Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

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…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper, a new novel by Australian author Kate Morton opens in 1961 with young Laurel Nicolson witnessing her mother stab a strange, sinister man.  Moving back and forth through time and space the events leading up to that moment are slowly uncovered. Fifty years after the stabbing Laurel’s mother is dying. Recognizing that she doesn’t have much time to learn the secrets of her mother’s past, Laurel and her brother Gerry embark on an investigation. Did the strange man have any association with their mother? What was their mother’s connection to…continue reading →

(Non) Fiction Friday: Fairy Tales from the BrothersGrimm

A little over 200 years ago (December, 1812) brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm first published their collection of folk and fairy tales titled Children’s and Household Tales.  The Grimms continued to update their compilation over the next fifty years and amazingly the stories are as popular in the 21st century as they were in the 19th.  Think of the television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and the recent movie adaptations of Snow White. According to National Geographic the fairytales have been translated into over 160 languages! Philip Pullman, author of the…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: The Yellow Birds

Tuesday’s post about Veterans Day, the annual John Tyler Community College Veterans Day Celebration, and military/veteran themed books brings us to today’s Fiction Friday. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, a graduate of VCU and a Richmond native, has received much attention including a feature in Parade Magazine and a National Book Award nomination. Although the story has been told many times—two friends meet in basic training, are sent to war, one of the friends dies—The Yellow Birdsgives the familiar tale a new voice. From the much praised opening sentence (“The war tried…continue reading →

The Dog Stars

How you would fare in a post-apocalyptic world? Would you be able to find food, shelter and security? If you were one of a few survivors would you be able to endure the loneliness, boredom and solitude? The Dog Stars, a debut novel by Peter Heller, explores the response of one man to catastrophe. Following a flu epidemic which claimed the life of his wife and most of the world, Hig survives with the help of his neighbor, Bangley. But where Hig is compassionate Bangley is callous. And despite Hig’s compassion, he must…continue reading →