Interested in revisiting an old favorite classic in a new way? Consider the graphic novel version of your old familiar favorite novel. I recently read The Hound of the Baskervilles reimagined as a graphic novel by Ian Edginton and was pleasantly surprised. This is the famous story of Sir Charles Baskerville who has suddenly died and Henry Baskerville, his nephew and the heir to his estate. Henry is being warned of danger that might befall him as he takes ownership of the manor on the moor. Sherlock Holmes and Watson travel with Henry to the moor to investigate the threat, made complicated by an escaped murderer, jealousy, mysterious family dynamics, and a possible hell hound. The characters were visually well represented including Watson, Dr. Mortimer and Mrs. Stapleton. They mystery, though well known, has enough twists and turns to keep any reader going. The visual look and use of color does well to represent the haunting and atmospheric feeling of the moor and the danger lurking everywhere. For fans of dense novels, there is still quite a bit of dialogue which is slowed down further (for a modern reader!) by the original style. I really loved the look of this graphic novel edition which often reminded me of an animated movie. Read more »
Making yourself read outside your comfort zone can end up with some total misses and some excellent surprises. In all likelihood I would have missed Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites, a graphic novel about a talking pack of animals that solve supernatural mysteries in their seemingly sweet suburban neighborhood of Burden Hill. That description wouldn't peak my interest, but also doesn't do the graphic novel justice either. The storytelling is episodic, in that there are chapters that are a complete story into itself which makes for a fast read. There is a pack of animal friends, all dogs and one orphan cat who start uncovering supernatural cases in their neighborhood. They eventually become apprentices in the Wise Dog Society to further their training in fighting these evil forces. The supernatural stories cover a wide range from an evil coven of cats, a rain of mutant frogs, werewolves, magical earthen golems, ghosts, and more. Read more »
Every year VIDA Women in Literary Arts conducts a survey to count female author representation in major literary periodicals. This survey isn't about quality or good reviews, but just about the representation, number of reviews or general press coverage that women authors are getting. The results can be viewed through a wide variety of lenses, but the graphs are admittedly a little shocking.
It would be interesting to know how the publishing numbers break down, but a quick peek at the New York Times Best Sellers hardcover list of the top 16 titles shows an exact 50/50 female to male representation. Which to me (unsing completely unscientific methods) shows that books written by women are just as popular or being read in the same numbers as books written by men. Read more »
I try to stay familiar with new books coming out, but also keep a list (on goodreads.com) so I don't miss anything great either. I recently read two great books that either were published in 2010 or enjoyed a resurgence in 2010. These two books don't have too much in common, but I missed them then, maybe you did too!
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan is a complicated contemporary novel that follows many different characters, but centers around Bennie and Sasha, who work in the music industry. We meet both of them at different points in their lives, from teenagers to older parents and the novel stretches from the Bay Area, to NYC, to Africa and Naples. Each chapter focuses on a particular character at a specific time and place with no real instruction to the reader on the how and why. Through the strength of Egan, this doesn't break down the narrative. I really enjoyed all of the voices, varied narrative structures, and cried during a chapter told as a powerpoint told by a 14 year old character previously un-introduced. This book is risky, edgy, intellectual, unafraid of emotion, and requires a lot from the reader. With all that said, it was also highly enjoyable!Read more »
Our March Books Plus will be special because Wendy Rubin will be leading a discussion on the book so many Bloomingtonians are reading, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Not only is it our 2013 One Book One Bloomington selection but it's a dystopian novel that focuses on the treatment of women.
This novel offers so many interesting questions to discuss, what makes a theocratic society, can women really be revered when they are policed by men, and how does dividing women into hierarchies based on their domestic tasks affect society. It's basically a book about good and evil. In one passage, Margaret Atwood said, "The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment when you know beyond any doubt that you've been betrayed: that some other human being has wished you that much evil.” Read more »
“Can I tell you what it’s like to live inside Millais’ painting of Ophelia?” asks Emma Forrest in her memoir, Your Voice in My Head. Forrest is already a published author and journalist when in her early 20s moves from London to New York. Her professional rise as a writer coincides with her extreme struggles with self-cutting, an eating disorder, mania, a suicide attempt, and depression.
Forrest credits a lot of her survival to psychiatrist, Dr. R. So when Dr. R dies suddenly, and then a famous Hollywood actor dumps her via text message shortly after, Forrest is left alone to pick up the pieces of her heartbreak and loss.
This isn’t the type of memoir I usually read, but I’m glad I did. Forrest walks well the line of artistic genius and insanity. You care for her, even when the choices she makes are hard to understand. Rounding out the sympathetic characters are Dr. R, and Forrest’s own parents who deal the best they can from London. Read more »
Do you have a favorite book you’d like to share with other Monroe County Public Library patrons? Impressed by the idea of a review that you wrote showing up in the library’s catalog for other patrons to find and read? If you are the kind of person who doesn’t just want to read good books, but also write about good books then we’ve got something new for you.
It is now possible for patrons who want to write reviews of library materials to do so. Visit the Create Local Reviewpage and let us know what you think of your recently read book or ebook. Maybe you listened to an audiobook, a music cd or even watched a movie you’d like other patrons to know about. Write as much or as little as you’d like, and give a rating of 1-5 stars. Once the reviews are published, they will show up in the catalog under the record for the selected title. The complete list of local reviews can be found together on our website as well.
Library staff will continue to write reviews here on this blog, but now you can share your voice too. Happy reviewing!
"My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist" is the shocking opening line of Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. This memorable novel is set in Atlanta in the mid-80s and unwraps the themes of family, love and loyalty often with some painful results. Two half-sisters are caught in the middle of the two families, one secret and one public.
Books Plus has been on a mini-break over the holidays, but the first book discussion of the year will take place next Sunday. Please join us on February 3rd to discussthis raw and memorable novel.
Books Plus meets the first Sunday of each month. All are welcome. Join the discussion or simply come to listen.
This is exactly what I am looking for in a travel book. Frazier does an excellent job in combining extensive historical research and personal travel details and interweaves them into an immensely enjoyable book. Ignore the fact that Travels in Siberia is about 600 pages long, and travels to someplace you may never get to or wish to visit.
Frazier spent several years and several trips to various parts of Siberia, and this remains the main focus of this book. The engaging factor is that none of these are just trips, and he allows for the Russian Far East to become part of his life, his passion. Supplementing the daily details of the trips, including what they ate, where they camped, what they wore, and how they suffered the army of mosquitoes, is a rich history of Siberia and the overall international implications that stem from that vast region. Read more »
In this dark vision of a future United States, the handmaid Offred is defined solely by her biological function as a child-bearer. Forbidden even to read, she tries to survive in oppressive and dangerous circumstances. The novel explores themes of power, gender conflict, the individual in society, language and storytelling. Have you read this dystopian classic?
Please visit www.mcpl.info/onebook for upcoming information on public book discussions and a related film festival. Or listen to the announcement and interview with MCPL director Sara Laughlin and MCCSC North High School librarian Kathy Loser on the Interchange radio broadcast on the WFHB website.