Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm too busy

I have so many post ideas in my head but so much is going on right now that they never make it to the computer! Summer is a different world in the Hamptons and it has already begun. I am again coordinating our Adult Summer Reading Program and I have some big events in my personal life as well. So, until I get to sit down and write about all the books and authors that I love (and hate), I had a guest sit down and give us a list of 8 books to read this summer. This is a man whose reading advice I would take!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't be a stranger...

I was thrilled to wake up this beautiful, sunny, Mother's Day to a review of Sarah Waters' new book in my newspaper. And what a great review it was! I feel like maybe too many details were given away but if it gets more readers for Ms. Waters then it's worth it!

You can read the review here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Aren't you lucky

I was lucky enough to see Sarah Waters for the second time the other day. She has published her fifth book, The Little Stranger, and crossed the pond to do a Barnes & Noble "one on one" interview. And lucky you, the interview is available online. So while I had to find parking near Union Square in NYC, you get to just click here.

Luckily, the video only shows the interview portion, not the book signing portion. I think I babbled a bit when I tried to tell Ms. Waters how much I love her writing ... I'm glad that wasn't captured on video!

An interview with Martin Millar

Again, stolen from Shelf Awareness.

Martin Millar is Scottish, from Glasgow, but has lived in London for a long time. He writes books under his own name and has also written a series about Thraxas under the name of Martin Scott--in 2002 he won the World Fantasy Award for Thraxas. He's published 16 books, "sometimes successful, sometimes not so successful." Soft Skull Press has been publishing Millar in the U.S., with Milk, Sulphate and Alby Starvation, The Good Faeries of New York, Suzy, Led Zeppelin and Me and Lonely Werewolf Girl. His latest is a novel, Lux the Poet, is being published this month.

On your nightstand now:

Complete Letters of Pliny the Younger. His correspondence dates from 97-112 A.D., and contains all sorts of fascinating information about ancient Rome, including his first-hand account of the eruption of Vesuvius that buried Pompeii. I'm interested in anything from ancient Rome and Greece.

Also, quite a few volumes of manga, including Claymore by Norihiro Yagi, Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto and others. I like Japanese comics, and recently I've been reading a lot of them.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Biggles books by Captain W. E. Johns. Biggles was a fighter pilot in the First World War. As I child, I often imagined myself heroically piloting a Sopwith Camel biplane over enemy lines.

Your top five authors:

P. G. Wodehouse, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Somerset Maugham, Cicero. I appear to be living in the past.

Book you've faked reading:

Moby Dick. Turgid. I hated it. Nothing would induce me to finish it. But I did pretend to read it because a girl I knew really liked it. Seems strange now I think about it. Why on earth did she like Moby Dick so much?

Book you're an evangelist for:

Hmm. I can't think of any. If I was recommending anything, it would probably be Somerset Maugham, but I doubt anyone would listen. He was a really fine storyteller. His writing was quite plain and unadorned, and I like that.

Book you've bought for the cover:

None that I can remember.

Book that changed your life:

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. I doubt I'd have got started on my writing career if I hadn't read that. That led me on to Slaughterhouse-Five, which was also a very important influence.

Favorite line from a book:

"A lesser man, caught in this awful snare, would no doubt have ceased to struggle; but the whole point about the Woosters is that they are not lesser men."--From Right Ho Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse. (I've borrowed and adapted that line a few times.)

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

I wish I could read all the Jeeves and Wooster novels by P. G. Wodehouse again for the first time. They're the funniest books ever written.

Name a really great filmed version of a book:

Election, a novel by Tom Perrotta, film version directed by Alexander Payne, starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Election was a good novel, and I thought the film version was brilliant.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring is here!

How do I know? There have been a few clues. First, we have had glorious weather the past few days and the flowers are blooming. Second, Madonna stopped by the Hamptons to go horse back riding, fell off, and was taken to our local hospital. Then, as I was leaving work yesterday evening, I slowed my car as I drove through the library parking lot for an attractive older gentleman in a white suit. Yup, Tom is back. For me, this means spring!

It's time to pull out my hammock. This is where I do the majority of my reading in the spring, summer and fall. My dog lies in the sun and I gently rock and turn the pages. It's heaven in my back yard. And I better get that hammock up quick: I have a lot to read!

A story: when I was in elementary school the school Librarian told us that an author was coming to visit our school. A real, live author! I had never met an author before and I was so excited (things never change). I got a copy of the book, called Where It Stops Nobody Knows by Amy Ehrlich. It was a great book and I have vivid memories of listening to a REAL, LIVE author talking to my school. Recently, I was thinking about this book and wanted to read it again. None of the libraries in my library system had it. I checked and there were a few used copies available but it seemed to be out of print. I was bummed, so I googled around the Internet, looking for information on Amy Ehrlich. I remember from her visit that she had said she wanted to name the book Joyride but that the publisher had changed it to Where It Stops Nobody Knows and that blew my mind - it never occurred to me that an author might not have complete control of their book. Suddenly, I came across an interview with Amy Ehrlich, who was talking about her book Joyride. Huh? Did she like the title so much that she used it on another book? As I read on, it seemed the plot of this Joyride was the same as the plot of my well-remembered and well-loved book. I clicked back to the library online catalog as quick as I could, and searched for Joyride. Bingo. Then I looked in again. There it is. With a cool new-millennium cover. So Amy Ehrlich finally got her way after all, and republished her book with the title she preferred. I have the book in my hands now and I can't wait to reread it. It may have a new title and a new jacket, but it is the same book I read 20 years ago. And I can't wait to get on my hammock and take the joyride again.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pulitzers and Oranges!

The Pulitzers were announced yesterday, as well as the shortlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction. This information was cut and paste (stolen) from Shelf Awareness.

Book-related winners and finalists for the Pulitzer Prize were announced yesterday. The winners are:

Fiction: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Drama: Ruined by Lynn Nottage (not yet published)

History: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed

Biography: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

Poetry: The Shadow of Sirius by W. S. Merwin

General Nonfiction: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon

The shortlist for this year's £30,000 (US$43,701) Orange Prize for Fiction has been named and chair of judges Fi Glover said, "We were right down to the wire on several of the books and choosing just six was far harder than I had imagined, but we all left the judging room proud of the list we have chosen. We have stretched our heads getting to this shortlist," the Guardian reported.

The Orange Prize finalists are:

Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman

The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

Molly Fox's Birthday by Deidre Madden

Home by Marilynne Robinson

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

The winner will be announced June 3.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This is a blog.

At the Reference Desk this weekend, a women runs up and wants to know how she can print an article from the computer. This is a question we get a lot, so I get up to help her. She begins to tell me, in a very concerned voice, about this horrible and scary thing that is happening (it involves international politics, and I won't get into it here). She is offering to make me copies of this article, and how no one seems to know what is happening, and it is so scary, and on and on. A partial quote is, "Can you believe this? I found it on the Internet!"

When I get to her computer, her and her husband are pointing, enraged, at this article. It has a cute orange "B" logo in the upper right corner, and the web address is It's a blog. Someone, like me, is sitting somewhere writing whatever they want and posting it. It's a very simple process really, and there is absolutely no policing, editing, or verifying the content.

Aliens are attacking.

Fact? No. But according to many of my patrons, since it is in print, on the Internet, it MUST be true.