I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I had heard that this show couldn’t be missed. Turns out that the show is an excellent, funny, and thought-provoking series focused on a women’s prison. It’s a cast of crazy characters, who are all given time to shine with individual back stories and current story lines. I would recommend this show to any adult looking for something to watch. It does include some nudity and violent content, so it may not be for the feint-hearted.
True Blood (Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris), starring Anna Paquin, DVD True Blood, Seasons 1-6
As a devoted fan of the show True Blood, I decided that it was time to finally read the books. While the storylines between the two become very different, I enjoyed reading the entire series and it increased my appreciation of the TV show. The seventh and final season of True Blood just started, so this is the perfect time to get caught up with the library’s DVDs and/or read the great series by Charlaine Harris.
A magical story about learning life lessons and making the most of second chances. Kate was widowed suddenly at a young age and has spent the last year in a fog, during which time her domineering mother-in-law has made all the decisions and taken over Kate and her eight-year-old daughter’s life. Now Kate is feeling stronger and realizes she has allowed things to get out of control. On a whim, she decides to take her daughter on a trip to Lost Lake, a resort run by her great Aunt Eby, whom she hasn’t seen in 15 years. Kate spent one wonderful summer at Lost Lake where she made friends with a local boy, but never visited again because of a rift between her mother and her great aunt. Now both Kate and Eby, as well as other visitors to Lost Lake, have the opportunity to fix what went wrong in their lives.
Georgina, an 80-year-old Canadian widow born on the same day as Queen Elizabeth, is invited to a special celebration of the Queen’s birthday in England. As she drives in her car on her way to the airport, she runs off the road and her car ends up in a ravine. As she struggles to climb up the ravine to rescue, she remembers her grandfather’s copy of Gray’s Anatomy, which she studied as a child, memorizing all the bones. She now recites the names of all the bones of the human body to herself as a way to keep her mind from the pain of her badly injured body as she crawls up the ravine. As she recalls the names of the bones, memories from her life surface. Through her reminiscences, the reader gets a picture of the woman and her life. We learn about her childhood, revisit memories of her strong-willed grandmother, learn how she met her husband and hear about their catastrophic honeymoon, feel her pride over her grown daughter’s career, and her pain over a sad tragedy that has stayed with her all her life. The book is beautifully written and the reader grows to care about Georgina as we see her life unfold through her memories.
A Summer in the Country by Marcia Willett, Fiction Willett
A lovely book that explores broken relationships – between mother and daughter, father and son, siblings, and husband and wife. The main characters are Brigid and Louise. Brigid lives on the Devon moors where she rents out cottages to vacationers. Her husband is in the Navy and away from home for months at a time, but Brigid loves the solitude of the moors and is content. She is estranged from her mother, nicknamed Frummie, who left her as a child. But then her mother is left by her latest husband and has nowhere else to go, so she moves into one of the cottages. Frummie had a second daughter after leaving Brigid and her father, and Brigid has always been jealous of her younger half-sister, Jemima. Meanwhile, Louise is a regular visitor to the moor, taking one of the cottages twice each year for a vacation while her significant other is away on business. Louise has a painful secret that she has been denying to others and herself. Eventually, the pain of this burden overwhelms her and she has a breakdown. Brigid, Frummie, and Jemima are there to help her in the aftermath of her breakdown, while all dealing with various issues of their own. I enjoyed this book because the characters are well-developed and complex – they seem like real people you could know and would want to know because they are all likable. The setting in the English countryside is also beautiful and vividly described. The book reads at a leisurely pace as you get to know the characters and their situations. I also liked the fact that the book has a happy ending in spite of some sadness and difficult issues facing the characters.
Mary – Youth Services
Song of Solomon begins very much how it ends – in a combination of folklore, terror, and awe. The story begins with an insurance salesman, Robert Smith, as he prepares to jump from Mercy Hospital, and into the street below. This action drives the narrative, and concerns the novel’s protagonist, who is nicknamed, “Milkman.” A Pulitzer Prize winning author, Toni Morrison truly knows how to craft a memorable story. Song of Solomon, therefore, is a wonderful mixture of interwoven tales: a love story, a coming-of-age story, the story of a mentor-figure on her exit of life, and most importantly, human connection that has the power to span race, time, and the distance – both physically and mentally – between us all.
With all of the excitement surrounding the fans of John Green over the recent film adaptation of his young-adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars, it is a good thing to see the pride of young adult readers over their favorite works becoming widely recognized. Fortunately, the novel Looking For Alaska was also announced to be a future movie-to-film adaptation of – what I believe – is Green’s best work. Set in an American boarding school, the events of this novel are quirky, dark, and unsettlingly close to the anxieties and pains of entering adulthood. This novel stays with the reader long after it is read, along with the words of Miles “Pudge” Halter and the subject of his narrative, the person who transforms him; an intelligent, yet troubled teen named Alaska Young.
Christopher Francis Boone has unparalleled memory for detail, trouble reading emotional response, and an abhorrence of the color yellow. Christopher awakens one morning to find his neighbor’s dog dead on his lawn, and is troubled by who might have done this to the dog. In a Sherlockian manner, he proceeds to tell the story of finding the dog’s killer, and also, the whirlwind of events that surround his search. This story, Christopher’s story, is colored by humor, intelligence, and, importantly for literature, it a story written from the perspective of an individual with autism. Although this book certainly does not spell out the condition of being autistic – one individual’s story does not constitute a whole – this book was written by an author who has understanding for his subject, and through Christopher’s eyes, allows the reader to see the world in a colorful, mathematically brilliant, and often times transformative light.