Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Summer Reading Program

I look forward to summer for many reasons. One reason is the library's summer reading program. The adult program requires you to read 9 of the 12 categories listed below. This encourages me to stretch from my regular reading choices. For instance, I would never pick out a western, a romance, or a collection of short stories without a bit of urging.
I have listed a book that I want to read from each category. Those choices may change without notice.

Adult Classic:
Biography: Folding Paper Cranes
Fiction Title of Choice: Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean This book looks interesting.
Jr. Classic: The Ship That Flew by Hilda Lewis I read this in eigth grade. When I checked for Jr. Classics this one showed up and I knew I wanted to reread it.
Mystery: The Husband by Dean Koontz What's there to say. I LOVE Koontz. I have requested this on Interlibrary Loan. When it comes in, I will be drop whatever else I might be reading. My daughter is reading Odd Thomas and Forever Odd and I'm so envious that she gets to read those for the first time.
Newberry Award: The View from Saturday
Nonfiction: Still undecided
Romance: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon This year I typed in "romance" on and found this one that's sounds very interesting. A mix of romance and science fiction.
SciFi/Fantasy: Still undecided, but I'm thinking about another Terry Pratchett, maybe The Color of Magic, the first in the discworld series. The first time I participated in the summer reading program, I read one of my first scifi/fantasy novels which was Mort by Terry Pratchett. I loved it!
Volume of Poetry: If I Could Speak In Silk by Judy Johns This book was recommended by mother. I've read a couple of the poems and they are good. I love the title.
Volume of Short Stories: Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett Last year I read Servants of the Map and was so impressed. Barrett manages to create vistas rather than views and lineages rather than one dimensional lifetimes. Her languge is poetic and her depth of scientific knowledge is stunning. Two years ago I read a collection of lost thrillers by Louisa May Alcott that were captivating. This is another category I wouldn't normally choose and yet it's been very rewarding reading these.
Western: Utah Blaine by Louis L'Amour I decided if I was indeed going to read a western I should try the king of western authors. This title grabbed me because I grew up in Utah. The book isn't about the state - Utah is the name of the main character.

Face Down Beneath the Eleanor Cross (#4 in the series)

by Kathy Lynn Emerson (read May 2006)
Some interesting twists and turns in this installment. Lady Susanna Appleton must defend herself agains charges of murder. To escape being burned at the stake, she interviews 3 of her husband's mistresses in search of clues to the identity of the real murderer. Emerson brings a real sense of the Elizabethian time period in addition to providing a satisfying mystery.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Birth of Venus

by Sarah Dunant (read May 2006)
Interesting historical fiction. After reading the first chapter I was full of questions I wanted answered. I enjoyed Dunant's writing well enough that I would like to try another one of her books. According to the jacket she has written a few mysteries.

The story takes place during the late 1400's in Florence, Italy when the Medici family is basically in control of the city. When Leonardo da Medici dies, a Catholic Dominican friar, Savonarola, becomes the powerful force in Florence. The protagonist, Alessandra, is caught between the Medici state with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola's suppression.

I made note of this passage that demonstrates the conundrum going on in Alessanda's thinking.
When I was a child it had all seemed so simple. There had been one God, who, though He had a voice like thunder when angry, also had enough love to keep me warm at night when I spoke to Him directly. And the more I learned and the more complex and extraordinary the world became, the deeper His capacity to accept my knowledge and rejoice with me. Because whatever man's acheivement it came first and foremost from Him. This no longer seemed true. Now man's greatest achievements seemed to be in direct opposition to God, or this God. This God was so obsessed with the Devil the He seemed to have no time for beauty or wonder, and all of our knowledge and art was condemmed as just another place for evil to hide. So now I no longer knew which God was the true one, only which was louder.

Played against this backdrop, the story centers on Alessandra who is starting to fall in love with a young artist but who is suddenly given in marriage to a man 30-years her senior.

A worthwhile read: entertaining, nicely written, intriguing and informative. I must have missed something though, because I never figured out why it was titled The Birth of Venus.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Rug Merchant

by Meg Mullins (read May 2006)
I orignially posted a reveiw of this book on this site, but have sinced moved it. I have another blog that I arrange the books I've read by genre. From this site I can print a hard copy to keep in a binder without getting the misc. posts that I have on A Reader's Journal. Also, I don't get all the sidebar stuff.

Click here: The Rug Merchant for my comments. Lotus Reads has a good review and some good links.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Reading Themes

Several years ago I read 3 books in succession that had the word 'bee' in the title. This was just by happenstance and not realized until years later when I kept getting the titles and their authors mixed up. The first was The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, the second was my book club's selection, Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter and the third was The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King. Looking back on it, I had an idea that it would be fun to do this on purpose. Well, today I was reading random blogs (because I don't have enough books piled up to read, I guess) and came across this same idea.

Reading Themes is a post listing several different reading themes. Here's a few of the categories: Places, Animals, Months, Pultizer and Garden. I thought the 100 x 100 and 7 books in 7 days both looked interesting. I'd have to read picture books to accomplish that last one! Anyway it's a fun site and an interesting idea. The site also lists some books that could be read in each category.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Face Down Among the Winchester Geese (#3 in series)

by Kathy Lynn Emerson (read May 2006)
This review has been stored to this location.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Movies Based on Books

I recently stumbled across an interesting website called Based on the Book. It's part of the Mid-Continent Public Library's site. Here you'll find a comprehensive list arranged by (1) movie title, (2) book title, (3) book author, and (4) movie release year.

'Based on the Book' is a compilation of over 1,200 books, novels, short stories, and plays that have been made into motion pictures. Utilizing the Internet Movie Database as the authority, all movies in this collection have been released as feature-length films in the United States, in English, since 1980.

Quite amazing! I mean 1,200 movies just since 1980!

My Favorite Authors

Baldaccie, David

Barrett, Andrea

Emerson, Kathy Lynn

Kidd, Sue Monk

King, Laurie

Koontz, Dean

Perry, Anne

Peters, Elizabeth

Scottoline, Lisa

Vreeland, Susan

Monday, May 08, 2006

Darkness Peering

by Alice Blanchard (Listened to May 2006)
Reviewed here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen (read Apr 2006)

Click here for book review.