At first glance, it appears the novel is about a young girl attending boarding school, experiencing the trials and tribulations of growing up. But, as Kathy continues to tell her story, the reader soon realizes not all is as it seems.
At first glance, it appears the novel is about a young girl attending boarding school, experiencing the trials and tribulations of growing up. But, as Kathy continues to tell her story, the reader soon realizes not all is as it seems.
This wonderful little book is an inspiration; one that, because of it's simple message and elegant illustrations, provides the understanding that all is not lost, that the damage caused to the environment can still be repaired. If the little hummingbird has the courage and endurance to fight the forest fire alone, drop by drop, even one person's willingness to do their part will change the face of our world for the better. And, if one person can make a change, others will follow.
The introduction by Wangari Maathai, as well as the wise words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, make each individual's role in the fight to reclaim our environment seem so easy. It is my hope that this story will be widely read and that the image of the hummingbird will act as a reminder that every little bit counts. Our wish for a sustainable environment is indeed within our reach.
The Man Booker Prize longlist was released today. Very exciting. Included in the list is one of my favourite authors, a book that I've been keeping my eye on, as well as several lesser known novelists.
Okay. So, here we go. Drum roll please...
The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
Girl in a Blue Dress - Gaynor Arnold
The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry
From A to X - John Berger
The Lost Dog - Michelle de Kretser
Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh
The Clothes on Their Backs - Linda Grant
A Case of Exploding Mangoes - Mohammed Hanif
The Northern Clemency - Philip Hensher
Netherland - Joseph O'Neill
The Enchantress of Florence - Salman Rushdie
Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith
A Fracture of the Whole - Steve Toltz
Ta Da! Time to get reading people.
The Virgin Suicides, is unlike any book I've read. It's uniqueness stems from the narration; the reader is outside the action and, just like the boys in the story, must piece together events from the few clues revealed to them along the way. I shared in the narrators' frustration, never truly knowing the enigmas that were the Lisbon girls or the motives behind the suicides. Readers are only allowed brief glimpses of the inner sanctum of their lives and the reader is left yearning for more, to know the girls' version of the story. Although this technique is, at some times, frustrating, it also worked to draw me more thouroughly into his tale. I think that this narrative style is entirely appropriate for this novel and that Eugenides really begs the question: can we every really know the reasons why someone would take their own life?
I found this novel to be a very interesting read. Wonderful descriptions and, as I would expect from Eugenides, excellently written in a simple and poweful style.
In honour of the Man Booker Prize's 40th anniversary, the foundation pitted 41 winners against each other in a battle royale: Best of the Booker.
As you may have already guessed, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children was victorious. Rushdie's novel won the Booker Prize in 1981 and, in 1993, won a similar prize in honour of the Booker 25th anniversary, the Booker of Bookers.
There really is something about Rushdie's writing; it's truely magical. Each word is a gem on the page, filling his novels with rubies, diamonds and emeralds. Each sentence is like a spell and the more you read the deeper you're ensorcelled. I LOVE reading every word. It always takes me twice as long to read his work because I want to make sure I don't miss any of his beautiful writing.
It is also nice to see that this novel has such and enduring quality. Three wins, against more than worthy opponents, reveals that Midnight's Children is fast becoming one of literatures classics.
Congratulations Mr. Rushdie!
Good news for Shakespeare enthusiasts and book lovers alike!
The BBC recently reported that the 1623 first Shakespeare folio, stolen in 1998 along with several other important works, has been recovered. Everyone can breath a sigh of relief! Shakespeare is probably giving the thumbs up from his grave.
The folio turned up at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, after a man, claiming to have purchased the work in Cuba, asked library staff to confirm that the folio was indeed penned by Will himself.
The Librarians, geniuses that they are, soon realized what they had in their hot little hands and reported that the missing folio was finally found!
I think the moral of the story is, whilst on vacation, make sure to keep your eyes open for priceless literary works. Apparently they can turn up anywhere!
To read the rest of the story from BBC News click here.
Well, I am definitely still hooked. The plot detail alone is outstanding and the characters grow with every chapter; I don't know how Martin keeps everything together, but he sure does.
I don't want to give away any of the story, but I will say this. Although I've only read the first two books in the series, this is one of the best fantasy epics I've ever read. I can't put it down.
If you haven't already read A Song of Ice and Fire, go out and buy it, borrow it from a library or a friend, but seriously, put it at the top of your TBR list!
There's just something about fantasy on an epic scale and Martin definitely delivers. A Game of Thrones is just the beginning. The first book isn't packed full of action but it's an excellent introduction to the characters and the lands and cultures they inhabit.
Excellently written, each chapter is narrated by a different character, giving the reader a thorough view of events. Some characters are lovable and others you just love to hate.
Set in a world which resembles our own medieval Europe, Kings, knights and chivalry abound. The men and women of this story inhabit a world where summer lasts for years; but, the longer the summer, the harder and longer the winter. The Seven Kingdoms are on the brink of winter and with winter comes the hint of a return to days gone by. Days where the Children of the Forest could communicate with the old gods and giants walked in the North.
At the close of the first novel, the King is dead, civil war is on the horizon as three lords contend for the Iron Throne and the last female child of the old line of dragon kings, exiled in a strange land, ushers in a new era with the birth of three dragons, long thought to be extinct.
I can hardly spare time to eat. All I want to do is read. I can't wait to see how epic this epic will get!
I'm about halfway through the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I'm enjoying it immensely and my boyfriend has to pry me away to work around the house. I'm so conflicted. I want to read continuously, but I want to make my house look pretty. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this book is great and I'm having a hard time putting it down!
So far, so good.
It really surprizes me that I haven't read any Martin yet, as I visit his website occasionally to check out his "what I'm reading section." I've found some great new authors there. Visiting his site and taking his reccomendations without having read any of his work made me feel a little guilty. Sort of like using a restaurant bathroom without bying anything. So now my guilt can be assuaged and I can get new book ideas with impunity!
O'Neill does an excellent job of capturing the voice of her child narrator, Baby. It's all about consistency. I often find that when I'm reading a novel narrated by a child and written by an adult, that the child's perspective is sometimes lost, especially during more descriptive sections. While reading this novel however, I felt I was listening to a twelve year old throughout. From dialogue, to inner feelings, to descriptive paragraphs, Baby's personality dominated the story.
I really enjoyed O'Neill's writing overall. There are tons of great lines and, of course, my favourite ones are about libraries and reading.
In this scene, Baby is sending self defense vibes to her unfortunate friend, Linus, who is about to get beat up.
"I knew that the trick to save yourself from this type of situation was to act totally crazy; to act fearless, like you would try to poke one of their eyes our with a library card if they came any closer." (O'Neill 36)
I'll have to remember this tip myself; I have three different library cards in my wallet, who knew I could use them as protection!
Here Baby describes the one thing she knows about her mother:
"All I knew was that sometimes she went to the library when she wanted to cry." (O'Neill 44)
Sometimes the library is so quiet that I feel like I'm all alone surrounded my many people.
Finally, I loved this passage about how reading makes Baby feel.
"I had always like reading, but lately I had started reading in a different kind of way. When I opened a book now, I was seized with desperation. I felt as if I was madly in love. It was as if I were in a confession booth and the characters in the book were on the other side telling me their most intimate secrets. When I read, I was a philosopher and it was up to me to figure out the meaning of things. Reading made me feel as if I were the center of the universe." (O'Neill 195)
I would definitely pick this one up!
As much as I enjoy the comforts and luxuries that living in a city offers, I would much prefer to leave all of life's trappings behind and escape into the forest. I spent my summers barefoot in the woods around our cottage, truly believing that there were fairies and gnomes everywhere. I spoke to them and they spoke to me; I felt I was their official protectress. To me a forest is a very magical place that is not only alive with plant and animal life, but that also contains a secret hidden world that you just have to believe in to experience.
Ryhope Wood, in Holdstock's The Hollowing, takes my belief to a whole different level. This forest is inhabited by mythagos; all of human kind's mythical creations from Jason and the Argonauts to Gawain and the Green Knight, from celtic heroes to every variation of Jack the Giant Killer. Although the wood seems like a magical place, it is also one of great danger to the characters exploring there. Time runs differently and mythical monsters stalk through the trees.
The story follows Richard Bradley on a search through Ryhope Wood for his lost son, Alex. A series of strange events occur, beginning when Richard discovers a mysterious letter that leaves him in confusion. When James Keeton, missing for a year after entering the Wood in search of his daughter Tallis, appears in the headlights of Richard's car, life becomes stranger still. James, clutching a wooden mask and unresponsive, only seems to find comfort in his daughter's friend, twelve year old Alex.
Alex spends most of his time with James, trying to help his lost friend's father. When, in a moment of rare lucidity James claims he can see his daughter through the wooden mask, Alex places his face to the mask to see for himself. As soon as Alex looks in the mask he is propelled across the room with great strength. James falls dead and upon awakening, Alex has reverted to an unresponsive state, much like James.
After about a year, Alex disappears and his body is later discovered. Alex's death is too much for his parent's marriage and Richard moves to London to wallow in his grief. But, on a trip home, Richard meets Helen Silverlock and discovers that his son is indeed alive, but is hidding somewhere in Ryhope Wood. It is here that Richard's adventures begin, while he searches through a truly magical and terrible forest to reunite with his lost son.
An entertaining story. I will definitely read the other books belonging to the Mythago Cycle. I loved meeting my favourite characters from mythology and only wish that I could walk into the forest and be transported to a different world.
I came across a VERY interesting, yet shocking, piece of library news.
A woman in Beloit, Wisconsin was arrested for failing to return her library books. Good lord, very Draconian if I do say so myself.
If this law was in place at my library, half the students on campus would be facing extended jail sentences!
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Meagan, along with my other colleagues Kristin, Vivian and Fred, conducted research to assess the research skills needed by graduate students at the University of Western Ontario. They used their findings to improve the Graduate Student Workshops offered at the Taylor Library.
Check out their article here in the new issue of Science and Technology Librarianship (Open Access!):
Library Research Skills: A Needs Assessment for Graduate Student Workshops
This book made me want to run away with the circus. Set in the
I've never thought of myself as the typical librarian. I'm new to the profession, just starting to get my feet wet and I obviously consider myself young at 27. Even during library school I was told by a fellow classmate that I was, "too cool for library school." I took great offense to this. I really really wanted to be a librarian and couldn't believe that because I liked social events and chose my outfits very carefully, I was considered a an unlikely choice for a librarian.
But, this weekend, I had a defining moment when I realized that no matter the nose piercing and large visible tattoos, I am still viewed by my students as a stereotypical librarian.
I LOVE to dance so Friday night me and the girls (two of us are librarians) danced the night away at the new club in town. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a student pointing right at me saying, "oohhh look, it's the library lady." Well, as these words left her mouth I was instantly transformed. Gone was the pretty dress and high heels. Banished was the carefully applied makeup and straightened hair. In their place instantly appeared the bun, the granny chain, the tweed suit with elbow patches and a big loud SHHH!
I am redeemed. I am the Library Lady.
Definitely not my favourite Clive Barker. I had previously only read his works of fantasy, and loved them. So, I thought I would try his newest horror creation.
I was intrigued at first. As the narrator draws you in, speaking directed to you, he demands that you burn the book before reading further. Well, this made me want to read immediately on; what could be so bad, I thought?
Reading on, it became harder and harder for me to turn each page without wincing in disgust. I finally realized that I cannot relate to a protagonist - or, antagonist in my view - who takes great pleasure in causing people pain. Of course, all of this is described simply but in the most gruesome fashion.
It was obvious to me that my weak stomach could not read on. I think I will stick to his fantasy selections!
This is a work of great genius, and I don't say this lightly. It definitely left a lasting impression. Other reviews describe this book as very depressing; and, while it definitely isn't a feel good read, I feel that at the end, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel. The relationship between father and son moved me greatly and I'm having a very hard time articulating my feelings about this book.
McCarthy tells his tale using a very simply writing style, but incredibly beautiful language. That the author can create such a stunning mood without embellishment or fancy devices, is one of the main reasons this book had such an impact.
I think that each person who reads The Road will take with them something a little different.
This is definitely a MUST read.
I've been listening to my friends and colleagues extoll on the virtues of LibraryThing for some time now. I always agreed and then never found the time to check it out. Well, I was definitely missing out. So much fun!
It's not just for cataloguing your own private library, there is so much else to do. And, all of the groups and discussion boards are about books, glorious books.
Who knows why I waited so long to sign up, being the extreme book nerd that I am, but I'm sure glad I did.
Long live LibraryThing!
I came across this wonderful book by chance. I work in the science library at UWO, so only a handful of novels come through our library on any given day. I try to make a habit of perusing these as they come in and out, just in case anything interesting pops up. By now everyone I work with is aware of my huge propensity for reading; it's not something I can even try to keep under wraps.
So I'm sitting at my desk, carrying out a mind numbing task, when a coworker comes and drops this book on my desk. She thought I would like it, A) because I read so much anyway, and B) because it said something about Greek Gods. As everyone is also aware, I love mythology and have my degree in Classics. This one act of book kindness made my day! I couldn't get a better gift. It's nice to know people are looking out for you, and for a reader, this is the best it gets.
Not only was this a surprise and random read for me, it was fantastic! As a classics major, I was skeptical at first. I'm very picky because I have too much background knowledge in this area to be able to enjoy something that is only loosely correct. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The characters of the Gods and Goddesses were excellently portrayed and all mythological details were there. Phillips didn't just get the details right, she created a light and lively story, while very cleverly creating the Gods of Greek mythology, in all their glory and immorality, in a story set in 21st Century London.
This book is quirky and fun with a wonderful ending. I think anyone interested in classical mythology would get a real kick out of Gods Behaving Badly. I wouldn't miss this one!
In The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Lord Henry is asked the same question. His answer sums up my feelings on the matter exactly.
"I am too fond of reading books to care to write them, Mr. Erksine. I should like to write a novel certainly, a novel that would be as lovely as a Persian carpet and as unreal." p.31
So true! I hardly have time to read all the books on my ever lengthening list let alone the time to write one!
So, a good friend of mine experienced a funny little incident the other day. I thought it was too hilarious not to share.
Here it is, in my friend's own words.
Now ladies...we know we all do it...but getting caught is a different story.
I've been dating someone for the past couple of weeks, very much an important time in any relationship, especially when dating in the city. Figuring out what rules to follow, what lines to trust and what actions mean business. In trying to see through the jungle of a man's mind and intentions, we often turn to our girls friends to help us decipher the details.
Yesterday (being Sunday) I went for a stroll with one of my girl friends, down to our local bar to have bevies on the patio. On our way there she asked me how things were going with me and the new man – and – being the great friend that she is, I poured out all the juicy details. Yes, I had texted him on Friday and he had (my words) dropped everything to come and meet me (which was good)...and then we continued on discussing his failure to call the night before (as he said was going to), but how that was OK and well, you know, I have my own life and I’m have a busy social calendar and he can’t expect me to just wait around – but he did text today, so that’s OK...and well, I’m sure you can get a picture of the kind of throw-down conversation that we were having.
We enjoyed our time on the patio, during which my cell phone died (always seems to come as a surprise!). We went home and I plugged it in, only to see that I had missed a call from my boy. Anxious to hear what he had to say, I listened to the message straight away. As it turns out, just as I was beginning my conversation with my girl friend all about the boy, I had accidentally CALLED him and left an VERY LONG message in his voicemail (basically a spy recording of our conversation) and he heard EVERYTHING. ‘All of it. ALL OF IT’ was how he put it. Every last detail of the ‘girl-scheming’. He called it the most informative and valuable message he had every received.
After barely listening to his message, I ran to my girls for support. How could this have happened??? What else does he know?? How could I have let him this far into ‘girl-world’?? Have I broken some sort-of barrier?!?! Could this mean the end?? Now that he knows exactly how I feel??
Well, as it turns out, my new guy DOES have a sense of humour and all is forgiven. He has promised to not pour over the message for every juicy detail – but come-on! You know if I have that kind of info, I wouldn’t let it go to waste.
I guess, well, I’m just saying as a warning...next time you dish with your girls...be sure that your cell phone is off.
Warning: possible spoilers ahead.
I just finished The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Dick surprized me each time I turned the page.
When I first posted on this novel I had a totally different idea of where the story was headed, but Dick threw me for a loop: more than once. The plot twists are so frequent, it's impossible to unravel the story until the very last page.
This is science fiction at it's best. Earth with a bleak and very hot future, planetary colonies on mars and the moon, psychedelic drugs and aliens; and, finally, what science fiction novel would be complete without a commentary on religion? As the novel nears the closing chapter Dick poses several questions in relation to the existance of God, as well as questioning, in a philosophical and theological manner, the belief that God created humans in His own image.
Dick deals with this brilliantly. Through the course of the novel, it is slowly revealed that Palmer Eldritch is, in fact, an alien being seeking to control the human race by introducing the drug Chew-Z to colonists and inhabitors of Terra (Earth) alike. Chew-Z transports the characters to a fantasy world while the body falls into a drug induced coma. It is here that Palmer Eldritch, or the alien being, eventually influences all people's hallucinations while taking Chew-Z. Not only that, but as his presense becomes stronger, he begins to make appearances in everyday life, blurring the lines between actual reality and the percieved reality of Chew-Z.
This is the part that blew me away. Because of Eldritch's overt and unstoppable presence at the end of the book, Barney Mayerson - the protagonist - begins to believe that the alien being behind Palmer Eldritch is, in fact, God. And so, at the end of the novel, Dick answers his own question as to the truth of our creation. If we are made in the image of God, and God is Palmer Eldritch, then it follows that humans would look like Palmer Eldritch in appearance. Dick does just this. In the closing pages, the characters must get used to the shock of seeing themselves in the image of Eldritch, with his mechanical eyes and arm and huge metal teeth.
Including a religious commentary these days is risky, especially if not done well. Dick incorporaties these questions expertly, integrating the religious theme flawlessly with the rest of the science fiction elements.
Such an interesting read!
Have a good one!
So, I couldn't do it. I put Pillars down and started reading a tried and true author: Philip K Dick.
I like Dick for several reasons; first, because his stories are like nothing else out there, totally bizarre and off the wall; second, I enjoy his semi-satirical writing style; and lastly, I love how the worlds he created so long ago (Three Stigmata was first published in 1965) are like predictions for today's world. The technology he envisions, like 'homeopapes,' is reminiscent of the online newspapers of contemporary times. He has even created an instant messaging system called " 'stant messages." Hello text messaging! In fact, Dick has even discovered the answer to global warming.
In the future of the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Dick creates a world where, by just after sunrise, the earth's surface is already to hot to support human life. This is what I find so wonderful and disturbing about Dick's writing, this novel is an uncanny look into our own possibly bleak future. Dick's answer to this very realistic problem: either live underground and avoid the great outdoors at all costs; or, fast-forward the evolutionary process, why not! This is genius. The characters with enough wealth can purchase E therapy, speeding up the evolution of humans. Not only does the brain get bigger, but the body develops a thick hairy shell which protects one from the unforgiving sun. I think this is the perfect solution. So many people are already willing to ignore global warming, so why not grow a skin barrier, a permanent layer of ultra powerful sunscreen if you will, to combat this pesky problem. This evolutionary therapy will coincide flawlessly with the already established and popular practice of plastic surgery; however, this treatment will only be available to the rich and famous so us poor suckers will have to stay indoors.
But guess what? Dick has a solution for that too! If it's too hot to go out and you can't evolve with the best of them, just take some drugs and everything will be A-Okay!
I love it. There is an answer for everyone. Governments won't have worry about reducing greenhouse gases, celebrities will have a new fad treatment to go on about and can continue driving their gas guzzling hummers around, and no one else will care because they will be so whacked out on drugs. Awesome.
The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet...To keep reading or to not keep reading, that is the question
Why, you ask? Why submit myself to this torture? Well, there have been times when I just couldn't take it anymore and I closed the book and put it down; however, while browsing my shelves for another better book to read, I am suddenly overcome with a feeling of overwhelming guilt. I actually feel like I'm letting the author down. What if the book gets really good and has a terrific ending? What if there is more substance to the characters than previously revealed? What if, what if, what if?
I have tried to remedy this little quirk of mine and I have, for the most part, been successful. Until now. Ken Follet's The Pillars of Creation has reawakened my past guilt.
Usually a strong advocate of boycotting Walmart, I one day found myself with a long wait on my hands and no bookstore in sight. But, of course, there are a gazillion Walmarts littering this country, so I set my prejudices aside and went to check out their book selection. I should have trusted my gut. After perusing their books for all of sixty seconds (it usually takes me hours before I can drag myself away from a bookstore), I realized that my choices were slim: romance novels, self-help or The Pillars of Creation. The choice was obvious for me; I went with the historical fiction, usually a safe bet.
So here is my dilemma. The book totals 970 odd pages, approximately 300 of which I have read. The book started off well with exciting and page turning scenarios. I'm not familiar enough with the history of the time to notice any glaring inconsistencies and the writing and details seem to fit the time period. Then, at about page 200 the story started to drag. I've invested another 100 pages and now must decide to read on, or not, as the case may be. It seemed to have potential at the beginning and I'm kind of curious to see where the story goes in the next 600 pages; but, am I wasting my time? I could be spending the time it would take to read the rest reading a really really good book. There are so many I would like to read and the list seems endless; but, what if I miss out on the best book ever because I'm intent on finishing Pillars of the Earth just for the sake of assuaging my ridiculous guilt?
A dilemma indeed. What to do? I think I'll give it another hundred pages. LOL.