Friday, August 29, 2008
The descriptions of the actual murders are somewhat gruesome, but it was a terrible act of violence and this non-fiction account makes it that much more realistic. Drennan’s tone can be casual at times and overly academic at other times. The author also interjects odd facts and anecdotes which lightens the tone and also places the events in their historical context. Drennan includes information about Wright’s childhood and family which helps the reader understand more about his personality, and he ends the book with information about how this event influenced Wright’s future as an architect. I preferred reading Loving Frank first because Drennan’s book makes some assumptions that the reader is already familiar with the story and it also helped me realize which parts of Horan’s book were truly fictionalized. My quest about Wright will continue next with DVDs including the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick film, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Some of Wright’s biographies and his autobiography make reference to their affair but the full story about their relationship has never been told. Much of the novel is based on facts and sources include newspaper articles, Wright’s archives, and historical events so it is difficult to easily identify when the author used her artistic license. The book also includes wonderful descriptions of Wright’s architectural gems including his home Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. I was fortunate to read a Random House Reader’s Circle paperback edition of the book so it included a reader’s guide section which includes an interview with the author and reading group questions and topics for discussion. I recommend reading it cover to cover and do not skip the Sources, and Acknowledgements sections at the end. The novel is of love and tragedy and if you do not already know the story of Wright and Cheney’s relationship you may want to investigate it either before or after you read this novel.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Two other names from memory come up this week. Yes, we all know of Sir Walter Scott but how many have actually slogged through Ivanhoe rather than remembering it from the movies? (Or was it the movie that was dull and the book lively?) And is T. E. Lawrence known more for his adventures portrayed in the movie Lawrence of Arabia than for his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom? (By the way, the screenplay of that film was by a renowned playwright born this week, Robert Bolt.)
Lots of people have read Danielle Steel , also incredibly prolific, and Georgette Heyer however. Steel is likely the most read name in contemporary romance but there are many, many challengers. Heyer, back in the first half of the twentieth century, essentially invented the genre of historical romance, particularly Regency romances by writing “in the style of” Jane Austen and explaining that period of English history to her readers. Heyer also wrote very popular historical mysteries, too. From the same era, millions were thrilled by the romantic, gothic mysteries of Mary Roberts Rinehart.
This Week’s Question: What poet born in this week was known as the “Poet Laureate of Skid Row?”
Answer to last week’s question: From now on the Glendale Central Library is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Thursday, and will still be open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, as well on 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on all Sundays except those on holiday weekends.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
To say that Jeanette Walls grew up in unusual circumstances would be an understatement. Her parents, a frustrated artist mother and alcoholic father, had a very relaxed attitude when it came to raising children. The kids were pretty much left to fend for themselves because as mother Rose Mary puts it “….kids learn from their mistakes.” Those kids learned how to get the food, though sometimes from trashcans, the clothing they needed, to keep a run-down house from collapsing as well as how to dodge the authorities. What Walls shares in THE GLASS CASTLE is the tale of a journey through childhood that most would consider a nightmare and her ultimate escape from poverty which she tells in a voice that belongs not to a victim but a victor.
Deborah Rodriquez gives us a very different look at
Answer to last week's question: And as bad as all that was that happened this week, we also put up the wrong information for the weeks of August 1 -7 on our Books and Reading page so you couldn't have answered last week's question if you tried. It will be fixed, however, by the time you read this. We sincerely apologize for the error, (But in fairness it was the perversity of the commercial programming that blew out our local style guide.) Hoping to trick you into thinking Baldwin Park was named after James Baldwin, (it wasn't), the city in California actually named for a writer born last week is Orange County's Dana Point which was specifically named for the nineteenth century writer Richard Henry Dana who wrote about landing there as a sailor in Two Years Before the Mast.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
The Glendale Public Library has a great collection of books and other materials on the Summer Olympics, including its history, prominent athletes, and defining moments that influenced the world at large.
There are also guides to help you become familiar with the host city and country, the rules of the various sports on display, and even the history of the participating countries’ flags.
In case that’s not enough, feel free to get a head start on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.