Books! Books! Books!

Maisie Dobbs

Paula Walters - Monday, July 09, 2012

Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear is a mystery, a romance and a war story, which takes place in London.  The novel starts in the Spring of 1929. Maisie is a private investigator who has just opened her own practice.  Her first client is Christopher Davenham.  He hires Maisie to follow his wife who he fears is unfaithful.  This investigation leads Maisie into an investigation of her own, when she has questions about a farm, where disfigured veterans from WW I are living.  

The next part of the novel takes the reader back to Spring 1910 -1917.  We learn about Maisie's childhood.  She is an extremely gifted young girl, and even through she is from a working class family, she has the opportunity to study at Cambridge.  Maisie falls in love and she temporarily postpones school  to do her duty for the war effort.  She is sent to France as a nurse.  There are many interesting characters in this novel.  Simon Lynch is the young doctor that Maisie loves. Enid, a servant girl who works for the same family that Maisie works for, and is the reason Maisie decides she must become a nurse. Frankie Dobbs is Maisie's father  who wants his daughter to rise socially, but is afraid he may lose her.  Maurice Blanche is her extremely intelligent mentor.  This novel also deals with the horrors of war.

The third part of the novel  jumps ahead to Summer of 1929 where again the reader is involved with Maisie's investigation of the farm.  It is a good story and # 1of the Maisie Dobbs series.  I am looking forward to reading the entire series.  I liked the characters and I love novels that take place in England. 

This book has been in the the Book Club collection for a long time.  Many clubs have read it.  I would love to hear comments on whether you liked it or not!!

Four Doorways to Reading

Paula Walters - Monday, June 04, 2012

Works of fiction and narrative non fiction are broadly made up of four experimental elements:

story, character, setting and language.

These are the doorways to the book. As a reader we will often choose, and enjoy the book, because of the doorway.

A book that intrigues the reader because of the story is one that is a page turner, a book that you cannot put down because you want to know what happens next.

A book with character as the doorway is a book in which the reader feels so connected to the character, that when you have finished the book you feel like you have lost a good friend.

When setting is the doorway the reader feels like they have actually been there or would like to travel there.

When language is the major doorway the reader tends to read slower and savor the language, often the books are very poetic.

Each of you most likely knows what kind of a reader you are. I definitely fall into the character category. I love many of the characters I have met throughout my many years of reading, and yes it is often sad when I close the book for the last time.

My next favorite would be setting. I love books that take place in the Pacific Northwest, especially Seattle since I was born and raised in Seattle. I loved Broken for You, by Stephanie Kallos. I grew up in the north end of Seattle, and she even mentioned the Greenwood District and the bowling alley where we used to bowl when I was young. That made the book a fun read. I also love books that take place in Maine, and South Carolina both places I have never been.

Some books I enjoy just because of the character and some because of the character and setting.

Last weekend I read The Cottage at Glass Beach. As I mentioned before Heather Barbieri will be at the Wenatchee Public Library on Thursday June 28th at 7 p.m.


I enjoyed the book. It was a great summer read. This book filled two of the doorways for me. Most important character, I bonded immediately with Nora Cunningham, and she was my new best friend for the entire weekend. I also enjoyed the setting, an island off Maine in the summer. One day I will vacation in Maine!!

Book club does  have copies of this book which I have sent over to WPL. There is a display on the circ desk where you will find the books. Copies of The Lace Makers of Glenmara, will be sent over soon.


Hope to see you at the program!!  Also I would love to hear from you.  What kind of a reader are you? What books have you read and enjoyed in the past few months?

Heather Barbieir

Paula Walters - Monday, May 21, 2012

Thank you everyone who attended the Jonathan Evison program yesterday at WPL.  I am sure that you will agree with me that he was absolutely delightful.  For those of you that could not attend but are fans, you will be happy to know that his next book will be published this August.  The title is The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, as he mentioned yesterday all three of his novels deal somewhat with caregiving.

NCRL has another author coming to WPL on Thursday June 28th at 7 p.m.   Heather Barbieir majored in English at the University of Washington.  After graduation she was employed by newspapers and magazines editing, writing reviews and feature articles.   

Her first novel, Snow in July, was published in 2004.  This novel takes place in Montana.  It is the story of the complicated love of two sisters.  Their world collides, love is tested and heart wrenching decisions must be made.

Her second novel, The Lace Makers of Glenmara, was published in 2009.  It is about a heartbroken American designer, who relocates to Ireland.  Kate Robinson discovers, inspiration, comfort and friendship in a quaint Irish village, when she meets and joins an intimate  circle of lacemakers.

Her new novel, The Cottage at Glass Beach, is about a political wife and doting mother.  Nora Cunningham's husband is the attorney general in Massachusetts.  When it is revealed to her and the general public, that her husband has been unfaithful, she flees with her two young daughters to Burke Island, off the coast of Maine.  She left the island decades ago after her mother disappeared at sea.  Now back on the island she is forced to face the truth about her failing marriage, her mother's disappearance, and her long buried past. 

Heather Barbiei is a local Northwest author.  She lives in Seattle, and is currently working on her fourth novel.  I hope that many of you will be able to attend the June program.

Reading Group Choices Top Ten Book Club Favorites of 2011

Paula Walters - Monday, May 14, 2012

Reading Group Choices Top Ten Book Club Favorites of 2011

The following list is the top 10 book club favorites from Reading Group Choice.  Each year they ask thousands of books clubs what books they read and which were their favorites.

How many of these books have you and/or your book club read?

I have read all except Cutting for Stone and The Book Thief.  Both of these are on my ‘books to read list’ along with many others!!

I enjoyed all of these books.  NCRL has copies of all of these in the book club selections.

Let me know which of these books you read and did you like them?

It would also be fun if you made your own list.  What are your favorite or your book clubs favorite books that you read in 2011?

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

2. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

4. Room by Emma Donoghue

5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

6. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

7. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

8. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Jonathan Evison

Paula Walters - Monday, May 07, 2012

A reminder that Northwest author Jonathan Evison will be reading from his second novel, West of Here, at the Wenatchee Public Library, on Sunday May 20th.  The program starts at 1:30.  After his reading he will answer questions and there will be a book signing.  A Book for All Seasons will be selling his books.

 

Mr. Evison was born in San Jose, California and now lives on Bainbridge Island.

His first novel, All  About Lulu, was published in 2008.  It won the Washington State Book Award.  This is a story of love and loss, growing up and moving on.  William  Miller Jr is a scrawny loner.  In the mid seventies, his mother dies of cancer, when he is seven years old.  He is an awkward vegetarian, living with a macho father, and twin brothers in which he has nothing in common.  His father remarries and William falls in love with his new stepsister, Lulu.  They have a close relationship, but after a summer at cheerleading camp Lulu returns home and is distant and hostile.  William pines for the relationship they shared for years but in the early 1990’s he discovers things about Lulu that he would rather not know. 

 

Mr. Evison’s second novel, West of Here, was published in 2011.  It won the 2012 Pacific Northwest Best Sellers Award, and the Booklist Editor’s Choice Award.  The novel is set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington’s Pacific coast. Part of the book focuses on the founder’s of the town in 1890. He also tells the story of their descendants in 2006. The novel develops a conversation between the two, the founders rushing blindly toward the future while the descendants struggle to undo the damage of the past.

 

Mr. Evison is known for his colorful book touring.  In 2009 he was nominated by the American Book Association as Most Engaging Speaker.  The emails I have received from him have been extremely entertaining.  I am expecting a wonderful program.  Hope to see all of you on the 20th!!

A Surprise Party!!

Paula Walters - Friday, April 20, 2012

Founding book club member, 90, turns a page

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WENATCHEE — On the day before her 90th birthday, Ruth Gardner sat with her book club and described the day she learned about, ahem, the facts of life. The book lovers were all ears.

“I was sitting on a bench reading a sex education book for kids, about how the male part went into the female part, and I was absolutely shocked,” she said, twinkle in her eye, in answer to a series of cheeky birthday questions posed by book club members.

“I knew about male anatomy — after all, I took care of my little brothers and bathed them all the time — but this new information about what fit where completely floored me,” she laughed. “I thought, ‘No way, not happening.’ Of course, I hadn’t considered the whole thing about marriage.”

About eight decades later — not to mention six kids, 17 grandkids and 15 great-grandkids — Gardner is still learning about the world through books. But not much shocks her anymore.

“You get to be my age, and it takes more than a little to give me a surprise,” she said.

But she was a bit wide-eyed Wednesday when the other 24 members of the Wenatchee Public Library’s Brown Bag Book Club unveiled a surprise 90th birthday party. It came (one day early) complete with member Dana Schmidt’s upside-down cake, Golden Delicious apples from member Nick Davis’ orchard and glasses of sparkling pomegranate juice.

“I should have guessed this bunch would have something up their sleeves,” joked Gardner, a founding member of the club.

Over the last decade, Brown Bag has matured into the largest and one of the oldest of 315 book clubs at the 28 branches of the North Central Regional Library system, said Paula Walters, book club coordinator for NCRL.

Clubs choose from the library’s growing list of over 1,000 titles — classics, bestsellers, fiction, nonfiction, kids books — for which NCRL has bought multiple copies to feed the discussion groups’ ravenous reading habits.

In September, Brown Bag will celebrate a decade of book discussion — one book a month, 120 titles in all and a zillion snappy comments on reading, writing and life in general.

“I’ve been reading good books all my life and won’t quit now,” said Gardner, a copy of this month’s discussion title — “Half Broke Horses” by Jeannette Walls — sitting next to the 90-year-old’s slice of birthday cake. “Reading’s been one of my life’s great pleasures.”

Born in Chicago, Gardner lived in various places before marrying and moving with her husband to the Wenatchee Valley in 1966. Raising kids, they lived in Leavenworth, Wenatchee and East Wenatchee before settling in Malaga, where Gardner lived for 32 years. She now lives at Hearthstone Cottage, a retirement home in East Wenatchee.

At age 56, with most of her kids grown and gone, Gardner fulfilled a lifelong dream to become a registered nurse. Completing courses at Wenatchee Valley College and other schools, she dived into a 20-year career at a convalescent home in Cashmere.

In 1983 and 1984, she wrote and self-published her own book, a memoir entitled “I Weep for That Which Has Been My Delight.” Her own examination of her life and writing of the book was triggered by the death of her son, Capt. Gregory Gardner, a military surgeon, in an airplane crash in 1981.

“Ruth’s a treasure,” said Librarian Kathy Holscher. “She’s an inspiration to us all to lead full and varied lives.”

On Wednesday, Gardner — mother, reader, nurse, author — joined in the lively book-club banter over “Half Broke Horses,” the 15-year-old heroine’s frontier journey on the back of a pony and a comparison, then and now, of the stuff mothers worry about today. Like bad food and bad people.

As comments grew more animated, Gardner rose, modestly thanked everyone and excused herself. Seems she was late for another book club meeting where another title was up for discussion.

“This is one of those busy days,” smiled Gardner. “Two book club meetings — a double dose of fun in one afternoon. Sounds good to me.”

 

I wanted all of you to see this wonderful article that was in the Wenatchee World yesterday.  If you have time go to the online site as there is a sweet picture.  What a fun book club meeting.  Occasionally I am invited to vist this club.  What a group of wonderful people, women and men.  It is our largest club twenty plus members and growing.  Eight to twelve is the ideal number for a book group but I am very impressed by this group.  They are all very considerate of each other and all of the members get a chance to talk and they stay on track!!

 

I have been busy, busy, busy reading reading reading!!  Once I have "all my ducks in a row" I will be sharing some of my favorites!!  Happy Spring!! 

WPL Brown Bag Book Club

Paula Walters - Monday, March 19, 2012

 North Central Regional Library has wonderful book clubs.  Last week I posted a newspaper article that our Entiat librarian Esther wrote regarding her club which is celebrating  that they have read 100 books.  Wow !! 100 books!! If you have not read the blog please do as the celebration includes a "one book read" of Laura Hillenbrand's best selling book, Unbroken. 

I love to hear from books clubs.  I know that the club that meets at the WPL has been helping out in the community and I asked the leader Kathy to write a bit to tell us what they have done.

 

 

The NCRL Brown Bag Book Club has been meeting for 10 years at the library. They meet the third Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 PM. The current membership is 29 members of various ages with an average of 15 to 20 people attending each month. New members are always welcome. Each month’s selected book brings plenty of invigorating discussion and often times sharing of how the story relates to their lives. For a group so large it is truly incredible how everyone is respectful of each other’s opinions and everyone has an opportunity to talk. The book lists grows as members suggest a specific book and/or author. In December they donate household items to Wenatchee’s Haven of Hope. In January 2012 they read Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. They were so inspired by the great organizations available to help women that the group decided to donate to Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.The group read the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett earlier last year and when the movie was released a group from the club went to the movie and out to dinner to discuss their reaction to the movie version of the book.

 

I met with the group in December and yes it is amazing how such a large group works so well together, giving everyone a chance to speak.  I would love to hear from more books clubs, how long you have been meeting, what makes your group work, what books you enjoy, etc??

Entiat Library Book Club Celebrating 100 Books!!

Paula Walters - Thursday, March 15, 2012

One hundred books! That's how many books the "We Really Read the Book" book club
in Entiat has read, from the time they first began, up to the current month's book choice.
Since its formation in the late 1990s this diverse group of enthusiastic readers and friends
have been sharing meals, conversation, laughter and life stories each and every month.
In honor of this centenary landmark, all readers from Entiat and surrounding
communities are invited to share in our celebration. Readers are invited to pick up a copy
of the 100th book choice, Unbroken - A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and
Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand at the Entiat Public Library or by request through
North Central Regional Library.

“On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific
Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and
blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant,
the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So
began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and
vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story
of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the
human mind, body, and spirit.”

- From the hardcover edition.

On May 5, at 2:00 we will host an afternoon of snacks and beverages, along with a
chance to share each other’s impressions of this book, and the topics it raises. The
gathering is planned to be held at the Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center in Entiat.
We especially would like to invite readers of other book clubs, past members of the “We
Really Read the Book” book club, and veterans and families of veterans of WWII who
served during the time that the events in the book take place. For more information
please call Esther Dalgas at the Entiat Public Library 509-784-1517, or any member of
the “We Really Read the Book” book club. We want to offer many thanks and much
appreciation to the North Central Regional Library system, and to Paula Walters, the
book club coordinator at NCRL for generously meeting our requests for the many
gratifying, sometimes mystifying, sometimes hilarious but always thought provoking
books.

Never Too Early to Plan Ahead

Paula Walters - Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Never Too Early to Plan Ahead

 

 

Save the date!!  Mark your calendar!!

 

This year the keynote speaker for Write on the River will be Jonathan Evison.  There will be a free public reading at the Wenatchee Public Library on Sunday May 20th, 1:30 – 2:30.  Mr. Evison is a local author residing in Western Washington.

 

His first novel, All About Lulu, was published in 2008.  This won the Washington State Book Award.  This is a coming of age novel about a young boy dealing with the death of his mother.

 

Mr. Evison’s second novel, West of Here, was published in 2011.  The novel is set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, Washington on the Pacific coast.  The book follows two timelines. The first begins in 1889 with the town’s founders.  The second is the year 2006 and deals with the descendants of the founders.  It is a novel of how mistakes keep happening from generation to generation, but people keep trying to be strong and brave and just and right.

 

NCRL has copies of both novels. 

 

Hope to see you at the presentation.  The authors that have been involved with Write on the River in the past and have come to our library have all been wonderful.  As I have said before what a great way to spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon.

Far from Here

Paula Walters - Thursday, March 01, 2012

I just recently read Far from Here by Nicole Baart.  It was one of those books that after I finished reading I kept thinking about.  When a book affects me like this one did I have to say it is a great book.

 

Danica Greene married her high school sweetheart.  Etsell was the boy of her dreams and they had a wonderful marriage, despite the fact that he was a pilot and she hated flying.  He owned a small plane and gave flying lessons.  Without consulting Danica,  Etsell decided to help out a pilot friend and take a job in Alaska.  It was only for three weeks.   Danica was not happy but knew she could not stand in his way.  On his last flight before he returned home the plane vanished shortly after takeoff.  Etsell did not register a flight plan and the search team cannot find the plane. 

 

Despite her fear of flying Danica gets on a plane and flies to Seward Alaska.  While there she finds out that Etsell might not have been alone when he went missing.  A woman is also missing. 

 

This book deals with a wife whose husband is missing.  She does not know if she is a widow or an abandoned wife.  Danica thinks back over her marriage and the reader learns a lot about her past good and bad.

 

There are a lot of colorful characters. Her mother and two older sisters are not the best choices to help her overcome her grief but they do their best.  The author did an excellent job of letting the readers know the many feelings a person has in a situation where you do not know what has happened to someone you love.  This would be a good book for book clubs, lots of discussion.

 

I am now rereading David Copperfield. The first time I read it my oldest son was six months old.  It was summer and we had just bought our first home in Seattle.  We had a wonderful backyard with beautiful gardens.  My baby and I spent many hours outside.  He playing in his playpen and me reading.  For years I would tell friends that this was my favorite book.  I decided I should reread to see if I still like it and yes I do!!


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