Rave Review!

This month’s Rave Reviews were a lot of fun. I was joined by librarian Adam Peltier and we shared some really exciting books. I always love his recommendations and we keep having to check in with each other as we have, on occasion, accidentally selected some of the same books.

It was a great session and a lovely group for our last session at the Central library. The current plan is to move the program to Riverside in March and the schedule will be announced shortly.

Kate’s Picks

Room by Emma Donoghue

I love the way Donoghue has this story told from the perspective of Jack, a young boy born in “Room.” Jack’s entire life has been spent within those 4 walls; it’s a traumatic start in life but his mother manages to shield him from the worst of it. Jack’s perspective also softens some of the darkest elements of the book. Sexual violence is heard but not seen or understood and Jack proves to be exceptionally bright and resilient.

If you missed this book when it was a best seller it’s well worth revisiting. I found the book so riveting that I walked past my car while reading it and you may also enjoy the film which I enjoyed but not nearly as much as the book. Reading the book I enjoyed Jack’s unique voice and the stunning way in which Donoghue uses language to uniquely describe the situation.

White Trash  by Nancy Isenberg

This is a rare book in that it fundamentally changed my worldview.

I had to read it after hearing it discussed on NPR who said that the book sets to work dispelling the myth of classless society. I don’t often say this, but I’d call this book a “must read.”

Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens

The type of simple, beautiful book that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading it. I’m a huge fan of Lansens’ fiction and, well this is sometimes considered one of her lesser books, it’s a beautiful and poignant tale of a flawed woman.

A Mixture of Frailties by Robertson Davies

This book is part of Davies’ Cornish Trilogy but it stands strongly on its own. It was given to me as a gift when I was a young singer doing my MA in Musicology and trying to figure out what role music would play in my life moving forward. It’s a beautiful book for anyone who loves classical music or simply enjoys splended and layered story telling.

Adam’s Picks

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this short but profound work, the award-winning author of Americanah offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century. Adichie draws on personal experiences to explore the masked realities of sexual polities, and offers a rallying cry for feminism rooted in inclusion and awareness.

Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

These ten famous letters, addressed from popular and enduring poet Rilke to the then aspiring writer Franz Xaver Kappus, are among the most inspiring and beloved letters of the 20th century. In this correspondence, Rilke touches upon subjects that will interest writers, artists, and thinkers. Letters to a Young Poet is a classic that should be read by everyone who dreams of expressing themselves creatively.

After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

Japan’s most popular contemporary author sets this short story collection around the catastrophic 1995 Kobe earthquake. Throughout these six tales, characters are afflicted with upheavals ranging from the banal to the fantastical.  A salesman deserted by his wife agrees to deliver an enigmatic package. A young runaway and a surfing rock music enthusiast bond over a beachside bonfire. A mild-mannered collection agent receives a visit from a giant talking frog who enlists his help in saving Tokyo from destruction. Ranging from dreamlike to uncanny realism, from the tragic to the comic, Murakami displays why he is one of our most visionary writers at work today.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

In Ralph Ellison’s classic novel about race and identity, an unnamed protagonist journeys from the Deep South to the streets of Harlem, from a horrifying “battle royal” where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies. Winner of the 1953 National Book Award, Invisible Man is suspenseful and sardonic, harsh and humorous, and may be one of the century’s greatest and most influential novels.

How To Be Both by Ali Smith

Ali Smith’s novels are always one of a kind, and that certainly can be said of this passionate and playful story. How To Be Both is divided into two sections: the first following Francesco del Cossa, a cross-dressing Italian renaissance artist, and George, a troubled girl struggling to come to terms with the death of her mother (and who may be followed by the disembodied spirit of del Cossa). The novel is about many things – gender, truth, memory – but ultimately ends up being a testament to the timelessness of the versatility of art.

Marshall McLuhan by Douglas Coupland

Marshall McLuhan, the celebrated social theorist who defined the culture of the 1960s, is the subject of this concise and entertaining biography. Throughout this book McLuhan’s prescience about our current digital era is examined, peppered by enlightening biographical information, and explorations of his enduring cultural significance. A fascinating account of the prophet whose vision of the global village—now known as the Internet—has come to pass in the 21st century.

Remember, Rave Reviews is moving to Riverside in March. I’m expecting it to be better than ever when we come back as I’ve already devoured more books that I’m looking forward to sharing. If you have any questions at all please contact Kate at 519-255-6770 x. 6620 and please send an email to kreynolds@windsorpubliclibrary.com if you’d like me to notify you when we set the date for the next meeting. I look forward to reading with you!

 

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Miss Kate is a Public Service Librarian and has been with the Windsor Public Library since 2010. She's passionate about music, children's programming, book clubs, literacy, reference services, blogging, and libraries in general!

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