Monday, June 11, 2012

Nevermore: Survival, Tattoos on the Heart, The Chosen, & Triangles

This week’s Nevermore Book Club had Jud’s answer to the old question, “What is the one book you would take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?”  He eschewed the usual responses—religious works, classics, etc.—and instead proposed what he feels to be the only rational choice:  The Complete Survival Manual by Michael S. Sweeney.  This National Geographic publication not only gives you tips for obtaining food, water, and shelter in a variety of environments, it has a selection of survivor stories to prove it can be done.
Another member recommended Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle as very inspirational and “one of the most uplifting books ever.”  Boyle is a Jesuit priest who has spent years working with gang members in Los Angeles, teaching not only values but job skills.  Heartbreaking, funny and even joyful, this is a book that, according to our readers,  offers “so much humanity.”
The Chosen by Chaim Potok was the pick of another club member who was taken with the lovely writing.  The novel is the story of two young Jewish men who are from different religious backgrounds:  one is Modern Orthodox, while the other is a Hasidic Jew.  They become friends, despite their differences, and find themselves on different paths in life.  The question of Zionism is important, but the themes of friendship and the father-son relationship give the book a universal appeal.
Writing style is one of the defining factors in Triangles by Ellen Hopkins.  Hopkins first made a name for herself by writing gritty YA novels in verse.  Adults soon discovered them as well and were drawn to both the style and the emotional power of the books.  Triangles  is her first novel for adults, and deals with three female friends whose lives seem about to unravel. Our reader found the verse style to be a bit disconcerting at first but feels it is very effective.

Extra Added Attraction:  Before the Nevermore Book Club met, the library hosted a breakfast with John Silvia of Wells Fargo and other area business leaders who discussed the economic outlook.  The program was fascinating and very well attended.  The Bristol Herald Courier article about the event is posted here.

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