Friday, July 27, 2007

A blog recommendation

This recommendation came from one of my customers at the library. The blog is called No Impact Man and in the blogger's own words... "For one year, my wife, my 2-year-old daughter, my dog and I, while living in the middle of New York City, are attempting to live without making any net impact on the environment. In other words, no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets… "

After reading so many books on the subject in the past year or so, I have been increasingly concerned about the environment. I am not ready to make the kind of commitment that the author does but I really admire his dedication.

You can find his blog at

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

I love everything about Harry Potter. The biggest problem with book #7 is that it is the end of line. Harry is done. There will be no more to look forward to. I remember when the first one came out I stood up in front of a bunch of children's librarians and said something along the lines of "This book will be huge. It will be like Charlotte's Web, even people who don't read it will know who Harry is." What can I say, I love it when I am right.

Hallows had a couple of places that dragged in the middle but the ending was resolved in a way that made sense to me. I would like to go back and read them all back-to-back to see how the story arch worked as a whole but that will have to wait until the Notable Reading project is over. Otherwise, highly recommended for everyone except the snootiest of readers:)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Book Blog

My own recommendation from a blogger who is doing much better with book recommendations than I am...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee

I have been struggling through Hermione Lee's exceptionally well-written biography about Edith Wharton. It is actually quite readable but it 750 pages long and that is quite a time commitment for all but the most dedicated Wharton fans. Because one of the mandates of my committee is that a book be accessible I am really struggling with this book. Does the fact that it is the definitive work on a subject override the fact that it is not as accessible as other books on the list? Luckily, I don't have to make that decision until the end of the year (or alone) so I have plenty of time to see what else rises to the top of the reading lists this year.

Having said that, if you have any interest in Edith Wharton, this is an exceptional and quite readable biography and I do highly recommend it. It is worth the time investment if you are a fan of Wharton, American literature and/or women in history.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander

In turn, humorous and horrifying, the new Nathan Englander novel, The Ministry Of Special Cases, revisits the events of Argentina’s “Dirty War” and it's impact on the Jewish community.

Lillian and Kaddish and their son, Pato are living ordinary lives, deliberately separated from their Jewish roots. When Pato disappears, the two parents embark on a labyrinth journey that twists and turns through various governmental agencies and eventually leads them to the Ministry of Special Cases. At times almost surreal, the novel explores remembering and forgetting, evil disguised as beaurocracy and love. This novel is powerful and immediate in the way that all good historical novels strive to become.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Sometimes a book will trick you. You think it is a book about one thing and it turns out to be something completely different. This is one of those kind of books. I don't know exactly how to talk about it because talking too much about how profoundly it affected me will give away part of the ending. Anyway, this is a brilliant, beautifully written novel about the wedding night of two people in a time before sex was discussed, a time when innocence on the wedding night was expected. Lovely, lovely novel.