Saturday, May 11, 2013

New York Times Bestsellers

112TH OF NEVER, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. (Little, Brown.) One week after the birth of her baby, Detective Lindsay Boxer must return to work to investigate a string of grisly murders; a Women’s Murder Club novel. 1
21THE HIT, by David Baldacci. (Grand Central.) The government hitman Will Robie uncovers a serious threat as he attempts to take out a fellow assassin who has gone rogue. 2
32WHISKEY BEACH, by Nora Roberts. (Putnam.) A former criminal attorney who has been acquitted of his wife’s murder retreats to his family home on a New England cliff. 3
4BEST KEPT SECRET, by Jeffrey Archer. (St. Martin's.) In Volume 3 of the Clifton Chronicles, the focus shifts to a new generation — Sebastian, the son of Harry and Emma Clifton. 1
5*NOS4A2, by Joe Hill. (Morrow/HarperCollins.) In a creepy battle between real and imaginary worlds, a brave biker chick is pitted against a ghoulish villain who lures children to a place where it is always Christmas.1
67DADDY'S GONE A HUNTING, by Mary Higgins Clark. (Simon & Schuster.) Two sisters are threatened by a dark secret from their family's past.4
7*8GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn. (Crown.) A woman disappears on her fifth anniversary; is her husband a killer?48
83FLY AWAY, by Kristin Hannah. (St. Martin's.) A woman must deal with her personal issues before she can keep her promise to help the family of her deceased friend.2
9*5LIFE AFTER LIFE, by Kate Atkinson. (Little, Brown.) A woman appears in different versions of the same events, centered on World War II. 5
104PARIS, by Edward Rutherfurd. (Doubleday.) Characters real and imaginary in the City of Light.2
119THE BURGESS BOYS, by Elizabeth Strout. (Random House.) Two brothers, both lawyers, come together in a small Maine town to defend their troubled nephew. 6
12THE APPLE ORCHARD, by Susan Wiggs. (Harlequin Mira.) When a woman inherits half a hundred-acre apple orchard in Sonoma County to be shared with a half-sister she never knew she had, she discovers the pleasures of family and love. 1
13*12THE INTERESTINGS, by Meg Wolitzer. (Riverhead.) Six friends meet in the 1970s at a summer arts camp, and pursue success, and one another, over succeeding decades.4
1414A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, by George R. R. Martin. (Bantam.) Book 5 of "A Song of Ice and Fire."71
156WEDDING NIGHT, by Sophie Kinsella. (Dial.) A woman tries to break up her sister’s impulsive marriage.2
16*SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY, MAYBE, by Lauren Graham. (Ballantine.) A young actress tries to make it in New York City, by a star of “Gilmore Girls” and “Parenthood.” 1

Friday, May 10, 2013


Overall I would have to say not bad to the makers of the Great Gatsby, not bad at all.  I'm sure some purists are not going to like the film, but that's really inevitable with any film rendition of a classic novel.  I think considering the fact that you really can't directly translate the essence of a written story onto a screen, the makers of this film did a pretty good job trying to translate to the best of their ability.  Now there were definitely some overly modern touches (i.e the party scenes) but I think that was their attempt to try to make the movie accessible and entertaining to a contemporary audience with no knowledge of the book for time period.  And what I would say to anyone trying to devalue the film over those aspects is that sometimes you have to speak to people in their own terms so they can try to understand your message.  I think the filmmakers did an awesome job of trying to communicate the relative emotional state and events of the 1920's and if you don't understand that element of the novel, the events and emotions of the characters just don't really make sense.

Now, there was definitely some overacting and I wasn't the biggest fan of their interpretation of Nick Carraway (they tried to insert too much of Fitzgerald into him) but overall I thought the casting was really well don't and definitely fit with the images I created in my own head when reading the story.  What I disliked the most was the parts where the screen writers were clearly trying to add in lines to the story and imitate Fitzgerald but it really just didn't go too well.  But what I loved most was the sense at the end of the movie, that the people creating this film really truly valued the book itself and were merely trying to share it in a new way rather than redo it.  I mean certain things just don't need to be fixed or interpreted and the movie definitely stuck to the plot line and the spirit of the character developments of the novel.  (And I really like the interpretation of the title at the end!)

I recommend that everyone give it a viewing and decide for themselves what they think though, because even if you aren't the biggest fan of it as a version of the novel, I think you will still enjoy The Great Gatsby as a movie experience of its own.  Share what you think!  Happy Viewing!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 7 1st week Complete!

So after a couple of bumps in the road, I would say I've made it pretty well through this first week of my reading challenge. Yesterday I would say I actually made it through almost two hours of reading in fact. It helped that I had some more free time than usual, but I firmly believe that now that I'm back on track with a commitment to carving out some time each day for reading and I'm supplying myself with interesting material (keep an eye out for a glowing review of A Thousand Splendid Suns) is truly why I'm making some progress in this goal. But its not over, not by a long shot. I'm going to stay the course and keep to this commitment for the long term. Who thinks that I can make it for a month? I do! I hope I do because I had really forgotten the great feeling of reading something that both entertains and instructs and that truly wonderful feeling of using my brain. Technology can make us so numb, but books, books make us feel every emotion that exists under the sun. Well, now I'm being sentimental but its true. Keep a lookout for more updates on my reading challenge!

Happy Reading!

Orange County Author events this weekend 5/11 and 5/12

This weekend there will be two author appearance in the Orange County area.  The first will be held Saturday at the Tustin Library at 11am.  This event will feature author and photographer Jesse Cozean and his premiere book, My Grandfather's War.  The book centers on his grandfather's experiences as a captive of the Germans in World War II, experiences which he only shared late in life with his oldest grandson.  There will be a book signing to follow the event.  For more information or to reserve a seat contact the Tustin Library (714) 544-7725.

The second event is an event jointly hosted by the Mission Viejo Library and The Whale of A Tale Bookshoppe and will feature author Eoin Colfer, bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series, and his new book series W.A.R.P The Reluctant Assassin.  The event will be held in the Council Chamber at the Mission Viejo City Hall at 4pm on Sunday May 12th.  This could be a special event for moms and their kids to share on Mother's Day!  Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.  For more information or reservations contact the Youth Reference Desk at 949-830-7100 ext 5107.

Both of the special events are FREE to the public!  But call ahead to make reservations!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 6

Day 6 kind of got away from me. By the time I got home from work and ate something it was so late that I only got in about a half hour of reading before falling asleep basically on top of my book. I did manage to get through about into A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I loved The Kite Runner and I saw that his new book, And The Mountains Echoed, is coming out towards the end of this month on May 21st and I thought that it would be a good selection for my next read. So far I'm intrigued. I'm not sure where the storyline is going to go. All I know so far is that its supposed to give more of a broad historical perspective of Afghanistan than The Kite Runner from reading about it, and that it features a young girl named Mariam who is the illegitimate daughter of a prominent business man. But so far the writing has been clear and intriguing so even though after almost 40 pages I'm not too far into the plot I'm not bored. More updates to come!

Happy Reading!

Countdown to the Great Gatsby Movie

So we are less than 48 hours away from the release of the new Great Gatsby movie!  For those interested there will be Thursday night showings starting at around 10pm in local theaters.  For those in the Newport/Irvine/Costa Mesa area Triangle Square Cinemas will be also hosting a Thursday night showing at 10pm for its usual Thursday price of only $ 4 dollars!  So everyone book your seat so we can see how Hollywood tackled this literary classic!

National Book Foundation Presents the 2013 Innovation in Reading Prizes!

The National Book Foundation (the group that gives out the National Book Awards) announced the 2013 winners of its Innovations in Reading Prizes.  These awards give out up to $2,500 dollars to groups or individuals who have created an innovative means of generating and sustaining a love of reading.  What I thought stood out among the winners this year was the extent to which each of these groups worked to not just connect with and encourage individuals to read but entire communities.

Check out the winners:

City National Bank for Reading is the Way Up (Multiple locations)

Little Free Library (Hudson, WI)

The Uni Project (New York, NY)

The Uprise Books Project (Vancouver, WA)

World Reader (Seattle, WA)

Congrats to the Winners on helping to bring the joy to reading to as many communities as possible!  For more information please check out

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 5

Day 5 was another successful day in my reading challenge. I must have really enjoyed the Great Gatsby because I logged about an hour and a half for reading. I think the challenge with reading isn't that we don't want to read, I think the hardest part is getting started. Once you are invested in a book you want to finish it out. I think (hopefully) almost everyone has had the experience towards the end of a novel at least once of not being able to put a book down because the end is so close and you just want to know what happens. It is the dead time in between books that gets me most. If I'm not excited by the book, or don't have anything new to be excited about, I'm just not going put any time in to read and I'm less likely to get started on the next tale. Well hopefully I'll be able to finish out my week strong!

Is anyone else out there keeping up? Happy Reading!

The Great Gatsby

Now this was not my first read of The Great Gatsby. It may not have even been my second read through. But to be perfectly honest, before I started reading it again a couple of days ago the thing that I remembered most about The Great Gatsby was the name of the main characters and the fact that it talks about a green light in the distance on the last page. The first thing that I noticed reading it this time around was its readability. For a classic novel it is remarkably approachable and overall quick to get through. I think my total reading time for the whole book was just under 3 hrs. So if you don't have a lot of patience it's probably a good book to pick up.

The second was the degree to which it really is a truly tragic love story. I mean, I knew that Gatsby was obsessed with Daisy but I forgot what degree she loved him back and really the complexity of the connections between the characters. Fitzgerald really created, in a short time frame, fairly round characters that intrigue you even as their actions or words that repel you. It seems like a believable story. It's as if they live in the magical world of glamour and money that we all dream of inhabiting. Maybe thats why it pulls people in so much.

As much as I enjoyed re-reading the book, I am concerned about the movie. While I hope it's going to be great, I'm not sure how a book told primarily through internal thought and observation is going to translate onto the big screen. Dropping a couple of key lines, does not mean the movie is going to be true to tone and meaning of the book. It's definitely going to be a glamorous movie, but accurate is going to be a whole other problem. I have a feeling purists might protest, but hopefully it will be a good story in its own right even if its not a perfect fit.

Has anyone else been re-reading The Great Gatsby or starting for the first time? Let us know what you think!

Happy Reading!

San Juan Capistrano Library Event: Joyce Okazaki talks about Manzanar Internment Camp TODAY!

This evening, May 7 2013, Joyce Okazaki will be giving a talk at the San Juan Capistrano library (part of the Orange County Public Library system) at 6pm for FREE!  The event will be held in the La Sala Auditorium.

Joyce Okazaki was sent to the Manzanar Internment camp on April 2, 1942 with her family and they were finally able to leave in August 1944 but had to move to Chicago because the West Coast was still deemed a military zone until the War Relocation Authority lifted this restriction in December 1944.  While in the camp, she and her sister were both photographed by Ansel Adams, renowned American photographer, for his book, Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans.  Mrs. Okazaki is a member of the Manzanar Committee.  The Manzanar Committee's mission statement proclaims, "The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of person of Japanese ancestry during World War II, and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger.  The Manzanar Committee was formed in 1970 in an effort to promote education and establish Manzanar as a California State Historical Landmark, which it was in 1973.  To learn more about this committee please see its website @

Please if you can attend this important event because it is critical to understand the experiences of the past and this is a special opportunity to hear about this chapter in history from a first hand source!  Just one more reason why our libraries are a critical part of maintaining our freedom of expression.  Please share your experiences if you get the chance to go!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 4

Ok guys, I finally got some true success yesterday! I did read in between the periods and on the commercial breaks for the Sharks game, however, after the game I got in 40 more solid reading minutes so I'm estimating that my grand total was somewhere around 70 or so minutes for the day. I have to admit that it helped that reading The Great Gatsby is pretty easy and I managed to fly through the first 50 pages. In fact, if it hadn't been so late I probably could have read through at least most of the book. And I'm not scanning, I'm reading as carefully as I was trained to in all those college classes that seem forever ago. Oh and for you late comers that also want to re-read The Great Gatsby and don't have a copy laying around (and trust me its a pretty good bet all the library copies are currently taken, if you are in Orange County I checked) you'll be glad to hear that Barnes and Noble's version of the ebook is only $2.99 and Amazon's is only $4.99. While I tend to prefer real, solid books while I'm reading, you can't argue with the price difference.

So is anyone else keeping up with their own reading challenge? Update us all!

Happy Reading!

The Edgars: Presented by the Mystery Writers of America

If you've never heard of the Mystery Writers of America, you are not alone.  But I have a feeling that we are missing out on something.  Last week on May 2, The Mystery Writers of America presented its 67th annual Edgar Awards honoring the best mystery and crime related novels, short stories television episodes and more.  The Grand Masters of the event were New York Times Bestselling author Ken Follett and mystery writer Margaret Maron.  Both Follett and Maron have previously received Edgar Awards themselves.

This year's winners include :

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane for BEST NOVEL

Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French for BEST FACT CRIME

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein for BEST YOUNG ADULT

"A Scandal in Belgravia" -Sherlock Teleplay by Steven Moffat (BBC/Masterpiece) for BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

For a full list please see :

Even more interesting I found though was not just that this guild of mystery writers gives out awards to the best of its ranks, because most professional associations do just that.  No, what I found most interesting was that the Mystery Writers of America also is highly involved in an issue near and dear to my own heart providing books to children who need them.  It is involved with Reader to Reader a national literacy group that provides books to libraries and schools in impoverished areas.  It also provides resources to teachers seeking to help engage their students in reading.  So lets hear it for professional responsibility!  I can only hope that their efforts will help raise awareness within the United States that literacy is an important issue for our nation's success and that access to books is not a given for all people.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with my experience reading these tales. I knew absolutely nothing about Sherlock Holmes going into reading this collection. At first when I started reading, I was a little confused by the format, having at first expected a novel. It didn't help that I was reading on my Iphone and didn't have a sense at most points of how far into the book I was. But the stories I was reading were pretty interesting and what I loved most of all, surprising. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was clearly a clever writer who had a remarkable ability to guide his reader through his stories at his own pace. He never accidentally lets a clue slip so the reader can easily guess as to who committed what crime and why. And considering the sheer amount of these stories, it is remarkable that he was able to create such a variety of scenarios with which to entertain the public.

Upon finishing this set of tales, I wanted to find out which exactly of the Sherlock tales I had read so far and how many others were left. I knew there were others, I had heard of the Hound of Baskervilles but I wasn't sure of the amount of additional titles. Now let me just say, clear and organized information about Sherlock Holmes is not easy to come by. Which to be fair to those who attempt to explain Sherlock Holmes, the problem is most of the stories are short tales that were released over time in a variety of publications that were then later complied into the volumes with the titles most people are more familiar with. These short stories were broken up with intermittent longer novels about the great detective. From my own detective work this is the overall breakdown and chronology of the tales:

Complete Sherlock Holmes. (source

A Study in Scarlet (novel, 1887)

The Sign of the Four (novel, 1890)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Valley of Fear (novel, 1914-15)

His Last Bow

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes