Monday, November 28, 2005

Why Do I Love These People?

Po Bronson is the bestselling author of What Should I Do with My Life? about people who decided to change their job or their life. His latest book examines the mystery of family life. He interviewed 700 people, and then narrowed the stories down to less than twenty. His conclusions? No matter how hard it's been, we can all create a better family experience. He uses families to show how they loved each other when times were tough. These stories of ordinary people showed peopled who had to break the grip of the past at times, in order to move on with the family and with their own lives. Sometimes the family had to be left behind in order for the individual to move on. It's a fascinating, at times, beautiful, book. It's best to close with Bronson's own words. "The quiet journeys depicted here are worthy of commemoration and celebration."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Quote

From Kristin Hannah's Comfort & Joy - as said by a high school librarian - p. 65

"in the past years, as my job became more and more about computers and technology and Internet searches, I'd forgotten why I started. The love of books, of reading. There's nothing a librarian likes better than sharing her love of words with a child."

Friday, November 18, 2005

What do you reread?

Nobel Laureate Francois Mauriac said, "If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads but what he rereads."

The book I have read over and over again is "A Thread of Blue Denim" by Patricia Leimbach. This is a comfort book that takes me home. Patricia Leimbach was a teacher and farm wife from outside Vermilion, Ohio, which was close to my hometown of Huron. She wrote columns about her life as a farm wife for magazines and then started collecting them. My Aunt Gerry gave me an autographed copy of A Thread of Blue Denim when I was the Library Director in Huron. Patricia Leimbach spoke at the library, and she spoke at my mother's alumni party. I've used articles from her books for Readers Theater. She wrote two other books on the same theme, All My Meadows and Harvest of Bittersweet. The last one was written after her son died in an accident. Her husband died soon after.

But Patricia Leimbach's Ohio is also mine. And, her descriptions of her love of reading and her family life bring back memories. When I can't read anything else, I can return home with Patricia Leimbach.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cat People

Michael and Margaret Korda have written a charming cat book, with enchanting sketches by Michael. This is a perfect gift book for the cat people in your life. The Kordas tell of famous people who loved cats, such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. In fact, they say cat people are ones who don't take themselves too seriously.

Most of the stories are about the cats in the Kordas' lives, beginning with Irving, Margaret's cat before the two married. When they moved to Dutchess County, New York, they found themselves adopted by a number of cats. Cat lovers will recognize their cats and themselves in the stories of cat hierarchy and roles. Only cat people put up with the ruined furniture, drapes and carpets, broken objects, and fur-covered clothes. It's a life we're happy to share with the cats who own us.

The Truth (with jokes)

Don't even try this book if you're a diehard fan of the Bush Administration. For the last few years, Al Franken, a comedian, has been writing political commentary with a sense of humor. His latest book says that Bush, Cheney and Rove built the 2004 campaign on fear and lies.

This is a very timely book with the political problems of Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove and Bush himself. As Bush's numbers plummet in the polls, Franken tries to uncover the lies and machinations that led to this point. He says, "In almost every aspect of government - from energy to military contracting to environmental protection to health care - you find the exact same kind of cynical looting and betrayl of the public good."

Franken's point? It's time to change the country now. "If you want to know what I think we should do in Iraq, it's that we should think about what we have to do in America. We have to throw these guys out."

"Step one is 2006."

"The work starts now."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And Only to Deceive

Tasha Alexander's debut novel takes the reader to a Victorian England that will be familiar to readers of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody novels. She gives us a character who grows throughout the course of the book, showing some of the same spunk as Amelia.

Emily Ashton was widowed after just six months of marriage. Unfortunately, she knew little about Viscount Philip Ashton because she married him to escape her mother who was hounding her to make a good marriage. Following his death, she discovers he had a fondness for Greek antiquities, French Impressionist paintings, and her. When she realizes how little she knew about the man who loved her, she tries to educate herself to learn more about his passions. To her horror, she discovers that he might have been involved in illegal antiquities sales and forgeries. She doesn't know which of Philip's friends to trust as she probes his secrets. She's followed, has a burglary, and fears that someone might know about Philip's past.

As Emily Ashton mourns a husband she's just learning to love, she pushes aside some of society's expectations for a widow. And Only to Deceive discusses the roles of women at various stages of marriage in Victorian England. Emily is a strong character who might return again to break more rules of Victorian society.