Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Feast of Love by Charles Baxter

This was a fun book club read. Lots of interesting characters all telling their stories of love to the author, Charles Baxter. It reminded me of the Raymond Carver story, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" and also the movie Love Actually.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Alexie won the National Book Award for Young Adult Fiction for this book last week. Based on his own childhood "on the rez", this "true" story rang in my ears in Alexie's own voice since we just heard him speak at KSU last week and went again to hear him at the Cleveland Public Library on Sunday. I read the book in one day. It is worthy of the award.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Channeling Mark Twain by Carol Muske-Dukes

This book is based on the real experiences of the author who taught poetry at a woman's prison. The plot is sprinkled with literary references and the original poetry of the fictional personalities, one of whom claims to be the illegitimate great-granddaughter of Mark Twain. I am gearing up to teach Huckleberry Finn so this was an appropriate read.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Send Me by Patrick Ryan

I was led to this book by Ann Patchett's high praise for it. Ryan is a graduate of the Bowling Green State University Creative Writing program and this is his first novel. I loved this quirky look at life in a dysfunctional functional family living in the shadow of the NASA launches in Florida in the 60s and 70s. He brings the saga up to present decades in several chapters, each of which almost functions as an independent short story or vignette. This book was a fun read.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sherman Alexie at Kent State University - 11/06/07

After having read Flight this summer, I was excited to go hear Sherman Alexie at Kent State University, where my son is currently a student. Alexie, whose experience in stand-up comedy was evident, spoke to the college audience about politics, religion, sexuality and veganism. I'm pretty sure he offended everyone in the audience by the end of the evening. His talk, titled WITHOUT RESERVATIONS: An Urban Indian’s Comic, Poetic & Highly Irreverent Look at the World, was largely his autobiography. I wish he had talked more about his new young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which has been nominated for a National Book Award.