Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kara recommends "An Inconvenient Wife"

An engrossing and quick read about a woman who is oppressed by the life that is pressed upon her in 19th century New York City. When Lucy is taken to a new doctor to cure her "fits", Victor turns her world upside down. Unfortunately, he may have motives of his own. Lots of twists and turns. I would definitely recommend this to book groups, as well. It lends itself to a very interesting discussion. This book is best enjoyed by adult readers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Colette recommends "Annabel" by Kathleen Winter

Annabel is the debut novel of Kathleen Winter, a Canadian author.

In the late 1960s, a child is born in Croydon Harbor, Labrador a bleak but beautiful location where there is a rigid and codified way of life that does not acknowledge or recognize much outside of the ‘established norm.’

The child is born mix-gendered: both female and male. The decision is made to raise the child as a male, suppressing the female side through medication and emphasis upon male role expectations. The mother mourns the loss of her daughter, the father, awkward and distant, makes attempts to pattern male behavior (Labrador style). Meanwhile, the child has no idea of the dual-identity and experiences much physical and emotional confusion. He finally learns of the medical reality of intersexuality as an adolescent and eventually leaves the restrictive environment of Croydon Harbor to discover who he really is and to find acceptance.

This is well written literary fiction - an unusual story, told with insight and sensitivity. The issues are not sensationalized, instead they provoke thoughtful discussion of who we are, what we feel about who we are, and how society sees us; it is a most insightful novel about identity acceptance.

Recommended for mature teens and adults.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lisa recommends "Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party"

I am a big Scaredy Squirrel fan. He has a wry wit that will make parents smile, but a storyline perfect for kids. In his newest installment, Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party, he is too scared to invite anyone to his birthday party. His friends all decide that is surprise party is just what Scaredy Squirrel needs. If you have missed his picture books in the past, they are definitely worth a single (or hundredth) reading!

For more Scaredy Squirrel fun, try the other books in the series:

· Scaredy Squirrel

· Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend

· Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

· Scaredy Squirrel at Night

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tracy recommends, "The case for make believe: Saving Play in a commercialized world"

Susan Linn makes the case for make believe. It helps children intellectually, helps with reasoning and working out life issues. What hinders make believe is the intense media marketing aimed at babies, children and adolescents. These preformed images often stifle children in their role playing and acting out fantasy. She also touches on how media like baby einstien really do not help babies developmentally.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Matt recommends "Sketches of Frank Gehry"

The groundbreaking, internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry is in the news again as his brand-new (and first ever) skyscraper nears completion in New York City. This make it an excellent time to take a look at the wonderful 2005 documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry, made by the architect’s friend, the late filmmaker and actor Sydney Pollack. Because the two men were close, the resulting portrait is surprisingly intimate. It grants the viewer access to Gehry’s working-class upbringing, his creative process, his anxieties about his work, and his development as a designer of spectacular buildings that are frequently described as functional sculptures. In drawing his 82 minute sketch of Gehry, Pollack interviews critics, clients, Gehry’s longtime therapist, and even actor Dennis Hopper, who lived in one of Gehry’s houses. And maybe more importantly, he turns his camera on the breathtaking buildings themselves, filming their startling curves and resplendent surfaces with sensitivity and exuberance. The result is a consistently engaging and fascinating look at one of the most celebrated architects of our time.

Take a look at the trailer here, and if you’d like to learn more, check out CMPL’s selection of books about Gehry. Recommended for adults.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tracy recommends "Pagan's Crusade"

Set in 1187 AD, Jerusalem, Pagan Kidrouk somehow finds himself assigned to be Lord Roland’s squire. Lord Roland is the most noble of the Templar Knights. Pagan is not noble in anyway. Catherine Jinks has created a smart, sarcastic, funny character in Pagan. This slightly historical novel is recommended for upper elementary and above ages.