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Showing posts from December, 2007

The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman

I came to Bosco for the quiet. That's what it's famous for. The silence reigns each day between the hours of nine and five by order of a hundred-year-old decree made by a woman who lies dead beneath the rosebushes--a silence guarded by four hundred acres of wind sifting through white pines with a sound like a mother saying hush.
--opening lines of The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman

This is the second novel by Carol Goodman that I've read; the first that I read was her debut novel, The Lake Of Dead Languages. Both novels are good, and I have decided that I'm going to read more Carol Goodman once I get through the four or five books I already have lined up after this one.

The Ghost Orchid is part ghost story, part mystery, part historical novel, and, on a very subtle level, part romance. The story is narrated by Ellis Brooks, a first time novelist, who has come to Bosco, a residential writer's retreat in New York state, to write her first novel. Brooks' novel is b…

An Unfortunate Prelude To A Fortunate Review

Before I start the official review, I just really need to get something off my chest. Sometimes I really hate computers and the mysterious things called "cookies" that most websites need enabled in order for you to be able to log in. I don't know what happened with the computer at the circulation desk here at the library, but tonight I could not log in to this account no matter what I tried... blogger says "User Account Doesn't Exist," and I have to move everything over to a google account (which I thought was moot because I did that with the original registration process when this blog was created) at which point I will have access to new and improved features! Whoa.

But I can't sign in to the google account because the dear computer won't eat cookies even though I have told it that it is allowed to do so. Then I try to log in to blogger on the computer back in the office and, lo and behold, I can log in! AND there is NO mention of "migr…

The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems From Grimm Fairy Tales edited by Jeanne Marie Beaumont and Claudia Carlson

This is a collection of poems by various contemporary poets (some well known, some not so much) based on the fairy tales collected by the brothers Grimm in the early 1800's in Germany. The fairy tales the poems are based upon range from well known tales, such as those of Snow White and Cinderella to lesser known tales, such as "The White Snake" or "The Girl Without Hands." Some poems offer a meditation on the tale itself or a look at the tale from an entirely new and unexpected perspective.

This is probably one of my favorite poetry collections and holds a special place in my heart because not only do I love poetry, but I also love fairy tales. In fact, in college I did two independent studies that focused on the fairy tale genre and a thesis case study of the tale of Snow White. I collected 30-50 versions of the tale, including Greek and Armenian versions. There is even supposed to be an Appalachian version of Snow White, though I've been unable to find a …

Let's Talk About Your Favorite Book!

I'm a little late with this link, but we have posted a new video on our YouTube channel. It asks for comments and video responses to get a discussion going about our favorite books! It stars our fearless leader here at the library, Ms. Sheila! You can view the video at our channel at We already have a couple comments and a few video responses. We'd love to hear from you, too!

So exciting!

Bones To Ashes by Kathy Reichs

I've been a longtime reader and fan of Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan series, and so I'm now submitting a review of the latest installment for the series called Bones To Ashes, which was released a couple months ago. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, it follows a forensic anthropologist named Temperance Brennan. She splits her time between North Carolina where she teaches on the faculty of the state university and consults with medical examiners when they need a forensic anthropologist and Montreal, Quebec, Canada where she is on the staff of the province's medical-legal lab (she works for the office of the medical examiner). A forensic anthropologist works on murder cases in which there isn't much left of the victim... for example, if all that's left is bones or the victim was burned beyond recognition, Brennan is called in to examine the bones to determine cause of death and in some cases to determine identity as well.

In Bones To Ashes

The Myth Of You And Me by Leah Stewart

The Myth Of You And Me tells the story of the fractured friendship between two women. The aftermath of its destruction for one of the women is felt for years as it deeply influences her life choices and relationships with others. By the closing pages of the book you hope the issues that dissolved the friendship can be resolved so that the two women can repair their relationship, and the narrator (who is one of the women) can move past the event that dissolved her friendship with the woman who was her best friend for so many years.

Ultimately the most compelling element about the book are the characters; you feel their betrayal, and you hope they can find the strength in themselves to move on. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys reading about the travails of friendship and the painful fallout when a friendship is suddenly, seemingly irreparably broken.
This book is available upon request from Annville Free Library, Lebanon Community Library and Palmyra Public Library.

The Global Etiquette Guide To Europe by Dean Foster

This book claims to contain "everything you need to know for business and travel success." It is divided into sections organized by culture (for example, Latin culture) that are further divided into chapters organized by country (for example, Italy and Spain are Latin cultures that each have their own chapters). Each chapter is organized the same way and shares that country's customs, manners (etiquette!) necessary for a successful business trip to that country; it offers insights into how and why a specific country's people behave in a certain way. Each chapter opens with brief descriptions of the country's history and culture as a people before getting into other details, like government and demography or its educational system.

While it is interesting to read about the differences and similarities in customs, peoples, and their respective behaviors and histories, chapter after chapter of the same organizational structure--right down to repetition of phrases wor…

Question For Blog Readers

So the previous review for 20th Century Ghosts made me think about something. I've thought a lot about what I read and why I read what I read and what I don't read and why I don't read what I don't read. Now I want to know. What do you read? Why do you read what you read? What don't you read? Why don't you read what you don't read? How do you choose the books you read? You can respond by posting a comment directly to the blog by clicking on 'post comment' below or you can jot your thoughts down in a few sentences on a piece of paper and hand it to the person at the circulation desk the next time you visit the Matthews Library. Who knows, maybe what you write will end up here on the blog. For that reason, you may sign your name to your comments when you hand them in at the desk, but you don't have to because you can also do it anonymously if you wish.
I can't wait to read what you have to say, and I look forward to hearing from you! Don't …

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

20th Century Ghosts is really a misleading title. With a title like that the reader expects more supernatural, less science fiction/fantasy, more ghosts, less...weird inflatable people? This collection of short stories written by Joe Hill (also the author of a novel, Heart Shaped Box) run the gamut from horror, science fiction, fantasy to ghost story.
Normally I do not read science fiction/fantasy. Normally I do not read short story collections either, and when I do, it doesn't last long. I read a short story here, skip a few that bore me, read another, and then decide the book isn't worth my time, so I ditch it and move onto the next thing--another novel.
Over the years, actually throughout my college years through one assignment or another, I've been forced to analyze what I read and why I read what I read, and this has recently lead me to think a lot about why I don't read what I don't read. The list of what I don't read or at least the things that I never…

Next (2007)

The movie is called Next because the main character, Cris Johnson a.k.a. Frank Cadillac, played by Nicolas Cage can see exactly two minutes into his future. Johnson is sought by an FBI agent named Callie Ferris, played by Julianne Moore, who wants him to help her track down a stolen nuclear bomb using his unique gift for "precognition." He does not want to do this and spends a good part of the movie dodging the FBI team tracking him. Then he meets a young woman (a woman young enough to be his daughter and this bothers me) named Elizabeth Cooper, played by Jessica Biel, and it's love or romance or whatever. The important thing--the thing that draws Johnson to Cooper--is that when they're together, he can see much further into his future than two minutes, and he wants to know why. In the end, Johnson must help the FBI to save the woman he loves. Johnson chooses a course of action that will presumably protect Cooper from all contact with the bad guys who are also onto t…