Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis, Read by Stephen Hoye

This adult nonfiction book won the Alex Award in 2007 and I've tried reading it before. But the first part of the book is strictly a book about football and the history of the game, and I grew bored. But then I saw the movie trailer and thought, "I better give this one another chance." So I tried the audio version. My mind still wandered during the football parts, but the parts about Michael Oher were wonderful. Michael was a poor black kid in Memphis who luckily ended up at a ritzy Christian school because of his massive size. He was smart, but never educated. He was physically gifted, but had never been taught to play anything. Everything he learned he learned from the streets. And then he ends up with a rich, white Republican family and his life begins to change. He starts learning how to play football and realizes that he won't ever be a point guard because of his size. He's called a "freak of nature" and is bigger than most NFL linemen as a junior in high school. After a few football games, college scouts are beating down his door. With a great tutor, charitable adopted parents and network of supporting people, Michael Oher ends up being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens for millions of dollars. This is a great inspirational read, if you can handle reading about the growing importance of the left tackle charging the quarterback's blind side.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

2010 Alex Award Winner!

I had such high hopes for this "next Harry Potter" novel and was singing its praises early on in my reading. The first half of the novel is very much like an adult Harry Potter book. Quentin is applying for colleges and doesn't know what he wants out of life. Then he gets a magical invitation to take a difficult test in a room full of smart kids. He makes it and sets off to Brakebills College. There he learns magic, meets friends, and realizes that he still isn't a very happy person. Like many teenagers, Quentin is just plain unhappy, and his unpleasantness got to me by the end of the book. I've read plenty of books where I didn't like the characters, but I found myself rolling my eyes toward the end of this one. The tone was so freakin' negative and I wanted just one kid in the book to be positive and fulfill his/her potential. Just one. I guess I was looking for Ron Weasley, HP or Hermione. I liked the "adult"ness of the book, and loved the inclusion of Quidditch, Lord of the Rings references, and other fantasy staples. But the overall tone of the book isn't good. I don't want to read a sequel, unless it reads like the first third of the book.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Cold Place in Hell by William Blinn

This is one the best westerns I've ever read. And I went through quite the western stage back in high school. The author was a screenwriter for Bonanza and Gunsmoke, and you can tell. Blinn really knows how to tell a story.

The narrator is Wilbur, an older tough guy who helps Cookie and is a friend to almost everyone in the small Wyoming town back in the late 1800s. Billy is his young friend who takes a bet with a wild horse and loses. Billy's leg is smashed and he turns to learning instead of riding. But you can't forget Pearline, Billy's girlfriend who works as a "lady" at the boarding house in town. Put the three together and you have one heck of western!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger, Read by Lily Rabe

Sometimes librarians need to relax on the their way to school. So I selected this fun audiobook from my public library to keep me entertained. The author also wrote The Devil Wears Prada, which was a fun, quick read.

Emmy, Leigh and Adriana have been friends since college. All three are single, approaching 30, and scared. Shouldn't they be married by now? Is their beauty fading? And what's with the men in their lives? Adriana thinks that maybe she should slow down her lifestyle while Emmy just wants to settle down and have babies. Leigh is at the top of her book editing game but thrown for a loop when a sexy author enters her life that already includes a sports star.

Of course, all three are fabulously beautiful, live in New York City and accidently have great things happen to them all the time.

I love fiction!