Our blog about books, authors and reading

Half a Life

Half a LifeHow many times have you been distracted while driving and seen a cyclist jut into the road or a child chasing a ball, or even a scampering beagle? You brake and think, thank God. But for Darin Strauss, newly eighteen, setting out with friends for a game of Putt Putt on a warm spring day at the tail end of his senior year, things did not go that smoothly. A cyclist suddenly veered across a lane and a half--and as he braked all he saw was a yellow spoke reflector catch the light and a head crash into his windshield. For him, the worst had happened. The police cleared him, said it was not his fault. The local paper reported this, but Strauss has had to life the rest of his life with the guilt and pain of this accident.
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Bloomington Reads Week

BRLogoIt's Bloomington Reads Week! The Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools is hosting a week of reading related activities designed to focus on the importance of everyday literacy. For more information visit their website and help Monroe County focus on reading and literacy.

EVENTS
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27,11:30 to 1:00
Bring Your Own Book and Read Monroe County Courthouse Lawn
Pack a lunch, a book and a blanket and spend your lunch hour reading.
Sponsored by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, Monroe County Public Library, & FMCCS
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Books Plus Discussion for May 2011

ImageBalmy May will soon be here. And on the very first of the month, Elizabeth will lead a discussion about an American classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain's famous novel was first published in England in 1894, but still generates controversy to this day. Earlier this year, a scholar published an edited version that cleaned up some of the words, many of them based on race. The reaction was immediate and, on the whole, negative. Many people prefer the book the way Twain conceived and wrote it.
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National Parks Week

ImageNational Park Week is April 16-24 and has been created to celebrate this country's 394 National Parks. "This year's focus, Healthy Parks, Healthy People, highlights the connection between human and environmental health and the vital role America's national parks play in both."

Indiana isn't awash in National Parks, but we are blessed with amazing State Parks, State Forests and lots of opportunities for hiking and connecting with nature. Despite some possible rainy weather, what better time to celebrate nature!
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Pulitzer Prizes 2011

ImageThe 2011 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded this week and include awards for letters.

Fiction
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

History
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner

Biography or Autobiography
Washington : A Life by Ron Chernow

Poetry
The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan

General Nonfiction
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
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National Library Week - Create Your Own Story

ImageDo you know what my favorite thing about the library is? Everything! Ok, maybe I am biased because I work here but I do wonder about people who haven't discovered the riches within. Popular magazines? Check. The latest Michael Koryta? Check. The Wall Street Journal? Check. Nora Roberts, book discussions, graphic novels, Paolo Bacigalupi, and downloadable audio and ebooks? Check and check.
Why the celebration of the library?

It's National Library Week!
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New Poetry Books

National Poetry MonthIt's April and National Poetry Month is in full swing. It's easy to see why a large group of poets, librarians, and publishers chose April to promote this wonderful art, for as e.e.cummings said, "in Just-/ spring when the world is mud-lucious... and puddle-wonderful." Here are several contemporary books that I found compelling.
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Road to Perdition

Road to PerditionI saw the film based on the graphic novel by Max Collins long before reading the book. I liked the movie ok, but I loved the graphic novel Road to Perdition. Set in the early 1930's the story takes place in the midwest told from the perspective of a now-grown Michael O'Sullivan Jr. Not knowing what his father does for a living Michael Jr. stows away in his car one night to see for himself. Unfortunately his father is the "Angel of Death" for the local mob boss, John Looney. Michael Jr. witnesses a murder committed by Looney's son and is discovered.

No More Dirty Looks

No More Dirty LooksHave you ever read the back of your shampoo bottle and wondered what all those ingredients actually are? Then No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt is for you. The beauty product industry is both huge and powerful and generally don't want consumers to know that most of their products contain thousands of chemicals that can readily be absorbed through our skin. Many of these chemicals are known irritants, and some are possible carcinogens. Read more »

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

Age of WonderIf you only read one book about science this year, let this be the one. Richard Holmes has somehow managed to meld a compendium of 18th and 19th century scientific biographies into a compelling narrative that is part travelogue, part scientific exploration, and all magical. He begins with the story of Joseph Banks who travelled the South Seas with Captain Cook as the expedition's botanist, a position he paid for and equipped with many new instruments and two great mastiffs. Banks was one of the earliest westerners to visit Tahiti. He soon learned the language and basically abandoned his botanical studies to become an anthropologist in Paradise.
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