Monday, June 23, 2008

Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber

From Patty:
I should inform you first that I am a little biased as far as Debbie Macomber is concerned. I love her books and wait breathlessly for the next one to come out. I am especially partial to her Cedar Cove series, the Blossom street series and her angel series. But this book, Twenty Wishes, probably hit home a little more than her others. It centers on a group of widowers who patronize the shops on Blossom Street, be it the bookstore or the kntting store. One Valentine's Day, this group of women get together and they are inspired to create lists of wishes, ultimately twenty, of things they have always wanted to do but have not done. Some of the wishes end up being very broad in translation and some are very specific. But once they start to make their wishes come true, they change. Their thinking and attitudes. Some even find romance and love. But mostly hope. I read the book in one sitting as I was drawn into the characters and what wishes they listed. I was interested in what they felt was important to put on their lists. And of course fascinated as to how they achieved their goals.
So I was motivated by this book to create my own list of Twenty wishes. Now, I will tell you it isn't easy. You start to question the reasons for things on your list. Whether they are conceivable financially or logically. Like putting "World Peace" on there is probably a waste of a wish. Nice but really unrealistic. I haven't completed my list yet, but I have ideas. At the least the list is opening up possibilities for things that were missing in my life and things that I quit enjoying for one reason or another. And experiences that I would really like to have before I am too old to enjoy them.
This was a very worthy and fun read , as most of her books are. And I highly recommend all her books to everyone. I just wish since she writes a lot of Dakota books, oh yeah, I liked that series too, she would come for book signings here.
Patricia Reed
Acquisitions Specialist
Chester Fritz Library
University of North Dakota
3051 University Ave Stop 9000
Grand Forks, ND 58202-9000

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don Quixote's Delusions: Travels in Castilian Spain

From Reanne:
Confession: even though I am an avid hispanophile, I have never read Cervantes's Don Quixote. I came across Miranda France's Don Quixote's Delusions: Travels in Castilian Spain by accident the other day in the library and it had me hooked from the first page. In her excellent narrative spanning two sojourns to Spain (the first in the late 1980s, the second a decade later) France effortlessly guides her readers through 400 years of Spanish history, plus Cervantes massive 1,000 page tome, all while relating both to real and fictive characters past and present. Don Quixote's Delusions: Travels in Castilian Spain is a masterfully crafted travelogue, book review, treatise on the Spanish character, and historical narrative all rolled into a one neat, highly readable and enjoyable book. From the description, one might be wary of the intense subject matter and density of both Cervantes's Don Quixote and Spanish history (hey, it is summer after all!) but France is a natural story-teller. This book is ideal for arm-chair historians, undergrads, and everyday people who appreciate fast-moving, informative books. A+ and highly recommended.

Reanne Eichele
Unaffiliated member of the library

Thursday, June 12, 2008


In February I'd mentioned Junot Diaz and his incredible book The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao. I said our book club chose to read it because he's a "hot" writer. He's gotten even hotter as the recent Pulitzer Prize Winner.

Funny thing is that I never finished the book, then I went to writer's conference and was blown away by him, and I said to my bookclub friends "Wow I have to finish reading that book. He's awesome!" Why didn't I finish the book in the first place? Partly because I didn't want to tie up the library's copy right before the conference but also because the characters and setting didn't quite "click" with me.

As an undergrad I studied in English Lit in a small private college. I was steeped in tales written by (white) men who lived in England hundreds of years ago. Even though I'd never circled London's stately parks in a horse and carriage, hiding my glances at eligible bachelors beneath a parasol, etc etc, I could certainly imagine it.

Thanks to my book club I've gotten a taste vastly different cultures -- India, China, Turkey, Afghanistan for example, but they've been portrayed by voices similar to my English Literature heroes. Not so with Diaz. Bam! Right from the start I'm steeped in the history and superstition of the Dominican Republic conveyed in a language and manner I don't quite recognize. He uses slang and Spanish words throughout--sometimes offering a translation in the footnotes and sometimes not.

Now my desire to finish the book is renewed because of the recent publicity. Check out the transcript of an interview with him on the CBS Sunday Morning Show and you'll get a taste for the book and why Diaz wrote it.

And please, make sure to venture out of your "comfort zone" from time to time -- you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June Bug

Last night I was sitting in my living room, engrossed in a mystery, when something kept running into the screen behind me, buzzing madly. I had to smile, since it was quite appropriate--yes, it was a June bug, and what was I reading? That's right--Jess Lourey's June Bug.

There's lots of regional interest in this book. When I think of summer, I think of fishing, for example. Not that I fish, mind you. It's something I like in theory but not in practice. But I'm happy to sit in the boat, getting sunburned and eating Nut Goodies. And since I'm a librarian, I'm partial to Mira, the main character.

Here's the really cool thing: Jess is going to be in Fargo at the B&N there on June 11 from 5-7, and in Moorhead at the public library on June 12 at 6:30. Kristen and I are planning to head down to Fargo on the 11th or to Moorhead on the 12th to say hi to Jess.

So if you're planning a road trip in the next couple of weeks either to Fargo or points east, you might want to check out Jess's website with her Appearances list. And maybe we'll see you in Fargo or Moorhead!