Library Column – December 8, 2007

Snow, glorious snow! Snow to shovel, snow to drive through, snow for fun and snow for work. Enjoy. I’ve got six books to share, two non-fiction and four fiction. Anyone have extra DVDs around? We have a bit of room for fun entertainment flicks in our collection. Thanks in advance.

Spirits in the Wires by Charles de Lint (paperback collection). A web-site named the Wordwood crashes and everyone who was using it disappears. Another delightful urban fantasy (from the author who created the genre) explores the connection of supposedly “mythical” beings with technology.

Dust Devils by James Reasoner. A footloose young man encounters an older woman on an isolated farm in Texas, but neither is what they seem. As they careen through violent encounters with criminals, layer after layer is peeled back, until at last, the final truth about each is revealed. The book is described as redneck noir, and the description fits.

Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. Much of the discussion of spousal abuse focuses on the victims, asking questions about why people stay with abusers, how people get into such relationships and so on. This book looks at the thinking and behavior of abusers (mostly men, unfortunately), and describes the best path through for someone trying to end an abusive relationship—either by seeing the abuser learn new ways of thinking or by safely leaving the abuser. To give one example: Early in the book the author is describing a conversation where an abused wife is describing how her husband “loses it” and starts breaking things and then storms out. Later he returns, contrite, and says he won’t do it again. The author asks: “Whose stuff does he break.” The wife, surprised: “Always my stuff!” And then the author asks: “And who cleans up the mess, after he apologizes?” The wife: “Never him.” An eye-opener for anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship or had a friend or relative who was abused.

Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy. A small town in Ireland needs a highway bypass for a lot of reasons, but does it have to go through Whitethorn Woods destroy St. Ann’s Well? The Well has been around for a lot longer than Christianity, but still, it has established itself as a holy shrine and people go there for help. Sweet but also sharp.

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez (audio or book). It turns out that what Kabul, Afghanistan really needed when the war ended was a skilled beautician—first to provide hair styling to the aid workers and then to found a beauty school for the women of Afghanistan. A book that combines a lively story with the tragedy and courage of the amazing women who have survived war, the Taliban, life as refugees and brutality from their own husbands to begin new lives as professional beauticians.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. (Paperback collection) The story of a young woman whose major talent is shopping, rather than paying the bills resulting from said shopping. Of course her life turns into a bill-dodging mess, but since the book is light entertainment, the end result is fun rather than disaster.See you at the library!

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