Staff Review – Zen in the Art of Writing

Zen in the Art of Writing
by Ray Bradbury

Someday I will write a book. I don’t really have a solid plan, but, I figure, if I just keep writing, at some point I will have enough content to be published! A girl can dream!

I find that I get the most writing done over the Fall and Winter months. It’s also the time where I tend to gravitate towards books about writing. I started out by reading Stephen King’s On Writing, then read some works by Vonnegut and Anne Lamott. I cannot remember how I stumbled upon Zen in the Art of Writing but I am certainly glad I did!

It was a fast read. Bradbury’s collection of essays is excellent! His energy is inspirational and makes me just want to write all day and all night. He really gets the reader pumped up about writing! If you are an aspiring writer, you  need to add this book to the top of your to-read list! – Kristin

Staff Review – And I Do Not Forgive You

And I Do Not Forgive You
by Amber Sparks

This collection of short stories was interesting in the sense that presents its theme very clearly on the cover. It is a series of stories and “other revenges.” A revenge fantasy can be a delicious treat for the psyche when done right. I found that some of these stories did not deliver on the edginess that a bright purple axe on the cover would suggest. “Mildly Unhappy With Moments of Joy” is one such story that is bogged down by its passive-aggressive tone.

 

 Passive-aggressive revenge is a very modern way to deal with problems. Personally I would much rather read something with a Shakespearean flavor.  In it two best friends seemingly drift apart. The cause is unclear. Divorced friend attempts to track down married friend even after being artfully ghosted by her. (Married friend decides to skip town in order to solidify that she really doesn’t want to talk to divorced friend.) Eventually everything settles down and the equilibrium of mild unhappiness is restored.  “In Which Athena Designs a Video Game with the Express Purpose of Trolling Her Father,” is similarly passive-aggressive, but in a much more  delightful way since Athena is making a very pointed statement by making her dad the villain of the game. 

 

“A Place for Hiding Precious Things” stood out as one of the more powerful tales. It’s about a motherless princess whose father decides that he would like for her to marry. Marry him that is. The princess and her fairy godmother are having none of that and devise a plot to facilitate an escape. This story uses the fairytale rule of three wonderfully as the princess asks for the royal seamstresses to create three dresses: one the color of blood, one the color or bone, and the last the color of death. Other honorable mentions are “Is the Future a Nice Place For Girls,” which is about a medieval queen who gets the opportunity to travel through time with her infant daughter. The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines,” is a pleasant romp as the protagonist cons a fellow conman who is able to see her despite her plain appearance as she shoplifts her way through life.  

 

The best of the tales in terms of telling a gripping and revenge-soaked story is “The Eyes of Saint Lucy,” where a daughter recounts the series of events that led her martyr-obsessed mother to strike out against her philandering husband once and for all. With a chilling refrain of, “Because there is no God,” this one is the one most likely to induce shivers.  – Katie

 

Staff Review – Frank and Bean


I admire an author who writes a children’s book that works both as a great read-aloud while also appealing to youngsters just graduating from the easier beginning reader books. Local author Jamie Michalak has one such book with
Frank and Bean

In less than 50 pages and four short chapters we meet Frank, an introverted fellow who craves the peace and quiet required to write in his secret notebook, and Bean, who arrives on the scene with seemingly every instrument known to man. Not surprisingly, Frank (who if you haven’t already guessed is a frankfurter), is not happy about the intrusion. Bean (yes, the musical fruit) honks and toots and vrooms, loudly. (He’s also brought his motorcycle.) This is not auspicious for a workable relationship. And yet.

Bean is on a quest. And it turns out that Frank has the poetry that Bean is seeking to turn his (loud) musical musings into song. The humorous illustrations of Bob Kolar enhance this humorous yet warm story of the beginnings of friendship.

A sure winner with a gentle message.

By Nancy Kellner

Staff Book Review

We all know Bristol, Rhode Island is super special and so are all the people who live here. What better way to pay tribute to these people than to feature them in a book?! Nadalin introduces you to the many key players past and present – founders, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and my favorite – librarians!!  If you can’t make it to the library to borrow the book, you might be pleasantly surprised to know it is available in eBook format as well! I recommend this for anyone new to Bristol! It will give you a nice introduction to our lovely little town. If you already live here, do pick it up. It is enjoyable! – Kristin

 

Staff Book Review

 

   I thought for August it might be fun to air my opinion on what is considered great literature.  George Eliot is one of the giants of Victorian Literature.  Her novels are as giant as her reputation, and in my opinion as  dull and ponderous with a few exceptions.  The novel, Romola, is a delight.  It takes place in Renaissance Florence at a time when Intellectual and artistic ability were open to many, and Social standing and Political power were fluid.  This is the world in which we are introduced to the charming character of Tito Melema.  He begins from nothing.  He marries the most perfect woman in Florence, beautiful, kind and boring.  He has political ambitions. He is always at the right plays at the right time.  He always knows the right thing to say.  He excels at oratory.  He is modest when it serves his purpose, and likewise he is kind and handsome.  One cannot read his conversations and his perspectives on the world and not be fond of him despite his flaws.  Even when you discover he has a secret peasant wife with beautiful children whom he adores, the reader still loves him.  There are a lot of characters, and a lot happens, as in any book by George Eliot.  Much of it is interesting, but for me, one of the most fascinating and appealing characters of all times in the cannon of great literature is without a doubt Tito Melema.  Because of him, you’ll wish a very long book was longer.

-Tom

Staff Recommends…

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
I’ve reflected on this book many times since I first read it a dozen years ago. So when it was my turn to suggest a book club title, I was eager to share this with my friends.
Full of melancholy yet hopefulness with quirky but universal characters, The History of Love takes you on a journey through time and place. From pre World War II Poland to modern day New York, the story of a long lost manuscript and how it has brought people together will stay with you for a long, long time. – Nancy
This item is available in multiple formats including print, book on CD, and eBook! Click on the book cover to access all of them!

Great Book!


The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
by Nadia Hashimi

Outstanding. Just totally outstanding. Fans of Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns will love this one, perhaps even MORE.  I will be honest – I almost quit. I had a really hard time dealing with the way women/girls are treated in this book. I am glad I didn’t stop. These are some amazing people &  amazing stories. And who knows – perhaps they were inspired by true stories? We will never know.