Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 2013 Book Recommendations by Staff

Thursday, June 27, 2013


A woman on the verge, a writer in command

The Flamethrowers
By Rachel Kushner

I lovvved this book! Why? So many reasons. There’s the protagonist, Reno. If you’ve ever been in love in vain, found yourself ensconced in a much more glamorous and foreign place than where you’re from, or simply in over your head, you will recognize her. As the observer and conscience of the plot, her naivete is heartbreaking but her insights are spot on.

Speaking of plot, you can read this book just for the story, which is reason enough; Kushner is encyclopedic in tackling subjects are diverse as the political climate of 1970s Italy, the history of motorcycle making, land speed records, the dynamics of the New York art world. Or, you can savor it for the abundant layers of symbolism spilling out from the many stories within stories her entertaining characters provide.

As WPL’s Joy Hennig defined, “Literary fiction is when the prose is so good you want to raise blocks of text out of the story and study them independently.” This work of literary fiction is brimming over with gorgeous language, both precise and lush, and universal truths about human identity,” the uselessness of truth”, the sometimes blurry distinction between creating art and creating a life, and what attracts one soul to another. This is one of those books that will leave you with questions, but won’t leave you even after you’ve read the final pages.


To locate this book in the library or place a hold, click here.

-Christina


Thursday, June 13, 2013

What would you do if you suddenly couldn't see?
Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic
By Nora Gallagher

Renowned author and memoirist Nora Gallagher (Things Seen and Unseen, Changing Light) comes down with a confounding set of symptoms: headaches, extreme fatigue, and most troubling of all, disappearing peripheral vision. Unfortunately, visiting a whole bevy of doctors does nothing to alleviate her symptoms or illuminate their cause…at first.

Thus begins Gallagher‘s thoughtful chronicle of a year of “being a patient”, which includes so much more than enduring physical symptoms: uncertainty, fear, anxiety of becoming a burden to caregivers, frustration at navigating the labyrinth that is the American healthcare system. Gallagher’s prose rings true when describing the feeling of otherness that descends as soon as mortality become one’s main priority: “Then I had an uncanny feeling of being behind a glass wall that had slid down out of the sky and separated me from the rest of the people on the street. “

Her journey spans from her primary care doc in Santa Barbara all the way to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If this sounds like a depressing read (spoiler alert!), be advised it’s a happy ending: a diagnosis, and the author learning to live joyfully while managing extended illness. If you grapple with the big questions, and enjoy House, give this insightful account a try.

To locate this book in the library or place a hold, click here.

-Christina

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