Book Lovers

Amexica: War Along the Borderline
Ed Vulliamy

It seems like we're being bombarded with news reports of the discovery of mass graves and mass executions near the Mexican-American border on almost a daily basis.  We're told that all the violence is the result of warring drug cartels fighting over money and territory.  In Ed Vulliamy's book, Amexica: War Along the Borderline, we are given a different perspective on the cause of the brutality not being simply and solely drug trafficking.  Vulliamy travels from west coast to east coast making the case that globalization based on cheap labor plays a large part in the escalating bloody events.  The issues surrounding what is currently happening along the shared border are complex and this book shows how this is a problem for both Mexico and America.  

Apr 26, 2011
Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman

"Fat Charlie" Nancy's estranged father has just died. Mr. Nancy loved pulling pranks, and he utterly humiliated Fat Charlie as a child, but Mr. Nancy enjoyed tricking everybody, which makes sense considering he was Anansi, the trickster god, in human form. While back home for the funeral, Fat Charlie learns he has a brother, Spider, who was sent away as a boy. By accidentally summoning Spider, Fat Charlie unleashes a considerable amount of trouble into his life and must find someway to reclaim what's his. This is a must-read for those who enjoy myth and folktales set in the modern day.

Apr 22, 2011
Kent Haruf

This is group of stories within a story is an extension of Haruf’s earlier “novel”, Plainsong, a finalist for the National Book Award. At the center of stories is a rancher named Raymond McPheron and his brother, Harold, and the quiet life they live raising cattle on the High Plains outside of Holt, Colorado, and the young woman with child they took in 3 years before who sets off to college with her child and leaves the two brothers feeling lonelier than ever. Also involved in these stories is; a young mother whose husband isn’t returning and the quiet, efficient neighbor boy who lives with his grandpa; a couple on food stamps and their children; and the social worker that is trying to help the couple. These stories are all about small-town life and small-town connections, which can be created in the blink of an eye- and last a lifetime. Full of decent people dealing with hard situations the best they can (and a few bad people making their lives difficult), this book is well worth a read or a listen (we have both).

Mar 30, 2011
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder
Richard Louv

Kids all over America are suffering from what Richard Louv calls "Nature Deficit Disorder", an issue which is causing an ever-deepening disconnection between kids and nature and which will have repercussions for this and future generations interactions with the natural world. The root causes for this are many, according to Louv, including: living in a liability-happy world (i.e., no more kid-made treehouses); an increase in homework; parental overscheduling of kids' time with afterschool activities; the attention-sucking abilities of TV and video games; urban sprawl (reducing areas kids are able to play in nature); and more. Louv suggests helping your child find a self-directed space in nature where they can be curious and creative, whether be in your own yard, a park, or some open space in the neighborhood. Kids who have this have been shown to be more relaxed and creative (helping greatly with ADHD and autism). A fascinating read for parents, teachers, and administrators alike.

Mar 26, 2011
Connie Willis

In this Nebula Award-winning novel, Connie Willis mixes historical fiction and science fiction in Blackout, a tale of time travel to Blitz-era Britain. In Oxford in 2060, historians have the ability to perform first hand research by traveling to historical periods of interest and interact directly with the period’s contemporaries (or "contemps"). A handful of young researchers head back to various parts of the Second World War only to find that their portals back to the present are no longer functioning-that they are trapped in the London Blitz with no idea how they will get back to the 21st century. The conclusion of this tale, All Clear, is also available.

Mar 24, 2011
Running with Scissors
Running with Scissors
Augusten Burroughs

In this memoir Augusten Burroughs describes his bizarre and somewhat tramatizing adolescence with humor and candor.  At the age of 13 his unbalanced self-absorbed mother sends him to live with her therapist Dr. Finch and his family.  We quickly discover that the Finch family is hardly the pinnacle of mental health.  Dr. Finch allows his 14 year old daughter Natalie to begin an inappropriate affair with one his rich patients who is over 20 years older than her.  His other daughter Hope is so superstitious that she becomes convinced her cat is going to die and holds it hostage in an upsidedown laundrey basket as she waits for it's demise.  Burroughs has his own dysfunctional adventures and remains in contact with his increasingly unstable mother.  At times horrifying and totally fascinating, Burroughs takes you on an interesting journey.

Mar 23, 2011
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick

Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter who begins to feel empathy toward his targets, the androids. Originally pubished in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? describes a dystopian future where, after a nuclear war, radioactive fallout blankets the Earth and many humans have fled to a colony on Mars. As organic machines, androids were created to assist humans on Mars, but a number of androids have escaped servitude and fled to Earth, where Rick Deckard is waiting to retire them. A scific classic, this novel will cause you to question what makes us human.


Mar 22, 2011
The First Assassin
John J. Miller

Set in the early days of the Abraham Lincoln presidency, The First Assassin tells the fictional story of a plot to murder the new president.  Colonel Charles Rook is in charge of Lincoln's security and is determined to make sure the president stays alive.  As the Civil War looms, a plot is hatched by a wealthy Southern with allies in Washington, D.C.  A hired assassin arrives in town as well as a runaway slave who has proof of the plot.

Mar 16, 2011
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley

Flavia De Luce is a precocious eleven year-old girl living with her father and sisters in a sleepy hamlet in postwar England. When a stranger is found dead in her garden and her father is held as a suspect, miss Flavia launches an independent investigation. Armed with her trusty bicycle and an impressive knowledge of science and physics, young Flavia stays one step ahead of the police and unravels the truth about the crime that occurs in her yard and its origins in a theft and murder decades long past.

Mar 9, 2011
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey
Arthur C. Clarke

This book was written in 1968 about a space exploration that takes place ten years ago in 2001.  A spaceship maned by two astronauts with the rest of the crew in hibernation is en route to examine a mysterious signal that is being emitted towards Saturn.  They are assisted by the self-aware computer--the Hal 9000 which has control over every component of the ship.  Hal, however is programmed a little too well and begins displaying neurotic tendencies putting everyone in danger. The beginning and end of this book almost seem like different stories but when you take it all in together it feels more cohesive.

Mar 9, 2011

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