Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book suggestions for our next vote...

Before I post our next online vote I wanted to open it up again for more suggestions.  Sarah and I are going to keep a few of the front runners on the ballot but we're always looking for new choices from the group.  So, please log in and comment on any book you want us to add.  I will post the online vote on Monday.

As always, hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

~ Review by Jan

Well, where do I begin?  

book jacketThe Hunger Games is a sci-fi novel for young adults, but this book has such adult concepts that it will be a compelling read for all ages.  It has received a lot of accolades and I understand why.  I will also say that I haven't been more emotionally invested in the plight of a character in a very long time. I read this book in one sitting. The writing is phenomenal!

The Hunger Games is set in a futuristic world of "former" North America.  After environmental catastrophe and war, it is now divided into 12 districts, with the Capitol as the ruling body.  Each district has its purpose for the Capitol, from agriculture to coal mining.  To remind the twelve districts of their absolute power, the Capitol holds a tournament each year called "The Hunger Games" where a boy and girl are chosen from each district by lottery to complete in the games.  The Hunger Games are a televised, fight to the death, competition where only one survivor remains.  The district who's contestant is the last remaining survivor is rewarded with gifts.

From the very beginning the reader is made brutally aware of the desperation of the district's inhabitants with Katniss, the lead character, who hunts illegally and eats rat stew so her mother and sister won't starve.  When Katniss's twelve-year-old sister's name is drawn in the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place in the Hunger Games.  Peeta's character, the male contestant who's name was also drawn from District 12, is also compelling.  The author created a solid back story involving the two lead characters.  When Katniss's father died in a coal-mining accident, her mother fell into a severe depression and left her two daughters to starve.  Peeta is the bread maker's son; he purposely burns a loaf of bread, receiving a beating from his mother, and throws it into the woods where he knows Katniss is hiding.  Then, four years later, his name is drawn with Katniss's, and they are now expected to fight to the death. 

Collins did an amazing job developing her characters and forcing them to make difficult choices.  As a reader, I was invested in the fantasy world she created.  Children are murdered while the world watches for entertainment! 

This book is well worth the read.  I can't wait for our February meeting.  Without doubt, The Hunger Games will stir up an interesting discussion.

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

Request The Hunger Games from the Bangor Public Library

PLEASE NOTE:  There are copies of this book available for NYOBG members that do not appear on our catalog.  Send Jan or Sarah an email, located on the left side bar of this blog, and we will put a copy on the hold shelf for you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Books to read for February...

I just wanted to thank everyone who came to the meeting last night, especially in this warm January weather!  I had so much fun.  I love the discussion on A Certain Slant of Light, and I always like to talk about Jinx and Rachel from Kim Harrison's series.

We voted on two months of books because our new E-readers will be available for our February meeting, and we wanted to have the books purchased and downloaded for you to bring home.

A few things have changed with our new grant.  We now will purchase ten books from each title chosen that will NOT appear on the library catalog.  If you couldn't make the meeting please send Sarah or me an email (they're listed on the left side bar) and we will put a copy of the books on the hold shelf for you!

So, the winners from last night's book vote were...

Books to read for February:
1.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2.  The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

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Books to read for March:
1.  The Magicians by Lev Grossman
2.  The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

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Hope to see you all next month!  And, I will post a review soon of Hunger Games so we all can comment!
Jan

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

book jacketReview by Jan:

As all our NYOBG members are aware, I adored Garden Spells by this author. I am very pleased to write that I enjoyed The Sugar Queen just as much--and there wasn't one single chili pepper in the book.

The Sugar Queen is about a young woman named Josey who cares for her overbearing mother. Josey stores candy in her secret closet and reads romance novels and travel books, dreaming of adventure and leaving the responsibilities of her repressed life behind. Everything changes when a local woman named Della shows up in her closet, hiding from an abusive boyfriend, and teaches Josey how to have the courage to reach for happiness. This would be a wonderful choice for our book group, so I will keep this review short in hopes that it makes our final selection. I will say that Josey's journey from an unhappy recluse to social confidence is as heart-wrenching as it is beautiful, and like Garden Spells, every character is worth remembering and discussing.

This is a stand-alone book, not connected to Garden Spells, but with a similar setting in a southern quirky community. Once again, the story is sprinkled with just the right amount of magic to keep it intriguing, and with a unique cast of characters, flawed yet exquisitely penned. Allen's writing style is simply perfect. I devoured this book in one evening, and I do hope you give it your vote!

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

Request The Sugar Queen from The Bangor Public Library