Thursday, October 27, 2005

What are Home Schoolers Reading?

Mark Oppenheimer of the Wall Street Journal sees "a preference for long books, often parts of a series, consumed with a leisure that public-school curricula don't allow; an emphasis on narratives, which children like, divorced from contemporary politics, which surely can wait; and a powerful sense that children are major players in the world, the kind of people, perhaps, who deserve better than large classrooms and who may grow up more likely to write books than to be told which ones to read."

(the photo above is by Myra Albert Wiggins and is called Hunger is the Best Cook, c. 1898, gelatin silver print 89.5178.1 It's owned by Portland Art Museum,Portland, Oregon, and was the gift of Bob and Shirley Benz. There's a book on her work from the Washington State University Press called The Witch of Kodakery -- and yes, we have it here at Your Local Library)

Hip Librarians Book Blog

Hip Librarians post information about books they like. Or loathe.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Readers' Blogs Worth a Look

The Blog of a Bookslut

The Complete Review

Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

Fresh Eyes: a Bookseller’s Journal
Robert Gray is a bookseller and buyer at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont. His written work has appeared in numerous publications, including Tin House, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Cimarron Review, Great River Review, and the anthologies Crime a la Carte (Signet 1994) & Northern Music: Poems About and Inspired by Glenn Gould (2001). He is writing a book about reading and readers from a bookseller's perspective.

Galley Cat

Grumpy Old Bookman

H2Oboro Lib Blog

Lake Oz Fic Chick
News on books and Lake Oswego Public Library happenings from LOPL’s Adult Services Librarian. No original essays or brilliant insights, but lots of links.

The Moorish Girl
Laila Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Britain, and the United States. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mizna, The Baltimore Review, First Intensity, The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review, The Oregonian, The Independent, The Nation, and will soon be anthologized. Her debut book of fiction, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, was published by Algonquin Books in October 2005. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

The New York Times – Books

NPR Topics – Books

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Book Reviews

Also, see a fine list put together by The Complete Review --

Dickens: Misjudged, Underappreciated

"Dickens did not write classics, he wrote entertainment." Author Irit Linur has translated Nicholas Nickleby into Hebrew and she says you only have to repackage his books and launch an energetic campaign and people -- one hopes -- will realize Dickens is fun to read.

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Fiction Buzz

Try for fairer -- and more complete -- descriptions of these books.

Indecision: A Novel By Kunkel, Benjamin
"Pfired" by Pfizer, off to Ecuador.

Out of Season By Bausch, Robert
Big burdens, tragedy, loss.

Myth of You and Me: A Novel of Friendship By Stewart, Leah
Childhood friends reunited.

Painted Drum: A Novel By Erdrich, Louise
An Indian drum and the lives it's touched through the years.

Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette: A Novel By Erickson, Carolly
Let 'em eat cake!

Watch for These New Mysteries and Thrillers!

Flashback By Braver, Gary
Medical thriller from the author of Gray Matter and Elixer. A man is affected in some very strange ways after being stung by jellyfish.

Thirteen Steps Down: A Novel By Rendell, Ruth
From the author of The Babes in the Wood and The Rottweiler. Mix Cellini's landlady is keeping an eye on him.

Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel By Connelly, Michael
A legal thriller about a cynical defense attorney!

Consent to Kill: A Thriller By Flynn, Vince
The man who brought us The Third Option and Memorial Day, the seventh book about CIA operative Mitch Rapp.

Color of Law By Gimenez, Mark
The no-good son of a millionaire presidential hopeful shows up dead, embarrassingly.

Half Broken Things By Joss, Morag
Some half-broken people see a chance to start over.

Ambler Warning By Ludlum, Robert
Where do they put former intelligence employees whose babbling might lead to awkward situations?

Contact Zero By Wolstencroft, David
Where do spies go when they get into trouble?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

New York Review of Books Rescues Lost Books

Another good list of 'overlooked' fiction. Also, if there's an out-of-print book that you wish were available again, let them know. Maybe they'll re-publish it as one of their series of New York Review of Books classics. Here's a rundown of the first 150.

Virago Modern Classics: "lost" treasures

Posted on The Missouri Review website in January 2004: "Virago is a UK-based publisher that has a series called Virago Modern Classics, started in 1978 and dedicated to the celebration of women writers, to the rediscovery and reprinting of their work. Virago describes their aim as demonstrating "the existence of a female tradition in fiction," and to broadening "the sometimes narrow definition of a 'classic' which has often led to the neglect of interesting novels and short stories." Virago Modern Classics makes available important, exciting works like Frost in May by Antonia White, Novel on Yellow Paper by Stevie Smith, and the Pilgramage series (written as a feminine equivalent of what was masculine realism) by Dorothy Richardson."

You could do a lot worse than devoting all of your spare time to reading all of the Virago Modern Classics.

For what it's worth, I have some Virago titles on display today here in Your Local Library, in our "Lost Books" display. These are books We (yes, that's the 'royal' we) believe have been overlooked or underappreciated. Non-Virago books on display include Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym, Nowle's Passing by Edith Forbes, Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler, Four Letters of Love by Niall Williams, Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple, A Killing Frost by John Marsden and The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Do You Like the Mitford Novels by Jan Karon?

You might want to try some of these. Or these.

Jesus Land: Worth Looking For

"Journalist Julia Scheeres' haunting and disturbing memoir tells the story of growing up in an upper-middle-class Indiana Calvinist household during the '80s, while also alcoholic, beaten, molested, and mistreated."

One to Try: Mutual Life and Casualty

"Mutual Life & Casualty resonates long after you finish reading it."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Finalists for the National Book Awards

The National Book Awards finalists were announced last week. Holy Skirts was the only one we didn't yet have, so now it's on order.

Time Magazine's "All-time 100 Novels"

Welcome to "the massive, anguished, exalted undertaking that is the ALL TIME 100 books list. " From Time Magazine, natch. The one founded by Henry R. Luce.

Do You Like Carl Hiaasen?

Folks who like Carl Hiaasen really want more, more, more of the same. Once you've read all Hiaasen's books, what to do? You might try these authors:

James O. Born
S. V. Date
Richard Dooling
Tim Dorsey
Bill Fitzhugh
Eric Garcia
Corson Hirschfeld
Elmore Leonard
Christopher Moore
Daniel Paisner
Ben Rehder
Laurence Shames
Ray Shannon

Fiesta Book Group for November 2005

Before their meeting on Saturday, November 19, the group members are planning to read widely from Pablo Neruda's poetry, then each person will select a poem, make copies and prepare to discuss it with the group.

Fiesta reads writers of the Latin world. They meet at 10:30 on the third Saturday of every month. There is no need to reserve a place -- just come!

The Lake Oswego Public Library is at 706 Fourth Street, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034
Our phone number, should you have questions, is 503-697-6581.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Cool Reading Series: Loggernaut

If you're around Portland, check out this Loggernaut reading series. Sounds pretty cool. Alas, it's on Thursday evenings, and I can't go. And of course this is last minute notice, but this month's reading is TONIGHT. Maybe the readings aren't held monthly -- they're skipping November -- but in December, Laila Lalami, my favorite local blogger, is reading, probably from her new novel, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

Harold Pinter Wins Nobel for Literature

Harold Pinter's won the Nobel. The Swedish Academy says Pinter "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms".

Librarians Who Wear Their Hair in Buns and Say Shush!

"I am, in fact, your parents' librarian. I am the stereotype. I am... Marian."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Banville's The Sea: Worthy of the Booker Prize?

Apparently some people think Banville's The Sea isn't worthy of the Booker Prize. On the other hand, here's a word from one of the judges who says, oh, yes it is.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lost Books

With this website,, as inspiration, we've started our own little Lost Books display here at Your Local Library. These are "wonderful books that we believe are unknown to the majority of readers." Among the books on display right now: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., Ancient Shores by Jack McDevitt, Frost in May by Antonia White, Holy Smoke by Tonino Benacquista, and The Russian Passenger by Guenter Ohnemus.

Booker Prize Announced: The Sea by Banville

Surprise! It's John Banville's The Sea! For what it's worth, Your Local Library already has two copies of the British edition of this on order, so we should have it soon though it won't be published in the U.S. till next March. Are we helpful or what?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Storytime for Knitters, Oct. 20

I'll be reading "The Meeting" by Aimee Bender and Richard Brautigan's "The Weather in San Francisco." That's on Thursday morning the 20th. 10:30 a.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 4th Street, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034. Bring handcrafts. Or not. :-) For more info: 503-697-6581.

Here's the Official Press Release for November's storytime:

Storytime for Knitters

Knitters and others are invited to bring their handcrafts to Fiction Allsorts, our Short Story Discussion Group. It’s a free ‘storytime’ and brief discussion for grownups. The librarian reads a short story or essay aloud, and time for discussion or sharing follows.
For November’s meeting, the librarian will read a story from Eternity and Other Stories, a collection from Vancouver, Washington author Lucius Shepard.

Where and when? These storytimes are scheduled for the third Thursday of every month; the next meeting is Thursday, November 17, at 10:30 a.m. in the Library’s conference room.

For more information: 503-697-6581 or

Don Quixote: the Best Novel Ever Written

Want a good novel? Why not try the best one ever written?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bitter Lemon Press: Very Sweet

You gotta try some stuff from Bitter Lemon Press. Yes. You do. Here's their actual web site.

And yes, Your Local Library will be buying everything they publish. If I miss anything, send me email:

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly: the Line is Forming

We at Your Local Library don't yet have Lincoln Lawyer, but the queue of people wanting to read it is almost 90 people long at this point. Looks like it's worth queuing up for.

Blog Recommendation: Fresh Eyes: a Bookseller's Journal

Fresh Eyes, from bookseller Robert Gray, is a great blog. The entry for October 3 has really good (annotated!) fall reading suggestions: Laila Lalami's Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, Running the Bulls by Cathie Pelletier, Nothing Serious by Justine Levy, My Life in CIA by Harry Matthews, and Little Star of Bella Lua by Luana Monteiro. (don't worry, Your Local Library is buying any of these we don't yet own).

While you're looking over his blog, check out the archived entry for June 20, "I'm Reading as Fast as I Can!" I fervently identify with what he says here: "To supplement my failure to read every damn book published, I try to stay current through reviews, radio interviews, and litblogs with the wide world of books. My customers mistake simple awareness of the landscape for deep knowledge of it. They see an advance scout and think he's a homesteader." His little essay is SOOO right on.

Monday, October 03, 2005

What Makes a Book Club Work?

Hey, that same fellow, Arthur Blaustein, the one from the Mother Jones article, is also quoted in this article on how to make a book club work. Apparently he's a book club expert, an ad junct professor at the University of California at Berkeley and onetime Clinton appointee to the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Start a Reader's Group with a Social Conscience

Interesting..."a balanced list of thirty-five novels by contemporary authors" that this fellow from Mother Jones believes will enliven your mind and nourish your soul...

Agatha Christie Lauded

Agatha Christie has outsold every author except God.