Archive for June, 2015

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott

June 30, 2015

index.aspxThis novel is set in late 1930’s Hollywood, and is a fictional chronicle of the making of the film Gone With the Wind from an insider’s viewpoint. The insider happens to be one Julie Crawford, a gal from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who arrives in Hollywood determined to become a screenwriter. She gets a foot in the proverbial door of film-making by landing a job as Carole Lombard’s secretary. Some sections of the novel are accurate, according to an epilogue by the author, including the mention of Frances Marion, a brilliant screenwriter who mentors the fictional Julie, and helped many women to garner recognition for their efforts in a male dominated profession. The famous love story of Carole Lombard and Clark Gable is quite compelling, with many facts inserted throughout the plot. Fans of early Hollywood will love this one.

2015 Adult Summer Reading Program

June 29, 2015

Adult Summer Reading Slogan

The 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program starts today!!! Through Friday, August 14th, participants can submit reviews in the library or online for a chance to win prizes at the Wrap-Up Party, which will be held in the library on Wednesday, August 19th at 7:00pm. Share your review(s) with friends and neighbors by having it posted right here on the Palisades Free Library Blog! The more reviews you write, the more chances you have to win. No registration is required to participate in the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program. Please register in the library, by phone, or online for the Adult Summer Reading Wrap-Up Party. Happy Reading!!!

The library would like to thank the following local businesses for generously donating to the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program prize baskets:

Mimi's Plate

Greek Village

Soft Cloth Car Wash

“More Happy Than Not”

June 27, 2015

Cover image for MORE HAPPY THAN NOT BY ADAM SILVERA

Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not reminds me of a Junot Diaz-type urban, “let me spit it to you” tale, mixed with some (but minimal) SCI-FI . The story is about Aaron, a teenager growing up in a Bronx neighborhood where tragic deaths, poverty, and drugs, leaves everyone feeling like they are lacking. Each character in Aaron’s neighborhood, from his gamer brother, Eric, to the neighborhood crazy kid, plays their “role” in their community- and they play it well. But Aaron realizes that they are all trapped in these roles. Trapped in their jobs, their broken families, and their crappy, too-small apartments. After the suicide of Aaron’s father, and his own subsequent suicide attempt, Aaron is just trying to make his own role (or more-so trying to find one) more bearable. His girlfriend Genevieve helps in his quest for happiness, until she goes away to Art Camp for three weeks. While she is gone Aaron becomes close friends with a mysterious boy named Thomas. Thomas is a self-proclaimed “quitter” of anything that he feels he doesn’t want to deal with anymore. From Thomas’s minimum-wage jobs and his half-written screenplays, to his girlfriends, he seems to prefer to move alone, ghosting through the lives of the people that he is surrounded with – because he doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Aaron’s friendship with Thomas makes him question every aspect of his life and is the only person with whom he shares his unpleasant past, and how he feels about it.  Silvera brings topics of race, class, and sexuality to the forefront, and, I don’t want to give too much away, but draws you in wonderfully with his unreliable narrator. This book makes you think that you know where the story is going, but surprises you at every corner.
Ahh, now for the “SCI-FI” part. There is an institution, the Leteo Institute that allows people to repress certain memories so that they can live “better” lives, and forget painful memories. Ever had an unpleasant experience that prevents you from living your life? Imagine if you could make it so that it never happened. Convenient, right? But, as Genevieve points out, “Leteo suppresses memories. It doesn’t erase them.” Suppression of one’s true self is a theme in this novel that everyone can relate to and reading it made me contemplate if altering our memories can really make our lives better. Do we deserve to have our difficult memories erased? Aren’t our memories and experiences what makes us human? As one protester of the procedure in the book points out, “Grief is natural. Guilt is deserved.” You will have to read the book to see how the Leteo procedure is woven into the lives of these characters, but don’t worry- this book is a page turner!

 

Children’s author, Judith St. George

June 25, 2015

 So You Want to Be President? What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?

Children’s author Judith St. George passed away this month at the age of 84.  She is the author of more than 40 children’s books and won the Caldecott Medal in 2001 for So You Want to be President (illustrated by David Small).

She has written children’s biographies of Lincoln, Sacajewea, and George Washington. More recently she wrote What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?

“The Third Wife”

June 23, 2015

The Third Wife: A Novel  by Lisa Jewell.  Jewell is a British author. I read one of her first books, “Ralph’s Party” about 20 years ago about young, single people living in London. It may have been one of the seed starters to the Chick Lit genre that sprouted years later. She has matured as well as the characters in her novels.

The main character in “Third Wife” is in his late 40’s and has just been widowed.  Adrian is a nice guy. He is such a nice guy that his 2 ex-wives and the children he had with them still get together frequently as a blended family.  This is the first time he’s been on his own now that his 3rd wife, Maya, was mysteriously hit by a bus.  Jewell sketches out his first two families and the problems of each of his 5 children: his 2 older children in their 20’s (Luke is aimless and jumps from 1 mindless job to the next) and Cat is suddenly eating non-stop. His 3 younger children also have their quirks.

A mystery weaves its way through the plot as we learn that Maya had been receiving emails from an unknown person before she died. As Adrian advertises to give away Maya’s pet cat, a woman responds to the ad, stalks him for a week and then disappears. The family descriptions work to reveal why Adrian finds women to love, marry and leave.  Adrian attempts to track down the elusive potential cat-adopter believing she can provide him with answers to Maya’s death.


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