I love the fact that Twitter is lighting up with the hashtag #womeninfiction. Started by Preeti Chibber, manager of Harper Collins Children’s Books, Chibber started tweeting about women authors and women heroines in the world of fiction. Check out her Storify where everyone from Hermoine Granger to Jane Eyre is mentioned in an outpouring of love to strong women characters. I started to think of my favorite women characters in history that I’ve read in the past few months and these two titles came to mind.
Ivoe Williams is the main character of LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s Jam on the Vine. The young well-educated African American woman helps found the first female-run African American newspaper during the turbulent times of the Jim Crow era.
Aaliyah Saleh, the complex woman in Rabih Alameddine’s extraordinary work, The Unnecessary Woman, nominated for a National Book Award. How could I not fall in love with the cantankerous septuagenarian Lebanese woman whose love of books is at her essence and the transformative power in her life. If you haven’t read these two titles, you should add them to your to be read pile. More importantly, who are your recent favorite women protagonists?
Posted in African American Fiction, book group; reading group;, books, jim crow, literary fiction, National Book Award, Women in Fiction
Tagged African American Fiction, Harper Collins Children's Books, Hermoine Granger, historical, LaShonda Katrice Barnett, literary fiction, national book award, Preeti Chibber, strong women, Twitter, women in fiction
Last week the iconic and beloved fantasy author, Terry Pratchett, lost his battle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and began his walk with Death. Writer of over 70 novels, Pratchett is perhaps best known for his series of books set in Discworld, a flat planet balanced on the back of four elephants where the seas pour over the sides. Discworld was a place ever evolving, becoming more convoluted and somber in Pratchett’s later works, perhaps the result of Pratchett’s diagnosis. The author had written over 40 novels based in this fantasy world — and one of those characters was Death himself. If you have never read anything by Pratchett, a good place to start might be A Blink on the Screen, a collection of shorter fiction by Pratchett that spans his illustrious career. You will see how Pratchett evolved from a young high schooler to the finesse and witticisms of his latter work. In another of his books about Death , Reaper Man, Pratchett wrote “no one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away”. Please give a work by Pratchett a try so his ripples live on for many more years.
Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Discoworld, fantasy, fiction, science fiction, short stories, Terry Pratchett
Tagged Alzheimer's Disease, Discworld, fantasy, fiction, science fiction, short stories, Terry Pratchett
A Raisin in the Sun debuted on Broadway on March 11, 1959, The play, written by Lorraine Hansberry, was the first play written and acted by African Americans to appear on the Broadway stage. The play tells the classic story about a struggling African American family living in an apartment on Chicago’s South Side. The premise of the play revolves around the younger family matriarch who is due a life insurance check that could change the family fortune. When the curtain rose on March 11th, Hansberry was worried about its success. It later went on to win the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and was nominated for 4 Tony Awards. Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote that A Raisin in the Sun changed American theatre forever. If you’ve never read or watched this iconic story, please give it a try.
Posted in African-American, books, Broadway, dvds, New York Drama Critics' Circle, play, Tony Awards
Tagged African American literature, books, Broadway, dvds, New York Drama Critics' Circle, play, Tony Awards
The Village Voice recently published an article on lesser known titles for Black History Month, other than the usual recommended classics. Here are the titles we have available at Newburgh Free Library. Take them out and give them a read.
Posted in African American Fiction, black history month, books, fiction, jim crow, nonfiction, slavery
Tagged black history month, books, fiction, jim crow, nonfiction, slavery
There is something about the winter that makes me read dark psychological suspenseful books that keeps me on the edge of my seat. I’ve just finished reading, The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. I remember hearing buzz about this book last spring at Book Expo and it certainly lived up to its hype. Perhaps it is the dark grey winter days that makes it easier to be transported into these dark scenarios.
Similar to Gone Girl, Hawkins has created an unreliable main narrator, Rachel, who keeps us on our toes and guessing throughout the novel. Rachel, recently unemployed and frequently inebriated, is wallowing in the depths of despair over the recent loss of her marriage and job and has taking to keeping up the pretense of being employed as she rides the train every day as if she is going to work. As the train slows down past the backs of a row of houses, Rachel becomes a voyeur and lets her imagination run wild. She makes up names and imaginary lives for these characters she doesn’t know. She becomes particularly enamored with a young couple who seem similar to her and her ex-husband in happier times. In her mind they are named “Jason and Jess”. Imagine her surprise when one day as the train approaches the back of the row houses she sees Jess passionately kissing a man that is not her husband! This sets Rachel into a tailspin especially since the next day, the front page of the newspaper is covered with a photo of “Jess” who happens to have gone missing! This book has everything you’d want in a thriller and kept me on my toes till the very end. If you’re like me and love to curl up with a thriller when its cold and grey outside– give The Girl on The Train a read!
Today is the 202th anniversary of the classic by Jane Austen. One of the great master of English literature, Austen sold the copyright to Pride and Prejudice to Thomas Edgarton for £110 but because of favorable reviews he quickly recouped his money and made approximately £45o for just the first two editions!
While some have claimed Pride and Prejudice is simply a romantic comedy, Austen’s themes of marriage, wealth and commentary on the class structure of 18th British society have made the novel revered and studied to this day. Whether you loved the book or not, it certainly has endured for a reason. Is this your favorite Austen title?
Posted in book clubs, book group; reading group;, books, classics, family & relationships, literary fiction
Tagged book clubs, books, classics, fiction, Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice
When I was at Book Expo last year, I remember Deb Futter, Editor in Chief of Grand Central Publishing, talking about The Secret Wisdom of the Earth and how much she loved the manuscript and wanted everyone to share in her enthusiasm for the book. It quickly became a title that all her co-workers were talking about. There is nothing better than hearing about a good word of mouth book! That got me intrigued and so out of all of the hundred or so galleys I received at BEA, this was the title I read first. It didn’t have a fancy cover at the time, but the title grabbed me and with Deb’s recommendation I was quickly transported off into the world Scotton created.
First time author, Christopher Scotton, sets the tale of Secret Wisdom in the heart of Appalachia coal mining country in the 1980’s. The story revolves around 15 year old Kevin, who has been sent to visit his grandfather for the summer along with his grieving mother after tragedy has struck the family. I quickly became enamored with the characters and this tale that entwines environmental issues with the moral dilemmas that come into play in this classic coming of age of story. I lived and breathed this story as I was reading it and I hope you will too. If you love a good coming of age story mixed with redemption and honest believable characters, you should put this book at the top of your to read pile. I was so enamored with the book it will be my book discussion selection for February and we will be Skyping with the author.
Please give it a read — it is a classic that will be in at the top of my best list in 2015 !
Posted in adult book for young adults, atmospheric, book clubs, books, coming of age, fiction
Tagged adult books for young adults. 2015, book clubs, Christopher Scotton, coming of age, debut novel, fiction