Monday, June 18, 2012

Strange but Interesting--Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf 
By Jodi Picoult

Genre: Popular Fiction

Review: Edward returns home to New Hampshire from Thailand after six years of estrangement from his family. His father, famous wolf biologist Luke Warren, is in a coma, after a car accident with his sister Cara. Cara wants her dad to live, but Edward wants to terminate life support. The medical and courtroom drama that ensues is interspersed with Luke's life living among the wolves (bizarre yet interesting descriptions) and flashbacks to the family's past. The metaphor of the wolf pack/human family is developed throughout the novel. Not my favorite Picoult novel, but intriguing nonetheless.

Author Interview about the Book

Song to Read By: "Seven Devils" by Florence and the Machine (atmospheric and thrilling, like the novel)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Real Mona Lisa

The Smile 
by Donna Jo Napoli

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Review: If you love Italy, the Renaissance, or Art, then you will enjoy this novel. Elisabetta is 13 years old when she meets Leonardo da Vinci, who vows to one day paint her portrait. She also meets Giuliano, her star-crossed love, the youngest Medici brother, at the wrong time in history. Lisa struggles with the choices that are best for her family, and what she desires. This book is a great way for teens to enjoy history while relating to the characters and enjoying a romance. The setting descriptions of Tuscany and Florence are intriguing and sensual. 

Author Website 

Song to Read By: Italian Lute Music

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett--A Masterpiece

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Genre: Literary Fiction

Review: Not since Bel Canto have I read a book so breathless, completely absorbing, astonishing. Patchett combines a literary writing style with the suspense of a thriller and the characterization of a book much longer. Now we know the meaning of the phrase "tour de force." Follow Marina Singh, pharmacologist, to Brazil as she seeks the truth about the death of her friend with her teacher, Dr. Swenson. In the Amazon, she finds much more than she expected, as researchers search for a fertility secret and malaria cure. How will this place change her? Will she ever be able to return home?

Author Page:
In addition to winning tons of book awards, she owns an indie bookstore in Nashville called Parnassus Books 

Song to Read by: "To Be with You" by The Honey Trees

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Turning Back Toward Literary Fiction

The Cookbook Collector 
by Allegra Goodman

Genre: Literary Fiction

The Review: Follow two sisters, Emily and Jessamine, in Silicon Valley, in the years 1999-2001. Historic American events, from the tech bubble to 9/11 are chronicled in this novel. Emily is a young CEO of up-and-coming tech company Veritech, competing with her fiancee Jonathan while trying to create "the next big thing" in technology as they go public. Jess is a drifter who volunteers for "Save the Trees," works at a used bookstore, and studies philosophy at Berkeley. They are still dealing with the loss of their mother and searching for meaning in their respective worlds, business/technology and philosophy/rare books. 

Also Recommended: Intuition--set in a science lab, takes us deep into the intrigue of reseach, yet makes the characters real, a fast, suspenseful read with literary merit and moral and ethical ramifications.

Author Page

Song to Read By: "Speak for Me" by John Mayer