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What We’re Reading

The World of Downton Abbey – It's What We're Reading


October 
2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

The World of Downtown Abbey
The World of Downton Abbey
Jessica Fellows

American television audiences have been captivated for the past two seasons by the upstairs and downstairs lives portrayed in the fictional Downton Abbey <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/>on PBS’ Masterpiece <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/index.html>. Unfortunately, the end of each series has left us wanting to know more about our favorite characters, the actors involved and British Society during the early 20th Century. Well, Jessica Fellowes, the niece of the Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes (Screenwriting Oscar for Gosford Park), has come to our rescue with her companion title. It is well researched, written and illustrated with photographs from throughout the series production. Some of the interesting topics that she covers include: family, society, style, life in service and the estate house. There is even a behind the scenes look at the program. Reading this book is an enjoyable way to prepare for the continuation of the drama’s next chapter in 2013.
Highclere Castle <http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/> is used for the filming of the fictional Downton Abbey.

This book can be found in the Popular Reading collection on the first floor of the Library.

Sunset Park - It's What We're Reading

September 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

Sunset Part

Sunset Park
Paul Auster
In the first dark months after the 2008 economic collapse, Miles Heller moves to Sunset Park, Brooklyn after his marriage collapses because of his own infidelity and inattention. The cast of characters he finds there are all of the ghosts of contemporary America, young squatters in an apartment building, a young “trash-out” worker photographing abandoned objects left behind by evicted families, an independent book publisher trying to save his business and his marriage, an older actress trying to return to Broadway. Paul Auster always offers characters that pull on your heart, and this one is no exception.

The Sisters Brothers – It's What We're Reading


August 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick deWitt

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt may be set during the Gold-Rush era, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill Western. Charlie and Eli Sisters, the brothers of the title, have been hired guns long enough to have gained fierce reputations. But Eli, the more sensitive and introspective of the two, is ready to quit the outlaw life and settle down. His brother Charlie, however, is not quite as keen on the quiet life. On what would seem to be their final job, the brothers encounter adventure and misadventure, and the journey is even more pleasurable than the destination. Darkly comic and witty, this book reads like a Coen brothers film and gallops along faster than the Pony Express. It’s full of quirky characters and sharp dialogue.

You can find The Sisters Brothers in the Popular Reading Collection on the first floor of the Library.

 

Loving Frank – It's What We're Reading

July 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

Loving Frank
Loving Frank
Nancy Horan

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan is a fictionalized version of the true story of Mamah Borthwick Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s a fascinating look into the life and idiosyncratic personality of one of America’s most famous architects, credited with fathering the Prairie School movement, and his scandalous affair with Mamah, a creative intellectual woman fettered by the conventions of her time. Both married when they met, their relationship damned them in the eyes of their world with Mamah suffering the brunt of the notoriety while at the same time gaining some new intellectual freedom. Just as the publicity maelstrom abated and they begin to achieve some acceptance as a couple, tragedy struck and the book’s ending is shocking for those not familiar with their true history. Mamah and Frank are conflicted people who provoke conflicting emotions in readers.

This book is on order and will soon be available in the Popular Reading Collection on the first floor of the Drexel Library.

The Book Thief – It's What We're Reading

May 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Taking place in Nazi Germany, Death tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a nine year old girl sent to live with a foster family in a town outside of Munich. On the way to her new home, she encounters two things which change her life forever. The first is Death when he comes to claim her younger brother and becomes the first of many encounters throughout Liesel’s life. The second is a book accidentally dropped by one of the gravediggers. Liesel keeps the book even though she cannot read, but sensing that it is somehow important. Her accordion playing foster father teaches her to read and Liesel becomes an avid reader, stealing books at every opportunity. Liesel’s childhood begins happily, but then the war begins to encroach and she is witness to all its horrors, the bombings, the treatment of the Jews, the burning of books. Her foster family hides a Jewish man in the basement which frightens Liesel at first, but she soon learns that they share much in common, especially their love of words.
The Book Thief is filled with wonderful characters and relationships. Even Death is an interesting character and it is through his eyes that we see all the death and destruction going on. It is through Liesel’s eyes that we see the strength of the human spirit. Although it is described as a young adult story, it’s a powerful story full of love, joy, death, and sadness and well worth reading.

This novel can be found in the CMC on the 2nd floor of the Library.

Caleb's Crossing – It's What We're Reading

May 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

Caleb's Crossing
Caleb’s Crossing
Geraldine Brooks

When Geraldine Brooks first moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2006, she discovered a map of the early native Wampanoag people who inhabited the island before the white settlers came. The map marked the birthplace of Caleb, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Brooks was fascinated by the idea of a young native succeeding in this early bastion of puritanical elitism. She immersed herself in the minimal records of Caleb’s tribe and those of white families who settled on the island in the 1640’s. Brooks created her story, Caleb’s Crossing, in the voice of the brilliant young daughter of the island’s Calvinist minister, Bethia Mayfield. Bethia hungers for knowledge and education but has to stifle her dreams while her dull brothers are carefully prepared for study at Harvard. She meets Caleb at age 12 and their mutual affinity for nature and knowledge creates a lifelong bond.
Brooks creates a fascinating look at early academia, the stifled lives of young women and the crush of civilization on Native American lives. As in her other fiction, Geraldine Brooks takes on big ideas and couches them in rich historical detail. A good read.

This novel can be found in the Popular Reading collection on the first floor of the Library.

The Marriage Plot – It's What We're Reading

April 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot is the long awaited work from Pulitzer Prize winning author Jeffrey Eugenides. Starting in the early 1980s, The Marriage Plot follows three Brown University students as they finish their senior year and transition into adulthood. The beginning of the novel starts with graduation day and moves backward and forward through time, bringing to light the relationship between Madeline, Leonard and Mitchell.

Most of the book focuses on 19 th century literature-loving Madeline. While at Brown she is conflicted by her love of Victorian literature and the emerging trend of postmodern literary theory in the English department. She falls in love with Leonard, a brilliant but mentally unstable student. Mitchell, whose interest lies in religion, loves Madeline, but when his love is unrequited he travels to India to work with Mother Teresa.

The story of The Marriage Plot is less about Madeline, Leonard and Mitchell’s love triangle but more about how each character comes of age after college. Like in his previous works Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides, Eugenides’ use of language makes the emotional rollercoaster of these characters a pleasure to read.

This novel can be found in the Popular Reading collection on the first floor of the Library.

The New Policeman – It's What We're Reading

February 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

The Last Werewolf


The New Policeman

Kate Thompson
A magical tale from Ireland with a contemporary setting. Teenage fiddler J.J. Liddy notices that nobody seems to have enough hours in the day anymore and he is determined to find out where all the time goes. He journeys to the land of eternal youth, unravels mysteries in his family’s past and discovers, among other things, where all our missing socks really end up. Music is integral to this tale and each chapter is accompanied by a tune. The trilogy continues J.J.’s story with The Last of the High Kings and finishes with the stunning and very timely The White Horse Trick. Read them all: this series will really make you think!

This novel can be found on the second floor in the Curriculum Materials Center (CMC):
CMC PZ7.T3715965 .N4 2007

A Game of Thrones – It's What We're Reading

January 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

A Game of Thrones


A Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” – Cersei Lannister

A Game of Thrones is the first book in George R.R. Martin’s popular medieval fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire”.   The novel introduces the reader to the struggle for power between the rival Stark, Lannister and Targaryen families in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.  You can think of it as England’s War of the Roses with a bit of Tolkien for good measure.   It is told through three interwoven stories.  In the first, a hidden secret leads to the discovery of a plot to murder the current king and seize the “Iron Throne.”  The second takes place in the land of Essos where the exiled children of the deposed ruler pay a high price in seeking help to raise an army in order to regain their kingdom.   The last one is set along an enormous 700 foot high ice wall that was built by man and magic to protect the kingdom from the unknown mysteries beyond the frontier.

WARNING! Reader Advisory
The work contains references to direwolves, wights and dragons.  It is suitable for readers, who enjoy adventure fantasy with a little sword play.

Audio book read by Roy Dotrice – 28 compact discs (33hr.33 min)

This book may be found in the audio book collection on the first floor of the Library:
PS3563.A7239 G36 2011ab

The Last Werewolf – It's What We're Reading

December 2011

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

The Last Werewolf


The Last Werewolf

Glen Duncan
On the surface, The Last Werewolf appears to be yet another supernatural thriller of the kind that’s dominated the bestseller lists for the last decade, but it is so much more.  Jacob Marlowe, the last werewolf of the title, spends his time feeding his many appetites while attempting to evade capture by the World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena.  It’s a lonely, violent existence, controlled by a seemingly never-ending cycle of moons.  Haunted by what he’s done as both a man and as a wolf, Jake contemplates his purpose in the world.  Cultured, attractive, and wealthy, he has nearly every material advantage imaginable, but craves the love that he believes he permanently lost when he was bitten.

This novel can be found in the Popular Reading collection on the first floor of the Library.