Book Lovers

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Lisa See

Before Lilly can begin her foot binding, her feet are recognized as having great potential to form “perfect golden lilies.” This increases her potential for a good marriage and improved status in her village. Part of this upward mobility is a match with Snow Flower, a laotong ( “old same”) with whom she will form a lifelong friendship. Writing in the women’s language of nu shu, Lilly and Snow Flower chronicle their lives through triumphs, loss and tragic misunderstandings, a “marriage of emotions” that will change their lives forever. See’s novel presents a wonderful contrast between the rigidity of social relationships and the variety and richness of relationships among women in nineteenth-century China.

Oct 4, 2011
Anonymous
Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Foundation
Isaac Asimov

This classic science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov is the first of a trilogy that tells the story of the Galactic Empire, a human civilization set somewhere into the distant future where humanity has colonized the entire galaxy.  One man, Hari Seldon, has developed the science of psychohistory, which allows him to mathematically determine all possibilties in large societies and predict long term outcomes.  He is able to conclude that the Galactic Empire is destined to decay over the next 500 years and revert to barbarism for 30,000 years if something isn't done.  Seldon comes up with a scheme that involves establishing the Foundation which will allow knowledge to be preserved through the creation of the Encyclopedia Galactica.  The novel consists of five short stories that describe several of Seldon's predictions.  Many other authors have gone on to write books that take place in the Foundation universe.

Oct 4, 2011
Kristy
These Things Hidden
Heather Gudenkauf

In a small town in Iowa, we meet four women: Alison, who has returned to her hometown after five years in prison for a terrible crime; Brynn, Alison’s estranged sister; Charm, a young nursing student who cares for her sick stepfather; and Claire, the owner of a local bookstore. From start to finish Gudenkauf slowly reveals the secrets that connect these women in a gripping tale about family, guilt and unconditional love.

Sep 26, 2011
Anonymous
A Drink Before the War
Dennis Lehane

When a cleaning woman from the Massachusetts State House disappears with sensitive documents, private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired to find her. With a little digging they discover that this is much more complicated than a simple blackmail case: their subject possesses photographs that will ruin a congressman’s career, incite a gang war and deliver some justice for the victim of a long-forgotten crime. The first in Lehane’s Kenzie and Gennaro series, Shamus Award-winning debut is a strong introduction to key players and a great introduction to Lehane’s style of writing.

Sep 23, 2011
Anonymous
Falling Man by Don DeLillo
Falling Man
Don DeLillo

This is the story of Keith Neudecker, a lawyer and survivor of the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11/01 who shows up at his estranged wife’s apartment covered in ash and blood on the day of the attacks. It is also the story of the Falling Man, a performance artist who shows up unannounced after the attacks in business suit hanging from balconies and overpasses, like the infamous picture of the man who jumped out of the burning towers. The description of the events of 9/11 are harrowing, intense, and reflective (the beginning and end are realistic renderings). For the survivors and their families, daily events follow and routines spring up out of need to fill space vacated by lost friends amid this life-altering experience. Even though DeLillo is regarded as a more literary writer, I thought this book was accessible, though not sentimental or overtly patriotic. Recommended to anyone interested in learning about the emotional turmoil this tragic event caused.

Sep 20, 2011
Anonymous
By the Numbers
James Richardson

This noteworthy book of poems (finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry) is not your typical book of poetry (then again, what is typical in poetry?). Richardson is supreme practitioner of the aphorism, what he calls 10 second essays. They look like short prose poems and are mostly in a conversational voice, but they are certainly wise (which goes to show that not all poetic things need to come in pretty packages). Richardson writes more than aphorisms, though, spending the first section focusing on mythological gods re-imagined in present circumstances and the last section focusing on what lies beyond us as we get older (and what lies in and out of our reach). These poems are quite readable and thought-provoking, with some stream of consciousness and fragmentation mixed in to the longer poems. Recommended for anyone who doesn't like to have to go to the dictionary every other line, but also likes to think and feel something.

Sep 20, 2011
Anonymous
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
Seth Grahame-Smith

Not being a big fan of vampires but liking Abraham Lincoln, I thought I'd give Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter a try.  In Grahame-Smith's version of Lincoln's life, Abe isn't quite the honest guy we thought he was.  His big secret is that he hunts and kills vampires.  When his mother dies because of a failed deal with a vampire, Abraham Lincoln finds his true calling.  His vampire mentor, Henry Sturges, knows that Lincoln is destined for great things in his life and possibly, afterlife.  After reading this book, you just might take a different look at the real causes for fighting for the Union and freeing of the slaves.  An entertaining read and destined to hit the movie theaters in June 2012.

Sep 6, 2011
Susan
Physics of the Future - Michio Kaku
Physics of the Future
Michio Kaku

In this fascinating book, physics professor Michio Kaku extrapolates on current trends in science and technology to predict what we will see within the next thiry years as well as all the way to 100 years from now.  He discusses the future of computers, artificial intelligence, medicine, nanotechnology, energy, space travel and wealth.  Some of his interesting predictions include contact lenses that allow us to access the internet and nanobots that course through our veins to easily repair our ailments.  It appears very clear that technology is only accelerating and the future is coming sooner than we think.

Sep 1, 2011
Kristy
Blindness
Jose Saramago

In an unnamed city, a man stops his car at a traffic light and loses his sight. A man helps him home, and is struck blind a few hours later. His wife takes him to an eye doctor, who loses his sight later that evening, along with everyone else in his office. This blindness quickly spreads throughout the city. As more and more lose their sight, the blind are quarantined in an effort to control the contagion, though it eventually spreads throughout the city. One woman retains her sight as those around her lose theirs, and is left as the only one to witness as everything around her breaks down in the panic that engulfs her city. A beautifully written tale of hope in a time of helplessness.

Sep 1, 2011
Anonymous
Self-Made Man
Self-Made Man
Norah Vincent

Norah Vincent is not a cross-dresser or transgendered, but she decides to live 18 as a man to see what it's really like.  She gets herself into a variety of interesting situations in order to learn how differently people perceive her as a man, as well as how her new identity affects how she sees the world.  She joins a bowling league, becomes a salesman, goes on dates, attends a men's retreat and even spends some time living with monks in a monastary.  Norah "comes out" eventually to the majority of the people she meets about her undercover book identity and surprisingly many of them are understanding and amused with her experiment.

Aug 22, 2011
Kristy

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