Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Library Loot (24 August 2009)

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

I was pretty eager to get to the library this week despite the fact that I've got several more books piled up from my previous Loot. Oh well!

The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene
 Originally published in 1948 and widely acclaimed a modern classic, The Heart of the Matter tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. His name is Scobie, and he is a man bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity. When he falls in love with Helen, a childlike widow of nineteen, and finds vital passion yielding again to pity, and integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor, the crisis makes for a novel that is suspenseful, always fascinating, and finally tragic. At its center is the unforgettable portrait of one man, flawed and yet heroic, destroyed and redeemed by a terrible conflict of passion and faith.
Misconceptions - Naomi Wolf
Veteran culture warrior and author of the bestselling Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf debunks myths and defies expectations as she addresses the reality of contemporary maternity through her own experiences with passionate critique and unrelenting honesty.
Motherhood turned out to be Wolf's toughest fight of the gender wars. During her first pregancy, hormones eroded her independence, and ultrasound tested her commitment to abortion rights. The weeks after her daughter's birth taught her how inevitably society, employers, and even husbands, manipulate new mothers. In Misconceptions, Naomi Wolf demythologizes motherhood and stakes out feminist battlegrounds. She exposes the lack of compassion within the OB/GYN establishment; America's shockingly high rates of postpartum depression; the total inadequacy of a twelve-week, unpaid maternity leave.
Misconceptions speaks to anyone connected — personally, medically, or professionally — to a new mother.

The Island of the Colorblind - Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks has always been fascinated by islands — their remoteness, their mystery, above all the unique forms of life they harbor. For him, islands conjure up equally the romance of Melville and Stevenson, the adventure of Magellan and Cook, and the scientific wonder of Darwin and Wallace.
Drawn to the tiny Pacific atoll of Pingelap by intriguing reports of an isolated community of islanders born totally colorblind, Sacks finds himself setting up a clinic in a one-room island dispensary, where he listens to these achromatopic islanders describe their colorless world in rich terms of pattern and tone, luminance and shadow. And on Guam, where he goes to investigate the puzzling neurodegenerative paralysis endemic there for a century, he becomes, for a brief time, an island neurologist, making house calls with his colleague John Steele, amid crowing cockerels, cycad jungles, and the remains of a colonial culture. The islands reawaken Sacks's lifelong passion for botany — in particular, for the primitive cycad trees, whose existence dates back to the Paleozoic — and the cycads are the starting point for an intensely personal reflection on the meaning of islands, the dissemination of species, the genesis of disease, and the nature of deep geologic time.
Out of an unexpected journey, Sacks has woven an unforgettable narrative which immerses us in the romance of island life, and shares his own compelling vision of the complexities of being human.

Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story - Ari Folman
One night in Beirut in September 1982, while Israeli soldiers secured the area, Christian militia members entered the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and massacred hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians. Ari Folman was one of those Israeli soldiers, but for more than twenty years he remembered nothing of that night or of the weeks leading up to it. Then came a friend’s disturbing dream, and with it Folman’s need to excavate the truth of the war in Lebanon and answer the crucial question: What was he doing during the hours of slaughter?
Challenging the collective amnesia of friends and fellow soldiers, Folman painfully, candidly pieces together the war and his place in it. Gradually, the blankness of his mind is filled in by scenes of combat and patrol, misery and carnage, as well as dreams and hallucinations. Soldiers are haunted by inexplicable nightmares and flashbacks—snapping, growling dogs with teeth bared and eyes glowing orange; a recurring image of three young men rising naked out of the sea to drift into the Beirut battlefield. Tanks crush cars and buildings with lethal indifference; snipers pick off men on donkeys, men in cars, men drinking coffee; a soldier waltzes through a storm of bullets; rock songs fill the air, and then yellow flames. The recollections accumulate until Ari Folman arrives at Sabra and Shatila and his investigation reaches its terrible end.
The result is a gripping reconstruction, a probing inquiry into the unreliable quality of memory, and, above all, a powerful denunciation of the senselessness of all wars. Profoundly original in form and approach, Waltz with Bashir will take its place as one of the great works of wartime testimony.
Fables: Animal Farm - Bill Willingham
Collecting Fables #6-10, the second story arc of the fan-favorite, critically acclaimed VERTIGO series. Travel to upstate New York, where the non-human Fable characters have found refuge on a farm, miles from mankind. But all is not well on the farm — and a conspiracy to free them from the shackles of their perceived imprisonment may lead to a war that could wrest control of the Fables community away from Snow White. Starring Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Plus, a sketchbook section featuring art by Willingham, Buckingham and Jean.


Eva said...

So much to talk about! :) I loved Greene in high school-I need to get back into reading him. And Oliver Sacks is one of my favourite authors. I've put Waltz With Bashir on my TBR list. And the Woolf book about motherhood sounds important, but too depressing for me to read right now!

Marg said...

I've seen so mnay recs for the Fables books, but it doesn't look like my library is going to be getting them any time soon!

Enjoy your loot!

Linda said...

Waltz With Bashir was wonderful. Really enjoyed it. I've said it before, love Fables!

olduvai said...

Eva - Once again, welcome back to Library Loot! I've missed envying your stash.

Marg - Oh I hope you manage to get your hands on some Fables books, they are truly awesome!

Linda - I just finished Waltz with Bashir, and it was well, painful to read, but so poignant.

justareadingfool said...

Ooooh, aahhh. Sorry, sometimes seeing others' Library Loot is like that, and this is such a case here. I read The Heart of the Matter in college and loved it, as I loved most of Greene's work. Oliver Sacks always is a good read, and Waltz With Bashir: I just saw a preview for the movie and thought that would be great. My wife, though, wasn't as enamored with it as I was. :( That said, I'm still interested. :)

olduvai said...

justareadingfool - You oughta pick up Waltz With Bashir! Although I'm not sure now if I can watch the movie - the graphic novel was already quite painful and sad to read.