Elise S.'s blog

Mental Travel Escapes

A Year in the WorldIt may not be possible to take a real vacation this summer, but if you’re weary of the Texas heat and humidity, you can plan your dream trip -- and find some stress relief and mental escape -- all without leaving home or even spending a dime.  Here are some audiobooks that will send you magically elsewhere while you are coping with Houston traffic on a 99-degree afternoon.

 

Baldwin Boettcher Evening Book Club

ConquistadoraPlease join us for this special book discussion celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.  Title to be discussed:  Conquistadora, by Esmeralda Santiago.  Time of meeting:  Monday, September 10, at 6:30 pm.  Summary:  Even as a young girl in nineteenth-century Spain, Ana Cubillas is drawn to the exotic island of Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de Leon.  And in twin brothers Ramon and Inocente -- both in love with Ana -- s

The Technologists

The TechnologistsBoston, 1868.  An inexplicable force causes ships’ instruments to stop working, causing chaos in Boston Harbor.  Even more baffling, in the city’s business district a sinister phenomenon causes glass to liquefy, killing citizens and resulting in fear, panic and economic havoc.  This strange case is beyond the expertise of the police, but some fearless students in the first class of the newly formed Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- the technologists -- take on the challenge, hoping to score a victory against rival Harvard.

Baldwin Boettcher Evening Book Club

Anna KareninaJoin us on Monday, August 6, 6:30 pm, for our final discussion of Anna Karenina, the Russian classic by Leo Tolstoy.  We'll talk about the entire novel and its several film versions.  Summary from library catalog:  Regarded by many as the greatest novel ever written in any language, Anna Karenina relates the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer Count Vronsky.  Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, Anna's tragedy unfolds with relentless force as she rejects her passionless marriage to the aging official Karenin and must endure the hypocrisies of society.

The Paris Wife, and…..Paris

The Paris WifeIf someone tore your heart out, crushed it into pieces, and then walked off into a brand new life, would you be able to forgive and remain friends?  What if you were Hadley Richardson, the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, and the ruined relationship in question had in its earlier years brought you great happiness and more adventure than you ever dreamed you could have?  Paula McLain’s novel, The Paris Wife, is a fictionalized but thoroughly well-researched and plausible portrait of Hadley and Ernest and their six years together.

Baldwin Boettcher Evening Book Club

Anna KareninaJoin us as we read the classic Russian novel, Anna Karenina, this summer.  At our first meeting, Monday, June 4, 2012, at 6:30 pm, we will discuss Parts One and Two of this famous work by Leo Tolstoy.  We will also talk about several film versions of the book as we move through the story over the summer.  Summary from library catalog:  Regarded by many as the greatest novel ever written in any language, Anna Karenina relates the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer Count Vronsky.  Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, Anna's tragedy unfolds with relentless force as she rejects her passionless marriage to the aging official Karenin and must endure the hypocrisies of society. 

Poetry Contest in May

National Poetry Month - AprilAre you a poet?  April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, we are having a poetry contest at Baldwin Boettcher.  The talented winner of each category (children, teens, and adults) will win a $25 gift certificate to a bookstore, so even if you never thought you could write a really good poem, it might be worthwhile to take an hour or more, find a quiet spot, and think on something that inspires you to put pen to paper.  All styles are welcome, but please limit your submission to one page.  If you can, come to the library on Thursday, April 26, at 2 pm, for a discussion of the contest guidelines and other details.

Goldengrove

GoldengroveGoldengrove, by Francine Prose, explores family relationships and how death can change roles and identities abruptly.  Twelve-year-old Nico loves and admires Margaret, her talented and charismatic older sister, and is satisfied hanging back and playing a secondary role while Margaret shines.  This is Nico’s place in their family and around everyone they know.  But when Margaret drowns in a lake near their New England home, Nico is suddenly plunged into a depth of grief along with her mother and father.  The parents function, sort of, but cannot in any way manage to be the kind of parents Nico needs.  Complicating the situation is the enigmatic Aaron, Margaret’s artist boyfriend, who finds some degree of solace in sharing his memories with Nico, but who is deeply troubled and self-centered.  As Nico realizes she is emotionally on her own, she begins to value herself and find a new way to be, in a world forever changed by loss.  

Baldwin Boettcher Evening Book Club

The NamesakeTitle to be discussed:  The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.  Time of meeting:  Monday, May 7, at 6:30 PM.  Summary:  The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans.  On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family.  When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world.  Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name.  

Baldwin Boettcher Branch -- Evening Book Club

Empire Falls by Richard RussoTitle to be discussed: Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Time of meeting: Monday, April 2, 2012, at 6:30pm. Summary:  With this novel, Richard Russo cements his reputation as one of America's most compelling and compassionate storytellers. Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for twenty years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter, Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. 

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