Wednesday, October 22, 2008

November Book Discussions at The Brookfield Library
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 12:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.
Vanishing Point by Marcia Muller
Monday, November 24, 2007 at 12:30 p.m.
Copies of discussion books and registration forms are available at the checkout desk or register by phone 203-775-6241 or online. For more information contact Katherine Van Leeuwen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld

"In this provocative and page-turning debut novel, Hinnefeld (Tell Me Everything and Other Stories) recounts the life of bird-lover, environmental activist and artist Addie Sturmer Kavanagh. Opening with Addie's death from cancer, and her troublesome dying wish—clear orders for a brazenly illegal burial—Hinnefeld's narrative migrates to Addie's days as a college art student, when she fell in love with birds and with the professor teaching her their biology, Tom Kavanagh. The early years of Addie and Tom's romance follows their birding and collaboration on an environmental, antiwar birding book destined to become a classic. Soon enough, though, the birth of their daughter, Scarlet, along with Addie's growing political and environmental awareness, relegate romance to the back seat. As Addie's creative vision shifts from avian homage to political tirade, the effects of her outspoken eco-outrage on her daughter, husband and two closest girlfriends are predictable but authentic, and at times moving. Hinnefeld's drama soars, especially in its depiction of Addie's complicated relationship with Scarlet, who's also trying to find her wings."

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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan

"Nigerian-born Jesuit priest Akpan transports the reader into gritty scenes of chaos and fear in his rich debut collection of five long stories set in war-torn Africa. An Ex-mas Feast tells the heartbreaking story of eight-year-old Jigana, a Kenyan boy whose 12-year-old sister, Maisha, works as a prostitute to support her family. Jigana's mother quells the children's hunger by having them sniff glue while they wait for Maisha to earn enough to bring home a holiday meal. In Luxurious Hearses, Jubril, a teenage Muslim, flees the violence in northern Nigeria. Attacked by his own Muslim neighbors, his only way out is on a bus transporting Christians to the south. In Fattening for Gabon, 10-year-old Kotchikpa and his younger sister are sent by their sick parents to live with their uncle, Fofo Kpee, who in turn explains to the children that they are going to live with their prosperous godparents, who, as Kotchikpa pieces together, are actually human traffickers. Akpan's prose is beautiful and his stories are insightful and revealing, made even more harrowing because all the horror—and there is much—is seen through the eyes of children."

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

Friday, October 17, 2008

Who By Fire: A Novel by Diana Spechler

"In her affecting debut, Spechler raises the question of whether, in rescuing others, we risk ruining ourselves. Thirteen years after the abduction of youngest child Alena at the age of six, the remaining members of the Kellerman family are still deeply damaged by their shared loss. The irresponsible oldest daughter, Bits, seeks out random sexual encounters with near strangers to fill the voids in her life. Son Ash, meanwhile, dabbles in a variety of compulsive behaviors before settling on Orthodox Judaism, cutting himself off from the rest of the family and moving to Jerusalem. The mother, Ellie, enlists the help of a charismatic stranger to help save Ash from what she views as a cult, and when Alena's remains are discovered, Bits determines to bring Ash home for their sister's long-overdue memorial service. Told in alternating chapters by Bits, Ellie and Ash, the narrative is notable in large part for how little these family members actually interact with one another despite the drama that confronts them all. Though the ending is overly tidy, Spechler's debut raises provocative questions about religion, violence and the resilience of families and individuals."

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

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
by Vicki Myron, with Bret Witter

"One frigid Midwestern winter night in 1988, a ginger kitten was shoved into the after-hours book-return slot at the public library in Spencer, Iowa. And in this tender story, Myron, the library director, tells of the impact the cat, named DeweyReadmore Books, had on the library and its patrons, and on Myron herself. Through her developing relationship with the feline, Myron recounts the economic and social history of Spencer as well as her own success story—despite an alcoholic husband, living on welfare, and health problems ranging from the difficult birth of her daughter, Jodi, to breast cancer. After her divorce, Myron graduated college (the first in her family) and stumbled into a library job. She quickly rose to become director, realizing early on that this was a job I could love for the rest of my life. Dewey, meanwhile, brings disabled children out of their shells, invites businessmen to pet him with one hand while holding the Wall Street Journal with the other, eats rubber bands and becomes a media darling. The book is not only a tribute to a cat—anthropomorphized to a degree that can strain credulity (Dewey plays hide and seek with Myron, can read her thoughts, is mortified by his hair balls)—it's a love letter to libraries."

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

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy

"In screenwriter Murphy's breezy debut, Henry Sullivan, a single, in-demand L.A. contractor, can pick and choose his high-end home renovation jobs. Henry's self-imposed rules—don't sleep with clients and don't take on too many projects at once—go out a half-finished window when he falls for two clients at once: Sally Stein, a single and successful purse designer, and Rebecca Paulson, an unhappily married mother of twins who is Sally's former best friend. Why the two women he loves are no longer speaking becomes so intriguing to Henry that he begins to dig for answers while simultaneously finishing (or, rather, attempting to finish) both their houses. How Henry finally solves the mystery is neatly wrapped up at the end of this amusing tour through the perils of poking around in others' intimate spaces."

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