Book Clubs

Bluestocking Monarda in my garden

Please send in your comments about your bookclub (s) of what you are reading now. One of my book clubs (the BBC – for Bluestocking Book Club, or Bas Bleu Club, or Brunch Book Club, depending on origin) met yesterday (at Jaspers so someone else does the cooking and cleaning, but it is a delightful atmosphere with good food), and as always we discussed books. Not just any books, but books that you finish reading and simply MUST share with someone. Especially someone you know likes that author or that genre.
I loved seeing a Friends’ face when I laid my copy of The Whisperer by John Connolly on her place setting. She was in need of the next good read, and travelling soon. She was also the person who introduced me to Harlan Coban, in the Friends’ Bookstore, as we exchanged if you like him, read this! We passed around multiple copies of the Ariana Franklin Mistress of the Art of Death series. There was much discussion about the new Alexander McCall Smith series, while some were also catching up on his previous novels and series. New poetry suggestions, one of our friends is on the COVER of a new book, as her husband did a stunning photograph. It is rather mysterious but very beautiful. Now I need to buy that book too!
I am into reading nonfiction at the moment, with historical writing in New England my next work topic. As I was trying to sleep last night I was thinking I really needed something lighter to read, to ease the sleep process!
So = any and all book recommendations will be appreciated. I will be in the Bookstore today to have a look at new titles/acquisitions and will describe some of the best for you later!
Continue that Summer Reading and remember the Friends Reading Contest, creating alist of what you are reading – free books!

NPR Mystery list

Helen McIver thought you would be interested in this NPR story: Killer Thrillers Finalists: The Complete List
(this was an email from their website).
I just had to share this list of 100 mysteries that are being voted on for the top 10mysteries! OK, they are missing a few of my all time favourites (where is John Connolly, Thomas Perry, Robert Louis Stevenson?!!) but this list has sent me to the library with great anticipation! Hope you enjoy the reading!
I have returned from weeks away and have two boxes of books waiting for me (thank heavens for shipping!) as well as a camera full of photos (many of book titles, reading ideas, literary possibilities)and so much more. This will be a busy blog week as I sort through everything, with internet access to share!

Summer reads, John Connolly

Read nine of the books on my Kindle list and loved them. Now heading for the John Connolly new book The Whisperers…can’t recommend unless you have read the others in this Charlie Parker PI series. I have thoroughly enjoyed them all, shared them with many, and have had reciprication, with the arrival of this new book in my post box!!! A dear friend sent this to me, to read while I was in New England. I was actually avoiding reading it here because it is bound to be scary, I would have to have all the lights on in the house, and would probably end up depressed (Well, the book would be finished until the next one, another year or two, and the human race doesn’t always come off well, e.g. these are all too real books.). I am about to start reading though! It is a dilemma, as I can’t finish it tonight and do I really want nightmares? He writes about places I love, with people I recognize. And there are a few restaurants that he comments on, that really ARE worth finding! My mouth is watering for those lobster rolls, and a good pint.

Next Contest! Dog Days of Summer

The next contest is Dog Days of Summer.

Submit a photo of your favorite Dog Days of Summer related reading material. Photo can include your favorite spot to stay cool, your best canine friend, your best human friend, etc! Include a caption or short commentary on what makes a good Dog Days book to read. The best entry will win a book of your choice from our prize bookshelf. Entries must be submitted by August 16, 2010.

Official Rules

Amandine by Marlena deBlasi

I have been a fan of de Blasi since reading her first memoir 1000 days in Venice. I think this is her first venture into fiction (she has also written cookbooks!). Amandine is lovely novel in many ways – the prose is stunning, evocative, brutal, poignant; the characters are innocent, strong, cruel, amazing, normal, heroic, challenging and endearing. The story is amazing, while feeling real, with character development, war atrocities, true friendship, dysfunctional families, and with more than a dollop of hope. The latter I am still not sure about (the ending is a cliff hanger really, perhaps she meant for you to think ah ha, of course, but I am more cynical in this world and it could break my heart). So much of this novel/story is steeped in sadness already.
I think this was an interesting novel because the major characters are all great women (smaller voices with some equally wonderful men) – interesting, great depth, character development, challenges with society, religion, cliques, poverty, war, ….. The more you think about what was packed into the book, the better the book becomes.
It starts off in 1931, Krakow Poland with a princess becoming an unwed mother; she is told her baby dies, but in fact the grandmother sends the child to a convent in Montpelier, expecting the child’s death. How this innocent child precariously survives with an endless bright spirit and enchanting soul makes the life all the more tragic. The portrayal of abandonment and loss are very sincere and touching. And countered with the kindness of strangers and the development of strong bonds. A great summer read.

Louise the Adventures of a Chicken

Travelling is another venue for audio books. I love Kate DiCamillo’s books, and this book: Louise, the Adventures of A Chicken won this year’s Caldecott winner for children’s audio books. The Stowe Library in Vermont is where I started listening to children’s books on cassette tapes (all those years ago), so when I returned this year, for old time sake, I listened to this one. It is hysterical! Hilarious! Fun! it is only 20 minutes, but I have to go get myself a copy to re-listen to this. Louise is a French hen who has Indiana Jones adventures – and the sound effects alone are terrific. But the story is delightful and will captivate all listeners.

Paradise under Glass

Paradise under Glass : an amateur creates a conservatory garden. By Ruth Kassinger 2010. This is a library book donated by Jasper and Cynthia Daube (they are lovely patrons and supporters of the Library). And this is a wonderful book – a good read, interesting, informative and funny. Ruth wandered into the US Botanic Garden conservatory in Washington DC and decided she needed to learn how to garden. Mind you that is a very impressive site/sight. I have been there many times and love it! I understand the wow factor and the desire to go right home and recreate something. But she couldn’t even grow house plants! At the same time she needed a passion and a refuge.
Of special interest, it gives an history of greenhouses, orangeries, follies, fernieries, etc. NB this photo is of a flock of sculptured sheep grazing on a NE town meadow…..