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Showing posts from September, 2014

All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey With Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith

All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey With Jane is Amy Elizabeth Smith's first book.  Smith is a tenured university professor in California who teaches literature; she specializes in Jane Austen novels (and is an Austen enthusiast), and she teaches a course in Austen novels.  The premise of this book was to travel to six different Central and South American countries to meet with both formal and informal reading groups to discuss various Jane Austen novels.  The groups read Austen in Spanish translation, and Smith wanted to find out if these readers connected with and reacted to Austen's novels in the same way that her students back home did.  Smith also wanted to find out if Spanish language readers thought Austen's themes were universal enough to translate across time and cultures.

Ya'll know I'm a sucker for an English period drama.  I've seen all of Austen's novels in film adaptation form (but sadly have never any of her novels).  So when this b…

You Know When The Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

You Know When The Men Are Gone is the debut short story collection by Siobhan Fallon.  Fallon writes from experience as she is the wife of a military serviceman, and the family was once stationed at Fort Hood where these stories are set.  This collection was also among the five finalists for the One Book One Community 2015 title selection; local readers were voting on their choice for the selection throughout the month of August, and the winner will be announced in October, while the reading (of the selection) will take place in February.  I don't normally read the OBOC selection (sorry not sorry); in the past there have been a couple titles that I had already read (years) prior to their selection as the campaign book.

This is a collection of loosely interconnected short stories populated by the soldiers and their spouses stationed at Fort Hood.  Each story focuses on the lives and perspectives of different characters, such as the deployed soldiers in country, the returned soldier…

Nine Years Under: Coming of Age In An Inner-City Funeral Home by Sheri Booker

Lately I've been on a run of non-fiction--this is unusual for me because (and I know I say this every time I review a non-fiction book) non-fiction and I generally don't get along.  Every once in a while though, I find a non-fiction book that sticks and I read it AND I finish it.  Nine Years Under: Coming of Age In An Inner-City Funeral Home is Sheri Booker's first book... well, actually it isn't because during the course of the book she talks a little about how she's published a collection of poetry.  But this is her first prose book.  I saw this title come up in the New Titles list in the online catalog, and since I'd recently come across a review for another memoir set in a funeral home and added it to my reading list, I thought I'd request Nine Years Under and read it.

This is a quick and easy read and Booker's writing style is easily accessible.  There are a few quibbles--for example, there are a few passages in which the chronology and/or those …

I Work At A Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories From the Stacks by Gina Sheridan

I Work At A Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories From the Stacks is the first book from Gina Sheridan who maintains a tumblr by the same title.  Sheridan is a librarian in Missouri who started writing down stories of the memorable encounters she had with the patrons of her library.  She then started sharing these stories on her tumblr which is where librarians and library workers from all over the country and the world found her and starting submitting their own crazy stories to her site.  This book is a collection of those stories.

Sheridan's stories consist mostly of snippets of memorable conversations with various colorful library patrons.  These stories range from the bizarre to the frustrating to the heartwarming as the book closes with a chapter of stories of patrons who shared their gratitude and appreciation of the local library and its hard working staff.

As a library aide, I could certainly relate to many of the stories Sheridan shares in this book.  If you'…