Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Colette recommends "Dale Loves Sophie To Death"

I accidentally bumped into this book and so glad that I did!  Winner of the 1982 National Book Award in the First Novel category, Dew’s writing is just as fresh today as it was 30 years ago. 

When exactly is it that we do grow up?  For many, it is not when the clock strikes 18 or 21 or even married with children.  This is a story of a woman whose husband stays behind while she and her young children return ‘home’ to the Midwest each summer.  It is this summer that releases Dinah into her own adulthood, “…she was a grownup and she had to contend with a terrible fate – she had mortal children and she had to recognize it and deal with it every moment of her days.” 

“Hailed for its richness and emotional power,” the author writes feelings…the reader is immersed in the intimacy of family life; subtle, leisurely and lush but never sentimental.

Highly recommended for adults and book groups.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kara Recommends "The Kitchen Daughter"

An Asperger's-afflicted woman finds the keys to life and her family history in the kitchen after her parents die in McHenry's inspired if uneven debut. Ginny Selvaggio has lived a sheltered life: unable to maintain eye contact, make friends, or finish college due to her undiagnosed condition, the 26-year-old lives in her parents' home, surfing the Internet and perfecting recipes. But after her parents die, Ginny and her sister, Amanda, disagree about what to do with the family home—Amanda wants to sell, Ginny doesn't. As they bicker about what to do with the house and the problems caused by Ginny's awkwardness, Ginny comforts herself by cooking and soon learns that the dishes she prepares can conjure spirits. The ghosts, including her grandmother, leave clues about possible family secrets, as do a box of photographs Ginny discovers tucked away. McHenry's idea of writing an Asperger's narrator works well for the most part, but the supernatural touches undermine her admirable efforts and add a silly element to what is otherwise an intelligent and moving account of an intriguing heroine's belated battle to find herself.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jamie recommends "Amos Lee"

Cover image

Fall is on its way and it is a great time to discover, or rediscover, some mellow music. Singer-songwriter Amos Lee is one of those musicians that seems perfect for a fall afternoon. You'll probably recognize at least a few of his songs; they get a lot of play in movies and on television, but it's worth it to check out an entire CD rather than sample by singles. His newest release, Mission Bell, has a lot of songs that I think are great for a Sunday afternoon. But, his earlier self-titled release, Amos Lee, also has a lot of wonderful tunes for a day at home, in the car or on the way to the cider mill. If you're looking for something soothing and mellow, check out something by Amos Lee this fall.

Kathy recommends "Emily and Einstein"

On a snowy evening in New York City, handsome, charming, self-centered Sandy Portman is killed as he makes his way to the animal rescue clinic where his wife, Emily, volunteers. His plan was to take her to dinner and, very civilly, announce his intention to divorce her. As he lay dying in the slushy street, he is visited by a strange old man who gives him one last chance to be better than he was. There’s a slight wrinkle – he has to do it as a dog. Emily and Einstein, by Linda Francis Lee, is the story of how Sandy Portman finally gets it right.

Recommended for adults and older teens.