Monthly Archives: January 2010

I’ve Got My Eye On…

Small Wars by Sadie Jones.

Ever since reading A Town Like Alice, I’ve been fascinated by stories of British soldiers or civilians transplanted to foreign Brit colonies in times of war; a stranger in a strange land trying to reconcile the idea of Britain’s “ownership” over a different culture makes for a fascinating read every time.  Small Wars promises to tell both sides of the story: the soldier husband emotionally scarred by battle and the wife struggling to adjust to a new country and also the frightening changes in the man she loves.  Plus the cover art drew my eye because it’s highly evocative of Elizabeth Taylor in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof–don’t you think?   

From the publisher’s summary:

Hal Treherne is a major in the British Army, a young and dedicated soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. When he is transferred to the British colony of Cyprus in 1956, Hal is joined by Clara, his beautiful and supportive wife, and their baby daughters. The Trehernes quickly learn that the Mediterranean is no “sunshine posting,” however, and soon Hal is caught up in the battle to defend the island against Cypriots seeking enosis, union with Greece.  Leading his men in difficult and bloody skirmishes, after years of peaceful service, Hal at last tastes triumph. But his confidence and pride quickly fade: traumatized by the brutality he witnesses—and thwarted again in his attempts to do the right thing—Hal finds himself well trained in duty but ill equipped for moral battle.  A seasoned army wife, Clara shares her husband’s sense of obligation. She knows to settle in quickly, make no fuss, smile. But as she struggles to trust her own maternal instincts and resist the anxiety that surges with Hal’s frequent absences, Clara grows fearful of her increasingly distant husband. When she needs him most, Clara finds the once-tender Hal a changed man—a betrayal that is only part of the shocking personal crisis to come.  What place is there for honor amid cruelty, and what becomes of intimacy in the grinding gears of empire? A passionate and brilliantly researched novel about the effects of war on the men who wage it and the families they leave behind, Small Wars raises important questions that resonate for our own time.

Take a peek at an interview with author Sadie Jones.

If you’d like to place a hold on Small Wars, please call the library at 985-2173 or visit our website at kennebunklibrary.org.

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I’ve Got My Eye On…

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot.

While I realize that I’m pretty late getting to this dance in regards to both reading Meg Cabot and trying this series, the first in the Queen of Babble books has just been added here at the library and it sounds like the perfect remedy for the winter doldrums.  Cabot offers up a frothy combo of romance and humor with a flawed-but-well-meaning blabbermouth protagonist guiding the reader though globetrotting from London to France, ex-boyfriends and fresh crushes, and plenty of foibles along the way.  Pick this one up for a fun weekend read.

From the publisher’s summary:

Lizzie Nichols has a problem: she can’t keep anything to herself. And when she opens her big mouth on a trip to London, her good intentions get her long-distance beau, Andrew, in major hot water. Now she’s stuck in England with no boyfriend and no place to stay until the departure date on her nonrefundable airline ticket. Fortunately, Lizzie’s best friend and college roommate, Shari, is spending her summer catering weddings in a sixteenth-century château in southern France. Who cares if Lizzie’s never traveled alone in her life and only speaks rudimentary French? She’s off to Souillac to lend a helping hand!  One glimpse of gorgeous Château Mirac—and of gorgeous Luke, the son of the château’s owner—and Lizzie’s smitten. But thanks to her chronic inability to keep a secret, before the first cork has been popped Luke hates her, the bride is in tears, and Château Mirac is on the road to becoming a lipo-recovery spa. Add to that the arrival of ex-beau Andrew, who’s looking for “closure” (or at least a loan), and everything—including Lizzie’s shot at true love—is in la toilette . . . unless she can figure out some way to use her big mouth to save the day.

Visit Meg Cabot’s site here.

If you’d like to place Queen of Babble on hold, please call the library at 985-2173 or go to our website kennebunklibrary.org.

New Title.

We’ve just added Stuart WoodsKisser (#17 in the hugely popular Stone Barrington series) to our collection.

The publisher’s description:

Stone Barrington is back in this thrilling new page-turner from the perennially entertaining New York Times-bestselling author.

Stone Barrington is back in New York, and after a rather harrowing sojourn in Key West, he’s looking to stay closer to home and work on some simple divorce and custody cases for Woodman & Weld. But when he crosses paths with a fetching Broadway actress-and sometime lip model- Stone gets a little more deeply involved with business than he’d expected. When his new lady love turns out to be a lady with a shady past, Stone and downtown cop Dino Bacchetti realize that her beauty may have an unusually high price. . . .

As always, if you’d like to place a hold on this book, please call us at 985-2173 or visit our website to place it online!

On our hold shelf.

Many of our patrons like to pick out their next read by asking us what everyone else is waiting on.  So I’ve decided to bring you the answer before you ask the question.

At the moment, we have no less than four copies of Salman Rushdie‘s 1981 modern classic Midnight’s Children on our hold shelf.

Now, the popularity is probably due to our upcoming book discussion (February 4th, at 10am), but aren’t you curious regardless?  (There’s still room in the group, by the way — and more copies of the book!)

The publisher’s description:

Winner of the Booker of Bookers  Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.

I’ve got my eye on…

Qui Xioalong‘s Chief Inspector Chen Cao series, which begins with Death of a Red Heroine (which won the 2001 Anthony Award for Best First Novel).

From Publisher’s Weekly:

Set a decade ago in Shanghai, this political mystery offers a peek into the tightly sealed, often crooked world of post-Tiananmen Square China. Chen Cao, a poet and T.S. Eliot translator bureaucratically assigned to be chief inspector, has to investigate the murder of Guan Hongying, a young woman celebrated as a National Model Worker, but who kept her personal life strictly and mysteriously confidential. Chen and his comrade, Detective Yu, take turns interviewing Guan’s neighbors and co-workers, but it seems most of them either know nothing or are afraid to talk openly about a deceased, highly regarded public figure. Maybe they shouldn’t be so uneasy, some characters reason; after all, these are “modern times” and socialist China is taking great leaps toward free speech. Chen and Yu make headway when they stumble on Wu Xiaoming, senior editor of Red Star magazine, who apparently was involved with Guan before her death. Tiptoeing around touchy politics and using investigative tactics bordering on blackmail, Chen slowly pieces together the motives behind the crime. The author, himself a poet and critic, peppers the story with allusions to classical Chinese literature, juxtaposing poignant poetry with a gruesome murder so that the novel reads like the translation of an ancient text imposed over a modern tale of intrigue. This is an impressive and welcome respite from the typical crime novel.

Erich Segal, 1937-2010.

Obituaries and tributes at…

The New York Times:

Erich Segal, a Yale classics professor turned popular writer whose first novel, “Love Story,” became a staggering commercial success if not quite a critical one when it appeared in 1970, died on Sunday at his home in London. He was 72.

and The Telegraph:

The book, at 131 pages, was released first, in February 1970. The majority of reviewers found it saccharine but largely unobjectionable. A few, however, seemed to concur with Dorothy Parker’s famous remark. “The banality of Love Story makes Peyton Place look like Swann’s Way,” ran the notice in Newsweek. “It skips from cliché to cliché with an abandon that would chill the blood of a True Romance editor.” Inevitably, it was a smash hit.

and The Washington Post:

“When I find myself feeling guilty for all that success and thinking ‘Love Story’ was overrated,” Mr. Segal said in 1988, “I pull out my Encyclopedia Britannica and see myself listed as writing in the tradition of the classic sentimental novelists, and then my ego relights.

“It was my little Camelot and it can’t be taken away. It was my idyll.”

…as well as many other places.

Robert B. Parker, 1932-2010.

According to the Boston Globe, he died at his writing desk.

Obituaries and tributes at…

The Guardian:

Parker, who would publish up to three books a year, said he would write 10 pages a day, often not knowing “who did it” until near the end of the book. “I don’t rewrite, I don’t write a second draft,” he said in a 2005 interview. “When I am finished, I don’t reread it. Joan [his wife] reads it to make sure I haven’t committed a public disgrace, and, if I haven’t, I send it in. Then I begin the next book.”

and The Wall Street Journal:

Spenser himself seemed comfortable in his own skin, and in his own life. Asked “Is there anything you wanted to accomplish that you haven’t?” by a Harvard professor in that fictional interview written by Mr. Parker, the private eye answered: “No. I am everything I wanted to be. I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do. . . . I would be pleased to live this life and do what I do . . . forever. But I have no need to improve on it.”

…as well as many other places.

See the author’s website for a full list of his books and other information.