Library Column – April 17, 2008

Looks like we made it through slush season. Next comes mud season, right? And then, perhaps, spring? As usual, I’ve been reading a lot, listening a bit and watching a little. Two craft books, one movie, four novels (one on CD), and a book of answers (yes, literally, an entire book of answers). Come on in for an inexpensive escape from the rain and mud!

 

200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave by Jacqui Carey (Regional Library). A super neat book for anyone who enjoys playing with string or yarn or cord. Beautifully illustrated with clear step-by-step directions for all the basic techniques and detailed guidance for recreating each of the 200 braids featured in the second half of the book.

 

Man in the Moon (DVD). A poignant coming of age story, set in 1950s Louisiana. Dani is 14 years old and has her first crush on the boy next door. Unfortunately the boy next door finds her older sister a lot more appealing. Disaster splits the sisters apart…will they find a way to reconnect? Well acted and with a touch of dry humor in spots.

 

Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith. McCall Smith is a series maven. This particular series was originally published as daily pieces in The Scotsman Newspaper and has an interesting flavor as a result. If you missed it, the first novel in the set is entitled: 44 Scotland Street. The story follows the residents of a single apartment building in Edinburgh as they go about their daily lives. Bertie is a bright six year old with an over-dedicated mum, Bruce loves himself more than anyone else in the world but the rest of the world seems to have some doubts about his character, Domenica, an anthropologist observes the world and wonders who to study next, Pat is searching for love and working in an art gallery, which is owned by Matthew who is worried that his father is in love with a blond gold-digger.

 

Creative Weaving: Beautiful Fabrics with a Simple Loom by Sarah Howard and Elisabeth Kendrick. Weaving is difficult and complicated and requires a lot of expensive equipment, right? Wrong. This charming book introduces simple looms and exciting projects to make hand weaving an accessible craft for people on a budget (time, money or space).

 

What Would Socrates Say? Philosophers Answer Your Questions about Love, Nothingness, and Everything Else edited by Alexander George (Midstate Regional Library). Exactly what it sounds like: a collection of questions answered by professional philosophers. Surprisingly fun to read and entertaining. Have you ever wondered, for example, “What happens to a moment of time after it occurs?” See page 58 for an answer.

 

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (audio CD or book). A very long book about magic, set in an alternative version of early 19th century England, complete with a wicked fairy and a wonderful library filled with books on magic (as opposed to books about magic). Incorporates a wild collection of characters (some historical, some not) and some delightfully weird adventures.

 

Bangkok 8 by John Burdett. I read this as part of our Winter Book Discussion series and found it a fascinating and unusual mystery. The main character, Sonchai, is a Buddhist and a police detective. Some of his investigative techniques are a bit unusual and the story has many twists and turns, plus a bit of magical mysticism. The first in a series of mysteries set in Bangkok.

 

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James. I am a very serious fan of Jane Austen and I read this book very critically. My honest opinion? Quite good. Not as good as the real thing, of course, but well worth the time of those who enjoy historical novels. This one is carefully researched and the writing is lively and appealing.

 

See you at the library!

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