Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Reading: Literary Novels Served Up With Werewolves And Robots

Better stockpile some silver bullets and wolfsbane; this summer could get hairy!

Supernatural fiction has elbowed its way to the forefront, but this year you'll find an even greater intermixing of genres such as science fiction or occult with literary fiction according to The Wall Street Journal article of today entitled "The Season of the Supernatural."  Novelists are taking a stab at writing crossover books which bridge literary fiction with the popular genres of fantasy and the supernatural.

Successful publications such as Justin Cronin's The Passage have encouraged writers to utilize vampires, werewolves and robots as devices in their new literary novels.  Well-known author Michael Chabon comments in this article on the similarity between writing a literary novel and writing science fiction, "Your job is exactly the same - to persuade the reader that it is all true. That's the same if you are writing about suburban New Jersey, as well as suburban Jupiter."

A number of new crossover fiction books are suggested for your summer reading in this interesting article. Perhaps Glen Duncan's upcoming book, The Last Werewolf, will grip you by the throat with heartfelt feeling  for the melancholy werewolf protagonist. And now that the recent interest in Doomsday predictions has surfaced, Tom Perrotta's book The Leftovers ought to take readers away, just as a Doomsday event described in the book has taken away a mass of people. Perrotta states, "I thought I could write a comic novel about the apocalypse, but I quickly realized it would be a book about grief."  Click on the link to read more.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Anorexia Starves the Family, Too

Brave Girl Eating: a family's struggle with anorexia by Harriet Brown will be discussed at the next meeting of Memoirs and Coffee, one of Bernardsville Public Library's monthly book groups.  The meeting will take place in the Community Room on Tuesday, May 24th, at 10:30 a.m..  This book group is open to the public; please feel free to attend.  The discussion will be led by staff member Pat Kennedy-Grant.

Harriet Brown is an assistant professor of magazine journalism at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and has contributed articles to Health, Redbook, The New York Times Magazine and to the Science section of The New York Times. She is the author of other books as well as a blog entitled "Feed Me!" which discusses eating disorders.  Brave Girl Eating chronicles her own family's efforts to help her teenage daughter combat anorexia nervosa.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Elephants and Crocs, as Seen by the Doc

Tales of an African Vet by Dr. Roy Aronson brings the reader up close and quite personal with the kinds of wild animals that tourists dream about but may never see on safari.  Each of the 19 stories chronicles an interesting medical case handled by this highly-skilled South African veterinarian.  Some of the cases
seemed hopeless at the time; others appeared almost impossible to treat.  How do you track and treat in the wild a lionness with entropion of the eyelid, a condition which could eventually blind her?   How safe is it to anesthetize a 2-ton rhinoceros? Can an elephant survive a plundered meal of 220 pounds of canned pickles and jars of jam, glass and all?  Who wouldn't want to know the answer to that one!

The intriguing medical crises of large and small wild animals are explained in this book with humility, good humor, and a loving dedication to the author's patients.  Yes, even a deadly Cape cobra which has killed a small pet dog (the dog went into the bushes after the snake and broke the snake's spine) is treated by the doctor with the same earnest hope of saving its life.  Although this story ended sadly for both animals, Dr. Aronson made the effort to find the wild snake, restrain it, perform an examination on it, mercifully euthanize it, and then safely desposit the snake's body out in the countryside.  He did this out of respect for life and nature's ways.

Each of these medical cases has broadened the author's knowledge of the animal kingdom and its precarious standing in a world ever encroached upon by man.  In turn, this African veterinarian has educated many game wardens, animal handlers, and the public about the unique and serious conditions that can affect these animals.  The issues of Apartheid, poaching, and the introduction of human disease into wildlife species are discussed in an  informative way that puts mankind on alert without harsh scolding. I thoroughly enjoyed these true and amazing stories demonstrating one very beneficial and vital way man can connect with the wildest of lifeforms.
~Evelyn Fischel~

Friday, May 13, 2011

Authors from the Indian Subcontintent Featured

Bernardsville Public Library is currently featuring a colorful display of books by authors from the Indian Subcontinent.  Please stop by this new display in the lobby to browse from these wonderful works of fiction. Authors included in the display hail from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.  The display offers an interesting variety of fiction including thrillers (Six Suspects), relational stories (Sister of My Heart and Secret Daughter), epic novels (The Moor's Last Sigh and A Suitable Boy), short stories (In the Convent of Little Flowers: stories), as well as contemporary, thought-provoking works (The Reluctant Fundamentalist.)  Let your eye be drawn to the gold and blue sari draping this book display and find yourself drawn into other worlds, other lives.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rework Your Business Thinking

Thomas Alva Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."  Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson's new book, supplies 271 pages of sheer inspiration to get you motivated about work and your career dreams. And the good news is that this is a very quick and easy book to read.  Rework is filled with bold illustrations and short, punchy topics of one or two pages each, such as "Long Lists Don't Get Done" and "Start at the Epicenter." After reading it, you might just feel the "can do" spirit to lift yourself out of your work or business rut. The last page does admonish you, however, that "Inspiration is Perishable."  As the authors note, "Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator, But it won't wait for you. Inspiration is a now thing. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work."