Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Era of the Saga

My friend the Tiny Little Librarian recently asked the question about your five most important books. I listed the works of R.F. Delderfield as one of mine.

Delderfield began writing during World War II and continued to his death. He started with plays, but is best known for his sprawling family sagas and Napoleonic works today. His sagas are my favourites. In the 50s, 60s, and early 70s the English family saga was very popular and he was among the best writers of the genre.

As a result of the TLL's question, I pulled To Serve Them All My Days off the shelf to look at. This is one of his stand alone works.

It is the story of David Powlett-Jones. Powlett-Jones is from a Welsh mining family who is sent home during WWII suffering from shellshock. Since there is a lack of educated men to teach, he has an opportunity he would have never had before the war. He gets a chance to teach at a public school (in the US this would be a private school).

The story is set between the wars and looks at the changes he and the boys go through. It is also an examination of the social history of the time.

Delderfield's skill as a writer draws you into the lives of these people and you hate to see the book end.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Chick Lit

Library Journal recently did an article on chick lit. We owned most of them, so no new ones for me to read. However Rebecca Vnuk found some chick lit pages that you might enjoy:

Candy Covered Books

Chick Lit 101

Chick Lit USA

Chick Lit for Black Chicks

Chick Lit Authors Round Table

This is one I found for a class I taught:

Faithful Reader's Christian Chick Lit Roundtable

Friday, July 15, 2005

Susan's Last Summer

I will admit right up front that I am friends with the author of Susan's Last Summer - Marilyn Schroeder. I will also say that if I didn't like the book, I would just not blog about it.

This is the story of two Susan's. The younger Susan longs to be a writer, but during the depression a more practical factory job seems to be her future. Her father lobbies her pragmatist mother into letting Susan take a job helping an older woman, who is a painter. This give the young woman one last summer to devote to her writing. The second Susan is the painter. This is probably the last summer of her life.

I enjoyed seeing how the two women influenced each other, inspired each other and grew a friendship over the course of the "last summer". The novella reminded me in a way of Cather.

The book is available from Lulu Press

Monday, July 11, 2005

Old "friend" revisited

Over the years I feel like I have met Richard Feynman. He was a Nobel prize winning physicist, but it is much more than that that makes me like him. He wrote several very funny books on his life. He wrote several wonderful books on physics that the lay person can get through if they are genuinely interested. He was a wonderful teacher, but didn't make things dumbed down for the lay person.

His daughter Michelle Feynman has put together a selection of letters to Feynman and his responses. "Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track" is a wonderful visit with this old friend whom I have never met. My only wish is that there were more letters, particularly from the 1950s during his stay in Brazil and his second marriage. This is a minor quibble and she may not have had letters from that time period. Enjoy