At the start of A Quiet Death, Hannah Ives is riding the Washington D.C. metro when her train crashes. Though injured herself, she tries to help a fellow passenger who is very badly hurt. In the confusion, she ends up with a shopping bag he was carrying. Eventually she reads the letters it contains in order to return the bag to him.
I picked up the book because I was interested in the Washington D.C. setting and that promise was fulfilled. Marcia Talley does well in portraying a city that revolves around the government – for example, the subtleties of how prestigious a restaurant is – based on the level of the bureaucrats who frequent it.
The mystery itself, however, seemed a bit contrived. Instead of checking with transit or police officials who may be able to locate the mystery passenger, Hannah decides to find him herself, relying on simple google searches. Nothing very intriguing there. Security is also lax at Fox, I mean Lynx, News where Hannah drops in to interview their news anchor, whom she’s never met.
A pleasant read, but not a real page turner.
How often do you actually gasp with surprise anymore? Towards the end of Crazy, Stupid, Love, the many plot strands of this movie come together and there is a “reveal” that is truly unexpected.
I applaud director Glenn Ficarra for adeptly weaving together so many relationships and wonderful performances, especially by Emma Stone. She and Ryan Gosling have a chemistry, rivaled only by that between Gosling and Steve Carell. When the last two have a falling-out, it’s almost more upsetting than the breakup of Carell and Julianne Moore. Gosling, as the epitomy of cool confidence, is a pleasure to watch. (There is a scene that will have you running to the library catalog to see if Dirty Dancing is on the shelf)
Go now, and have the time of your life-
If you ever need a DVD for all generations – say, around the holidays…, Miss Potter is perfect for this situation – it is whimsical without being overly saccharine.
This is a peek into Victorian society – in which Beatrix is encouraged from childhood on to exploit her talent as an artist, yet her parents are bound by rigid class lines when it comes to marriage.
The cast is filled with great British character actors, including Barbara Flynn and Bill Paterson as Beatrix’ parents. And the wonderfully weird chaperone, Miss Wiggin, is played by Matyelok Gibbs. Emily Watson plays the sister of Beatrix’ fiance, who immediately adopts Beatrix as a soulmate and friend.
As a bonus, it is beautifully produced with a wonderful soundtrack by Katie Melua. Even though this isn’t technically a holiday movie, it will add a bit of magic to this festive season.
Don’t forget to check out the actual books (The Tailor of Gloucester was Beatrix’ favorite and perfect for the Christmas season).
Another cool feature of our new catalog is ….wait for it…
It’s Friday night and you see that a dvd you want for the weekend is in at the East Moline Public Library.
You click on the title of the dvd, then choose Map It and you’ll get a Google Map of the greater Quad-City area. Hover over the yellow balloon (yellow balloons mean that the item is on the shelf). You’ll see the library’s hours, phone number and directions to the library.
How cool is that?
Have you ever read a book that was so good, you were sure you’d have no trouble remembering the title or author? Weeks later you want another book by that author; it turns out that the jumble of words you’re able to recollect don’t add up to anything that’ll retrieve the book.
Our brand new catalog has many exciting new features including “Reading History”. If you choose to ”opt in” – from that point on, a list of what you’ve checked out will be saved.
If you decide that you don’t want the information saved any longer, all the data will be deleted.
So say goodbye to keeping lists – in notebooks, on pieces of scrap paper or in any of dozens of websites. We’ll do the work for you!
True Love (And Other Lies) by Whitney Gaskell has an interesting premise and a promising heroine.Things I like – Clare is funny and snarkily irreverent about her job as a travel writer for the magazine, Sassy Seniors!
Based in New York, she must evaluate destinations with an eye for early-bird specials and frugal accommodations. Usually, when she gets to travel, she’s sent to budget hotels in American cities.When she finally gets an opportunity to go to London, she feels the time spent paying her dues has paid off.
(Actually the reason I am reading the book is because I did a search for novels about travel or travel writers).
Stephanie Gayle’s story of a disgraced lawyer who moves from Manhatten to Macon,Georgia has all the ingredients of a standard chick lit novel – a young, attractive female in a glamorous profession who places her trust in a wildly untrustworthy cad and is now trying to rebuild her life with new friends, in a new job, in a new city.
Gayle, however, nearly forgets to include a new romance for her heroine, Natalie Goldberg. Instead, the real strength of My Summer of Southern Discomfort is in the relationship the Bostonian daughter of a legendary civil rights lawyer develops with Ben, her Southern, conservative co-worker, as the two of them try a death penalty case together. Natalie and Ben learn to respect the strenghs each one brings to the trial and it’s preparation.
The book is actually a hybrid of genres – legal fiction/romance. A love interest for Natalie is hurriedly tacked on at the end of the book, so the book does earn it’s embossed Chick Lit stamp.
The beginning of the audiobook version of this book is fun – especially if you are also a Little House fan. You’ll have many “I felt like that too!” moments, as the author describes her love of what she calls “Laura World.”
Wendy McClure, the author of The Wilder Life is on the extreme end of the Little House research continuum, however. After a while, I found myself withdrawing – wishing I hadn’t heard that bit of myth debunking. I was quite happy believing that most things in the books were based on emotional, if not factual, truth.
Of special interest are the details about how the tv series overtook the books in popularity and the legal battles over the “Little House” brand, or LHOP, as the author calls it.
The end is satisfying and thought-provoking. McClure ties in what she learned about how Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder told their stories with how she came to terms with memories of her mother.
Naomi Levy wrote Hope Will Find You as she was in the midst of her daughter’s health crisis. Spending much of her time in doctor’s waiting rooms, and trying to deal with the uncertainty of the diagnosis, Naomi began, unsurprisingly, to show signs of depression. She’d suspended her enjoyment of life and her career as a rabbi.
This book is a series of very short chapters that chronicle her climb out of that despair. She gains wisdom from other rabbis, mentors and, most of all, Noa, her daughter. Noa suffers from learning and physical disabilities, that may or may not be fatal. She is incredibly positive and energetic, and she is the one who actually comes up with the title.
One of Naomi’s breakthroughs is a realization that she can’t let her fear of the unknown destroy the happiness she can enjoy with her family and friends now. As Naomi lets go of her crippling fear, she is able to go back to work and even starts a new congregation.
Not only is her story inspirational, the book is a fascinating glimpse into Judaism and the Jewish principles of faith.
Be sure to read Lynn’s first impressions of this book here!
I’d have to say this didn’t sustain it’s promise. Not a short book (436 pages), To Be Sung Underwater peters out and gets repetitious. The romance between Judith and Willy, Judith’s present-day career problems, her relationship with her husband and daughter…. all these plot strands show promise and you wonder what’s going to happen, but there’s no real payoff for investing so much time in them.
McNeal has a few literary ticks – he repeats adjectives again and again: the “flutish” sound of the wind, as well as portentous phrases such as “she would realize later…” or “she’d always remember such and such later…”
After a while, you realize this isn’t a book about plot; it’s a book about place. The dry, remote landscape of northwestern Nebraska is what’s really memorable. The people who pass through it are transitory and not that important in the long run, as Willy comes to believe.
That may be true but I still felt like Judith’s story arc wasn’t completed. If you are a reader who likes resolution and closure, this may not be the book for you.