Sunday, March 24, 2019

Library Loot: Language, Literal Drama, and Ants

Going to My Library is like a gleeful shopping spree. I always pick up an unexpected variety of books snatched impulsively from the stacks, and I always have books on reserve, especially after consulting my trusted book sources. I never come home empty-handed.

The last two stops at My Library were no exception.

One of my husband's favorite musical soundtracks is Oklahoma!, and a quick dive into the Internet unearthed some very interesting facts. Oklahoma! is based on the 1931 stage play Green Grow the Lilacs, which of course I had to read. Green was good — and it led me to Harvey, an even better play in the anthology I borrowed. If you haven't seen Harvey, go find it right away: the story about the delightful Elwood P. Dowd and his invisible friend is a madcap comedy that is sweet and surprisingly suspenseful.

A friend at work mentioned in passing a book he read years ago about ants, originally written in French but translated into his native Korean. Did my library have such a book? Indeed, and in my native English. Empire of the Ants may be a slow read thanks to its thorough examination of ants, but an interesting one, if the first few chapters are any indication.

If I had a superpower, I would want it to be the power to understand and speak every language in the multiverse. Until I am altered in some way, or until earplugs and a translation app are perfected, I'll have to work on it the old-fashioned way: study. Fluent Forever is written by someone who taught himself multiple languages — and if he can, perhaps I can, too. We shall see.

I have begun listening to the podcast Lore, which examines the real, fascinating stories behind legends. Aaron Mahnke has written a series of books — and when I saw his tome about real-life monsters on My Library's shelf, I had to pick it up.

After reading Laura Vanderkam's time-use book 168 Hours, I decided she would be one of my non-fiction go-to authors. Her latest book is Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done — and I trust she will share something interesting. 

After listening to the book Educated (which I strongly recommend), I decided to read a little more about family dynamics. Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way — and I'd go a little farther than Leo Tolstoy and suggest that all families harbor unique unhappinesses.  It Didn't Start With You examines family trauma that has carried on down the generations, which should be an interesting study in psychology.

These are added to the 2019 Polar Reading Club selection, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, and the new Jasper Fforde book, Early Riser

What have you picked up from your library lately? Let me know!

Thanks to Linda (Silly Little Mischief), Clare (The Captive Reader), and Mary (The Adventures of An Intrepid Reader) for originating the Library Loot column. Check out what they're reading, too!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Polar Book Club: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster

We are mere days away from the discussion of the Polar Book Club. Are you ready?

Join us in reading and discussing the novel The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks. It has two of my favorite plot devices: time travel and mystery.

Wilbanks offers a delightfully concise and tantalizing description of his novel:
Annabelle Aster has discovered a curious thing behind her home in San Francisco: a letter box perched atop a picket fence. The note inside is blunt—“Trespass is dealt with at the business end of a shotgun in these parts!”— spurring some lively correspondence between the Bay Area orphan and her new neighbor, a feisty widow living in a nineteenth century Kansas wheat field. 

The source of mischief is an antique door Annie installed at the rear of her house. The man who made the door—a famed Victorian illusionist—died under mysterious circumstances. Annie and her new neighbor, with the help of friends and strangers alike, must solve the mystery of what connects them across time before one of them is convicted of a murder that is yet to happen... and somehow already did.

I know: fascinating, right?

Don't wait for anyone else: you can start the conversation! Leave a comment on the blog, below, or email me your impressions and observations and I'll publish the thread of our conversation on the blog. You can decide how you want to be identified, if at all, in the conversation.

Questions? Comments? Ideas for the Spring Reading Club? Comment below or contact me!