Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Reading: People's Choice 2012

Since this year is the first in which we have had a summer reading club for grownups here at Burbank Public Library, we thought it would be fun to share some book reviews from the people participating in Burbank READS Into the Night. We will make this a regular feature here on the blog, so you can see what your contemporaries are reading during the rest of this summer.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey
Really well written memoir. She is a comedian, actor and writer and this shines through in this easily read and funny book. Written with good humor and a dose of name-dropping, this lighthearted read will give you a glimpse into the world of celebrity. Definitely recommend this one. 
Reviewed by Kate A.

I've Got Your Number, by Sophie Kinsella
This is a fun and amusing book about a girl who finds a man's phone in a trash can and how the two inevitably become entangled in each other's lives.
Reviewed by Pazit A.

The Girl in Blue,
by P. G. Wodehouse
This book must have been one of Wodehouse's last, as it was published in 1970. It has his typical delightful situations, characters, and English setting. If it weren't for a few topical references to, for instance, Dear Abby, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and problems in the Middle East, I would have thought I was still in England circa 1930. The plot concerns the whereabouts of the Girl in Blue, a painting by the artist Gainsborough. The characters include: a grasping fortune hunter, a hearty American woman caught shoplifting, a possible millionairess, a cartoon artist, and a corporation lawyer. You name it--a little bit for everyone. I found it as delightful as all the other Wodehouse capers.
Reviewed by Jana B.

Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men, by Gregory Maguire
Wicked is a look at the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, and explores the nature of perception of history and what makes a person "wicked." Of course, Elphaba, the Witch, faced prejudice as a child due to her green skin. We see how she overcame that to rise to greatness, and how ultimately it would also lead to her fall.

This book was the basis for the Stephen Schwartz musical Wicked!, but musical fans beware--the book is much deeper, darker, and more complex. The relationships were changed for the musical, so don't expect a love triangle here. That said, I am a fan of both.

Another note: Having enjoyed the book once years ago, this summer I listened to the audiobook version--very enjoyable, but a little slow.
Son of a Witch tells the story of Leer, the boy who might be Elphaba's son. It's a little confusing in structure, as it goes back and forth from "present day" to telling his story through his own dreams/memories.

I listened to the audiobook version, which is read by the author. It has a great interview with the author at the end of the book, which I recommend to fans of the series. However, there is a clear difference between an author doing "voices" and a true voice actor telling a story with different characters. McGuire's reading was extremely distracting and made it difficult to concentrate on the story, so I would recommend actually reading this book, although the interview on the last disc is good.
A Lion Among Men is book three in the Wicked Years. It sort of follows the structure of Son of a Witch in that it tells two stories at once--the Lion's, and Yackel's. Both are interesting, and more linear than book two. Just as Wicked explores what causes someone to be called "wicked," this explores what could make someone be called "cowardly" and how that label then affects the rest of that person's life.
All three reviewed by Mirai B.

If you would like to sign up for the club, go here to fill out the simple on-line form. And while you're there, make note of all the fun activities and prizes for adults who participate!

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