I really enjoy Augusten Burroughs, and I like hearing him read his own books. He manages a compelling mix of vulnerability and strength. Even when he screws up his life or makes choices he regrets later, he is able to examine the inner monologue and present it for the world to view. “Lust & Wonder” seems a good reflection on what I’d call regular adulting. He had a grown-up and mature relationship that wasn’t horrible, but it also wasn’t good, and he describes it in some detail. His reflections should have a universal tune to them for anyone reflecting on one’s own relationships. He describes his wild love for his dogs and the sadness of dividing custody as a relationship fails. He focuses on how his past continues to affect his present and highlights the moments when he tries to sort out whether feelings he’s having are appropriate to the situation or are really about a response to something that happened in his past. While I don’t have anything like the serious abuse and deep level addiction issues that Burroughs has, the analysis of whether a response is right for a situation applies even to someone without as much history.
Three words that describe this book: vulnerable, adult, engaging
You might want to pick this book up if: You’ve enjoyed other books by this author.
You want to hear an author read his own memoir. You are struggling with the fizzling of a long-term relationship.
While I’ll recommend the work of a rascal if that rascal’s work is great enough, there are enough brilliant and kind writers out there that I’ve rarely had to resort to that. How do I know if they’re kind? The same way you find out if anyone is kind – you google them, show a picture of them to your neighbor’s hounds, and then carefully observe the hounds’ reactions. With this month’s recommendation, I needn’t confirm the internet’s verdict with a hound test. Arthur Bradford’s gentlemanly nature shows in the big-hearted way he renders his characters and because the good sir is dedicated to helping people. In addition to some film work and two incredible collections of short stories, he’s worked at the Texas School for the Blind, been a co-director for Camp Jabberwocky (a camp for people with disabilities), and he’s currently working in a juvenile detention center. He’s not your typical literary superstar who spends all his time eating figs, drinking brandy and bidding for antique typewriters on eBay.
Bradford writes without the sort of fanciful verbiage, flowery descriptions and unnecessary addenda that this immaculately groomed (wearing the casual cummerbund, because it’s Friday) gentleman so vigorously gravitates toward. His sentences are direct, and they’re hilarious. His characters make mistakes, sometimes constantly, but they’re not trying to hurt anyone, and they’re often trying to help someone.
Congratulations to Teresa, a Columbia Public Library patron, for winning our second Adult Summer Reading prize drawing. She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.
All it takes to be entered into our weekly drawings is to sign up for Adult Summer Reading. You can do this at any of our branch locations or Bookmobile stops or register online. Also, don’t forget that submitting book reviews increases your chances of winning. There are plenty of chances left to win this summer, so keep those reviews coming.
It’s hot and humid, and the LibraryReads recommendations list for July is dripping with twisty, suspenseful and sometimes genre-blending thrillers! Kidnapping, murder on a cruise ship, a mysterious death in an Amish community and a reality show gone seriously awry – there are so many good stories to stow in your beach bag. Here are the top 10 titles publishing next month that librarians across the country love.
“Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch
“Once on the fast-track to academic stardom, Jason Dessen finds his quiet family life and career upended when a stranger kidnaps him. Suddenly Jason’s idle “what-ifs” become panicked “what-nows,” as the humble quantum physics professor from a small Chicago college gets to explore the roads not taken with a mind-bending invention that opens doors to other worlds. This fun science fiction thriller is also a thoughtful page-turner with heart that should appeal to fans of Harlan Coben.” – Elizabeth Eastin, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, NY
“The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware
“An intruder in the middle of the night leaves Lo Blacklock feeling vulnerable. Trying to shake off her fears, she hopes her big break of covering the maiden voyage of the luxury cruise ship, the Aurora, will help. The first night of the voyage changes everything. What did she really see in the water and who was the woman in the cabin next door? The claustrophobic feeling of being on a ship and the twists and turns of who, and what, to believe keep you on the edge of your seat. Count on this being one of the hot reads this summer!” – Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH
More a “Jane Eyre” tribute than an adaptation, “Jane Steele” tells the story of a Victorian woman, Jane Steele, who is inspired by her own reading of “Jane Eyre” to write a memoir. Like Eyre, Steele is orphaned at a young age, sent by a cruel aunt to a bleak boarding school led by a tyrant, and then becomes governess to the impish ward of a brooding and mysterious man. Jane Steele, however, handles things in a much different way than her literary counterpoint, accumulating a body count along the way. There are multiple mysteries involved: Will Jane be able to claim her inheritance? What’s going on in the cellar? Why does her employer always wear gloves? What happened to the missing jewels? Will Jane be exposed as a murderess? There’s a lot going on, but the storyline is never confusing or jumbled. All of those questions eventually get answered in a satisfying way, and the reader is left feeling justice has been served all the way around. Jane Steele may be the only time a reader is left rooting for a heroine who identifies herself as a serial killer.
Three words that describe this book: gothic, absorbing, different
You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy a good gothic mystery or “Jane Eyre.”
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”– Mike Singletary, speaking of his career in football.
Isn’t this what we all want: the chance to participate in activities that enrich our lives? In the past, a physical or cognitive disability often meant spectator-only status when it came to sports, but that’s become less true with each passing decade. Check out Special Olympics champion gymnast, Chelsea Werner. Color me impressed; I never even learned to do a proper cartwheel.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver started Special Olympics in 1968, inspired by her sister, Rosemary Kennedy, who had cognitive disabilities and had been left out of many areas of life. For the past twenty years, Shriver’s son, Timothy, has served as chair of the organization. In his book “Fully Alive,” he speaks about the history of the group and his own personal experiences working with the athletes. Shriver finds motivation for his work in his faith, but there’s plenty of inspiration here for people of all belief systems.
Local athletes who are interested in participating in Special Olympics can contact Columbia Parks and Recreation or Special Olympics Missouri.