Check It Out

Check It Out Blog

Like the Wind

Run book coverBestselling author Ann Patchett describes Run as a novel about politics.  Most readers characterize it as a book about family.  Both, of course, are right.  Inspired by stories of the Kennedy clan, Patchett introduces Bernard Doyle, a former mayor of Boston.  He is devoted to his sons and dreams for them a life of public service.  When a winter accident literally throws them together with a young runner and her mother, they discover that their understanding of family might need a little adjusting.  The talented writer of Bel Canto once again creates a story of remarkable texture which leaves readers both satisfied and eager for more.

Larry’s Pick: Jennifer Government

Larry Staff picks photoIn Jennifer Government, a story of capitalism running amok, corporations control world affairs and governments operate for profit.  When one company resorts to murder, agent Jennifer Government must prevent a full-scale war.  This fast-paced and twisting story is both a fun read and a cautionary tale of greed and power.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

The White Tiger book coverFeaturing a unique brand of dark humor and a strangely sympathetic villain, The White Tiger has just been announced as the 2008 winner of the Man Booker Prize.  Self-confessed murderer Balram Halwai spins the story of his life’s journey from brutal poverty to reinvention as an “entrepreneur”.  Chosen because it shocks and entertains in equal measure, Aravind Adiga’s debut novel is highly praised for its originality and its literary merit.  The Man Booker Prize rewards the finest in fiction written by an author from the British Commonwealth and Ireland.  Past winners include A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, and Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi.

Prized by Nobel

Mexican Dream book coverFrench writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio is not previously well-known in America, but that is about to change.  Named as the 2008 winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature, he is characterized as an “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.”  Though many of his works are not widely available in English, those that are include Wandering Star, War, The Prospector, and The Mexican Dream: Or, The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations.

Toni Morrison in 1993 was the last American author to win the Nobel literature prize.  Recent honorees include Doris Lessing, Orhan Pamuk, and Harold Pinter.

Cases Closed

Inspector Lynley DVD coverThe Inspector Lynley Mysteries series takes its final bow with two personally challenging cases for the popular police duo.  In “Limbo”, a recently widowed and heavily drinking Thomas Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) assists in the reopened case of his missing godson.  When he is shockingly implicated in the death of the boy’s older sister, he risks everything to uncover the truth.  “Know Thine Enemy”, the last of the series, is based on a true case in which several young women were abducted and tortured by a seemingly average couple.  Lynley and Sergeant Havers (Sharon Small) clash over whether the wife is a victim or a willing participant.  The DVD set includes an interview with author Elizabeth George, on whose novels the series is based.

Joyce’s Pick: The Shack

Joyce staff picks photoWhen Mackenzie Philips’ daughter is abducted and killed in an abandoned shack, his life falls apart.  He questions, “Where is God in a world filled with this kind of evil?”  An invitation four years later brings him back to that shack and to some amazing answers.  The Shack is a thought-provoking read!

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns book coverDonna C. of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini:

This is the story of two women living through Afghanistan’s tumultuous political upheaval of the late 20th century.  Miriam is the daughter of an unwed mother.  Too ashamed to publicly acknowledge her, her father marries her to an older man who lives in Kabul.  She attempts to be a good wife, but her husband’s abuse and the Taliban’s horrific rules trap her into an existence of brutality and seclusion.  Laila lives across the street.  Her life holds great promise until the violence of the Taliban destroys all she knows.  Laila then makes a desperate decision linking her life with Miriam’s forever.

Who’s Watching the Watchmen?

The Watchman book cover Named one of Time magazine’s 100 All-Time Best Novels, one of Entertainment Weekly’s New Classics, and a winner of the Hugo Award, The Watchmen is also the basis for one of the most-anticipated movies of 2009.  In the alternate world envisioned by genre pioneer Alan Moore and boldly realized by illustrator Dave Gibbons, a shadowy figure is preying on former superheroes.  Though it is now illegal for costumed vigilantes to fight crime, one known as Rorschach is convinced that the murder of The Comedian is only the beginning of a villainous campaign.  He reunites the damaged group to watch over a crumbling society, but who is watching the Watchmen?

Color Our Eyes Blue

Paul Newman actor photo“I’d like to be remembered as a guy who tried – who tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being.” – Paul Newman

Screen legend and philanthropist Paul Newman closed those famous blue eyes for the last time on Friday, September 26.  An Oscar winner for The Color of Money, Newman brought his incomparable style to a variety of roles throughout his career.  He is best known for distinctive performances in The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Sting (1973), and The Verdict (1982).  As fellow actor Ernest Borgnine expressed, “He left his mark, God bless him, and you can’t say no more than that.”