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Showing posts from September, 2008

Whistling In The Dark by Lesley Kagen

I'd pulled this exact same fire handle last summer right around this time. And boy, were those firemen steamed when they found out there was no fire. I'd done it cuz Mary Lane said she'd give me a dime if I would and, after all, she was our best friend.

from page 82, Whistling In The Dark by Lesley Kagen

Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen tells the story of the summer people started locking their doors on Vliet Street--it is told from the perspective of a ten year old girl with a very active imagination.

It is summer. It is 1959 in the Vliet Street neighborhood in Milwaukee. Young girls are going missing and then their bodies are being dumped--molested, naked, and dead. The O'Malley sisters' mother is in the hospital for a mysterious procedure and complications and the fact that she "may be dying" keep her there for most of that summer. The girls' older sister, Nell, and their stepfather are supposed to look after them, but these plans don't quite…

Death At A Funeral

Death At A Funeral is a movie that stars Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Dinklage, and Rupert Graves. It's an independent, British comedy, and it is hilarious.

When a family's patriarch dies, friends and family of the deceased gather for a final--dignified--farewell. However, one unexpected guest throws a wrench into these plans when he demands compensation for keeping an explosive family secret under wraps. The sons of the deceased are forced to improvise increasingly out of control solutions as one after another of these solutions goes terribly wrong in order to keep this family secret buried--and to preserve the dignity of their father's wake. People and events in this dysfunctional family quickly gather steam and threaten to spin disastrously and hilariously out of control.
This black comedy is the best I've seen since Little Miss Sunshine's dysfunctional family road trip, and I highly, highly recommend you see it. It is available upon request from Annville Free Librar…

The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake is the latest installment in Tess Gerritsen's Dr. Maura Isles/Jane Rizzoli (medical examiner/homicide detective, respectively) series that is set in Boston, Massachusetts. This is the other book that I was anticipating for about the past half a year since I found a listing for it on
The novel begins with a cryptic first chapter narrated in the first person--this is a departure from the rest of the novel and the series since the rest of the book, save for the final chapter, is narrated in third person. Gerritsen contributes a much better written installment to her series than Reichs did to the Brennan series. Gerritsen's mystery crackles with tighter, more urgent suspense as well. Gerritsen succeeds in creating and painting a more terrifying serial killer.
In The Keepsake we catch up with Isles and Rizzoli. Isles continues to see a man she cannot completely have and Rizzoli's marriage is still going strong; Rizzoli's daughter is now a year old. …

Herstory: Women Who Changed The World edited by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn

Herstory: Women Who Changed The World edited by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn is copyrighted 1995, which makes me wonder who would be included in an updated volume.

Ever since high school I've identified myself as a feminist, and women's history and women's rights are near and dear to me. The marginalization, objectification, discrimination, and second class citizenship of women throughout history are ideas that still outrage and horrify me when I read about the obstacles, injustices and perils that my female forebears have had to overcome and survive to get to where we are today. I may not have personally experienced these struggles--I have come of age in the title IX era where equality or near equality is the only thing I've known--but I am acutely aware of the fairly recent period in history in which women had few or no rights and how fragile those rights remain with the current Republican president and the addition of two conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme…

Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs

Before I begin the book review, I'd like to point out that this is my 100th blog post. Whoa. That is a lot of posting of reviews, news of new arrivals and notices of new YouTube videos. Here's to the next 100 posts. I hope my fingers don't get too sore.

Ever since I found out the title of Kathy Reichs' next Tempe Brennan novel and then stumbled across its listing on with a release date attached, I was counting down the days 'til I could get my hands on the next installment of Brennan's adventures. And I was obsessively checking nearly every day for an updated Devil Bones listing with a blurb attached. Then the book came out in August, and as soon as the title appeared in the Lebanon County Library System, I put my name on the Hold Queue. And I obsessively checked my account on its status to see if it was finally on its way. It arrived one day last week... Thursday or Friday. I finished it Saturday, and since I reviewed the last Brennan nove…

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson is a beautifully, vividly written novel coming soon to the Matthews Library. The author may sound familiar to you because I reviewed her most recent novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, on this blog a few months ago. [Click on the title to go to that review!] I believe I also mentioned Between, Georgia in that review. That was back in May, and this past Labor day weekend, I did some major reading. I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and then started Between, Georgia Saturday afternoon. I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish the book, which is something I rarely do, but everything was getting ready to go to hell in a hand basket (in the book) by bedtime that I couldn't put it down until I finished it. I then read a book called A Thousand Bones by P.J. Parrish on Sunday and Monday. That is also a wonderful book, and I am now getting ready to read the series by that author. Some people have picnics on federal holiday weekend…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I'm sorry I can't send you my notes on Charlotte and Emily [Bronte]--I used them to kindle a fire in my cookstove, there being no other paper in the house. I'd already burnt up my tide tables, the Book of Revelation, and the story about Job.

from page 52 of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.

from page 53 of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. According to a review that I read for the novel, Shaffer died before it was published; Barrows, her niece, finished and edited the novel for publication.
The novel is set in post-war London and Guernsey Island; World War II has literally just ended--it is 1946--and London, Guernsey Island, and its citizens are struggling to rebuild their towns, their homes and their lives. They are wondering if and when life will ever return to normal and how do they move on a…

Shoot 'Em Up

Shoot 'Em Up stars Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, and Paul Giamatti.

This movie is part love story, part urban western shoot out, and part dark comedy. The action literally explodes in the first minute of the film with a storm of bullets flying before it careens into conspiracy/government cover up territory. Its mysterious, eccentric characters possess unbelievable shooting skills; if Mr. Smith (Owen) is not an extremely skilled black ops trained marksman, then he is an extremely lucky man.
Mr. Smith, who has a yen for carrots, is drawn into the fight of his life when he defends a mother and her baby from ruthless guns for hire who want both mother and child dead. Smith quickly realizes that if the child is to survive, it is up to him to make sure it happens. To achieve this end, he enlists the help of a hooker from the local brothel. The two end up on the run from a brutal, violent man, who will stop at nothing to kill the baby--and anyone who stands in his way.
This movie is coming t…