Favorite Quotes

"'Sartor Resartus' is simply unreadable, and for me that always sort of spoils a book."


— Harry S. Truman

Reader's Link - May 2010 Staff Picks Archive


Munchkins, Winkies, and Winged Monkeys

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
By: L. Frank Baum

Be sure you get the edition with W.W. Denslow's illustrations throughout.

This is not an e-book: you can point and click all you want, but nothing will happen, except in your imagination. It does not include a sound card; you will have to provide your own musical accompaniment. The intention is that you read the pages consecutively, from left to right, one at a time, rather than jumping around from place to place. It is shelved in the children's section of the library, but even if you are an adult you are allowed to check it out. It is not based on the movie; the movie is based on this book. Denslow's illustrations do not at all resemble Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, or Ray Bolger.

Dorothy lives in a one room house, with no electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. She lives with her family, described as “Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.” Dorothy was an orphan. When this book was first published, in 1900, the modest circumstances would not have seemed particularly unusual to the readers. Most Americans were not strangers to such things.

Even after Dorothy gets to the Land of Oz, very little shopping is done. The Consumer Society had not yet been invented. If the Munchkins or Winkies need something, they build it in their workshops. The Tin Woodsman is remarkably handy with his one tool, an axe.

There are many adventures, but also it is a very thoughtful book. All sorts of topics are explored, even animal rights, and not killing anything you don’t have to. There is much to ponder concerning friendship, family, self-respect, power, and how and why to live.

Mr. Denslow's illustrations are quite magnificent, and go very well with the story. Often the pictures precede the action by a page or two, so you wonder: what is that about? What will happen? (If you are reading the pages in order, as you should be.)

Don’t wait for a power outage, or a cyclone. Take a break from electronics and fly away to the Land of Oz.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction
Posted by Tirantes on May 20, 2010 at 8:04 a.m.
1 Comment

Amish Thriller Debut

Sworn to Silence

Title: Sworn to Silence
By: Linda Castillo

As a 14-year old Amish girl, Kate Burkholder survived a brutal rape by a serial murderer dubbed The Slaughterhouse Killer. Some years later, Kate left Painters Mill, Ohio, parting with her family and the Amish way of life. Returning at thirty-years of age as the new Chief of Police, Kate is shunned by many in the community, including her brother, sister and their families. In other respects she is the perfect candidate for the job. She speaks Pennsylvania Dutch, understands the Amish ways and can bridge the gap between the Amish and English communities.

Kate had good reason to believe her rapist was long dead, but recent events cast doubt. Either the murderer survived or there is a copycat.

This is a precisely written fast-paced thriller with a compassionate view of the Amish people and a fascinating portrait of a protagonist faced with an ethical dilemma. Should she tell the truth about what happened to her 15 years ago and get the help she needs to catch a serial murderer? Already shunned by her brother and sister, should she risk further alienation from that community if it means protecting an entire town? What about her own feelings of personal betrayal by her family? Help comes in the guise of a cop who has survived his own family tragedy. Romance blooms. This is the first in a series.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,mystery
Posted by Wildruby on May 13, 2010 at 10:40 a.m.
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Big Bend mystery national park

Borderline

Title: Borderline
By: Nevada Barr

Borderline is Nevada Barr’s fifteenth novel about a talented woman Park Ranger named Anna Pigeon. This mystery is fast-paced, engrossing and exciting to read. The author, through her character, Anna, interweaves many insights regarding the meaning of life, aging, death and the hereafter.

Ms. Pigeon is trying to cope with a post traumatic stress disorder resulting from her harrowing, near- death experience at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. Anna and her husband, Paul, take a vacation going on a fun and, supposedly relaxing, river rafting trip in Big Bend National Park. The couple find themselves getting entangled in something far more dangerous. Ms. Barr aptly describes what it is like to go on a white water rafting trip. Her characterizations of the highly competent female river guide and other rafters are both humorous and engaging.

After the rafters manage to get through some dangerous rapids, they find a pregnant woman who is just barely alive and trapped between several boulders in some branches along the bank of the river. The Hispanic woman knows she is dying and tells Anna to take her baby. Ranger Anna Pigeon uses her emergency medical training to perform a C-section, with a jackknife, and delivers the infant. Ms. Pigeon is surprised to find herself becoming extremely attached to the child. But was the woman's death just another tragic border crossing accident or something more? To find out how Anna begins to heal while unraveling this mystery, read Borderline.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,mystery,travel
Posted by downingp on May 6, 2010 at 10:38 a.m.
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