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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Roguish Reading

As a reader, do you love to encounter a nasty villain now and then? So does Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl fantasy series. He recently listed his top 10 literary rogues in The Guardian  ("Eoin Colfer's Top Ten Villains," May 23, 2013).  He even admits he finds them more interesting to write about in his own books than his heroes.  Here are a few selections from his list:
Ernst Stavro Blofeld in The Blofield Trilogy: 007 James Bond Novels by Ian Fleming
Captain Hook in Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Steerpike in The Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Laurence Peake
Napoleon in Animal Farm by George Orwell
Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda by Roald Dahl
Professor Moriarty in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Get Ready for Summer

Since Memorial Day kicks off the beach and vacation season, we thought we’d share Publishers Weekly’s recent list of  Best Summer Books 2013 in various genres. Whether you enjoy a good thriller, mystery, romance or nonfiction, here are a few selections from the list:

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

Something Wicked by Lisa Jackson

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Flora by Gail Godwin

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Books for Gardeners

Although weather has been a bit fickle here in the mid-Atlantic, there have been a few perfect days for gardening enthusiasts.   But, at those times when turning the soil isn’t an option, GoodReads has compiled a list of  Best Gardening Books to whet the appetite of any house-bound gardener.
Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katharine S. White

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Gatsby: The Great American Novel

Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby opens on Friday and to mark the occasion, USA Today has published "Five Reasons 'Gatsby' is the Great American Novel." When Fitzgerald died in 1940, he had only sold 25,000 copies, writes USA’s Deidre Donahue. Today it is currently the second top-seller in the U.S. It sells more than half a million copies each year.
Donahue offers these five reasons for the novel’s staying power. See if you agree.
1.        At its heart, it is the most American of stories. Jay Gatsby is the iconic self-made man.

2.       Set in “The Jazz Age,” the novel chronicles the hedonism of a fascinating era.

3.      It’s complex characters seem relevant to each new generation of readers

4.      The novel is about an intriguing obsessive, “crazy” love.

5.      The prose, while sparse, is “imperishable.” As an example, Donahue quotes the novel’s final sentence: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Must-Read Fiction for Men (and Women)

GQ recently published a list of the best in 21st-century fiction that its readers shouldn’t miss (“The New Canon: 21 Books From the 21st-Century Every Man Should Read,” April 8, 2013). “We spent months chiseling down a list of not just our favorite books from the 2000s,” the GQ editors wrote, “but also works of fiction we most readily recommend to our fathers, brothers, and non-blood-related bros.” We suspect none of the books on this list are gender-specific and may appeal to all readers of fine fiction. Here is a sampling:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Runaway by Alice Munro

Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

Pastoralia by George Saunders