Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Afternoon with Nancy Pearl

Today was my yearly 'date' with Nancy Pearl. If you don't know who Nancy Pearl is, she's a retired Seattle librarian who travels the world giving book talks on the best books to read. Nancy's recommendations are generally not your run-of-the-mill bestsellers and books you'd find on other lists. Nancy's books are usually a little less known and a little more quirky. Nancy is the only librarian I know of who has her very own action figure.

Of course I have one -- autographed.

Nancy comes over to Whidbey Island every November and gives our book-loving community a talk on her latest favorites. But first I usually get to go out to lunch with Nancy, which is just a lot of fun. The Friends of the Langley Library sponsors her yearly visit, and being on the Friends board, I'm one of the lucky ones who gets to take Nancy out to lunch before her talk. Here we are this afternoon, after lunch and on our way to the book talk.

Here are this year's book recommendations by Nancy. I raced home and put a number of them on hold at our library. And one I even already have sitting on my tbr shelf! Without further ado, here are the titles, with the authors in parens. Oh, and I should mention, some of these books are YA (young adult) books and some are picture books for young children. Nancy is an equal-opportunity reviewer.

Big Rabbit's Bad Mood (Badescu)
The Anthologist (Baker)
Beat the Reaper (Bazell)
Manual of Detection (Berry)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Bradley)
Little Bee (Cleave)
The Hunger Games (Collins) as well as its sequel, Catching Fire
Narrow Dog to Indian River (Darlington)
The Missing (Gautreaux)
The Photographer (Guibert)
Living Witness (Haddam)
After the Profit (Hazelton)
The Gone Away World (Harkaway)
Strength in What Remains (Kidder)
The Family Man (Lipman)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks (Lockhart)
Border Songs (Lynch)
Buggle Trouble (Mahy)
The City and the City (Mieville)
Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitnes to an Era (Moorehead)
The Silver Linings Playbook (Quick)
Revelation (Sansom)
Stitches (Small)
When Wanderers Cease to Roam (Smith)
When You Reach Me (Stead)
The Tourist (Steinihauer)
Olive Kitteridge (Strout)
Love and Summer (Trevor)
You'll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man (Tyler)

Normally I have read a least a couple of Nancy book picks. This year I have only read one of them, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I do have the sequel on hold at the library. Unfortunately, it was just released in hardback and I think I'm number 3548 on the wait list, so it could be a while for that one!

I loved The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a rich Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, every year one boy and one girl from each district are forced to participate in "The Hunger Games," a televised event where the participants must fight to the death in an arena until only one remains. The story follows 16-year-old Katniss, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the Games in place of her younger sister, Primrose. Also participating from District 12 is Peeta, a boy whom Katniss knows from school and who once gave Katniss bread and risked a beating when her family was starving.

The plot kind of reminds me of The Running Game, which I enjoyed as a movie, but this book is way better. It's in the 'can't put it down' category, and even though the plot is horrifying, the book is entertaining and fascinating. This is book one in a trilogy and I'm really looking forward to seeing where the author will go with this series.

I love sci fi and although my first love is any book involving time travel, I also enjoy the stories set in alternative and post-apocalyptic worlds, especially in the young adult category. Other similar books I've liked recently are The Host by Stephanie Meyers and the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.

1 comment:

susan said...

Great shot of you & Nancy in Langley!