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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Most Disturbing Dinner Ever

9780770437855_p0_v4_s260x420I’m going to have to reread The Dinner by Herman Koch.  Reading it the first time was compulsive – I stopped reading every word because I simply needed to know what happened on the next page and the next chapter.  And now that I’m finished, I need to ask a favor of you: I need you to read this book.  Because I want to talk about it with you.  Because it made me really, really mad.  It also left me with several questions that the author just didn’t answer.  Or perhaps, in my compulsive reading, I missed those answers.  In any case, I’m going to have to read it again, as soon as I can stomach another reading.  

Here’s the story:  Two couples meet for dinner in Amsterdam one evening.  One of the men is expected to become the next prime minister.  The book is narrated (however unreliably) by his brother.  The story is broken up into sections based on the parts of a meal, and as we progress through the meal, we start to see the real reason for the couples’ meeting.  They have come together to discuss something their children have done.  And how the children’s actions will affect themselves, their parents, even the country.  

The author is incredibly adept at revealing the barest minimum at key points in the story, just enough to make you a bit uneasy.  I started out sympathizing with the narrator, who for the first several chapters inwardly rolls his eyes at his brother’s substantial ego and the posturing in which he so readily engages.  But then the real story emerges, which I will not share with you here.  The beauty of this book lies in the author’s ability to peel back the story, one layer at a time.  However, this is not by any stretch of the imagination a comforting read.  You will not put this book down and think the world is a better place or that human beings have evolved over time.  At least I didn’t, but it does force you to consider what it means to be a parent, how accountable people are for their actions, and how people can delude themselves into believing they are happy.

This, I’m sure, will make many a book club reading list.  I’ve added it to our own book club list at the library.  So I encourage you to read it.  It should make for some good conversation at dinner, at the very least.  But let’s hope your dinner ends differently than the one Koch envisioned.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

A Classic Romance

747539Does it get any more classic than Jane Eyre?  Charlotte Bronte’s tale of a small, plain governess in England who falls in love with the master of the house has been delighting readers for more than a century.  Not to mention the ridiculous number of film adaptations it has inspired.  I have read this story many times, and it never fails to make me sad, tense, angry, and joyful.  There is something appealing about a young woman who, especially then, was unassuming and independent and wanted more for herself.  Jane does not believe her relatives when they tell her she is worthless.  She survives several years at a horrific boarding school for girls, the infamous Lowood institution.  She then advertises for a position as a governess and soon takes charge of a little French girl, Adele, at the home of the fabulously wealthy but very moody and mysterious, Edward Rochester. Their relationship develops over time as something much more than employer-employee.  This is where the story gets good.  To be honest, Jane’s upbringing is very painful to read, so the reader takes particular delight when things finally start to go her way.  Of course, there is always an obstacle to love, and Jane and Rochester face an insurmountable one.  Jane decides she must leave Rochester, and in so doing, becomes the female character with the most integrity of any that I’ve ever read.  To have gone your whole life never having known love or the feeling of home, then to gain those two things, and then to give them up willingly, would have been next to impossible.  But Jane does it, and in so doing, puts her on a path that could take her away from Rochester forever. 

Doesn’t it sound incredible?  If you’ve not experienced the joy of reading this classic, I highly encourage you to do so.  Especially because it’s the book we’re reading for this month’s Main Street Book Club!  We’ll be discussing it next Tuesday, February 19th at 6:00 p.m. in the Library Community Room.  We’ll also have a belated Valentine’s Day party, so we can promise you lots of chocolately goodness!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Lisa Gardner’s “Touch and Go”

Book Review Touch GoI’m talking to fellow readers, so I’m fairly certain you’ve experienced this before – that feeling when you’re reading a really good book and you want to do nothing else but read – not even sleep, work, or play, just read.  I stayed up way too late last night finishing Lisa Gardner’s Touch and Go.  I’ve not read a book by her before, and one of my New Year’s resolutions was to branch out and read from different authors and different genres.

I’m so glad I did!  This suspense novel centers around a very wealthy Boston family abducted from their home in the middle of the night.  To any outsider, the family appears to be perfect:  a loving mother, a doting father who has made millions in the construction business, and a beautiful teenage daughter.  However, once several detectives and FBI agents start questioning employees and family friends, they soon discover that this family has quite a few secrets.  Could one of those secrets be the key to their abduction?  

Gardner takes the reader from one story to the other – we get to see what the family goes through during their abduction and what the detectives are doing to find them.  Some of the drama is overwrought, but for the most part, it’s just plain suspenseful.  I felt for the family as they struggled to keep it together during their captivity while dealing with some fairly traumatic personal issues (cheating, drug abuse,etc.)  The mother, Libby Denbe, is particularly likable.  She’s got a fierce maternal instinct and a strong will to survive.  She’s also recently caught her husband cheating, which makes her highly sympathetic.  It goes to show that no one is ever truly as they seem.  We all have secrets, and those secrets can often bring destruction to those we love most.

Come check out this new release or one of the others we’ve recently purchased at the library.  We’re always adding new titles to our collection!

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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