Posts Tagged ‘charming’

Boy Meets Girl

October 31, 2012

Boy Meets Girl

Author: Cabot, Meg
Title: Boy Meets Girl
Genre: Chick Lit
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 387
Geographical Setting: New York City
Time Period: Present day
Series: The “Boy Series”

The story is told from a series of emails, instant messages, journal entries, to do lists exchanged between characters in the story.  Kate MacKenzie the main character recently moved out from her long time boyfriend Dale who would not commit to marriage.  She is taken in by her newly married best friend and husband – Jen and Craig Sadler.  The story progresses, with the ex boy friend desperately wanting her back and subsequently creating lot of scene with her refusal.  As the Personnel Representative – Human Resources Department of The New York Journal, Kate is ordered by her (unpopular) boss Amy but known as – T.O.D. (Tyrannical Office Despot), to fire the baker for refusing to serve a senior officer a piece of pie.  Unfortunately, the fired employee sues the the New York Journal for wrongful termination, no – “breach of contract”.   Now, Kate is named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit.  The start of this legal arbitration sets wheels of events rolling, leading to a new romantic venture for Kate, conspiracies, and some love trysts.

There are multiple plot threads going on at the same time involving family issues, friendship, and trust which intertwines and eventually connects back to the main story.  An interesting angle is the plot of the cute  defense lawyer who Kate is beginning  to fall in love with and who happens to be Kate’s boss’ fiancé’s brother. This creates additional level of complexities making the book so much  harder to put down – you are compelled to follow the unraveling of this situation.

This is a really heartwarming story, realistic plot with laugh out loud rhetoric.  Anyone who loves romance without the “mushy” part of it would enjoy this.

Subject Headings:
Employees, Lawyers, Men/women relationships, Newspaper publishing, Personnel management, Single women

Appeal:
Plot-driven, Fast-paced, Funny, Upbeat, Engaging, Charming, Cozy, Romantic, Conversational,Attention-grabbing, Witty,

3 Appeal Terms:
Romantic, Fast-paced, Funny,

Fiction Read – a-likes:

Getting to the Good Part by Files, Lolita
Another fast paced, and heartwarming story of a girl also loving someone who got her fired as in Boy Meets Girl. The story tells about starting a new life in New York city as Kate did in Boy Meets Girl. Readers who enjoyed the theme of moving and trying to settle in a big city would also love this story.

Not Another Bad Date by Gibson, Rachel
Story about a young girl with a track record of a series of bad dates and begins to question her own judgements about men.  Her insecurities is shown as she continually fails to get a good date.  Similar to Boy Meets Girl where Kate believes there had to be something wrong with her because of her poor judgements of her past relationship and things always seem to go wrong whenever she  was in the presence of her new guy.  Another story of a young girls’ quest for love and overcoming some circumstances in the process.

Strange Bedpersons by Crusie, Jennifer
Also funny and upbeat as Meg Cabot’s Boy Meets Girl involving a love affair between a republican lawyer and a democrat.  For those who enjoyed the hint of politics and and different ideologies expressed in Boy Meets Girl, this book delves a little deeper into into such differences and shows how such issues can be overcome through a lot of compromise.

Non-Fiction read a-likes:

Heart of the City : nine stories of love and serendipity on the streets of New York by Ariel Sabar
If you really enjoyed Boy Meets Girl by Cabot, Meg as a fiction, well, here is a non fiction collection of similar stories where couples met and found love in New York city.  This will make a great read for those who enjoy real life events better than fiction.  The author brings us stories of nine couples who met by chance in various parts of the New York city and got married afterwards.  Just like Boy Meets Girl, it is funny, charming and romantic.

Finding Love Again: 6 simple steps to a new and happy relationship by Orbuch, Terri
This book has a lot of information and  ideas on how to find love again.  Considering the turmoil Kate and other characters in the story had to go through in their relationships, this book comes with a 21 day plan on how to commit and keep it real in relationships. Readers who needs new relationships as well as those looking for ways to build a happy union would really enjoy this book.

Date or Soul Mate?: How to Know if Someone is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less  by Neil Warren
The author discusses  tips on how to tell you’ve found “the right one”.  This is a practical guide on the psychology of dating.  This book gives more insight to theme of dating found in Boy Meets Girl where the main character Kate was consumed in finding her true love.  Readers in the same life situation would find this book a great resource in navigating the dating scene.

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

October 24, 2012

Castle Waiting coverTitle: Castle Waiting, Volume I

Author: Medley, Linda

Publication Date: 2006

Pages: 457

Geographical Setting: Castle Waiting, a safe-haven in a fairy tale world

Time Period: Once Upon a Time

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fairy Tale

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Castle Waiting begins at the end of Sleeping Beauty’s story, the part where she runs blindly off with Prince Charming.  Abandoned and essentially purposeless, her former ladies-in-waiting along with few other eccentric characters have created a sanctuary past the brambly hedge at Castle Waiting for those seeking peace and refuge.  The story we are brought into is only one among a host of others before it, and it begins on a dark and stormy night with a clandestine meeting between a lady and a bear, her bodyguard.  Lady Jain, our heroine, is on the run and, as we soon find out, pregnant.  She flees her home in sadness, bound for Castle Waiting.  The premise sounds cliché.  Castle Waiting is anything but.  Upon arrival at the castle, Lady Jain is greeted a stork-headed butler, a doctor who only appears wearing a beaked plague mask, a silently gruff but secretly gentle blacksmith/handyman, three ladies-in-waiting who finally have a lady, and a bearded nun.  Yes, a bearded nun.

Told through a linked set of stories, Castle Waiting draws heavily from fairy- and folk-tale conventions and spins them in a feminist light.  That isn’t to say that all the male characters are weak or bad.  In fact many of them are quite gentle and good—except for the ones who aren’t.  But they are generally not as important as the female characters, who are independent and empowered, taking care of themselves and others.  This is a joyous and humorous and optimistic story.  Bad things have happened, do happen, and probably will continue to happen, but we are assured the happiest of endings.  The art and the text blend seamlessly.  Illustrated in black and white with strong line work that is as expressive as it is lighthearted, the frames are reminiscent of woodcuts adding to the fairytale quality of the work.  This is a great choice for those who have found other graphic novels too over-stimulating.  It would also be a good crossover for those who enjoy romance or fairytale-style fantasy, or those who simply crave a warm, lighthearted read.

Appeal Characteristics: Engaging, joyful, upbeat, lighthearted, feminist, magical, warm, humorous, Fairy Tale, Quirky Characters, expressive art, detailed setting, smart, domestic, charming

Subject Headings: Fairy Tales, Graphic Novels, Magic, Knights and Knighthood, Nuns, Princesses, Pregnant Women

Three Terms Best Describing this Book: Joyful, Engaging, Charming

Similar Fiction: 

The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

The much beloved comic strip featuring a boy with an unbeatable spirit and his sagacious stuffed tiger will bring readers the same joy and optimism found in Castle Waiting.  The artwork here is spare but delightfully expressive.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

Three sisters return to their hometown to help care for their dying mother in this domestic fiction.  This novel explores the relationships and bonds between women under exceptional circumstances and features an idyllic setting populated with quirky and endearing characters.

These Children Come at You with Knives, and other Fairy Tales Stories by Jim Knipfel

This book offers re-imagined fairy tales with a decidedly darker turn.  The polite eccentricities found in the characters of Castle Waiting are twisted here into vulgar oddities.  The optimism and warmth may be absent from these tales, but the stories will certainly offer laughs—albeit of the morbid and inappropriate variety.  Only readers who enjoy their fairy tales told at a slant and who don’t mind their humor dark should attempt this book.

Similar Non-fiction:

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam by Ann Marie Fleming

This graphic novel details the true story of Chinese magician and vaudeville performer Long Tack Sam, and his great-granddaughter’s quest to bring him back into the public light.  A moving story told through a collage of artifacts from both his and her life, this biography maintains an upbeat optimism in the face of turbulence, uncertainty, and racism.

In the Kingdom of the Fairies: A memoir of a Magical Summer and a Remarkable Friendship by Susan Coyne

A moving story about a five-year old girl who for one summer believes her pen pal to be a fairy princess.  In reality it is her elderly neighbor, a man who loves literature and wants to encourage the imagination this girl.  This memoir will appeal to any adult who still believes in the power of make-believe.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Another memoir told in the graphic novel format, this story told by a cult comic strip artist details the author’s relationship with her father during her childhood.  Bechdel’s writing is both witty and moving, and her artwork features strong line work and a monochromatic palette that allows the expressions of the characters to stand out.

Name: Jessica

Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary

August 8, 2012

Author: Keshni Kashyap   Illustrator: Mari Araki

Title: Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary

Genre: Coming of Age Stories; Multicultural; Graphic Novel (format)

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 242

Geographical Setting: Southern California

Time Period: Modern

Plot Summary: This engaging graphic novel tells the coming of age story of an East Indian American teenager named Tina as she struggles with the bigger questions in life. As an English honors assignment on existentialism, Tina begins to keep a diary of letters she writes to philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Keshni Kashyap, an East-Indian-American herself who struggled with her own racial identity as a teen, is the author of this novel. The black and white illustrations by Araki help to convey the charming and mellow tone of the story. The writing is amusing yet realistic and authentic. The diaries are candid thoughts on growing up and philosophy that are cleverly intertwined.

Subject Headings: Teenage girls-Southern California; Individuality; Diaries; East Indian-Americans; High schools

Appeal: leisurely-paced, candid, humorous, philosophical, thoughtful, engaging, quirky, realistic, authentic, diaries, clever, smart, charming, amusing, mellow

3 terms that best describe this book: engaging, philosophical, authentic

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.      Tete-aTete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre by Hazel Rowley – If you’d like to learn more about Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophies as well as more about his personal and unusual relationship with Simone de Beauvoir, you may want to read this book.

2.    Leaving India: My Family’s Journey From Villages to Five Continents by Minal Hajratwala – If after reading Tina’s Mouth, you would like to find out more about East Indian culture, immigration, and history this may be a book you would enjoy.

3.    Being and Time by Martin Heidegger – If after reading Tina’s Mouth you would like to learn more about existentialism as a philosophy, you may enjoy reading this book about human existence.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1.      Too Cool to be Forgotten by Alex Robinson – If you enjoy coming of age graphic novels that are reflective in nature like Tina’s Mouth, you may also enjoy this.

2.      Action Philosophers! by Fred Van Lente – You may enjoy this book if you like reading graphic novels about philosophy like Tina’s Mouth. This graphic novel that is part of the Action Philosophers Series (Book 2) takes a humorous approach to the expansive field of philosophy.

3.      The Village Bride of Beverly Hills by Kavita Daswani –If you would like to read another fiction book about East Indian culture and racial struggles in the United States, this book about an arranged marriage might appeal to you.

Name: Patty Prodanich

Boy Meets Boy

April 11, 2012

Author: David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy

Genre: Young Adult, GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 192

Geographical Setting: small town in United States

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary: Paul, a gay sophomore in High-School, has several friends including a drag queen football quarter back. When a new boy Noah moves to his small town, Paul is immediately attracted and the two being a relationship. In a world where being gay is difficult, Livithan creates a place where being gay is normal. Although there is the typical romance of discovering your first love, fighting with your best friend and learning to be accepted among your peers, this whimsical novel shares the ups and downs of a protagonist everyone will be rooting for.

Subject Headings:  Magical Realism, Male Friendship, High-School, Gay Teenagers, Teenage Boys

Appeal: Funny, Engaging, Character Driven, Gay Relationships, Cheerful, Charming, Wacky, Artistic, Love, Relationships, Whimsical, Small Town, Contemporary

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  Homosexuality, Relationships and Humorous

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Meaning of Matthew: my son’s murder in Laramie, and a world transformed by Judy Shepard. The mother of Matthew Shepard shares her heartbreaking story of the loss of her son discussing her thoughts and feelings immediately following his murder. Through her son’s brutal massacre the world was turned upside down hearing about this crime. Judy shares intimate moments about Matthew before his death and her life work becoming an activist to support gay and lesbian causes.

The Give Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman. Everyone comes in various sizes as does their personal expressions of love. This book discusses five ways to help your relationship become a stronger one by showing your affection through words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of services, physical touch and quality time. A great self-help book for couples that need to repair communication between one another.

GLTBQ: the survival guide for Queer and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel. For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender questioning teens, this novel helps take the challenges of prejudice and discrimination that may come with figuring out their true identity. It provides experiences from other teens who have ‘come out’ to parents, family and friends and also describes possible responses of parents after their teen has told them that he/she is gay. It also lists possible ways to respond to those who may be less accepting to the information. This is a great resource for teens.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Weetzie Bat– Francesca Lia Block- This poetic and lyrical novel discuses the life of Weetzie, a girl who lives in LA with her friend Dirk whose gay. In this intricate book, Block combines modern day chaos with mystical occurrences when Weetzie is granted three wishes by a genie and the ever-changing love triangles. This is a novel discusses homosexuality, single parenthood and you’re not so traditional family that it’s bound to be a topic of discussion among a wide variety of readers.

Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters. Set in a small town in Kansas, Mike (born Mary- Elizabeth) has a troubling family after her father commits suicide and her mother feels that she is falling into a deep depression. Suddenly things look up when Xanadu a new girl who visits her town, becomes infatuated with her. The problem is that Xanadu is not attracted to Mike. This novel brings out the true emotions and honesty that teenagers have when they are unsure of what sex they prefer. Peters weaves in difficult situations but always leaves the reader rooting for Mike in this uplifting tale.

Luna by Julie Ann Peters. This young adult novel deals specifically with transgender issues. Reagan’s brother, Liam, is a woman trapped in a man’s body. Reagan tries to protect her brother and his secret from his friends and family until Liam decides that he wants to expose “Luna” to his parents and unleash her to the world.

Stephen Fry in America

March 27, 2012

Author: Stephen Fry

Title: Stephen Fry in America

Genre: Nonfiction, Travel Memoir, Essays

Publication Date: November 3, 2009

Number of Pages: 320

Geographical Setting: Various places throughout the United States

Time Period: Present Day

Plot Summary: Actor, writer, comedian and British national treasure Stephen Fry travels around the United States in a black cab in order to discover the hidden gems that shape the United States into a multicultural society. Fry visits all 50 states and includes interesting facts about each, as well as photographs of him performing tasks in every area.

Subject Headings:

United States – Description and Travel

Fry, Stephen – 1957, Travel

British – Travel – United States

United States – Foreign public opinion, British

Appeal: Amusing, engaging, informative, charming, witty, insightful, knowledgeable, refreshing, heartwarming, poignant, upbeat, conversational

Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: Amusing, insightful, charming.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Sex Lives of Cannibals – Martin Troost

The author and his girlfriend decide to move to a remote South Pacific island for two years in the hopes of discovering a romantic paradise. Rather than romance, the couple find themselves in one misadventure after another and an unforgiving environment. This is a travel memoir about what happens when a good trip goes bad.

Mental Floss History of the United States – Erik Sass

This book is a spin off from the satirical and informative magazine, Mental Floss, and discusses some of the most famous stories concerning the history of the United States. It takes a satirical but historically correct spin on the history of the US and points out facts that we may have been taught in school, but were not entirely factual.

Around the World in 80 Days – Michael Palin

Palin, part of the legendary comedy group Monty Python, tries to pay homage to the original Around the World in 80 Days by traveling the globe without the use of an airplane for 80 days. He visits the same places as the original but adds in more information regarding the specific areas, and a substantial bit of humor.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Gulliver’s travels – Jonathan Swift

This novel is the classic travel story. An Englishman voyages away from home and finds himself in a world entirely unlike his own.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

A strange choice perhaps, but this novel is a fish-out-of-water story where our main character is moved from his life on Earth to one in space. Fry and Adams have a similar sense of humor and attention to detail.

Freddy and Fredericka – Mark Helprin

Prince of Wales Freddy and his wife, Fredericka, are sent to colonize the barbaric land of America after being ridiculed by the press. They set off to hide among Americans and try to reconquer the country. During their time in America they find themselves accidentally in misadventure after misadventure

Name: Courtney Rose

Strange Bedpersons

October 26, 2011

Author: Jennifer Crusie

Title: Strange Bedpersons

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 328

Geographical Setting: Kentucky

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: Tess and Nick are no longer together; chalk it up to being completely different people. She’s a feminist teacher who grew up on a commune and is extremely outspoken. He’s a conservative, womanizing lawyer who wants to make partner. Of course, underneath his outer-shell, Nick is a decent guy. So when he needs a fake-fiancé for a weekend trip to Kentucky to help his career, she’s willing to play along. See, Nick has to court a Rush Limbaugh-esque writer to get a promotion, and he’s on the school board for a school Tess wants to work at. Will Tess and Nick be able to get his help, and will their closeness affect their relationship?

Subject Headings:

Thirties (age), men/women relationships, lawyers

Appeal: fast-paced, humorous, lighthearted, romantic, upbeat, steamy, conversational, heartwarming, multiple plotlines , charming, breezy, character-centered

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: romantic, lighthearted, humorous

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Brooks, David. “The Social Animal.” Brooks writes about a hypothetical couple and details and discusses soft-science about human nature as he views how the couple changes over the years, much as Tess and Nick change during the novel.

Dowd, Maureen. “Are Men Necessary?” A humorous look at changing gender-roles and relationships; quite possibly a book Tess would have on her shelf.

Gray, John. “Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex.” By the author of “Men Are From Mars…”, this book details overcoming differences and says not to change your partner—something Tess and Nick learned about.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dahl, Victoria. “Bad Boys Do”. A HQN romance about wrong first impressions, women in their 30s not wanting to change to find a husband, and a light, goofy, tone.

Donovan, Susan. “Knock Me Off My Feet.” Both books have ‘tomboyish’ main characters with an opposites-attract romance plotline and witty tone.

Higgins, Kristan. “Just One of the Guys”.  Both have tomboy main characters, and a light, breezy, tone, although this romance here has a “will he notice me” vibe.

Name: Brian C

Dearly Devoted Dexter

October 12, 2011

Author: Jeffrey P. Lindsay (narrator Nick Landrum)

Title: Dearly Devoted Dexter

Genre: Psychological suspense fiction

Publication Date: July, 2005

Number of Pages: 292 (8 audio CDs)

Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Dexter #2

Plot Summary:  Dexter Morgan is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami-Dade police department, who incidentally doesn’t like blood.   Unknown to his co-workers and his police officer sister, Deb, he is a neat serial killer, who preys on other serial killers.  This series is the story of Dexter, and his serial killer persona, that he affectionately refers to as the “Dark Passenger”.  While working for the police department, he encounters serial killers, hunts them, and disposes of them with his own variety of vigilante justice, while trying to hide his extra-curricular activities from the people in his life. While the Dark Passenger is targeting a pedophile and a photographer, Dexter’s boss is starting to suspect that Dexter is not what he seems.  Meanwhile, a darker serial killer comes to town and exacts disturbing revenge on a list of veterans from an army occupation in El Salvador. Dexter must throw his suspecting boss off his trail and does so by accidentally getting engaged. This little complication gives Dexter more trouble than tackling two serial killers. This audio performance illustrates the quiet, introspective and charming character of Dexter, in juxtaposition with his very dangerous activities.

Subject Headings:  Crime laboratories, Forensic scientists, Morgan, Dexter, Police, Psychopathic criminals, serial murder investigation, Serial murderers, Serial murders, Vigilantes

Appeal:  gruesome, sarcastic, fast-paced, disturbing, first-person narrative, issue-oriented, contradictory, suspenseful, offbeat, gritty, dialogue-rich, puzzling, charming, introspective.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: witty, darkly humorous, grisly

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 1)    Mindhunter: inside the FBI’s elite serial crime unit by John Douglas-This collection of interviews of real serial killers reads like a fiction novel and chronicles the development of the Investigative Support Unit of the FBI. These interview get into the minds of the killers to probe for their motivations.

2)    Crime Beat: a decade of covering cops and killers by Michael Connelly-Before he was the author of popular mystery series featuring Detective Harry Bosch, Michael Connelly was a crime beat reporter in Florida and Los Angeles.  This book shows how this work contributed to the details in his novels.  Includes the true crime story of a Florida serial killer, Christopher Wilder.

3)    Without Pity: Ann Rule’s most dangerous killers by Ann Rule-This prolific true crime writer gives equal attention  to the criminal, investigators and prosecutors (Novelist).  This book covers crimes committed by seemingly normal me, like Dexter.

 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

 1) Double Cross by James Patterson-This is a suspenseful, dark and violent series set mostly in Washington D.C. about a police detective, Alex Cross, who is a psychologist and uses his talents to profile the serial killer he is tracking.  The identity of the killer is sometimes surprising.

2) Heartsick by Chelsea Cain-This gruesome and violent series starter was chosen for the treatment of the relationship between a police officer and his abductor-serial killer who let him go. This story gets inside the serial killer’s head as well as the officer’s. The dark local of the Pacific Northwest adds to the darkness of the story.

3) Final Price by Gregory J. Smith-This detective with a sidekick story, similar to Dexter and his sister, is a story of brutal serial murders told in a darkly humorous fashion with the subject of revenge.

Name:Cheryl

Garlic and Sapphires

August 8, 2011

Author:  Ruth Reichl

Title:  Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

Genre:  Non-Fiction

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  333

Geographical Setting:  New York City

Time Period:  1990’s

Plot Summary:  Fresh from L.A. in the early 1990’s, Ruth Reichl landed every foodie’s dream job: she became the restaurant critic for the New York Times.  Reichl quickly discovers that every fine dining establishment has her photo posted and monetary rewards are being offered to anyone who knows which restaurant she will be visiting next, compromising her ability to write an objective review.  To reclaim her anonymity, Reichl creates elaborate disguises to use when dining out, including a slightly overweight Midwestern teacher, a vivacious middle-aged hippie, a breathy Marilyn Monroe-like blond, and a meek old lady.  Garlic and Sapphires follows Ruth through New York City’s most exclusive restaurants and examines how outward appearances can affect how the world treats you.  Both humorous and insightful, Reichl’s memoir is full of the “artifice and excellence” of the restaurant experience, including vivid (and utterly delicious) descriptions of the food she ate.  In addition, her narration is peppered with the original New York Times reviews and personal recipes.

Subject Headings:  Autobiographies; Food Writing; Food Memoirs

Appeal:  Humorous, insightful, thought provoking, colloquial, descriptive, vivid, episodic, charming, upbeat, richly detailed, lush, straightforward

3 terms that best describe this book: charming, upbeat, lush

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York by Williams Grimes:  Written by the restaurant critic that succeeded Reichl at the Times, Appetite City examines New York’s food history from the 19th century through the restaurant culture of the early 21st century.  Like Reichl, Grimes provides the reader with his personal experiences dining in what many proclaim to be the “food capital of the world.”

Eat my Globe: One Year to Go Everywhere and Eat Everything by Simon Majumdar:  Internationally-renowned food blogger Majumdar humorously chronicles his adventures experiencing cuisine from every continent (except Antarctica).  With a fearless
approach to food (he samples Mongolian fermented mare’s milk), Majumdar describes his meals in lush detail.

Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food by Jane and Michael Stern:  Like Reichl, Jane and Michael Stern are major foodies, but instead of four-star restaurants in New York City, they travel the back roads of America, seeking out mom-and-pop diner cuisine.  Upbeat and humorous with vivid descriptions of unpretentious meals, Two for the Road chronicles Jane and Michael’s episodes of eating their way across the United States.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Butter Did It: A Gastronomic Tale of Love and Murder by Phyllis C. Richman:  Written by the restaurant critic for the Washington Post, this upbeat cozy mystery features restaurant critic Charlotte (Chas) Wheatley, who decides to investigate the suspicious death of her former French-chef lover.  The Butter Did It contains vivid descriptions of savory dishes that would make
any foodie’s stomach growl.

Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge:  At first, food writer Eleanor Samuels’s world is torn apart when she becomes caretaker to her Uncle Benny, but as she cooks for and nurtures her Uncle, she uncovers family secrets, and finds a way to come to terms with herself and her past.  Rich, charming, and humorous, Shortridge gives readers a delicious novel, ending with a food manifesto titled, “How to Eat.”

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson:  As France’s premier restaurant critic lies in his deathbed, he remembers past meals in search the one perfect flavor from his youth – the flavor that is “the only true thing ever accomplished.”  Lush culinary prose peppers scenes (both charming and sad) alternately narrated by the critic and his family (including the cat).

Name:  Mieko Fujiura

Me Talk Pretty One Day

August 6, 2011

Author: David Sedaris

Title: Me Talk Pretty One Day

Genre: Nonfiction, GLBTQ Humor, Audio Book

Publication Date: 2001

Number of Pages: 5 CDs, 6 hrs.

Geographical Setting: North Carolina, Chicago, New York, France

Time Period: Present day/author’s childhood

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary: David Sedaris returns in his fourth book with more sharp, witty stories mined from his childhood, career and relationships. Even as Sedaris articulately paints a picture of himself as the perennial put-upon loser, his charming near-misanthropy, cheerful self-deprecation and skewed perspective on life nevertheless soon have readers rooting for him. Anecdotes range from childhood speech therapy and failed attempts at teaching to his meeting and moving to France with boyfriend Hugh and struggles to learn the language. This is funny, funny stuff. And—perhaps unsurprisingly to those already familiar with Sedaris’ uniquely engaging style—the material is served even better in this audio CD edition, read by the author himself. Sedaris’ reedy, nasal voice, with its slight lisp and just a hint of his North Carolina upbringing, is naturally perfect in delivering the nuances and timing needed for a listening experience more akin to performance art than many audio books ’perfunctory readings. His familiarity with the material gives the collection an appealing storytelling quality, and in fact some of the stories appeared on NPR’s This American Life before the book was published. Some are accompanied by small musical highlights, while others were recorded live, reinforcing the storytelling/performance art feeling. Sedaris writes clever, intelligent and hilarious stories, drawing on a tradition going back to Mark Twain. Readers should note that Sedaris doesn’t shy away from some mature language or subjects. A great choice when looking for something funny, nonfiction or that works particularly well in audio format.

Subject Headings: Humorous nonfiction; GLBTQ humor; American humor; Paris (France); Anecdotes—Humorous

Appeal: Humorous, witty, charming, entertaining, self-deprecating, curmudgeonly, nostalgic, sardonic, ironic, leisurely-paced, clever, conversational, storytelling, cultural commentary, wry observations, read by author, empathetic characters, underdog themes

3 terms that best describe this book: Sharp, witty, conversational

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, by David Foster Wallace (A collection of wryly humorous essays on childhood, vacationing and other cultural observations)

The Partly Cloudy Patriot (Audio CD), by Sarah Vowell (Witty, quirky essays with a keen eye for observation and history, the audio edition features a cast of noted readers like Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Michael Chabon and the author herself, with music from quirky popsters They Might Be Giants)

A Woman Trapped in a Woman’s Body: (Tales from a Life of Cringe), by Lauren Weedman (Humorous, self-deprecating, confessional memoir from a former Daily Show correspondent)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

After the Plague: Stories, by T. Coraghessan Boyle (Series of ironic and darkly humorous tales of contemporary life)

The Adrian Mole Diaries, by Sue Townsend (Humorous, touching diary of a 13-year-old boy who writes down his daily experiences and observations)

A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby (A dark comedy, themes of suicide, angst, depression and promiscuity, sharp wit)

 -Joe

An Education

June 16, 2010

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Author: Lynn Barber

Title: An Education

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  192

Geographical Setting: London, England; Oxford, England,

Time Period: 1940 – present

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: This novel is a charming, funny, and candid memoir from award winning English journalist Lynn Barber, known for her role in the start-up of Penthouse Magazine and as a scathing interviewer with the nickname Demon Barber.  Originally written as short piece for literary magazine Granta, after garnering much interest, including movie producers, Barber expanded the story to encompass her childhood up to the death of her husband.  The memoir is roughly divided into 6 sections: an introduction about the history of the novel including its prior incarnation and the movie, her childhood and background, her May-December relationship, her experiences at college and meeting her husband, her work as a writer and journalist, and the death of her husband.  Barber gives an incredibly detailed and anecdotal sketch of her life which is touching, funny, and incredibly sad.  As stated in the first section of the memoir, the movie, of the same name, is based on the second chapter and was adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby.

Subject Headings:  Biography; Memoir; Coming of age; Family, Relationships, Journalism, Pornography, Feminism, Gender Roles, Parent-Child Relationship, Marriage, May-December Relationship, Death,

Appeal:  easy, leisurely-paced, stately, contemplative, humorous, introspective, unaffected, engaging, charming, details of journalism, direct, informative,

3 terms that best describe this book: graceful, witty, candid

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