Sunday, April 29, 2007


Persuasion by Jane Austen

Description:  (From VA Beach Public Library)  Published one year after its author's death in 1818, Persuasion is Jane Austen's last completed novel. On its most basic level, it is a love story about two people separated by convention and then given a second chance. On another level, it is a characteristically deft exploration of human foibles and social flux.

Review:  After watching Mansfield Park on DVD last night, I had the whim to read this novel. I have the movie on DVD (actually two versions) but oddly enough, had yet to read the book. I thought that it was quite lovely. Its not my favorite Austen novel (Mansfield Park is my favorite), but it is close. I think the story could take place today and it would have the same meaning. That is what is great about many of Austen’s novels. They have meaning for us in our lives today.

Score:  5 out of 5

Movie Connections:  I own the first two on DVD.  The one from 1971 is a close adaptation from the BBC.  The second is from 1995.  That was my first exposure to the story.  Even the "Hollywood" version was a good adaptation.  Not much was added or left out.  Actually, a large portion of the dialogue was word for word.  I highly reccomend watching the 1995 version along with the book.

Persuasion (Mini) - 1971
Persuasion - 1995
Persuasion (TV) - 2007


Company by Max Barry

Description:  (From Publishers Weekly) With broad strokes, Barry once again satirizes corporate America in his third caustic novel (after Jennifer Government). This time, he takes aim at the perennial corporate crime of turning people into cogs in a machine. Recent b-school grad Stephen Jones, a fresh-faced new hire at a Seattle-based holding company called Zephyr, jumps on the fast track to success when he's immediately promoted from sales assistant to sales rep in Zephyr's training sales department. "Don't try to understand the company. Just go with it," a colleague advises when Jones is flummoxed to learn his team sells training packages to other internal Zephyr departments. But unlike his co-workers, he won't accept ignorance of his employer's business, and his unusual display of initiative catapults him into the ranks of senior management, where he discovers the "customer-free" company's true, sinister raison d'ĂȘtre. The ultracynical management team co-opts Jones with a six-figure salary and blackmail threats, but it's not long before he throws a wrench into the works. As bitter as break-room coffee, the novel eviscerates demeaning modern management techniques that treat workers as "headcounts." Though Barry's primary target is corporate dehumanization, he's at his funniest lampooning the suits that tread the stage, consumed by the sound and fury of office politics that signify nothing.

Review:  This book was so much fun to read.  I was seriously laughing out loud at many parts.  I had the audiobook version of the book and it was outstanding.  They did a great job with it and made it very entertaining.  I think it is very relevent to read for anyone who has been in an office setting.  I definitley could relate to much of what went on.  I think it is an interesting take on how mega corporations are turning their employees into nothing but cogs in a wheel.

Score:  5 out of 5

Friday, April 27, 2007


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Description:  (From Back of Book) The Year is 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon - when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles.  Suddenly she is a Sassenach - an "outlander" - in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clan in the year of Our Lord... 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life... and shatter her heart.  For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire... and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Review:  Wow.  This was one mega novel at 627 pages (QP version).  I seriously read it in about two days.  I could not put it down.  Gabaldon wrote one hell of a book.  I never thought that I would ever have read this book (or any of the series for that matter) due in large part to my dealings with it at Borders.  This is a downfall about being a boosk seller.  Sometimes you get turned off about a book due to the number you have to display and sticker or the fact that the people who read it (or ask for it) are sort of, well, off.  The reason I gave this book a chance is due to its author.  I had the opportunity to actually meet Diana Gabaldon last week during our National Library Week celebration.  After hearing her speak, I just had to get a copy of the book.  She is such an interesting person and a very engaging speaker.  So finally I have read the book and crave more!  I have to know how this story goes.  I am anxiously waiting for the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, to arrive at the library so I can continue on the story.  I highly reccomend this book.

Score:  5 out of 5

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Description: (From Back of Book) When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee thorough the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carroll, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss' story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

Review: I found this to be an interesting take on the classic story of Alice's adventure in Wonderland and a great start to the trilogy. Beddor was able to take the mysterious land of Wonderland and make it come to life. Although that life was twisted and scary, but in a good way. I found this book to be very enjoyable and a nice easy read. The only real problem I had with the book was some of the dialog. I felt that it was a bit too modern and obviously aimed at teens. I know the book is in the young adult section; however, I felt the dialog could have been better and still enjoyed by the target audience. I am looking forward to the next book, Seeing Redd which comes out August 21, 2007.

Score: 4 out of 5

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Skinny Dip

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen

Description: (From Amazon) Charles "Chaz" Perrone fancies himself a take-charge kind of guy. So when this "biologist by default" suspects that his curvaceous wife, Joey, has stumbled onto a profitable pollution scam he's running on behalf of Florida agribusiness mogul Red Hammernut, he sets out right away to solve the problem--by heaving Joey off the deck of a luxury cruise liner and into the Atlantic Ocean, far from Key West. But--whoops!--Joey, a former swimming champ, doesn't drown. Instead, as Carl Hiaasen tells in his 10th adult novel, Skinny Dip, she makes her way back to shore, thanks both to a wayward bale of Jamaican marijuana and lonerish ex-cop Mick Stranahan (Skin Tight, 1989), and then launches a bogus blackmail campaign that's guaranteed to drive her lazy, libidinous hubby into a self-protective frenzy.

Review: This was my first time reading anything by Hiaasen. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was this a great mystery but it was funny as all get out. I seriously laughed out loud at several times. I had a great time with this book and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to have a good time. This book leaves you wanting to read more by Hiaasen.

Score: 5 out of 5