it to be a nuclear holocaust because I think that's overdone. And it doesn’t seem like we’ll need something that violent anymore to cause our own end. We’ve done a great job of making Mother Nature pretty angry!

Q: One thing that always bugged me: Why couldn’t the Gladers climb up and run around on top of the walls? (At least during the day.)
A: There's a part where Thomas asks Minho about that actually. Minho answers that they've tried it and can't get up that far. The maze has a lot of illusion and technology to make it seem bigger than it is. And I wanted the reader to imagine a maze with walls so high that you could never get to the top.

Q: I’ve heard that The Maze Runner might be made into a movie. If it is, what would you like fans of the book to see up there on the screen? Sometimes literary elements can be lost in translation to film--what’s important for you to remain unchanged?
A: I would love to see a movie made! My biggest hope would be that they cast it well, write it well, and really transfer the mystery of it to the big screen, not just the action. Not much to ask, right?

Q: There are a lot of scenes in the first two books with very graphic violence and death both against and initiated by teenagers--why did you choose to make the brutality so prevalent in a YA series?
A: There is a lot of violence, yes. Next question?

Really, though--I wanted to show what a brutal world it has become, and what a desperate situation the Gladers’ are in, so the reader can understand the stakes. If everything is safe, why would the boys want to leave? I also wanted to blur the lines of what is acceptable to survive in such an environment. We’ve been interested in the idea of survival for as long as we’ve been telling stories. And in modern culture, we’ve gone from Swiss Family Robinson, to Lord of the Flies, to Lost...if there’s no law anymore, who’s to say what’s right and wrong?

Q: You ended The Scorch Trials with a cliffhanger to rival the ending of The Empire Strikes Back. What sorts of things can your readers look forward to in The Death Cure?
A: I just turned in the third book, and I'm very proud of it and excited about it. Every last question is resolved, you see much more of the real world, and the ending is not what people may expect but I'm confident they'll be satisfied with the resolution. And lots of twists and action of course!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coming Soon

The Story of Charlotte's Web by Michael Sims will be released on June 7. I will definitely be reading this, since that was my favorite children's book of all.

As he was composing what was to become his most enduring and popular book, E. B. White was obeying that oft-repeated maxim: "Write what you know." Helpless pigs, silly geese, clever spiders, greedy rats-White knew all of these characters in the barns and stables where he spent his favorite hours. Painfully shy his entire life, "this boy," White once wrote of himself, "felt for animals a kinship he never felt for people." It's all the more impressive, therefore, how many people have felt a kinship with E. B. White. With Charlotte's Web, which has gone on to sell more than 45 million copies, the man William Shawn called "the most companionable of writers" lodged his own character, the avuncular author, into the hearts of generations of readers.

In The Story of Charlotte's Web, Michael Sims shows how White solved what critic Clifton Fadiman once called "the standing problem of the juvenile-fantasy writer: how to find, not another Alice, but another rabbit hole" by mining the raw ore of his childhood friendship with animals in Mount Vernon, New York. translating his own passions and contradictions, delights and fears, into an al-time classic. Blending White's correspondence with the likes of Ursula Nordstrom, James Thurber, and Harold Ross, the E. B. White papers at Cornell, and the archives of HarperCollins and the New Yorker into his own elegant narrative, Sims brings to life the shy boy whose animal stories--real and imaginery--made him famous around the world.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

The follow-up to Kinsella’s Shopaholic & Baby (2007) finds Becky and Luke Brandon’s daughter, Minnie, hitting the terrible twos. More than a handful for Becky, Minnie is already picking up on some of her mother’s bad habits, particularly when it comes to shopping. With frequent cries of “Miiiiine!” Minnie is the embodiment of the voice in Becky’s head that won’t let her say no to bargain buys and designer clothes. Becky’s far more financially conscious husband, Luke, wants Becky to cut back on her shopping, forcing the fashionista to become a recessionista and actually wear the many clothes in her closet more than once. Not to be deterred, Becky channels her energy into planning a huge surprise birthday bash for Luke, which quickly gets out of hand. She is also determined to convince him that, despite their difficulties with Minnie, they should have another child. It’s been three years since readers last enjoyed the company of Becky Brandon née Bloomwood, and this lively, good-spirited romp is bound to please fans of the series.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ESCAPE by Jean Henry Mead

ESCAPE creates a vivid account of the days when posses pursued Wyoming bank robbers. Andrea Bordeaux lives with her grandparents. When outlaws arrive, her grandmother shears Andrea's long hair, puts her in overalls, and calls her Andy, hoping to protect her. Unfortunately, the outlaws take Andy with them and leave her grandparents injured. Andy finds herself thrust into the midst of Wild Bunch members who take her to the Hole in the Wall, where they plan the Belle Fourche Bank robbery. Only Billy knows the truth about her gender and she's sworn him to secrecy. Following an attack by a vicious outlaw intent on carving her face, Butch Cassidy himself promises she can return home after their planned bank job. Meanwhile, the Four-State Governor's Pact is enacted to rid the country of outlaws. ESCAPE provides a fascinating glimpse into the legendary outlaws of Wyoming. Historical fans will thoroughly enjoy their visit with Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch.

2011 Hugo Award Nominees

The nominees for the 2011 Hugo Award have been announced at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada. The nominees for Best Novel are:

See the press release for the complete list of nominees in all categories. Congratulations to all the nominees.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I always like books that have sequels. This one seems to be very interesting and since it's like City of Ember, which was very well-written, I think this is a good series to get started on.

Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys. Thomas is a likable protagonist who uses the information available to him and his relationships (including his ties to the girl, Teresa) to lead the Gladers. Unfortunately, the question of whether the teens will escape the maze is answered 30 pages before the book ends, and the intervening chapter loses momentum. The epilogue, which would be deliciously creepy coming immediately after the plot resolves, fails to pack a punch as a result.

That said, The Maze Runner has a great hook, and fans of dystopian literature, particularly older fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random, 2003), will likely enjoy this title and ask for the inevitable sequel.—

Lost In Shangri-La

This is a true story of survival, adventure and the most incredible rescue mission of WWll by Mitchell Zuckoff.

Near the end of World War II, a plane carrying 24 members of the United States military, including nine Women’s Army Corps (WAC) members, crashed into the New Guinea jungle during a sightseeing excursion. 21 men and women were killed. The three survivors--a beautiful WAC, a young lieutenant who lost his twin brother in the crash, and a severely injured sergeant--were stranded deep in a jungle valley notorious for its cannibalistic tribes. They had no food, little water, and no way to contact their military base. The story of their survival and the stunning efforts undertaken to save them are the crux of Lost in Shangri-La, Mitchell Zuckoff’s remarkable and inspiring narrative. Faced with the potential brutality of the Dani tribe, known throughout the valley for its violence, the trio’s lives were dependent on an unprecedented rescue mission--a dedicated group of paratroopers jumped into the jungle to provide aid and medical care, consequently leaving the survivors and paratroopers alike trapped on the jungle floor. A perilous rescue by plane became their only possible route to freedom. A riveting story of deliverance under the most unlikely circumstances, Lost in Shangri-La deserves its place among the great survival stories of World War II. --Lynette Mong

I haven't read many war stories, other than ones about the holocaust, but I read an exerpt on Amazon and I think I would like it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

June Book Choices!

It's time to vote for our first summer book of 2011!

The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell | Paperback, 320 pages

What happens when two New Yorkers (one an ex–drag queen) do the unthinkable: start over, have a herd of kids, and get a little dirty?
Find out in this riotous and moving true tale of goats, mud, and a centuries-old mansion in rustic upstate New York—the new memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, author of the New York Times bestseller I Am Not Myself These Days. A happy series of accidents and a doughnut-laden escape upstate take Josh and his partner, Brent, to the doorstep of the magnificent (and fabulously for sale) Beekman Mansion. One hour and one tour later, they have begun their transformation from uptight urbanites into the two-hundred-year-old-mansion-owning Beekman Boys.
Suddenly, Josh—a full-time New Yorker with a successful advertising career—and Brent are weekend farmers, surrounded by nature's bounty and an eclectic cast: roosters who double as a wedding cover band; Bubby, the bionic cat; and a herd of eighty-eight goats, courtesy of their new caretaker, Farmer John. And soon, a fledgling business, born of a gift of handmade goat-milk soap, blossoms into a brand, Beekman 1802.

The Bucolic Plague is tart and sweet, touching and laugh out loud funny, a story about approaching middle age, being in a long-term relationship, realizing the city no longer feeds you in the same way it used to, and finding new depths of love and commitment wherever you live.

Did you know Josh and Brent have a TV show on Planet Green called The Fabulous Beekman Boys? It airs on Tuesdays @ 10 | 9 c (if you have U-verse like me it's 465 or HD 1465). They are currently airing season 2 episodes. If you missed season 1, you can see the top 10 moments from the first season here. You can also watch a recap of episodes on August 11th. They will be re-airing a lot of the episodes before the season finale.

Take the video tour of the Beekman Mansion with Brent here. Or, visit the slideshow of photos.

You can also watch their goats live on the goat cam!

There are lots of other things to check out...see for yourself!

Read the prologue to The Bucolic Plague here. The first paragraph has me hooked:
The last time I saw 4 a.m., I was tottering home in high heels and a matted wig sipping from the tiny bottles of Absolut I always kept in my bag for emergencies. Emergencies like "last call."

Now, a little more than a decade later, I'm digging through the backpack I've propped up on the front fender of my pickup truck, counting baby bottles of fresh milk.

Ok, it's obvious! I'm pulling for this book to win the vote. We need something funny and uplifting for once!

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb | Paperback, 912 pages

What if you were a 40-year-old housepainter, horrifically abused, emotionally unavailable, and your identical twin was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed in public self-mutilation? You'd either be a guest on the Jerry Springer Show or Dominick Birdsey, the antihero, narrator, and bad-juju magnet of I Know This Much Is True. Somewhere in the recesses of this hefty 912-page tome lurks an honest, moving account of one man's search, denial, and acceptance of self. This is no easy feat considering his grandfather seemed to take parenting tips from the SS and his grandmother was a possible teenage murderess, his stepfather a latent sadist, and his brother, Thomas, a politically motivated psychopath. Not one to break with tradition, Dominick continues the dysfunctional legacy with rape, a failed marriage, a nervous breakdown, SIDS, a car crash, and a racist conspiracy against a coworker--just to name a few.

A stretch, both literally and figuratively from his Oprah-christened bestseller, She's Come Undone, Lamb's book ventures outside the confines of the tightly bound beach read and marathons through a detailed, neatly cataloged account of every familial travesty and personal failure one can endure. At its heart lies Freud's "return of the repressed": the more we try to deny who we are, the more we become what we fear. Lamb takes Freud's psychological abstraction to the realm of everyday living, packing his novel with tender, believable dialogue and thoughtful observation.

(Not to discourage interest, but notice that this book is almost 1000 pages long.)

Lucky by Alice Sebold | Paperback, 272 pages

In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. What propels this chronicle of her recovery is Sebold's indomitable spirit - as she struggles for understanding ("After telling the hard facts to anyone, from lover to friend, I have changed in their eyes"); as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their efforts to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction.

In a narrative by turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victims even as she imparts wisdom profoundly hard-won: "You save yourself or you remain unsaved."

Linda is hosting the June meeting.
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