Library Column–August 18, 2005

New Books

The Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern. This is a serious, but also not so serious read. A “magical realism” tour of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, Heaven and the U.S., jumping from the present into the “real” past and into layers of fictional pasts, filled with odd characters, mysterious moments and a book which consumes two authors.

Midnight at the Dragon Café by Judy Fong Bates. The story of an emigrant family from China, newly settled  in small-town Canada, struggling with isolation, language, ambition and a terrible family secret. The core of the book is all of the things not said.

The Position by Meg Wolitzer. A huge contrast to the book above, this is about a couple who basically share their sex life with everyone in America, including their four children. And then what happens? Secrets and a lot of things not said…being open doesn’t always end up with everything out in the open. The most amusing bit: one son turns out to be gay, which his family can accept, but he is also a Republican and this they cannot handle at all.

Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence by Carol Berkin. Just slightly too scholarly to be a light summer read, but interesting nevertheless. She quotes from lots of original sources: diaries, letters, newspaper articles and memoirs to build a picture of the courage and suffering of women during the Revolution. 1776 from the “distaff” side.

And one not so new book: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. A sad, lonely, penetrating book about the life led by women who exist to entertain men, beginning in 1929 with a young girl being sold into slavery and following her through a difficult life filled with desperate choices. Oddly, she manages to fulfill at least some of her dreams. We have audio cassette and print versions of this popular book.

Volunteer Opportunities: The library is very busy these days and I could use one or two more circulation volunteers. The time commitment is two hours per week and you need to be detailed and accurate. Call Deborah at 496-3913 if you are interested.

Schedule Reminders: No story hour on August 24th, but Wrenn will resume her regularly scheduled (and very popular) Wednesday morning story on August 31st. The library will be open on September 5th, Labor Day so come and grab a book. We have a lot of the latest bestsellers! Extended summer hours continue: come in on Wednesdays until 8 p.m. And last, but not least, we’ll be at the Farmers’ Market two more times, September 3rd and October 8th.

The summer reading program continues. Children can come in and get their cards stamped and pick up their prize books.

See you at the library!


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