Reader's Link - June 2013 Staff Picks Archive


I didn't see that coming!

The Storyteller

Title: The Storyteller
By: Jodi Picoult

I just finished listening to The Storyteller, and there were times when I had to pull my car over to the side of the road because I was so emotionally involved with the story. Picoult tells a tale of three generations of a Jewish family, intertwining the horror of the Holocaust and their lives before and after. There is a book within the book that is apocryphal, mythic, and incomplete. Five different readers voice the five main characters of the book.

Picoult is at the top of her form in this novel. The story is gripping. And she challenges assumptions about right and wrong and forgiveness throughout the book. As for that book within the book -- how did it end? Only the reader can say.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,audiobook
Posted by ogradyj on June 26, 2013 at 4:56 p.m.
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An audible treat

Prodigal Summer: a novel

Title: Prodigal Summer: a novel
By: Barbara Kingsolver

If you enjoy Barbara Kingsolver’s writing, you are in for an audible treat. I read Prodigal Summer a few years ago, but it didn’t make a big impression on me until I happened to listen to the audiobook, read by the author herself. Barbara Kingsolver deftly contributes all the appropriate accents for her cast of Appalachian characters. Her reading brought the story to life for me in a way I couldn’t have managed on my own. I particularly enjoyed her rendering of the “pesticide wars” between Garnett Walker and Nanny Rawley. While it lacks the seriousness and depth of The Poisonwood Bible, this book nonetheless is entertaining and informative, especially in audio.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,audiobook
Posted by April on June 17, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.
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A private telescope

Wilderness: a novel

Title: Wilderness: a novel
By: Lance Weller

Some might say this book was about the Civil War, but I think that would give the wrong impression. The Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia is only part of this account that spans 1864 to 1965 through several characters’ stories. The author skillfully traces a few human connections between very different people, leading to a life saved, a life lost. There are some harsh, difficult scenes between characters, contrasting with beautiful descriptions of wild lands in the Pacific Northwest. Wilderness is celebrated, and human ugliness and merit are exposed. It’s as if we have a private telescope focused on the particular moments the author selected for us to witness.

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Posted by April on June 17, 2013 at 9:55 a.m.
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Sweet quest

Searching for Sugar Man

Title: Searching for Sugar Man
By: Malik Bendjelloul

Sugar Man, which won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary, is the very sweet, true story of an American Music Legend that wasn't--and now, 40 years later, is. In 1970, Sixto Rodriguez, an American musician of Mexican and Native American heritage living in Detroit, released an album of pop/folk/rock songs, some reminiscent of Bob Dylan, others of Cat Stevens. It sold about as many copies as he had family members...at least, in this country. To tell any more of the story might take away some of the fun of watching and discovering for yourself a truly fascinating and inspiring tale.

See it with friends. You will be touched by Rodriguez, his story, and his music.

View similarly tagged posts: music,video
Posted by Michael H. on June 6, 2013 at 10:58 a.m.
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Savor the wisdom

A Calendar of Wisdom: daily thoughts to nourish the soul

Title: A Calendar of Wisdom: daily thoughts to nourish the soul
By: Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy spent 15 years researching and “collecting the wisdom of the centuries” to create his Calendar of Wisdom, which was first published in 1904. He enjoyed reading it every day until the end of his life in 1910. After the Russian Revolution, publication of the book was forbidden because of its religious nature. In 1995, Russia again allowed the book to be published and the first English translation was published in 1997.

Although I’m not quite wise enough to imbibe daily, I do enjoy dipping into his calendar for a savory taste of wisdom now and then. In fact, I enjoy this book so much that I have gifted it to a number of friends and family, including myself. I highly recommend this exquisite opus. Check it out today!

“A wise thought for every day of the year, from the greatest philosophers of all times and all people.”

View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction
Posted by Lamb on June 6, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.
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Read the book (then see the movie)

Ender's Game

Title: Ender's Game
By: Orson Scott Card

It seems these days the credo we live by is that every good book must become a movie. Ender's Game is not just a good book, it's a great one, and herein lies my reasoning of why you should read the book in lieu of seeing a summer blockbuster:
1. It's science fiction at its best: dystopic, addressing current concerns (i.e., population growth), with a protagonist you care about and a believable premise. My love of science fiction stems from its ability to examine the choices we as a society make by being somewhat extreme in its interpretation or representation of the future. It's like a playground for social commentary, without the caveat of reality.
2. Ender Wiggin enters Battle School with humanity facing insurmountable odds (got to love the underdog!). We watch Ender being shaped by his experiences at the school, the people he meets, his commanders, and his love for his sister.
3. Anyone over 12 will understand the plight of Ender Wiggin as he faces discrimination in varying forms: older brothers, peers, etc.
4. The. end. is. epic.
Okay, I should be honest here: opening night, I'll be at the movie Ender's Game (Harrison Ford AND Ben Kingsley? Geeking out!). But once you've read the book you can chortle with me at the obvious plot holes the director and writer left out to save time. You can entice your friends with background that the movie will be unable to supply. Or you can just threaten to spoil the ending if no one buys you popcorn.

View similarly tagged posts: science fiction
Posted by aufdermaurm on June 3, 2013 at 9 a.m.
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