Saturday, August 20, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
So the last book of summer - better make it one worth talking about on the first day of school!
On Friday morning, David and I spent our last weekday of summer visiting Lucky's Cafe in Tremont because we had heard about the great breakfasts at Lucky's (which did not disappoint). But we also had the serendipitous adventure of finding a new independent bookstore in Cleveland - just as we were being disgusted by the number of cars in the Border's parking lot for the Going Out of Business Sale!
We happened upon Visible Voice bookstore and (say it ain't so) Wine Bar in Tremont. We went in and admired the space - just the right amount of books for browsing, with a full stock of wine behind the cash register and a side patio music venue. Perfect!
Wandering around, chatting with Mitch who was working behind the counter, I complimented him on the store and added that we do not need any new books. But my eyes were drawn to the cover of Miss Peregrine's Home - a book I had seen on the shelf at Carmichael's Books in Louisville at the beginning of the summer. Written by a guy who graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio and featuring the oddest collection of found photographs, it still called to me, and looked like an easy and intriguing "last weekend of summer" read. A little bit like Lemony Snicket for adults, the book trailer I found is a perfect introduction to the mystery of peculiar children on a mysterious island and a little time travel thrown in for good measure-
Book Trailer on YouTube
Author Explains Photos

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

The Family Fang: A Novel
As the end of the summer approaches, I panic about which books I most want to spend my last days reading. I had The Family Fang on my library order list, but rather than wait I downloaded the book to my iPad and I'm so glad that I did. The premise of this novel is deliciously nutty - Caleb and Camille Fang are performance artist to raise their two children, Annie and Buster, to accept their gonzo-theatrical lifestyle as "the norm". These characters are crazy, their mad-cap stunts are hysterical, and the issues of family and art at the center of the novel are pretty genuine. Go to the author's website to see his tattoo of the cover art of this book, which even he believes people will be talking about long enough to keep his tattoo in fashion - Kevin Wilson's Blog

A Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlant

Turn of Mind
There certain books, given the status of my life, that I should not read - and I knew this was one from the start. A crime novel about an osteopathic surgeon with early-onset Alzheimers who may have murdered her best friend and surgically removed four fingers from the corpse is not the best book for a reader who almost daily visits her mother in an Alzheimers facility. But after I tried to convince a shopper at my - then - local Borders that I knew the title of the book he was looking for even though the helpful Border's employee did not, I decided to get it from the library and give it a go. Yes - it disturbed me beyond compare. Yes - it gave creepily accurate descriptions of a residential facility for Alzheimers patients, but it was not a tidy tale. Since the doctor suffering memory loss is the narrator, she is both unreliable and impossible to follow. The mixture of italics and regular typeface that was suppose to distinguish between now and then was confusing, and I think I figured out who committed the crime pretty early on. You probably will too!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

This Beautiful Life: A Novel
The house of cards on the cover of this novel is an accurate metaphor for what happens to a family when the teenage son puts a sexual video of the girl he shunned at a party up on the internet for his friends to see. As a parent and teacher of teenagers, the subject matter of This Beautiful Life reminds me of the world these kids are really living in and the need to teach and practice cyber-safety.