Friday, July 31, 2009

The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

This book is so unique, I don't know where to begin. Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a twelve year old cartographer. His drawings fill the margins of the story which takes him from his home in Montana to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C. Stephen King described the book as a cross between Mark Twain and Little Miss Sunshine, and I would have to agree. There an awesome
website for the book.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson

I was a big fan of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoolast year, so I anxiously awaited the sequel. Although crime fiction is not normally my thing, these books are entertaining, page turners and I loved this book as well. Of course they are the next Da Vinci Cods; of course I can see them being made into movies. But they make for a great summer read.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Mostly a one day beach read, Little Bee is one of two narrators in this gripping story about a Nigerian refugee who finds her life dependent upon a British magazine socialite.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ravens by George Dawes Green

Another road trip book - this time on audio. Ravens is a twisted tale of two sickos from, where else, Ohio, who hold a family hostage to insure their split of a lottery win. Funny and pretty sick, in a Chuck Palinuik sort of way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Potential Hazardss of Hester Day: A Novel in 1400 Miles by Mercedes Helnwein

Thanks to the public library in Strongsville and their great display of road trip books, we picked up this gem before heading to Alabama for the annual "dead author" Lackey road trip. I read the book aloud as David drove and it was a hoot. Hester graduates from high school, impulsively marries the odd guy she has met in the public library, kidnaps her nephew and heads across country in an RV. Perfect road trip reading. Hester has the voice and gumption of Juno. We loved this book.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Road Home by Rose Tremain

I had read about this Whitbread winner and decided because it is about a restaurant I'd give it a try. It is a somewhat sad story of Lev, who flees Eastern Europe for London, where he works in a posh restaurant before encountering all sorts of road blocks on the road that eventually leads him home.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Our July book club book was this year's Pulitzer winner and the best book I have read in a while. Olive is the central character in a series of interlocking short stories. I would consider teaching one or more of these in AP - maybe in relation to Winesburg, Ohio

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo

This was a suggestion from Mary Pat Murphy, my yoga teacher. It is a road trip book about a man named Otto Ringling, who travels to North Dakota to take care of his parents estate following their deaths in an auto accident. He had assumed his psychologically "interesting" sister would be making the trip with him, but she was busy investigating past lives of her clients. Instead, she sent her guru, Volvo Rinpoche, along for the ride. I found the book especially interesting because they visit Chagrin Falls and a few other Ohio sites on their cross country trip, which, of course, softens Otto and helps him see the landscape through new eyes.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Hot House Flower and the 9 Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin

It isn't what you think! I saw an ad for the book in the Times Book Review and read that Julia Roberts is going to star in the movie version. I read a few reviews which sounded promising and ordered it from the library. It is not the steamy, fluffy romance novel that the title suggests. Instead, I would call it the botanical equivalent of Indiana Jones. Protagonist Lila Nova buys a bird-of-paradise from a ruggedly handsome plant man who introduces her to the myth of the Nine Plants of Desire. When she meets Armand, Laundromat owner, who claims to have all nine plants in his back room, the plot takes off. Lila travels to the Yucatan, encounters scorpions and snakes, meets a few more mysterious characters and finally returns to New York in this mysterious, entertaining adventure novel. Beach reading at its best.

Friday, July 03, 2009

A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev

This lovely novel by one of Israel's most celebrated novelists is a story of the past and present of protagonist Yair Mendelsohn. Israel's 1948 war of independence and the role of homing messenger pigeons is interwoven with love stories of two sets of characters in two very different times.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee

This debut novel by former Elle editor Janice Lee follows the life of Claire Pendleton, who is hired to give piano lessons to the child of a wealthy Chinese couple. Both love story and Chinese military history, I enjoyed this sweeping saga.