Nov 1, 2012

Words in air - Elizabeth Bishop

Words in air : the complete correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell - Bishop, Elizabeth

Summary: A profile of the intimate relationship between the two twentieth-century poet friends draws on their thirty-year correspondence to offer insight into how they inspired each other, the ways in which they viewed their private and surrounding worlds, and their experiences within the literary community. - (Baker & Taylor)

Choice Reviews
The complete correspondence between Bishop (1911-79) and Lowell (1917-77), who were friends as well as fellow poets, will be warmly welcomed by scholars of both poets. Though most of their letters are already available in separate volumes--Robert Giroux's edition of Bishop's letters (One Art: Letters, 1994) and Saskia Hamilton's edition of Lowell's (The Letters of Robert Lowell, CH, Jan'06, 43-2675)--this collection adds new letters and creates a rich, compelling narrative. Bishop and Lowell met in 1947 and were immediately drawn to each other, both personally and professionally. Their correspondence covers a period of some 30 years and contains lively discussions about the poetry of their contemporaries, politics (both American and Brazilian), and their own writing. Indeed, they influenced each other's work, aspired to each other's talents, and wrote poems for each other. They also wrote more personally, of their love affairs and their respective illnesses: Bishop suffered throughout her life from severe asthma, depression, and alcoholism; Lowell, from what would now be called bipolar disorder. Their understanding of and affection for each other is clear throughout their correspondence, which ended only on Lowell's death. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. Copyright 2009 American Library Association.

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Chronicle of a death foretold - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Chronicle of a death foretold - Garcia Marquez, Gabriel

Summary: The narrator of this story studies a murder which takes place shortly after a wedding and explores the mass community complicity that allowed it to happen.

Kirkus Review
/* Starred Review */ In this new novella by the Nobel Prize-winner, a Colombian-village murder 20 years in the past is raked over, brooded upon, made into a parable: how an Arab living in the town was assassinated by the loutish twin Vicario brothers when their sister, a new bride, was rejected by her bridegroom--who discovered the girl's unchastity. Cast off, beaten, grilled, the girl eventually revealed the name of her corrupter--Santiago Nassar. And, though no one really believed her (Nassar was the least likely villain), the Arab was indeed killed: the drunken brothers broadcasted their intentions casually; they went so far as to sharpen their murder weapons--old pig-sticking knives--in the town market; and the town, universal witness to the intention, reacted with epic ambivalence--sure, at first, that such an injustice couldn't occur, yet also resigned to its inevitability. As in In Evil Hour (1979) and other works, then, what Garcia Marquez offers here is an orchestration of grim social realities--an awareness that seems vague at first, then coheres into a solid, pessimistic vision. But, while In Evil Hour threaded the message with wit, fanciful imagination, and storytelling flair (the traits which have made Garcia Marquez popular as well as honored), this new book seems crammed, airless, thinly diagrammatic. The theme of historical imperative comes across in a didactic, mechanistic fashion: "He never thought it legitimate," G-M says of one character, ironically, "that life should make use of so many coincidences forbidden literature, so there should be the untrammeled fulfillment of a death so clearly foretold." (Also, the novella's structural lines are uncomfortably close to those of Robert Pinget's Libera Me Domine.) So, while the recent Nobel publicity will no doubt generate added interest, this is minor, lesser Garcia Marquez: characteristic themes illustrated without the often-characteristic charm and dazzle. (Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1983)

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Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon - Keyes, Daniel

Summary: A thirty-two-year-old mentally handicapped man takes part in an innovative scientific experiment to raise his intelligence - (Baker & Taylor)

"A tale that is convincing, suspenseful and touching."--The New York Times
"An ingeniously touching story . . . Moving . . . Intensely real."--The Baltimore Sun

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Moonrise kingdom (DVD)

Moonrise kingdom (DVD)

Summary: Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore, and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle.

Video Librarian Reviews
Perhaps because of their dry, whimsical, bittersweet wistfulness, Wes Anderson's eccentric films (including The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox) are often a breath of cinematic fresh air. On an idyllic island off New England's Narragansett Bay in September 1965, two alienated, rebellious 12-year-olds fall in love and decide to run away together. Orphaned outcast Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) is tired of being bullied by Khaki Scout Troop 55 at Camp Ivanhoe, while sullen Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) peers through binoculars, eager to escape from her younger brothers, morose father Walt (Bill Murray) and harried mother Laura (Frances McDormand), who is having an affair with the local sheriff, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). As intrepid, idealistic Sam and Suzy hike through the rolling fields and craggy ravines—following a Native American harvest migration trail, and setting up their sanctuary camp on a deserted beach by a magical cove that they dub Moonrise Kingdom—a violent storm is brewing off-shore. Meanwhile, their alarming absence initiates an exhaustive search by the colorfully caricatured adults: Sharp, Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), and a woman known only as Social Services (Tilda Swinton). Like Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra—often referenced here—Anderson creates distinctive component parts which are then artfully blended into a winning whole. Highly recommended. Editor's Choice. (S. Granger)Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2011.

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San Miguel - T.C. Boyle

San Miguel - Boyle, T.C.

Summary: From the "New York Times"-bestselling author of "The Women," a historical novel about three women's lives on a California island. Their extraordinary stories, full of struggle and hope, are the subject of Boyle's haunting new novel.

Kirkus Reviews
The prolific author's latest is historical, not only in period and subject matter, but in tone and ponderous theme. The 14th novel from Boyle returns to the Channel Islands off the coast of California, a setting which served him so well in his previous novel (When the Killing's Done, 2011). Some of the conflicts are similar as well--man versus nature, government regulation versus private enterprise--but otherwise this reads more like a novel that is a century or more old, like a long lost work from the American naturalist school of Frank Norris and Theodore Dreiser, both of whom saw mankind caught in mechanistic forces and nature as something other than the Eden of innocence so often romanticized. The novel tenuously connects the stories of two families who move, 50 years apart, to the isolation of the title island, in order to tend to a sheep ranch. For Marantha Waters, the symbolically fraught pilgrimage with her husband and daughter in 1888--on "New Year's Day, the first day of her new life, and she was on an adventure...bound for San Miguel Island and the virginal air Will insisted would make her well again"--is one of disillusionment and determination. Even the passage of time feels like a loss of innocence: "The days fell away like the skin of a rotten fruit"; "The next day sheared away like the face of a cliff crashing into the ocean and then there was another day and another." The ravages of the natural world (and their own moral natures) take their toll on the family, who are belatedly succeeded in the 1930s by a similar one, as newlyweds anticipate their move west as "the real life they were going into, the natural life, the life of Thoreau and Daniel Boone, simple and vigorous and pure." Reinforcing their delusions is national press attention, which made much of their "pioneering, that is, living like the first settlers in a way that must have seemed romantic to people inured to the grid of city streets and trapped in the cycle of getting and wanting and getting all over again." What may seem to some like paradise offers no happy endings in this fine novel. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Nightmare at 20,000 feet: horror stories - Richard Matheson

Nightmare at 20,000 feet: horror stories - Richard Matheson

Summary: A chilling anthology of eerie tales of horror and the macabre includes twenty of the author's most famous stories including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," which was transformed into a memorable episode on The Twilight Zone, "Prey," and "Duel," which inspired Stephen Spielberg's acclaimed first TV movie. - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Although Matheson (I Am Legend; Hell House; etc.) needs no introduction to most horror fans, Stephen King provides one for this collection of classic weird tales in which he appreciatively remembers his mentor's "gut-bucket short stories that were like shots of white lightning." Spanning almost half a century, the influential contents are as much a roadmap to the direction horror fiction has taken since the 1950s as to Matheson's own legacy of spare, scary chillers. In lieu of pedantic priers into the Unknown, he offers sympathetic everymen, like the husband in "First Anniversary," who finds hints of the unearthly suddenly seeping through his comfortably complacent marriage. Matheson strips away horror's traditional gothic clutter to expose ordinary landscapes that perfectly take the imprint of his characters' paranoid fixations: that life's petty annoyances are part of a universal conspiracy to drive a person mad in "Legion of Plotters," and that dangerously malfunctioning household items are channels for a man's self-destructive anger in "Mad House." The agents of horror in these stories are less often the usual supernatural bogies than malignantly endowed everyday objects, like telephones, television sets and home appliances that are all the more frightening for their ubiquity. The well-known title tale about a nervous air traveler is a showcase for the author's trademark less-is-more prose style, which suspensefully delineates a psychological tug-of-war between man and a monster that may be purely imagined. Timeless in their simplicity, these stories are also relentless in their approach to basic fears. (Feb. 9) FYI: A Grand Master of Horror and winner of a Stoker for Lifetime Achievement, Matheson has also won Edgar and Hugo awards. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Catch That Tiger - Noel Botham

Catch That Tiger - Botham, Noel

Summary: Unleashed by Hitler in 1942, the German Tiger tank was by far the most powerful tank ever built at the time—the 60-ton monster could destroy any Allied tank from more than a mile away. Desperate to discover the secret technology used in its manufacture, Winston Churchill chose a brilliant young army engineer, Major Doug Lidderdale, as his special agent. In a late-night briefing in the subterranean war rooms under Whitehall he ordered him "Go catch me a tiger." Doug did not hesitate, and by February 1943 was facing Rommel's desert army. After several unsuccessful and hair-raising efforts to bag a Tiger on the battlefields of Tunisia, Doug and his team put their lives on the line in a terrifying, close-range shoot-out with the five-man crew of a Tiger, capturing the tank intact. The morale boost to the Allies was such that both Churchill and King George VI flew to Tunis to examine the Tiger firsthand. But the Germans were not finished with Doug—constant attacks by the Luftwaffe and U-boats pursued him and his men on every step of the journey back to England. But eventually, by October 1943, the Tiger was gifted to Churchill, who had it placed on London's Horse Guards Parade. Lidderdale went on to use some of the Tiger technology to develop war machines for the D-day landings and was promoted to Colonel. Tiger 131 is now kept at Bovington Tank Museum and is the only working Tiger in the world. The full extent of Doug's adventures in North Africa only came to light after his son, Dave Travis, revealed the existence of his father's diaries. - (Independent Publishing Group)

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A boy and a bear in a boat - Dave Shelton

A boy and a bear in a boat - Shelton, Dave

Summary: A boy and a bear go to sea, equipped with a suitcase, a comic book and a ukulele, for a short trip but soon their boat encounters "unforeseeable anomalies," strange storms, a terrifying sea monster, and the rank remains of The Very Last Sandwich.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* In this illustrated novel from England, a boy steps aboard a small rowboat equipped with a bear for a captain. The boy merely needs a ride to the other side of the sea, but due to a few "unforeseeable anomalies," he soon fears they may be lost. Even a limited game of I Spy fails to break up the monotony. Exasperated by the bear's seemingly bumbling leadership, the boy accuses him of stranding them in the middle of nowhere. Pointing to an entirely blue map, the bear counters, "We passed through the middle of nowhere about noon yesterday. So you see it's not so bad." When adventures with storms and a ravenous sea monster eventually ensue, the pair makes the best use of their meager supplies—a suitcase, a comic book, a ukulele, and a "Very Last Sandwich." Just as the bear thinks he may have failed as captain, the boy steps in to reassure him of his skills. It's Shelton's spare, wry storytelling that makes this book set sail. The duo's give-and-take relationship, aptly depicted in the expressive black-and-white illustrations, becomes the real focus of this existential story. An open ending emphasizes the adage that life is a journey rather than a destination. Deceptively brilliant. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Who I am - Pete Townshend

Who I am - Townshend, Pete

Summary: The legendary lead guitarist and principal songwriter for The Who, one of the most influential rock-and-roll bands of all time, pens his own story.

Library Journal Reviews
Townshend has been working on this memoir for a decade—without the help of a ghostwriter. (It says something that this fact is emphasized.) Here he is as a child, raised by a mentally incapacitated grandmother as his parents led an early version of countercultural life; an adolescent, founding the forerunner of the Who with buddy Roger Daltrey; and a full-fledged rock star wrestling (as rock stars do) with drugs, sex, fame, fortune, and notoriety.

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Between the lines - Jodi Picoult

Between the lines - Picoult, Jodi

Summary: Told in their separate voices, sixteen-year-old Prince Oliver, who wants to break free of his fairy tale existence, and fifteen-year-old Delilah, a loner obsessed with Prince Oliver and the book in which he exists, work together to seek his freedom.

Booklist Reviews
Quirky loner Delilah discovers a fairy tale in her high-school library and develops a raging crush on its handsome prince. She is startled but delighted to discover that he can actually see her and speak to her. In alternating chapters Oliver and Delilah relate their adventures in liberating Oliver from the two-dimensional page into Delilah's three-dimensional world. Picoult's teenage daughter pitched the idea to her mother, and together the two have created a compulsively readable charmer. The teen dialogue and interior monologues feel authentic, while Picoult's practiced hand balances humor with larger issues such as abandonment, hope, and existential quandaries related to fate and human nature. Both silhouette and pencil drawings abound; characters climb in and around the text to excellent effect. Younger readers and their parents will appreciate the gentle, wholesome romance, with nary a shred of paranormal action. The tender, positive tone and effective pacing that builds to a satisfying finish will inspire readers to pass the book to a friend—or reread it themselves. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Picoult's brand-name presence on the cover will draw readers for her first foray into YA lit, and a mother-daughter tour will help spread the word. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Scenes from an impending marriage - Adrian Tomine

Scenes from an impending marriage - Tomine, Adrian

Summary: A comic book based on the author's own wedding plans celebrates the absurd aspects of getting married, from taking dance lessons to managing family demands.

Booklist Reviews
Once the initial euphoria of popping the question wears off, the minefield of putting together a wedding takes shape. In small, nine-panel-grid vignettes, Tomine documents the perilous process, fraught with one-time decisions that few are qualified to make, from settling on the reception venue to making tactful negotiations on whittling down the guest list, agonizing over invitations that invariably wind up in the trash anyway, and picking from an assortment of cookie-cutter DJs. Interspersed are a few full-page panels that take a subversive, Family Circus spin on exercise ("This nonsense stops the minute we're married!"), dance lessons (ditto), and eyebrow-tweezing (ditto plus expletives). With the obsessive self-awareness bred into all great autobiographical cartoonists, Tomine incisively depicts the monumental-feeling pressures and expectations that can toss a fledgling couple into "the black hole of nuptial narcissism," or, in Adrian and Sarah's case, provide ample proof that they should be making the plunge after all. The institution of marriage as a whole just might benefit from having this little book as required reading. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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