Opening in Kenya in 1926 and moving from pre-World War I England to 1999 New York and back again, The Ashford Affair chronicles the life of popular debutante Lady Beatrice (Bea) Gillecote, her cousin, Addie, their loves and their offspring. Bea becomes her six-year-old cousin’s protector and champion when Addie is sent to live with her titled uncle and imperious aunt after the untimely death of her parents. Just a year older, Bea has the grace and confidence Addie lacks. When the two make their entrance into society, Bea is dubbed Debutante of the Decade and soon marries a marquise. Almost immediately the marriage flounders and Bea embarks on an affair with Fredrick, the man Addie loves. Scandal ensues. Bea’s infidelity is revealed; her husband divorces her; she marries Fredrick and the couple move to Kenya to establish a coffee plantation.
Running concurrently with the saga of Addie and Bea is the story of Addie’s granddaughter, Clementine (Clemmie). A senior associate at a Manhattan law firm, Clemmie sacrifices her personal life for the opportunity to be named partner. But as Addie lies dying Clemmie begins to question who she is, where she came from and whether she really wants a job that comes at such high expense.
What a great way to spend your summer—here at John Tyler. We hope you find this semester enlightening, entertaining and/or enriching. Hopefully you will make time to use the library and the many resources we have available. Here are some tips that you may find useful:
To get a library card bring a picture ID—your driver’s license is perfect. It only takes a few minutes then you can check out:
Equipment to use in the library
White board markers
Study rooms are first-come first-served. If you see an empty room you and your group should jump right in! They all have:
Tables—perfect for group collaboration
Flat screens connected to DVD and video players
We don’t have a fax machine but we do have scanners. Sometimes you can scan and email a document rather than faxing it. There is no charge to use the scanners.
It will cost you $2 to start printing. You must buy a print card ($1) and put a minimum of $1 value on it. Our machine takes one and five dollar bills only so be prepared.
Ask! Ask away—we always want to support students. When we are not open Ask-A-Librarian has librarians ready to help you with your research and citations.
Caution: if you are like me and like to read while you are eating this may not be the book for you.
Mary Roach obviously likes science. In her previous books she explores space travel (Packing for Mars), sex and reproduction (Bonk), and death (Stiff). In this latest book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal she tackles digestion from beginning to end. As in her earlier works her research is fascinating and her delivery is hilarious. If you can get past the yuck factor you will be in for an entertaining and enlightening experience.
A sample of facts from the book:
The best method for cleaning fine art? Spit. It’s true–art conservators have found that plain saliva cleans delicate art better than any other solvent. Saliva contains enzymes which dissolve grime.
The “study animal of choice” for taste researchers? Catfish. Taste is essentially a chemical reaction. Catfish bodies “taste” as they swim along and brush up against potential food.
The animal with possibly the most multi-functional stomach? Penguins. Penguins are able to control the temperature of their stomachs which reduces gastric acids and turns the stomach into “a kind of cooler” for transporting fish hundreds of miles from where the fish were caught to their young in the nest.
You may be breathing a sigh of relief now that the semester is officially over, but the Dangerous Library Book Pushers are really sad to see you leave. But wait! You don’t have to go! You might find the perfect class to take over the semester. (History of Film and Animation, or Introduction to the GraphicNovel, or Stage Combat Workshop sound like fun.) But even if you don’t take a class you will always be welcomed in the library. Just think of all that we offer:
Best-selling books, newspapers and magazines
Comfy chairs in a cool, quiet environment
Computer access, Wi-Fi
And of course, helpful staff!
We want you here but we will have reduced hours until Summer semester begins:
Whew! After a week of dystopia it is time for the Dangerous Library Book Pushers to feature some (possibly) lighter reading fare. In fact, these suggestions are so light you won’t even have to pick them up!
What I have in mind are e-audiobooks. What could be better for long car trips to vacation destinations or even short hops between work and home? With your MyTyler log-in and password you can choose from over 1,000 e-audiobook titles as well as music and videos. Your log-in will allow you to check-out up to 4 titles at a time for either a 7 or 14 day check-out period.
Overdrive has recently implemented a spiffy new interface which will allow you to browse by genre, new releases or most downloaded. Read-alike titles are featured with every entry—helpful for answering that question: “What do I read now?” You can even listen to a brief sample. By clicking the “bookmark ribbon” you can add titles to your wish list.
Unlike the rest of this week’s posts today’s book, The Dog Stars, has a grown-up appeal; itfeatures an adult male protagonist. Plus, unlike the books previously presented this week there is no oppressive government presence. In fact there is no government at all, no societal divisions, no lurking rebellious factions just a few lost souls after a world-wide influenza epidemic.
Two things captured me about The Dog Stars: First it is sort of a survival manual for a post-apocalyptic world. Second the main character, Hig, is joined in his 1956 Cessna by his Labrador retriever, Jasper. Hig, prior to the epidemic was both a fisherman and a hunter—two skills that make life possible for him in the present. He forms an alliance with his neighbor for their mutual protection against roving bands that threaten to rob and kill them. Hig, with his Cessna airplane is able to scout the area both for the marauders and for game. Jasper is his constant companion.
On one of his flights Hig hears a radio transmission. Believing there is civilization left somewhere in the world, Hig is compelled to track down the source. This means flying past the point of no return, or the distance where he does not have enough fuel to get back home. He ventures into the unknown which is both more and less than he expected.
The Dog Stars is undoubtedly grim, but more hopeful than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, another post-apocalyptic novel. Fans of the Hatchet novels by Gary Paulsen might like this.
One of the first rules about book talking is: Do not try to booktalk a book you haven’t read! And here I go violating that very rule. But in my defense one of the reasons I haven’t read Escape From Furnace is from the time the library received the book in October it has been checked out to one of its many fans. That tells you how popular this book and this series is. The library acquired Lockdown and its sequels based on a student suggestion. I don’t know who you are but I want to thank you for making so many readers happy!
Watch the trailer to find out about the book. You will be intrigued.
As in yesterday’s book, Matched, the government has determined that love is something to be avoided. In fact, this dystopia considers love a disease—a delirium. Accordingly, when you reach a certain age you must have The Procedure which will make you immune to love. Lena is looking forward to having The Procedure but 95 days before it is scheduled she meets Alex.
Lena’s family struggles. She lives with her aunt and cousins and there is a cloud over the household. Lena’s mother, despite having The Procedure multiple times was never cured and was reported to have committed suicide rather than submit to a fourth Procedure. Lena’s cousins Grace and Jenny were left as orphans when their father, once a successful scientist was accused of being a sympathizer and disappeared before he could be brought to trial. And the cousins’ mother, as sometimes happens with The Procedure, found “parenting distasteful.”
So Lena wants to follow the rules set by the Consortium. And she wants to do well on her evaluation, her exams, have The Procedure and marry the person selected for her. But there is a part of her that is a little rebellious too. When she meets Alex he shows her a different way of life and what exists on the other side of the fence—in The Wilds. After that Lena can’t go back to the old ways and she and Alex are on a crazy run.
In the Society all your life choices are made for you: what job you do, the place you live, what belongings you may have and who you marry. If the authorities can control these aspects of your life then the rest of the country can be controlled as well.
The story opens with the night of Cassia’s matching ceremony. She, with all other 17-year-old girls, is patiently waiting her turn to see her match displayed on the giant screen in the banquet room. But when her name is called there is a computer glitch and a long wait with a blank screen before she sees the face of her best friend Xander. Suspecting that something has gone wrong Cassia is not surprised when a few days later she checks her microcard and finds the face displayed is not Xander. The face she sees another friend, Ky—an unsuitable match in every way. When an official of The Society interviews Cassia about the glitch she learns that Ky is an Aberration and ineligible to be matched. The official warns Cassia not to talk about the mix-up to anyone but allows her to discuss it with her grandfather who will soon be turning 80 and having his “Final Banquet.” That summer Cassia and Ky are in a recreational hiking class together. Slowly they become friends and Cassia becomes more aware of The Society’s ruthless domination. At the same time the authorities institute a crackdown. Cassia faces tough choices: remain obedient to the regime or join a rebellion. Much of her decision will depend on her feelings for Ky.
Here’s the setting: Chicago sometime in the future. As in The Hunger Games, society has evolved into a new arrangement of the population. At 16 years old you choose the faction of society you feel best suits your character—the brave, the peaceful, the honest, etc. Each part has a different role to play. Although her family belongs to Abnegation (the selfless) Tris chooses to join Dauntless (the brave), those responsible for protecting their fellow citizens but who Tris’s father calls “hellions.”
Tris, like Katniss in The Hunger Games, shows courage and resourcefulness during a grueling initiation where not everyone survives. She forms friendships with other recruits who have moved from the other factions into Dauntless and animosities with initiates who resent her abilities. When she is attacked late at night the mysterious instructor Four comes to her rescue. As her training progresses so does her relationship with Four and her sense that there is a conspiracy among the Dauntless to dominate society.
Full of drama, action and a little romance Divergent despite its 487 pages zips along.
Tris’ story continues in Insurgent. The final book in the trilogy, Allegiant, is due out in October.