Information, Answers & Reviews

September's Books Plus Discussion

Major PettigrewBoth a British comedy of errors and a sweet love story, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand has enough to please a wide range of readers. Major Pettigrew is retired and living a quiet widow's life in a small town in Sussex. As his friendship with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper, becomes something more, complications - both large and small, funny and serious - arise. Join us to discuss Simonson's first novel next week during our monthly Books Plus book discussion.

For more details of this and future programs, please see below.
Books Plus meets the first Sunday of each month. All are welcome. Join the discussion or simply come to listen.
2 p.m., First Sundays
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Turn of Mind

Turn of MindThis week Tennessee Lady Vol's basketball coach, Pat Summitt, made headlines with her announcement that she had developed Alzheimer's disease. Coincidentally, I was reading this very readable novel on the same subject.

But how do you write a book from the viewpoint of someone suffering from this disease? Not only write it but combine it with a family drama and a murder mystery? This engrossing book does all of these beautifully.
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Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout

Fire SeasonThis book describes my dream job, being a fire lookout out west. I could handle the wild creatures, the solitude, even the lightning strikes, but maybe not cleaning out the cistern after vandals pollute it. In the tradition of writers, Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Edward Abbey and Norman Maclean. Philip Connors leaves his job as a Wall Street Journal editor and while on vacation signs up on the spot to detect fires for the National Forest Service, or as he jokingly calls it "The National Forest Circus."
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Mark Twain Tonight w/Hal Holbrook

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"I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices." Mark Twain -- A Biography

Hal Holbrook's recreation of Mark Twain in the one man show Mark Twain Tonight has long been a favorite of mine. Mark Twain was controversial in life and has remained so long after his death. One of his most famous books Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been called everything from the father of the American novel to trash, though the latter has been for differing reasons through the years. Often we forget that Mark Twain was not just a writer. He was, in his time, highly regarded and in demand on the lecture circuit. Today we might think of him as a standup comic. Read more »

Forbidden Lie$

Here's another "WOW!" alert. Talk about a web of lies, deceit and confusion; they most certainly exist in this new documentary called, Forbidden Lie$. There are as many twists and turns as there are in just about any action-packed thriller. First though, you need to understand the background information.

In 2003, a Jordanian woman known as Norma Khouri published a book called, "Honor Lost: Love and Death in Modern Day Jordan." Read more »

How to be Good

How to be GoodAs a person raised Catholic, I was drawn to the topic of this novel. Who doesn't want to be a kind, caring person? To do good works? To make the world a bit better each day? OK, maybe not serial killers, some Wall Street tycoons, mafia types, mercenaries, etc. but on the whole most people try (at least part of the time) to be good.

This 2001 Nick Hornby novel zeroes in on Dr. Katie Carr, a London wife and mother, who deals with boils and warts and patients struggling to breathe. She's a physician for Britain's National Health Service. She's married to David, a stay-at-home husband who writes an acerbic column for the local paper about all the myriad things that send him into rages, for instance, the elderly not taking their reserved seats in the front of bus and annoying other passengers by tottering when the bus suddenly stops.
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Rubber

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The first thing I want to tell you about Rubber, directed and written by Quentin Dupieux, is that I really wanted to hate this film. I mean it, I really wanted to hate the film; but I couldn't. Read more »

"Why Do We Care About Literary Awards?"

Jamrach's MenagerieAsking that question is Mark O'Connell at The Millions. He makes a good point: it is kind of ridiculous how seriously people take these things, how offended people can get if their favorite isn't chosen. There's no way for one award to please everyone, to choose the one book that is truly, objectively the best--there is very little "objective" anything when it comes to art. However, for librarians these awards are pretty indispensable. You'll see plenty of posts on this blog, for example, about winners and shortlists. We use them when deciding what to buy, what to recommend to people, what to read ourselves. Maybe it would be better if everyone read all of the books and judged every one for themselves, but that's never going to happen. Read more »

Hot Chelle Rae: Tonight Tonight

I decided to take a look at Freegal again to see what was going on. I noticed that along the left hand side of the website are the top ten downloads from our library patrons. Next to that are the national top ten downloads from other people across the country. Read more »

The Prisoner

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In the late 60's we were in the Vietnam War and the Cold War with Russia still seemed like a serious threat. Spy shows and movies like the James Bond series and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. were popular. Patrick McGoohan was an actor in one of the more popular ones known as Danger Man in Great Britain and Secret Agent Man in the U.S. and he asked himself a question; "What would happen if an agent with very sensitive knowledge should resign from the service without giving a clear reason for his doing so?"
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