The Perfect Ghost

Written by Linda Barnes, this thriller is a departure from her previous Carlotta Carlyle mysteries. In this case, Em Moore is left with the task of completing interviews necessary to finish the biography of a famous actor/playwright when her co-writer, colleague and former lover Teddy suddenly dies in a car crash. The novel focuses on how Em, a recluse, rises to meet the challenge of finishing the interviews and writing the novel while falling in love with the subject of the bio, Garrett Malcolm, as she moves into his house on Cape Cod. But the twist at the end leaves the shocked reader to re-examine the events that led up to the conclusion reached in the final chapter. A classic case of  “things not being what they seem to be”, The Perfect Ghost is one of those mysteries that forces its reader to keep firmly in hand until the last page is turned. I highly recommend it.

“Hasidim vs. Goyim in East Ramapo”

In the April 29, 2013, issue of “New York” magazine an interesting article written by Benjamin Wallace-Wells dealt with the Hassidic community in East Ramapo.  He explained how this community became established in Rockland County and how their population has grown and grown. 

A great deal of the article focuses on the problems in the East Ramapo school district and how students in that district have been affected by the decisions of the all Orthodox board. 

What is happening in East Ramapo will inevitably affect the rest of Rockland County.  Coupled with recent decisions involving Section 8 housing in Spring Valley and the vote for the new water treatment plant , these decisions will have far-reaching results for everyone living in this area.

Call the Midwife

This is a PBS series that I’ve started watching and really like. It takes place in London in the early ’50s and has wonderful sets and actors. The story is about young midwives who run a clinic that is overseen by a group of nuns. They don’t pussyfoot around. Last night’s story covered abortion and its unavailability, another covered spina bifida. None of the actors are famous, although I do recognize a face now and then. Season 2 has just started. I think we should consider buying. (Available in a number of RCLS libraries, very popular with long hold lists, and not for interloan yet.)

Where Things Come Back

This teen title won the 2012 Printz Award, and is the first novel by its author, John Corey Whaley. It’s one of those novels where a string of somewhat bizarre and seemingly unrelated events are all tied together by the ending chapter. It begins in the voice of a 17 yr. old boy, Cullen Witter, who has just seen his second dead body: his cousin Oslo, who has died from years of abusing drugs. The novel continues to explore how humans deal with death, and the threat of losing loved ones, as Cullen’s younger brother Gabriel disappears into thin air one day. The reader is immersed in teenage emotions as Cullen tells his story. The emotions of love, hatred, feelings of failure and success are interspersed with humor to keep the reader engaged. Looking back, the author effectively sucks the reader into Cullen’s world by experiencing life right along with him and the other characters I’m not a fan of first person narrative, but it was essential in this case in order for the reader to relate. I can see how this would have won the Printz and would recommend it for grades 8 and up.














Women Romantic Poets

As I was working on adding titles currently not in the catalog, I discovered a lecture on the Great Courses series: The Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets with the above title. So I looked them up, not having been aware of any, since they were never mentioned in my college course on the Romantics or anywhere else that I’ve noticed. According to a chapter titled The Romantic Period by Peter Kitson (a Chair of English at a Scottish university,) in a work edited by Paul Poplawski titled English Literature in Context, one of these female poets is Mary Robinson. Mary was an actress and courtesan as well as a poet, and some of her poems were written in response to Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Kubla Khan”. I found this information fascinating, as women seem to receive short shrift in being recognized as writers and poets, at least in the 1700’s. I’m not sure if this continues today; I’d like to  think society has progressed in its kudos given to women writers and poets. But when I think of “famous” writers, names like James Patterson come more readily to mind than Janet Evanovitch. Any thoughts?