Friday, September 27, 2013

Books you wish you'd read

The next Genre Reading Group meeting will be on Tuesday, October 29th at 6:30pm in the Library's Conference Room.  The topic of discussion will be forensic fiction, mysteries/thrillers in which the forensic sciences are used to solve the crime.

Before our next meeting, October will be chockablock full of other entertaining things to do!

- AGES 18+ ONLY, Saturday, October 12th at 5pm, come watch (somewhat) scary movies at the Nightmare on Oak Street Horror Movie Double Feature (tiny, ravenous creatures followed by comet-induced zombies) and eat pizza and other movie snacks.

- Tuesday, October 15th at 6:30pm, join us for Documentaries After Dark, featuring a film about the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California.  This film is not rated but is intended for adult audiences.

- Saturday & Sunday, October 26-27th, take a stroll through the Dead Authors' Graveyard.  This walk-thru attraction is open to all ages, but may be scary for small children.
Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 1pm-4pm.

Have you ever had a book (or books) in your life that sit around on shelves or lists, but that you just never seem to get time or inclination to actually read?  Our September meeting was all about books we finally got around to reading.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole which appeared in 1980, eleven years after Toole's suicide. Published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a foreword) and Toole's mother, the book became first a cult classic, then a mainstream success; it earned Toole a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981, and is now considered a canonical work of modern literature of the Southern United States.  The book's title refers to an epigraph from Jonathan Swift's essay, Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him". Its central character, Ignatius J. Reilly, is an educated but slothful 30-year-old man living with his mother in the Uptown neighborhood of early-1960s New Orleans who, in his quest for employment, has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters. Toole wrote the novel in 1963 during his last few months in Puerto Rico.

The Shining by Stephen King
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

On Monday, September 24th, Stephen King was interviewed about his recently published sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, on NPR's Morning Edition.  Click here to listen to the interview.

Fahrenheit 451: 60th Anniversary Edition (with foreward by Neil Gaiman) by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.  Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.  Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.  When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency 1963-1969 by Lyndon Baines Johnson
The 36th President of the United States describes the challenges, the trials and achievements of his eventful years in the White House.

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
The bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos tackles perhaps the most mind-bending question in modern physics and cosmology: Is our universe the only universe?  There was a time when "universe" meant all there is. Everything. Yet, a number of theories are converging on the possibility that our universe may be but one among many parallel universes populating a vast multiverse. Here, Briane Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a breathtaking journey to a multiverse comprising an endless series of big bangs, a multiverse with duplicates of every one of us, a multiverse populated by vast sheets of spacetime, a multiverse in which all we consider real are holographic illusions, and even a multiverse made purely of math--and reveals the reality hidden within each.  Using his trademark wit and precision, Greene presents a thrilling survey of cutting-edge physics and confronts the inevitable question: How can fundamental science progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond our reach? The Hidden Reality is a remarkable adventure through a world more vast and strange than anything we could have imagined.

The Brushstroke Legacy by Lauraine Snelling
Forbidden. Hidden. Denied. Can art be powerful enough to endure?  Ragni Clauson’s work, relationships, and body all seem to be falling apart. And she isn’t convinced that spending her vacation fixing up her great-grandmother’s cabin and supervising her rebellious teenage niece, Erika, will offer any much-needed rejuvenation.  As Ragni and Erika clean, they begin to uncover the secret paintings and life of Nilda, Ragni’s ancestor who lived in the cabin in the early 1900s. Ragni doesn’t know how much she has in common with her great-grandmother, but it becomes clear Nilda faced her own struggles. Taking care of home and menfolk, fighting off locusts, raising her daughter, and finding time to paint in the midst of it all were not easy tasks. Will Nilda’s passion for enduring art re-ignite Ragni’s artistic soul a century later?  Weaving together the stories of three generations of women, The Brushstroke Legacy stirs us to believe that no matter the circumstances, we are called to use our gifts– never knowing when they might bring a stranger to a new place of hope.

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