Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Hey Janet,

Raspberries—geez—the stores I shop don’t offer raspberries on a string with a tassel on them! Did you finish Eat Pray Love yet? I have to tell you that I didn’t actually read this book, I listened to it on CD. It’s available at the Grand Forks Public Library and it’s narrated by the author—she does a great job. Do you remember when she goes to Italy to eat and learn Italian? Do you remember when she goes to the soccer game and hears what she thinks are beautiful Italian phrases until she realizes it’s all cursewords? I laughed out loud as she narrated the yelling of Italian fans then followed it with the English translation. This book is such a journey of self-discovery that it’s like having coffee with your best friend when you turn on the CD. Maybe UND should buy the CD?

Anyway, last night I missed the presentation at the Empire on Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses because of my bookclub meeting. We were discussing his Ground Beneath Her Feet (though very few of us got through the whole book—there’s so much to it!). Our book club decided to read Russell Banks Affliction (I praise that in a previous post) and Junot Diaz’s The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao before the Writer’s Conference too. Diaz is supposed to be a “hot” writer and he must be—a lot of the copies in Grand Forks are currently checked out.

This Sunday: “Writer’s Conference 101” book talk at Barnes and Noble 2-3:30. They will do poetry readings of Alice Fulton (I won’t be able to make it but if you’re thinking about it go -- you don’t HAVE to read ahead of time).

Take care!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love...and read!

Kristen, it's your fault I'm a bit sleep-deprived today. You told me I'd love Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, so I dutifully checked it out and put it on my desk at home...where it sat. I couldn't get past the cover. I'm a mystery reader, and I like mystery covers, which draw you in, tell you something about the book. The last one I read had a cloud of steam coming from a cup of coffee--a cloud of steam shaped like a skull! No brainer to figure out that it was a mystery.

Anyway, on to East, Pray, Love. The cover was, I thought, bland, and it made the book totally pass-uppable. (I think I just made a new word!!) The word PRAY looks like it's made of raspberries with a cord, which made NO sense at all.

But last night I needed something to read, so I picked it up and began. WOW! At 3:30 this morning, I had to force myself to lay it aside. I want to ignore all the chores I have ahead of me today, and settle on the couch with a HUGE cup of coffee and a blanket and a cat and finish reading this book.

Kristen, you wondered if college students would like this book. I think so--assuming they can get past that cover.

So here's my question to our UND students: What do you think? Has anyone read it? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

[By the way, they're not raspberries at all. The word is made from a prayer cord of beads.]


Monday, February 18, 2008

The Dutchman

Hey Janet, thanks for the Valentine's wishes. I was working at the libary today, President's Day, and was impressed with how many students came in right as we opened to start their work. I'm getting the sense that they want to be in good shape with their research before the Spring Break.

Writers Conference will be here soon too. I want to another book discussion on Sunday where I heard a reading of a play by Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones) called the Dutchman. It was an intense and shocking story that takes place in the mid-1960s on a New York Subway. The entire play takes place in the subway car where the issues of Race and Gender are unflinchingly examined. Mr. Baraka's works are in the popular reading collection, including a post 9/11 poem written when he served as poet laureate of Newark, NJ. The controversy surrounding that poem caused the mayor to dissolve the position of poet laureate. As someone in the book group said, he is truly fitting for this year's Writer's Conference theme of revolution.

Also this week are talks about Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children on Tuesday, Feb. 19, noon to 1:30 p.m. at the International Centre and Thursday, Feb. 21, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble Coffee Shop. I'm currently reading another of his books, The Ground Beneath Her Feet. It takes place in Bombay, India and is a tapestry of historic, mythologic and cultural images. I wish I knew more about all those areas so that I could understand all the allusions he makes. Speaking of which, I should get back to reading.

Take care,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Listen to this!

Kristen, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Yes, I came back to work just for the cookies and chocolate hearts we had--what a yummy holiday!

I've been out with a really bad cold. I felt especially bad because I'd told a student I'd get a certain book for her on Monday and then I couldn't. But we're getting it for her, and she'll soon be happily reading away.

Did you notice the title of this post? It's because, yes, we're going shopping for AUDIO BOOKS tomorrow! Soon students will be able to check out books on CD. Ought to make those long drives home for spring break much more bearable. Students: If you're interested in audio books, let us know what you'd like to see--oops! I mean, what you'd like to hear!

And if you've read something in the collection you especially liked, let's hear from you. Just comment back and we'll take it from there.

Time to investigate a box of chocolates a friend gave me. Interesting flavors--pear praline and sea salt caramel! I'll let you know what I think of them.

Tomorrow--audio books and lattes. And here I thought today was yummy!

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's a good day


Can you feel the energy? I'm so excited because the author of Wicked Lovely COMMENTED ON THIS BLOG! That's it, I promise I'll read that book and I'm sure I will love this mystery story. Thank you Melissa!

Also, we had a terrific write-up by Dakota Student Reporter Megan Ewert. I could tell that she gets the value of this project. I hope she visits soon and even writes a review or a comment.
I was talking to a friend (who also works at the library) about Affliction over lunch at the ND Museum of Art cafe. We don't want to give away any of the suspense but we both really felt sorry for Wade (unlike a lot of others who didn't have a lot of patience for the guy). We also agreed on some other plot points but we'd give away too much if we told. The amazing thing is that this author, Russell Banks, will be in Grand Forks next month so we could ask him questions about this book.

Take care Janet. I know you'll be going shopping at the Bookstore on Monday and you already have some student requests. Have fun!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Confession Time


We’re going to learn a lot about each other on this blog. I hate to say this but...I don’t like to read mysteries! I get a headache trying to keep track of everything and trying not to let the author trick me AND I NEVER GUESS WHO THE MURDERER IS! I know, I’m too gullible, I can’t think “outside the box” to come up with a solution from out of nowhere. Pleaase don’t be offended – I know you have lots of mystery writer friends, and that you go to conferences for mystery writers, and sometime you look like you’ve been up all night typing...Wait a minute, Janet, are YOU a mystery writer? Well, my imagination must be getting away from me. Can someone else make some good mystery suggestions for Janet in the Comments so that I'm off the hook?

Yes I LOVED Eat, Pray, Love and I’m sure it will be on the shelves just in time for Spring Break. Right now I’m reading books for the Writer’s Conference. I couldn’t believe how I got sucked into Affliction by Russell Banks. There’s a movie version with Nick Nolte in it and bet it’s terrific too. Did you know there will be a Graphic Artist at the Writer’s Conference too? I learned about him last Sunday at the UND Bookstore. There’s a Writer’s Conference 101 Book Club and an art professor, Joel Jonientz, led a great talk. Do you remember Mad Magazine’s Spy vs Spy? Peter Kuper created that and lots more. We discussed Stop Forgetting to Remember : The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz. His pictures really are worth a thousand words, but I'm sure we don't have to tell this group about graphic novels.

Good night Janet, I'm tired from staying up so late finishing Affliction. It was so good and the ending made sense to me, unlike the mysteries I've read...


Monday, February 4, 2008

Yummy books!

I can't wait for the new books to hit the shelves in Popular Reading. I'm especially excited about EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's been creating a lot of buzz all over the internet and in the media. You've read it, haven't you, Kristen?

I read a terrific book this past week. WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr. It'll be on the shelves soon, too. It's soooooo incredible. It's what's called an "urban fairytale"--no charming Tinkerbell type fairies in this book. Instead they're human-sized faeries...with an agenda. I'm such a here-and-now person that I didn't think I'd like it but I loved it! It's brilliantly plotted and written with a glittering beauty.

While I'm waiting for EAT, PRAY, LOVE, I'll think I'll cozy up with a mystery. I do love a good mystery, don't you? Especially when it's snowy! Now the problem is: Which one do I chose????