Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Short but sweet

I was looking for something to read on my lunch up in the new book area of the library. I saw Great Tales for English History Vol.3. It was by Robert Lacey and I had enjoyed some of his biographies, so I plucked it from the shelf.

The book has an interesting format. Lacey chronicles in brief entries (most no more than 4 pages) various events and people from 1690 through 1953. Some people or events I had heard of like Florence Nightingale or Dunkirk. Others had never appeared on my radar before like the Tolpuddle Martyrs or the Sheffield Pals.

My only complaint is that his short entries were sometimes too short for their topic. You can also quibble with what is included or excluded. However the book is great fun to dip into. I also highly recommend his bibliography. He lists various web pages and books in a very conversational way. I have bookmarked a number of the sites on my computer.

Somehow my library has missed volumes 1 and 2, so I will have to get them on interlibrary loan.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A friend revisited in Southern Italy

Must admit that this book was only at one library in the US and that is a shame. Annie Hawes of the memoir "Extra Virgin" and "Ripe for the Picking" continues her tale of an English expat living in Italy.

This time Annie is taking a "Journey to the South". Her fiance's mother has had a death in the family, so the family is headed to Calabria. Just as Hawes had to learn the ways of northern Italy, she has to learn to follow her fiance's crazy family version of Italian. I really enjoyed meeting the southern branch of her new family. Lots of fun

Shake those hips

If you recall I am a big fan of Soffee's first biography "Snake Hips", about looking for Mr. Right Lebanese-American and belly dancing. Soffee shakes her bootie in "Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City", but to a different drummer.

In this memoir, Soffe chronicles her outsider life as a nerd metal band fan. She has big dreams of moving to Los Angeles and becoming a rock and roll journalist. Unfortunately she has just missed the hair metal band wagon. Soffee shares life on the bottom of the journalism food chain and her decline into alcohol and prescription drugs. As in "Snake Hips" she tells her tale with humour and honesty.

I will admit that I liked "Snake Hips" a bit more, but I'm happy to have read the first part of the story.