Sunday, June 27, 2010

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles

Released: 2003

Library: An Unquiet History is a short, compact volume on the history of libraries throughout the ages. At the time the book was published, author Matthew Battles worked for Houghton Library and the rare-books library at Harvard.

Library begins with an engaging introduction that will appeal to book lovers and provides an insider's look at Harvard University's library. Battles describes his experience with the Widener Library by quoting Thomas Wolfe, "the more he read, the less he seemed to know," on the subject of wanting to read everything in the library.

Battles follows a timeline of library history dating back to Alexandria in A.D. 641 and walking us through the ages up to book burning by the Nazis during World War II. We are also given a background of Dewey-decimal system creator Melville Dewey and why the cataloguing process in libraries came about.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot

Released: 2005

International bestselling author Meg Cabot brings original flair to chick-lit novel Every Boy's Got One, a novel about a love-hate romantic relationship comprised solely of emails and journal entries written by the characters.

Jane Harris is an eccentric cartoonist with a cult-following, while Cal Langdon is a successful entrepreneur and bestselling author. When both are summoned to Italy by their best friends who plan on eloping, we witness the constant bickering between Jane and Cal become sweet banter by the book's end.

While the idea of reading a novel written through email and journals may be off-putting at first, this is simply not the case once you begin reading because the characters are so colorful and energetic! Jane is modest, yet especially boisterous and contagious with her sarcastic humor and clumsiness, and we actually find out through other supporting characters just how beautiful she really is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Girl's Guide to Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky

Released: 2006

Paranormal chick-lit at its finest, Girl's Guide to Witchcraft is absolutely perfect for women seeking a pick-me-up and escape from reality for a few hours. This book is the first in a trilogy from Mindy Klasky, author of the famed fantasy series Glasswrights' Guild.

 The Glasswrights' ApprenticeThe Glasswrights' Progress: The Glasswright's Progress, Book Two

Jane Madison is an awkward, single librarian with the problem (so typical and prevalent in chick-lit novels) of finding the perfect man. Speaking of which, Jane has been mooning over "Imaginary Boyfriend" Jason Templeton for ages without any reciprocated feelings. When Jane moves into an old cottage behind the library, she discovers a hidden trove of ancient magical books that - voila! - make her realize she's got witchy powers. Just imagine what happens when the possibility of love spells abound!

Jane's character is made out to be the ultimate cliched, nerdy librarian, but you can't help but like her in all her blundering awkwardness. Supporting characters Neko and Melissa, Jane's homosexual familiar and best friend respectively, add extra spice to the novel in their own hilarious ways. Girl's Guide to Witchcraft is supremely humorous and light, so in addition to just being plain enjoyable, the book is perfect for that down-and-out mood lift!

Because Girl's Guide to Witchcraft is first in a trilogy, the beginnings of some great character developments are in the making. I'm really looking forward to reading the following novels in the series entitled Sorcery and the Single Girl and Magic and the Modern Girl.

                               Sorcery And The Single Girl (Red Dress Ink)     Magic And The Modern Girl (Red Dress Ink)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Crazy Love by David Lozell Martin

Released: 2002

If you decide to pick up David Lozell Martin's Crazy Love, you're in for a unique experience whether or not you end up enjoying the book. With the style, think Kent Haruf on crack and prepare for an emotional, shocking, heart-warming, yet disturbing story that is bound to stick around in your mind for a little while.

Crazy Love tells us a story about two unlikely characters living in the midst of Appalachia farm country who come together in the oddest way. We meet Joseph "Bear" Long, a 32-year old farmer who has never known the touch of a woman and is thought by most to be mentally retarded with the gift of having conversations with animals. Katherine Renault is a classy career-woman and animal-rights activist temporarily staying in town to recover from a traumatic illness. When Bear and Katie meet, their love for animals triggers their love for each other and us readers are prepared for a happily-ever-after ending.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Denial: A Memoir of Terror by Jessica Stern

Released: 2010

Denial: A Memoir of Terror is the true story of a rape victim who investigates her own case - experienced and written by terrorism expert and author Jessica Stern.

After receiving an email from police lieutenant Paul Macone regarding Stern's unsolved rape case from years before, Stern dives headfirst into confronting her deepest fears and overcoming her trauma. In the process, she conducts intimate interviews with members of her family and victims of the same rapist.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Girl's Guide to Life by Katie Meier

Released: 2010

A Girl's Guide to Life is exactly that - an extremely helpful guide geared toward teenage girls covering a variety of subjects from social networking to eating disorders to dating and relationships.

A Girl's Guide to Life charmingly begins with a history lesson about a woman's "role" in society dating back to the 1950s and how it has evolved over the decades to present time. Meier then segues into chapters on self-esteem, romance, and eventually my favorite chapter entitled "Going Online and the Digital You", which indirectly explains how to be tactful and appropriate when texting and using social media applications on the internet. Kudos to Meier for smartly approaching this subject which is so important to address in this day and age!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss

Released: 2005

Talk to the Hand's subtitle is "The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door". Author Lynne Truss (who wrote bestselling Eats, Shoots, and Leaves about grammar gripes) presents a formal rant about rudeness in today's society.

This book was given to me as a gift from a fellow bookcrosser after I was rudely bashed in a forum on a website I will not mention here. Internet rudeness is nearly its own entity in the world of manners as people can remain anonymous and hide behind a computer to say things that would get their lights punched out if they were to say them in person.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Polly Klaas: The Murder of America's Child by Barry Bortnick

Released: 1995

Polly Klaas: The Murder of America's Child is a true story about the abduction, murder, and aftermath of the book's namesake. The book begins on October 1, 1993, a night Polly hosts a sleepover for some friends and is later kidnapped. Following the scary and disturbing events of that night, we are made privy to the criminal background of murderer Richard Allen Davis and given detailed steps taken by the small town of Petaluma to support the Klaas family and help bring awareness.

Polly Klaas reads like an extended newspaper spread, providing us the basics surrounding the abduction and murder but going into minute detail about the search efforts, memorial, and effects Polly's murder had on America at the time. A large portion of the book is based on interviews mainly with Polly's father Marc and grandfather Joe.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz

Released: 2010

Being Wrong is an exploration of how and why making errors is a crucial, natural and necessary component of being human, and how we must embrace being wrong to grow as people.

Falling into the psychology versus scientific realm, Being Wrong provides an interesting history of wrongness using numerous examples of pop-culture incidents; if you can consider an intricate look at being wrong an interesting subject, that is.

Schulz's voice is very eccentric, and the book will flood you with a barage of examples on how being wrong has transformed people and generated numerous events and mis-adventures since the beginning of time. Schulz also uses the experiences of past leaders and world-renowned figures as examples in terms of how being wrong has been significant in history.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

An Isolated Incident by Susan R Sloan

Released: 1998

An Isolated Incident falls into its own unique category, adding a spice of literary content to its fictional and suspense elements. The novel explores racism and discrimination of inhabitants on a small island off the Washington coast after the teenage daughter of a prominent banker is murdered.

An Isolated Incident begins with the murder of Tara Breckenridge, and soon introduces us to detective Ginger Earley, police chief Ruben Martinez, and history teacher Jerry Frankel. Between Ginger's upperclass background, to Ruben's Hispanic heritage, and to Jerry's Jewish religion, we witness the island's reaction and prejudices in regards to how they handle the violent crime.