Monday, July 14, 2008

Going Gray by Anne Kreamer

"To read Anne Kreamer's "Going Gray" is to enjoy that comfortable illusion that you are chatting with a friend. A friend whose confidences are told in a way that's concise, entertaining and thoughtful.

"Going Gray" is Kreamer's first book. It developed from a feature she did for More magazine about the process, when she was 49, of letting her hair grow out to show her natural gray after diligently dyeing it from age 25. This visible graying may seem like small potatoes, and she has the grace to acknowledge there are larger issues in life. But Kreamer skillfully uses that experience and its anxieties to explore thoughts about aging and femininity, and these are, of course, the memoir's real hook.

Kreamer also takes an almost girlish, Nancy-Drew-detective approach to examining what other women -- and some men -- think about the cultural pressures and self-images that connect to dyeing hair, especially for midlifers. Although happily married, she wrote an Internet dating profile for herself pretending to be divorced and put it, along with a photograph of herself, on At times she used one with dyed hair and at others one with gray locks, to compare how many responses she got. Those of you who, like me, already have a happy vanity about the lively gray streaks in your hair, will be pleased to know she got more approaches with her natural gray look. In addition, Kreamer hired a data-gathering business to conduct a national survey to learn more about attitudes toward graying....."

~ Maud Lavin of the Chicago Tribune

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer

"Julie Mueller, an over-40 TV reporter, is finally up for a promotion to the national news, but because youth is favored in her profession over experience, the job might go to her younger coworker. Julie's personal life is as filled with drama as her professional life. Her elderly mother, Elizabeth, tries to undo a past mistake by reuniting Julie with Michael, the man from whom she steered her daughter away 20 years earlier. Elizabeth has arranged for Julie and Michael to attend a series of cooking classes together, and though the two have been feuding for years because of an exposé Julie did on Michael's former boss, when they meet in class, it's clear they still have feelings for each other. Not everything ends happily for Julie as she deals with her mother's failing health, the demands of her teenage daughter, and finding a lump in her breast, but the story ends well enough. This fast-paced novel, Strohmeyer's fourth outside of the Bubbles mystery series, features an accessible protagonist faced at turns with some of the saddest and most lighthearted situations life has to offer."

~ Karen Core, Detroit P.L. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Check out our cupcake program!

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh (Author of Mrs. Kimble)

"Haigh's third novel (after Baker Towers) begins and ends with a McKotch family gathering on Cape Cod. When Gwen McKotch is diagnosed with Turner's syndrome, her parents use the diagnosis and the subsequent treatment of her condition as a battleground for their already faltering marriage. Their eventual divorce affects differently each of the three children, impacting their thinking and actions into adulthood. Family interactions are sketchy at best—until Gwen's finding love while on a Caribbean vacation gets everyone talking. The communication results in forgiveness, if not actual understanding, and a surprising reunion back on Cape Cod brings the story full circle. Haigh creates a realistic family dynamic from richly drawn characters, capturing the family members' various expectations of and assumptions about one another."

~Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Five Stars from Katherine

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

Book to Movie: This is our July discussion--the book discussion will be on Thursday, July 24 at 12:30 or 7:00 p.m. and a movie screening of "About a Boy" will be on Friday, July 25 at 2:00 p.m.

We have copies of the book at the checkout desk, and if you register for one of the discussions, we'll be happy to hold a copy for you. We'll view the movie (rated "Two Thumbs Up" by Siskel and Ebert and "Comedy of the Year" by US Weekly and starring Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz and Toni Collette) down in the library community room. Come to one or, even better, come to both!

"Hornby's protaganist is Will Lightman, a perennial guest at life's eternal cocktail party. Due to a happy accident of birth, Will has never had to work; but, as his friends have drifted away into meaningful marriages and careers, he finds himself, at 36, mostly alone, desperately hip, and leading the quintessential unexamined life. Then, a chance affair opens his eyes to a unique opportunity for endless low-emotional-risk liaisons: lonely divorced mothers! Ever resourceful, Will passes himself off as a single father, signs up for the next meeting of Single Parents-Alone Together, then blithely sets out to hold auditions for his next conquest. But things don't turn out exactly as planned. Through a complicated chain of events, Will finds himself the de facto guardian of a peculiar 12-year-old trouble magnet named Marcus, who soon susses out the truth behind Will's rather dodgy secret but cultivates Will for reasons of his own.

How these two emotionally stunted misfits learn to build a meaningful relationship makes for an intensely affecting and genuinely comic story. Like its predecessor, this irrepressible joy of a novel synthesizes dead-on cultural references and keen observation of the human condition. Nick Hornby's prose may have an English accent, but his theme is universal."

~ Greg Marrs, Barnes and Noble review

The Misremembered Man by Christina McKenna

"Memoirist McKenna's debut novel—a pastoral, feel-good yarn set in 1974 County Derry—concerns two Irish 40-somethings who meet through a newspaper Lonely Hearts column. Both farmer Jamie McCloone and schoolteacher Lydia Devine have suffered the recent death of a loved one. Jamie's traumatic childhood at a sweatshop run by the nuns from hell precipitates his dependence on Valium and whiskey. Lydia, meanwhile, grew up under the oppressive thumb of her now-dead rector father and—at age 40, still a virgin who has never tasted alcohol—decides it's time to live a little. The pair, of course, are grossly mismatched—she prim and buttoned-down, he a rough-edged rustic—which is underscored repeatedly during their lengthy postal courtship. Comic relief comes from Jamie's neighbors, the McFaddens, who do their best to aid Jamie and lift him from his saturnine moods. McKenna—who's written a memoir, My Mother Wore a Yellow Dress—places a few twists in the narrative, saving the most startling until the close."

~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.