Fiction Friday: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park begins with that awkward-new-girl moment when 16 year-old Eleanor steps on the bus and no one will share a seat with her. In an act of pity Park moves his belongings aside. But not until a few rides later when he catches Eleanor reading his comic book over his shoulder does a slow friendship begin to develop. Besides the bullying Eleanor endures at school she also has a lot to cope with at home. She lives with her mom, four younger siblings and a creepily menacing step-father in a two-bedroom…continue reading →

What Matters in Jane Austen

January 28, 2013 marked the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Pride and Prejudice. Its author, Jane Austen, is as popular as ever. Pride and Prejudice alone has had at least four film adaptations. A search in the library database Literature Resource Center on Jane Austen yields 843 results. And now this statue of her famous hero, Mr. Darcy, has been erected in Hyde Park, London. Though of course not from Austen’s text of Pride and Prejudice, the statue’s resemblance to Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC production is uncanny. If your interest…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: Oleander Girl

Orphaned Korobi Roy leads a sheltered life in Kolkata, India under the care of her doting grandparents. When she meets the handsome and charming Rajat Bose, the only son of prosperous business family, the two fall in love and become engaged. End of story? Not quite. Unexpectedly Korobi’s grandfather dies shortly after the formal engagement ceremony unleashing a cascade of life-changing events. Korobi’s grandmother reveals her knowledge of Korobi’s parents—that Korobi’s father may still be alive and living in the U.S. Part mystery, part coming-of-age story Oleander Girl follows Korobi’s search for her…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: The Light Between Oceans

Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel live on Janus Rock, an island situated at the southwest corner of Australia. Tom keeps the lighthouse there protecting the sailors who navigate the treacherous waters between oceans—the warm, calm Indian Ocean and the cold, stormy Great Southern Ocean at the bottom of the world. Tom has survived childhood mistreatment and the horrors of World War I. The routine and solitude of lighthouse keeping suit him perfectly. When he is joined by his wife, the beautiful and effervescent Isabel, he is content. Isabel, however, longs for children.…continue reading →

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 →