Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
If exotic locales are your idea of a good summer vacation then The Darling by Russell Banks will be a good way to escape the realities of a hot, dry and expensive summer. Hannah Musgrave, a former member of the Weathermen Underground, tells the story of her life in
The issues concerning cloning have long surfaced in the public consciousness and will probably continue to do so for quite some time. A fictional take on this issue is explored in Mary Modern by Camille DeAngelis. A young geneticist uses some of her father’s research and a bit of modern technology to successfully clone her grandmother. Many plot twists and strange happenings ensue in the telling of this tale including the discovery of what has been done by a deranged preacher who tries to blackmail her into cloning Jesus Christ. This is a good beach book that can’t help but make the reader forget that it’s 100 degrees outside or more.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
This Week's Question: How much are writers aware of other writers? Which author born this week boastfully assessed his literary skills with previous literary greats? "I started out very quiet and I beat Mr. Turgenev. Then I trained hard and I beat Mr. de Maupassant. I've fought two draws with Mr. Stendhal, and I think I have an edge in the last one. But nobody's going to get me in any ring with Mr. Tolstoy unless I'm crazy or I keep getting better."
Answer to Last Week's Question: Probably few people know of the author of the novel series about Quakers which began with The Friendly Persuasion but many may know the movie. Jessamyn West grew up near Yorba Linda and was a Quaker though the novel, like most of her stories, was set in Indiana which she left at age six. She said, "Fiction reveals truths which reality obscures."
Monday, July 21, 2008
Janel will speak at the Glendale Central Library auditorium on Sunday, July 27, at 2:00 PM. Bring your needles and favorite yarn to enjoy the talk and learn on the spot.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Louise Erdrich has long been an author that tells a great tale and that’s what you get in The Master Butcher’s Singing Club. Set in
Leaping from the Midwest to far-off India, Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us paints a vivid picture of the lives of two families, one upper class and the other the domestics that serve them. Told from the point of view of the women of each family the story explores the relationship between the families, the constraints imposed on them by their culture as well as issues of loyalty. Well-drawn characters combined with an exotic locale make this one a good escape for a summer’s day.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Her poetry has been compared to Emily Dickinson's, and this was said by John Barr, president of The Poetry Foundation: "Halfway into a Ryan poem, one is ready for either a joke or a profundity; typically it ends in both. Before we know it the poem arrives at some unexpected, deep insight that likely will alter forever the way we see that thing."
Ryan is the author of six books of poetry, (none of which we yet have, but we'll get some.) Her most recent book. The Niagara River, is already in the Pasadena Public Library collection, accessible to both Glendale and Pasadena library card holders.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
To learn more about this amazing discovery, check out two new books at the library, The Terra Cotta Army: China’s first Emperor and the birth of a nation by John Man.
"A judicious exploration of the circumstances and meaning behind the terra cotta army interred with China's first emperor. (Kirkus Reviews)
China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors by Frances Wood
"a tightly structured, nimble pocket portrait of China's First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi." (Kirkus Reviews)
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Answer to Last Week's Question: "Be obscure clearly" was famously written by E.B. White, the author of the children's books, Stuart Little, and Charlotte's Web, but he was also the 1959 editor of the 1918 William F. Strunk book about writing concisely, The Elements of Style, to which he added essays. The book has been referred to by writers and librarians of all kinds simply as "Strunk and White" for years.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The fantasists range from Anne Radcliffe and Mervyn Peake to David Eddings, Jeff Vandermeer and Dean Koontz. The last also writes in other genres, especially mysteries where he is joined this week by Donald Westlake. We also see Marcel Proust whose seven novel great work began with a simple remembered taste of a childhood cookie. Henry David Thoreau got away from it all but he did have to work at it once he got there. Other literary names this week are Anna Quindlen, Alice Munro, and Harold Bloom (who writes about and edits literature but doesn't write necessarily literarily.) And, as most weeks have, the Nobel prizewinner this week is Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
This Week's Question: Who, born this week, advised writers to "Be obscure clearly"?
Answer to Last Weeks Question: Unlike Barbara Cartland, the famous romance novelist born this week who said "We romance writers are there to make people feel, not think", Nathaniel Hawthorne's idea of a "romance" was not a simple story of love, but a dark, complex tale with both thinking and feeling. He said "Easy reading is damned hard writing." Romanticism was the name of the nineteenth century literary and artitistic movement to which he's been associated.