It’s that Summer Reading time of year, lists abound. Libraries have summer reading programs. And the rest of us want to sit on the stoop with a good book or hang out under the air conditioner.
Fyrefly’s Book Blog (This is a new blog for me, looks interesting)
Top 10 Summer Reading Lists For Kids and Teens: 2009 By Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com
And we’re off to the book races, the only sad thing is we all tend to read the same books and no one wants to take a chance and have a go at picking their own titles. Maybe this is the summer to ignore those experts and find your own voice or at least your own book.
Spring has sprung, summer’s here. Don’t let the dandelions get you down.
For the Oklahoma Gardener and Lawn enthusiast, pick up Oklahoma’s own Gardening guy’s books.
Oklahoma Gardener’s Guide and Oklahoma Lawn Guide.
Steve Dobbs was the host of “Oklahoma Gardening” from 1990 to 1995. He is an award winning horticulturist, garden writer, and lecturer. Lives somewhere out in Eastern Oklahoma and works as Director of Landscape and Grounds for the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith.
I finished a mystery on my plane travels called The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay. It seems like interviews and blogs are always asking authors five questions. Since I rarely have the opportunity to speak directly to the author, I’ve decided to interview myself and based on the number of questions give my rating of the book. For example, one *question ranks, I’ve got to find something else to read; 2 **questions, questionable choice, plot weak or characters not developed but not a complete waste of time; 3 ***questions, enjoyable but not earth-shattering, more candy than substance; 4 ****questions, minor problems with plot or character, good read, would recommend ; 5 *****questions, GREAT read.
OK, Ms Pittman here we go.
1. Why did you pick this book off the new book shelf to begin with?
Yellow stands out, amid lots of litte guns. Any book cover that talks about Raymond Chandler and Jonathan Lethem is worth a go, Stewart O’Nan is quoted, and he lived in Oklahoma and taught at the University of Central Oklahoma. Always good to have an endorsement by a hometown author. The main character is a narcoleptic private investigator from South Boston. That’s a fresh approach to the PI tale.
2. Does the book take off?
Absolutely, the dialog is funny and fast. Some very Chandleresque comments, “Hope is a desperate man’s currency.” “A Book. Ever seen one before?” Mark Genevich survived a serious car accident and suffers narcolepsy as a result. His mom and his relationship are symbiotic. She arrives in clown pants, yells frequently that he is going to set the sofa on fire and mothers him while he tries to make a life for himself with his disability. She is quite a character in her own right. The action starts with a visit from Jennifer Times, American Star personality and daughter of the DA, showing up with missing fingers and scary photos. Or did she really come calling at all? The author takes us into the nightmare of narcoleptic sleep events and hypnogogic hallucinations.
3. Were there some problems with the book?
I did have some difficulty sorting out the real and imagined. Still not entirely clear why there was a resemblence between Jennifer Times and the photos, or maybe there wasn’t? The bad guys were obvious, and I may have to agree with Mel Odom’s review in Bookhound that the reader may get to the big reveal before Mark does.
4. So, what’s your conclusion.
Our author created a fresh new take on the PI story. His characters are likeable, especially Mark, who I would like to see solve more mysteries and deal with the obstacles life has thrown him. Plenty of action for a guy who spends lots of time asleep. Pick up this one for a good, quick summer read. It held my attention amid airplane chaos. Paul Tremblay gets a star for asking his readers to blog about the book, so glad to oblige.
I’m so glad to be back on Okie terra firma. OMG airplane travel is hideous. Obviously no one is heeding VP Biden’s directive to stay off planes. Every plane I was on was full, and had standbys. Actually I did make all my planes, close call with having the shuttle service in Athens tell me they didn’t have me down for a return trip, what good is the confirmation number they give you? The very nice gentleman at the desk at the Hilton Garden Inn, Downtown Athens helped me and found me a cancellation and I was on my way. Thank you.
And Thank You Young Bill Young for blogging for me. Much appreciated and I think all will agree he’s welcome to blog here any time. We will have to ask him whyYoung Bill was the only one at McDonald’s that was asked if he wanted the senior discount.
The one good thing about travel is being able to read and block out all the stuff going on around you. I did notice less people reading and more people playing with electronic devices. I finished one book on the way, started another, finished it and started another. And since one of them was by one of my favorite cozy authors, Anne George, I’ll take this opportunity to reply to Reggie Jet about cozies,
“Never read a “cozy” but I’ve always envisioned them in the style of Agatha Christie’s Jan Marple mysteries. (Am I off base?)” http://blog.newsok.com/okiereads/2009/05/13/cup-of-crime-with-a-tea-cozy/
The cozies I like best are full of humor, sarcasm, a good mystery, and clever, eccentric characters. Anne George’s Southern Sisters mysteries have all these qualities. And hey, I was visiting the South so a perfect pick. Mary Alice and Patricia Anne are sisters but nothing alike in looks or temperment. They are the typical southern family where blood is always thicker than water, except Mary Alice can really put that concept to the test. In Murder Gets a Life, Mary Alice’s son, Ray, meets “Barbie” look alike Sunshine Dabbs. Next thing you know, the sisters have fallen over a dead body stuck to the linoleum floor with Sunshine’s grandmother Meemaw’s best hog butchering knife. Lots of family crisis including Patricia’s daughter’s pending vows and departure for Warsaw, Debbie (Mary Alice’s daughter) is having a baby and suffering through nausea and more, this unexpected marriage between Ray and Sunshine in Bora Bora, and a whole host of eccentric, “common as pig tracks” and unnerving new in-laws.
Meemaw is a particularly loveable character, especially since she has been visited by Gabriel her channeler, who first appeared after a space ship sighting declaring, “behold I bring you tidings of great joy.” There are laugh out loud passages and just an enjoyable, engaging, good for plane travel and lazy summer day read.
Sorry Anne George is gone and there will be no more Southern Sister books, we’ll miss the old girls.
Young Bill Young here again for the out-of-town, but on-the-job, Kitty Pittman. An interesting thing about working in a library, is that some friends expect you to become their personal librarian. And that’s OK. Gosh, after all, that’s what we’re all about in the library world — connecting people to information, resources and books.
A good friend of mine has decided to rediscover the works of novelist George V. Higgins (1939-1999), and he has solicited my help in tracking down some of the titles no longer carried in his local library. This is easy to do with a service called Interlibrary Loan. He could easily have requested these books via ILL at his local library, but, ya know, I’m his personal librarian, so I was happy to oblige.
My friend is such a fan of Higgins, he believes the author should have won a Nobel Prize. Sounds like I need to find out more about this Mr. Higgins. So, lets. . .
The New York Times‘ Featured Author Page on Higgins
The Google Book Search Page: Books by George V. Higgins
Info on the George V. Higgins Collection at the University of South Carolina
The Who’s Dating Who Page for George V. Higgins (Looks like no one has been dating this dead guy.)
The proverbial Wikipedia Page on Higgins
And, finally, here’s a photo of the gentleman:
Any of you out there Higgins fans? Drop us a comment!
Young Bill Young here. I’ll be your guest blogger for the next couple of days while Kitty is out of town. First up: Oklahoma author CJ Cherryh’s latest sci-fi triumph, Regenesis. (Yes, I know CJ has moved to cooler climes, but she was raised here, taught school here, and wrote here for many years. We still claim her. Who wouldn’t?)
Regenesis is the long-awaited sequal to the Hugo Award-winning Cyteen—and yes, you do need to read Cyteen before tackling Regenesis, despite what some reviewers say. It took more than two decades for the sequel to see light, and Cherryh dedicates the book to Daw Books publisher Betsy Woolheim’s “determination.”
Cherryh’s Union/Aliance universe, the setting for Regenesis, is rich and complex, and I’ll let you follow this link to find out more about it.
When Regenesis opens, Arianne (Ari) Emory is 18 years old, and heir to the Reseune company which operates on the planet Cyteen, headquarters for the Union government. She is the clone of the original Arianne—a brilliant, but morally suspect, scientist whose genius has allowed Union’s population to grow (through cloning), giving it an advantage over its Earth and Alliance foes. Following the murder of the original Ari, Emory is cloned. Much of Cyteen focuses on the effort by Reseune personnel to make sure young Ari turns out as brilliant as her predecessor. This leads to cruel familial separations so that young Ari has the same traumatic experiences as her “parent,” but it ultimately makes Young Ari very different from the original: Old Ari doesn’t trust. Young Ari wants desperately to trust. Old Ari has no friends. Young Ari has several friends. Old Ari doesn’t (or can’t) love. Young Ari *does* love.
Where Cyteen was epic in scope, Regenesis is more intimate, taking place in the space of only eight months. But it is an eight-month period filled with political and psychological suspense as the young genius works to keep herself alive, solve her parent’s murder, protect Reseune and Union interests, and protect those she loves.
While telling the story, Cherryh weaves in the big issues that humans deal with: the need for development versus the need to respect nature; the meaning of identity; the need for self preservation versus the need to trust; and (especially in a post 911 world) the rights of the individual versus the need to stay alive and protect a way of life.
Cherryh doesn’t shy away from the big issues. (Why would you write science fiction if you were timid?) But she knows how to tell a story, too, and how to make you care about the characters (both born and cloned) that populate Regenesis.
Look what’s happening at the Full Circle Bookstore in June, while there get a book, drink some coffee and chat with humanitarians.
Tuesdays in June
Café at Full Circle Bookstore
The Oklahoma Humanities Council, in collaboration with Full Circle Bookstore, is pleased to announce our latest program to show why the humanities matter. Humanities Forum will bring people together to talk about contemporary issues. The emphasis will be on the public exchange of ideas and perspectives—public, as in “everyone is welcome,” and exchange, as in “you offer your opinion, other people add their ideas, and we all walk away with a better understanding of each other and our world.”
Under the Forum model, participants are asked to read a short humanities text (available at Full Circle Bookstore), which serves as the springboard for conversation. Discussions are moderated by a scholar to ensure a productive atmosphere where differing ideas are treated with curiosity and mutual respect.
Rachel Jackson will serve as the scholar facilitator for the pilot project. She has an M.A. in English from the University of Tulsa and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy, with a focus on Oklahoma regional studies, at the University of Oklahoma.
Please join us every Tuesday in June at Full Circle Bookstore! A detailed list of topics is included below:
June 2 God and Country: The Civic Role of Religion
June 9 Financial Responsibility and the Moral Life
June 16 The Social Gospel of Sharing
June 23 Loyalty and Truth: The Nature of Critical Patriotism
June 30 Where There is No Justice, There Can Be No Peace
I just got the information on the All-Black Towns tour, sponsored by the Rudisill Branch of the Tulsa City County Library System. It will be June 13th. One of the librarians here and I went on the tour one year, and it was great fun, informational and a real bargain. This year it looks like you get to go into the DC Minner Blues Club (the year I went we just drove by), but we had a nice lunch in Taft and the mayor extended a warm invitation. Also on this year’s tour is Red Bird, Gibson Station, Wybark, Tullahassee, Rentiesville and Summit.
Picture of the late D C Minner at the Dusk til Dawn Blues Festival. Picture copyright Fred Marvel.
There’s a great post by Dave Ruthenberg, Columnist for the Enid NEWS, about Shelby and D C and the Oklahoma Blues.
One thing, if you want to go on the All Black Towns tour you need to hurry to the Rudisill library and get your tickets. The buses fill up very quickly from all the people returning each year. You’ll have fun, meet nice people, learn about African-American history in Oklahoma, eat good food and this year get to go to the Blues Club. What are you waiting for.
For picture information, copyright and details, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Price_Tower_-_Bartlesville.jpg
And since this is essentially a book blog, check out Prairie Skyscraper.