Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Library Loot (25 March 2009)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Alessandra that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
It took me a while but I finally found the tiny little graphic novel collection at my library.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings and — like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis — a story exhilaratingly suited to the graphic memoir form.

Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift...graphic...and redemptive.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
It's one of those books that's be on the 'I really should read this' pile for a long time.
Chinua Achebe's first novel portrays the collision of African and European cultures in people's lives. Okonkwo, a great man in Igbo traditional society, cannot adapt to the profound changes brought about by British colonial rule. Yet, as in classic tragedy, Okonkwo's downfall results from his own character as well as from external forces.
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Ditto.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning classic originally published over 50 years ago, Rawling's timeless story of backwoods Florida and the tender relationship of a young boy and his tame fawn continues to delight and enthrall readers.
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta
This won the Kiriyama Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs; following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse; opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood; and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.
The Bostonians by Henry James
The plot of this novel revolves around the feminist movement in Boston in the 1870's. F.R. Leavis called it one of "the 2 most brilliant novels in the language. "The novel's many allusions to the historical and social background of Boston society are explained in the editorial material.
The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint
This is my first foray into de Lint's world.

When Imogene, her mother, and her brother move to Newford, she decides to reinvent herself — this time she won't go looking for trouble. She quickly gets to know two very different people. Maxine is a "good girl," following a strict life plan. Imogene helps Maxine loosen up and break a few rules, and in turn Maxine keeps her on the straight and narrow.

Imogene's other new friend is a little more unusual. His name is Adrian. He is a ghost. Adrian was killed when he jumped off the high school roof in 1998, and hasn't left since. He has a huge crush on her — so much so that he wants her to see the fairies that also haunt the school. The fairies invade Imogene's dreams, blurring the line between the unreal and the real. When her imaginary childhood friend Pelly actually manifests, Imogene knows something is terribly wrong. With Maxine, Adrian, and Pelly's help, Imogene challenges the dark forces of Faery.

This compelling novel from Charles de Lint, the acknowledged founder of the "urban fantasy" genre, is set in the city of Newford, home to some of his best stories. After reading it, you will want to live in Newford, too.


6 comments:

Tym said...

Fun Home is one of my favourite books, period. Hope you like it!

Blodeuedd said...

Have only heard about one of them, but the rest looks good too :)
Happy reading

olduvai said...

Tym - Oh I'm sure I will enjoy it! I read the first page and knew I had to take it home with me.

Blodeuedd - Thanks!

samantha.1020 said...

I haven't read any of these but they all sound good. I'm planning on giving Charles de Lint a try soon. Enjoy your finds :)

susan said...

Things Fall Apart is well written. There is little wonder why for many schools it is a required read and highly anthologized. It is the first introduction to African literature for many. The style throws some readers, but the simplicity is incredibly affecting in my opinion.

olduvai said...

Samantha - Thanks! I'll let you know how de Lint turns out!

Susan - Sounds good, can't wait to sink my teeth into it.