Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Fowler

Are you reading Jane Austen for your classes? Have you seen A&E or Masterpiece Theatre productions of these classics? If so, don't stop there -- try to remember to pick these books up several times throughout your life. You will enjoy them and be amazed at the staying power of these stories.

In the Jane Austen Book Club, a group of 5 women and 1 man decide to read every major Jane Austen novel over the course of a year. I have not accomplished that -- I just keep returning to Pride and Prejudice. I'm in a book club with fellow moms, many associated with UND, however I can't say I tremendously enjoyed reading a fictional account of a book club. I wasn't really hooked into the story and I had a hard time keeping the characters clear in my mind. Our book club had a good discussion though and we were glad to brainstorm which author we'd like to delve into if we had that luxury -- Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Charles Dickens, Graham Greene...

So --a recommended read? Jane Austen-a resounding yes, this book not so much.


P.S. Students, we need to hear from you to keep this blog going. Please send us a short review--any book is good. Details are on the blog. We'll all appreciate it!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

I was going to put out a plea for student reviews but Steph came to the rescue! Here's her posting:

Hello to all of the awesome and knowledgeable librarians at library pop!!!!
Here is one review that I have been able to write up thus far into the fall semester! Stay cool!!!!

Now, I know that I have already written a review on Palahniuk’s work, however, I couldn’t resist Choke. Inevitably, I found myself reading it this summer---especially since the movie is due out this fall. I figured I would read it before the movie’s images were engrained in my mind, thus, automatically tainting my own interpretation of the characters and dialogue. Overall, I enjoyed the novel—heavy with Palahniuk’s ability to analyze and reveal a seedier side of the realities of our world, he once again portrays America as a society gone mad. However, it was not until the conclusion that I thought this novel was remarkable. The final chapter is one that marinates the mind and stays with you for days making you think about addiction, excess, and the delusions that we adhere to within each of our pasts and presents. In the end, Choke is about grasping onto the past. Palahniuk shows us how we evolve through learning to live with the past and attempting to escape it while needing it whether or not we want it to coincide with the present or the futures we create.

Steph C.