Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Nevermore: Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy, Roger Tory Peterson, Brandi, and Otzi!

Reported by Meygan

The Sirens of the Titan by Kurt Vonnegut was the first book Nevermore discussed on October 1st. This science fiction novel will take readers through space and time. Wicked, filthy rich Malachi Constant is presented the choice to travel through space and visit different worlds. Of course, this story wouldn’t be complete with a beautiful woman on his arm. Like all too-good-to-be-true propositions, there is a catch. Science fiction fans will love this tale of Martians, space, and prophetic visions. Although he hasn’t yet finished the book, our reader is enjoying it so far because even though the story is somewhat crazy, the book does a good job demonstrating human situations in a science fiction setting. 

Elizabeth Spencer’s collection of short stories titled Starting Over was also discussed in Nevermore. When asked if the short stories had anything in common (i.e. all love stories, horror, etc.), the reader stated the stories are simply about life. This book contains nine of Spencer’s short stories. All of the stories reveal family flaws and some focus on how one may piece together a broken home.

The third book discussed was Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God. Set in East Tennessee’s Sevier County, Child of God is a grotesque tale about a man who is a squatter and inhabits backwoods, seeking victims. The reader didn’t want to give a lot away since there were a few people in Nevermore who wanted to read this book, but he did say that the main character is a killer. The reader enjoys this book because of the language and how the story is told. This book can be compared to A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannary O’Conner, and the reader believes it would be interesting to read them beside of each other. The reader enjoyed Child of God So Much that he wants to read McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men just to see the language and how it is written. Child of God does feature a lot of violence, so be prepared as a reader to deal with gore. But, according to the reader, the writing is almost poetic and is certainly worth reading. McCarthy’s The Road was a recommended read as well. 

Birdwatcher by Roger Tory Peterson was highly praised by one of our Nevermore readers. While people may know Peterson’s name, very few know what he did. Birdwatcher is a biography about Peterson’s life and how he was the first person to create a field guide for bird watching and bird identifying. The reader discussed how in 1913, people were becoming aware that the Passenger pigeons were diminishing. Peterson helped spread recognition of why birds were becoming extinct. Before Peterson’s field guide, people mainly learned about birds from museums, but his field guide came at a crucial time for people who fancied birds. According to the reader, Peterson urged people to grab their camera and/or binoculars to watch the birds because they were fascinating. His findings focused on birds in the wild, which he encouraged people to study. Not only was Peterson notorious for developing the bird guides, but he was an artist as well. (I bet readers can’t guess what his paintings centered around!) If you guessed birds, then you would be 100% correct. Birdwatcher was described as being a warm, sympathetic biography. The reader also liked that in the book there were pictures of Peterson painting birds. Another Nevermore reader commented that Peterson made people realize that birds are meant to be enjoyed and not killed. This led to a discussion about the possible extinct of the Monarch butterfly and the cause of the butterflies diminishing. 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a popular book, especially with young adults. One of our Nevermore readers enjoyed the dystopian tale of a boy named Thomas who wakes up in the middle of a maze with no recollection how he got there or anything else about his past.  Thomas and the group of guys in the maze must decide how they are going to escape before whatever roams outside the maze kills everyone. However, some of the boys start to remember the world before they were placed in the maze, and they are left wondering whether or not they want to reside in their new “home” or face a world that has come to an end. According to the reader, this science fiction young adult novel does a great job with using building and using character development to hook readers from the first chapter until the very last sentence. The reader highly recommends this book to those who liked The Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games

The next book discussed was Drinking and Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders by Brandi Glanville. If you are a fan of the TV show The Real Housewives, then you have already been introduced to unfiltered Brandi Glanville—a woman who lost her husband to Leann Rimes. The reader stated that if someone liked celebrity gossip then this was the book for them! While the reader hasn’t finished Drinking and Tweeting, she has liked what she has read so far. When asked if the reader thought Glanville wrote this book for revenge, the reader replied that she thought it was written for money but also for awareness about celebrity relationships. Glanville does not hold back on her cheating, no good ex-husband, but most of her bitter words are saved for Leann Rimes. Thanks to Glanville’s offensive language and laugh-out-loud moments, readers will appreciate this piece of celebrity sleaze. 

A Nevermore reader recommended a book she purchased at the library’s book sale titled The Iceman. This is the true story of Otzi, a man who was discovered in the Otztal Alps of Europe in 1991. He is well-known for being Europe’s oldest natural human mummy. What the reader found so interesting about the book is that it revolves around many scientists in many different fields working together to preserve Otzi’s body.  Readers of European history, mummies, and non-fiction should enjoy this book!

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