Library Column–October 13, 2005

I’m enjoying the lovely changing of the leaves outside the library window and my drive to and from the library is a total delight, with the wonderful colors and the lovely views of the Mad River. Inside the library there are way too many books! Please come and take a few off my hands.

Betty Howlett reviewed The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova last week. I won’t try to duplicate her eloquent review, but I do want to say that we have a copy and currently there is no waiting list.

New and interesting non-fiction

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. A quick entertaining read – Levitt is an economist who applies economic theory and thinking to varied aspects of human life, addressing questions about cheating, racial prejudice, children’s names, real estate, drug dealers and perfect parents; the answers he produces will surprise you.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl. An entertaining read on two levels—first as a food book with lots of wonderful descriptions of amazingly good (or sometimes amazingly bad) food at fancy NY restaurants and second as a book about the connection between identity and appearance.

Serious fiction:

Sight Hound by Pam Houston. The self-help book written as a novel. Good story, interesting characters, only occasionally preachy. The first 20 pages are hard going, but after that it was a satisfying read.

Grace by Linn Ullmann. A story about death, pain, love, loneliness and the difficult decisions human beings confront at the end of life. The story is set in Norway and the slight distance created by the small cultural differences enrich and highlight the questions raised by this talented young writer.

Less serious fiction:

Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King. Latest entry in this long-running series about Sherlock Holmes and his new sidekick (and eventual wife) Mary Russell. This time they visit San Francisco and solve an old and very personal mystery.

44 Scotland Streetby Alexander McCall Smith. A curious book, written as brief installments and published as a serial in a newspaper. It is mostly a character study, examining the lives and thoughts of several interconnected people, some of them living at 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh. The most amusing bit is the appearance of the (real) author Ian Rankin in a walk-on role.

Quite a Year for Plums by Bailey White. (Audio Cassette) A short, warm-hearted tale of the odd folks who live in a small Georgia town, read by the author.

The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens. (Audio CD) A pleasant story set in Belfast. We follow the lives of several sets of characters that intersect at the Tea House, star-crossed lovers, self-righteous elderly sisters, a wacky artist, a betrayed wife and the sad owners of the tea shop. Unlike in real life, the characters actually manage to sort out their problems.

Fun and fluffy fiction:

Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. A fun book by a very popular author, this time she takes you inside the contemporary business of matchmaking, with, of course, the main characters ending up happily ever after.

We will happily accept donations of DVDs, audio books on cassette or CD, recently published and popular hardcover books and quality (oversized) paperbacks.

See you at the library!

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