Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress- classic

Title: Pilgrim's Progress
Author: John Bunyan
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (June 25, 1998)

ISBN-10: 0192834002
ISBN-13: 978-0192834003
Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is a compelling, fast-paced, religious allegory classic that remains both important and popular three hundred and thirty two years after its original publishing date in1678. The book has never been out of print, has been translated into over 200 different languages was made into a motion picture released in 2009 and directed by Todd Fietkau, and is soon to be developed as a children’s animation series to be produced by Cliff McDowell. The book has been rewritten and retold by over twelve different authors across numerous editions. Bunyan’s protagonist is a young man name Christian, whose ultimate goal is to reach Celestial City, a symbol of heaven. However, he first must make a spiritual journey away from the world, represented by the City of Destruction. As Christian makes his journey to the Celestial City, a series of thought provoking events take place as over sixty seven well-developed, convincing and realistic characters are introduced in the form of both people and places. All try to persuade Christian to either give up or turn around, or attempt to lead him down the wrong path. This book has stood the test of time because of its “down-to-earth approach” to Christianity. Its allegorical nature gives Christians a way to recognize the temptations, opposition and hardships they may face on their journey to heaven.


After reading numerous articles, listening and participating in classroom discussions, reading the blogs from classmates and doing the book annotations I have come to learn that readers’ advisory tools are essential to the success of finding a “good book” for our libraries’ patrons. One of the most difficult challenges a librarian faces is finding a “good book” quickly at the reference desk. However, using the following readers’ advisory tools enables us to find the right book at the right time based on the moods of our patrons. Readers’ advisory tools come in many forms: electronically, online commercial databases, websites, and blogs. Another form is print resources: book reviews, articles, specialized reference works, and readers’ advisory books. These resources compile lists of titles and authors, along with lists that describe the appeal factors, summarized plot lines, and suggestions for other similar titles and authors. In addition, there is an often overlooked resource, which is to make use of the knowledge of colleagues. Learning to use the above tools effectively will give us the confidence they need to recommend books based on the needs of patrons’ moods or interests. These tools are beneficial regardless of one’s library size, which is why it is important to share any readers’ advisory tools with colleagues and to have a core collection of readers’ advisory books at the reference desk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Book of Night Women- Historical Fiction

Title: The Book of Night Women

Author: Marlon James

Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (February 2009)

Pages: 432

ISBN: 1594488576

The Book of Night Women
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James is beautifully written, depicting the lives of slaves in the seventeenth century on a Jamaican sugar plantation. The book describes in great detail the different kinds of slaves: field slaves, house slaves, and "Johnny-Jumpers"--those the master use to beat the slaves when they got out of control. Although he is a man, the author does an excellent job expressing the anger and hatred these ladies felt being raped, beaten, and dehumanized. Readers should be warned that the book's graphic depiction of slave abuse makes it difficult to read at times. The protagonist is a green-eyed slave girl name Lilita, who is believed to be the master's daughter. She was told that her uncle made the master mad, after which the master raped and impregnated her mother. Tragically, her mother died during childbirth in a dirty shack. In a ironic plot twist, Lilita, who looks white, falls in love with her master's white worker, and he falls in love with her too. Now Lilita must decide whether she should stay with a man who beats, rapes and kill other dark skinned slaves, or kill him and stand strong with the other slaves to revolt against the master. Readers will ultimately be intrigued by a statement repeated throughtout the book: "Every negro walk in a circle. Take that and make of it what you will." A MUST READ!!!

A Kiss in Winter- Romantic Suspense

Title: A Kiss in Winter
Author: Susan Crandall
Publisher: Forever (January 1, 2007).
ISBN: 0446616400
Pages: 416
A Kiss in Winter
Romantic Suspense
Who would suspect that so much emotional baggage, family disappointments and romantic suspense could be found in a small town in Kentucky? But Susan Crandall's A Kiss in Winter shows us that it is indeed possible. The book tells the story of Caroline, a woman who has experienced the tragic loss of both her biological and adoptive parents at a young age. Caroline is forced to put her dreams on hold in order to raise her stepsister and stepbrother, Macie and Sam. As the story progresses other interesting characters are introduced, adding a twist to the plot. Including Marcie's high school boyfriend, Caleb, and Dr. Mick Larson, a psychiatrist, who, ironically, could use a psychiatrist himself because of his father's unreasonable demands and expectations. A romance between Caroline and Dr. Larson develops, but problems ensue because Caroline wants to leave Kentucky, while Dr. Larson desires to stay. A Kiss in Winter is a true romantic thrill ride for the soul as readers wonder if Caroline will open her heart to Dr. Larson and stay in Kentucky. This is the book to read if you are searching for Mr.Right, when everything else seem to be going wrong. It's a true page turner, readers will not be disappointed.

The Dirty Girls Social Club- Women's Lives & Relationship

The Dirty Girls Social Club

Author: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition

ISBN-10: 0312313810

ISBN-13: 978-0312313814

The Dirty Girls Social Club- Women's Lives & Relationship
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is a bestselling Hispanic author who is not afraid of sharing and exposing the remarkable stories of the lives of Latino women and their relationships. Her other books includes, Haters, Dirty Girls on Top, Make him Look Good, Playing with Boys and The Husband Habits. The Dirty Girls Social Club (2003) was a New York Time bestseller and tells the story of six educated Latina women: Lauren, Sara, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Usnavys, and Amber. Inseparable since their days at Boston University as Communication Majors almost ten years earlier, the six friends form the Buena Sucia Social Club, which translates to Dirty Girls Social Club, which they use as a mutual support organization. Each chapter delves into the personality, life, relationships, and career of each woman. Each of the chapters also contains an unexpected twist, which makes this a fast paced book. The storyline changes constantly throughout, from melodramatic, to provocative, to humorous. Readers will find themselves crying one moment and laughing nonstop the next. Reading this book will show people that our differences are sometimes our greatest assets when it comes to getting along. The Dirty Girls Social Club is a must read for all women who desire to love more, respect all and embrace womanhood like never before.

The Shack- Psychological Suspense

The Shack- Psychological Suspense

The Shack, by William P. Young, is a suspenseful and psychological novel that keeps the reader guessing all the way to the end. The protagonist, Mackenzie Phillips (Mack), having suffered an abusive childhood exhibits a resentment towards authority. When his youngest daughter is brutally murdered, her body is discovered in a shack- hence the book's title. The tension increases and several twists in the plot develop, each one introducting a new character, including an African-American woman name Papa, a Middle-Eastern man, an Asian woman and a wise woman name Sophia, who plays a special role in Mack's healing process. Reflecting on his failures, pains and regrets, Mack is forced to explore lurid secrets that expose his past as well as the mystery of his daughter's disappearance. Anyone who has been mired in past mistakes or failures or had their heart borken will surely relate to Mack's plight. But regardless of a reader's experiences, I still highly recommend The Shack, which, as the book's promotional material suggests "is a metaphor for the places you get stuck, you get hurt, you get damaged...the thing where shame or hurt is centered."