Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This picture book is perfect for anyone who wants a quick story. Adults will love it too!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The genre is historical romance, sort of. This story takes place in Krakow, Poland, during the Nazi occupation, and those historical circumstances are the driving force behind this first novel. And romance, there's plenty of that. But somehow "historical romance" doesn't capture the heart of this story. For there are also deep friendships and family relationships, questions about morality in the midst of terrible situations, and perhaps most of all, a young woman slowly learning the meaning of responsibility.
Emma has been married only 6 weeks when her beloved husband, a resistance fighter, must flee for his life. Emma, a Jew, escapes the Krakow ghetto to live as a Gentile with her husband's aunt and an orphaned child. Her safety is further jeopardized when she is asked to become the personal assistant to the most powerful Nazi in Krakow. Her friends realize she can steal information to help the resistance, especially if she becomes closer to the Kommandant, but Emma is torn between wanting to help and wanting to protect her life and her marriage vows. Readers gradually come to understand Emma's bravery, reluctance, and inner turmoil as the story and characters develop.
Jenoff's follow-up (not a sequel), "The Diplomat's Wife," is due out May 1.
This story is suitable for teens and adults. There is sex and the violence of war; neither is described in detail.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Margaret George weaves history and fiction together into a seamless story about the life of King Henry VIII told from his own perspective. Many people know the story of Henry VIII and his wives, but, by having the narrator of the story be Henry VIII himself, George’s work is set apart from other historical retellings of the infamous tales involving Henry and his many wives. She offers explanations for the behavior of lusty king and gives insight into what must have gone through his mind as he lived. The tome, at 939 pages, is not for one who shies away from detailed historical fiction. However, for those who enjoy it, this story is a wonderful “autobiography” of the king who changed the face of England forever. Recommended for adults.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Recommended for grades 5+
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
What do you get when you have an abandoned baby, an odious nanny, a melancholy millionaire and four orphaned siblings? A good old fashioned orphan story or at least a parody of one. The four Willoughby children are left with a nanny while their parents travel the world. The parents want to be rid of their children and the children wish to be orphans. Read what happens when their wish comes true.
Recommended for Children
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
From early life in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Ethiopia, to a controversial tenure in Dutch parliament, and finally, to employment at a policy institute in the US, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has come a long way. Her riveting and moving autobiography traces her path, while doubling as a platform from which she explains the politically incorrect views that make her both a popular and despised leader of the Islamic reformation. Raised Muslim, Ali experienced a slow, painful turn away from faith, toward reason. Having undergone ritual genital mutilation as a young girl in Somalia, and having fled to the Netherlands in order to escape an arranged marriage, Ali came to perceive what she considers deep, fundamental flaws in Islam, mostly having to do with the subordinate place of women in Muslim societies. But as her blunt, passionate critiques of Islam became louder, factions of her opposition became more violent and threatening, eventually driving her into hiding, where she remains. Her straightforward and poignant memoir is a testament to reason, gender equality, education and free speech, and offers an informative glimpse into life and politics in both east Africa and the Netherlands. Recommended for adult readers.