Favorite Quotes

"Best-sellerism is the star system of the book world. A (best-seller) is a celebrity among books. It is a book known primarily (sometimes exclusively) for its well-knownness."


— Daniel J. Boorstin

Reader's Link - February 2013 Staff Picks Archive


Beloved

Habibi

Title: Habibi
By: Craig Thompson

Habibi is an Arabic word which means Beloved. This graphic novel is, quite simply, a masterpiece. Each page is gorgeously illustrated. It spans from ancient to modern times, weaving stories from the Qur'an and the Bible. It is at once heartbreaking and uplifting, beautiful and wretched. I highly recommend this. I have a feeling you'll be hooked at the first page, though. Perhaps even the title page.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,graphic novel
Posted by Abbey on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:19 a.m.
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2013 Newbery Medal Winner

The One and Only Ivan

Title: The One and Only Ivan
By: Katherine Applegate

I read this book because it is the Newbery Medal winner this year and I was not disappointed! Ivan is a gorilla who lives in a mall/video arcade. This is Ivan’s story of his life and relationships with the other animals and humans at the mall. Sounds hokey, but it is a lovely story of friendships that go beyond species prejudice. It is also Ivan’s story of finding his mojo, becoming a wise leader and sharing his love for the underdog.

This is a quick read that will stay with you long after you put the book down. A children’s book for all ages.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction
Posted by ogradyj on Feb. 18, 2013 at 8 a.m.
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Finely woven

Silk Road: a new history

Title: Silk Road: a new history
By: Valerie Hansen

History compiled from back-of-the envelope scribbles? Hansen snares one's attention immediately by noting that much of what we surmise about the Silk Road has been pieced together from writing on recycled scraps of paper. She organizes what might have been confusingly episodic material around six key sites, creating a coherent narrative. Her prose is keen, and the material fascinating. Dive into it for an overview, or burrow into the details; it's rewarding either way--or both.

View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction
Posted by curious on Feb. 11, 2013 at 10:50 a.m.
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America and the War in Iraq

Billy Lynn's long halftime walk

Title: Billy Lynn's long halftime walk
By: Ben Fountain

This excellent new debut novel by Ben Fountain, set in an unspecified year, but somewhere around 2005, is truly a thought provoking experience, touching on so many subjects having to do with modern life in America in general, and the War in Iraq in particular, but essentially it is the story of a 19 year old soldier coming to terms with his astute and ever expanding, yet still somewhat small understanding of his country, this war, and just where he personally fits into each.
This is a very political novel, directly alluding to many of the policies of the previous presidential administration, but at the heart of the novel is a less than 4 minute intense firefight in which the lead character is filmed by an embedded Fox News reporter coming to the aid of his fellow squad members, including his much respected and admired sergeant, who does not survive the firefight. In coming to the defense of his fellow soldiers and helping to repel the Iraqi attack, Billy and the others are seen "taking out" a few of the attackers. Once the footage is aired on television, Billy and the other surviving members of Bravo Co. instantly become not just the biggest news of the day, and of the week, the repeatedly replayed footage makes them national heroes, on a very big scale.
Most of the novel takes place in a single day, the last day of a 2 week "victory tour" around the country, largely designed to increase and promote support for the war. On this day, Thanksgiving, the Bravo Company are guests of the Dallas Cowboys football team, and it's mega wealthy politically conservative owner, and are to be part of the half time entertainment, which features as it's headliner Beyonce and Destiny's Child. Also traveling with Bravo is Albert, a middle-aged, very successful hotshot Hollywood movie producer, mutually liked and respected by the Bravos, who is in constant text mode trying to cut a movie deal about the now famous American Hero Soldiers. Hilary Swank is very interested in producing, but only if she can play the lead!
The novel is full of well developed characters, both large and small, and is poignant, touching, satirical, and very, very funny at times. And it is a finalist for the National Book Award.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction
Posted by Michael H. on Feb. 4, 2013 at 8:43 a.m.
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