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We invite the public to post reviews to our catalog by logging into our online catalog. Reviews will then be posted to this blog. Comments can be added to existing posts or may be added as separate reviews on our catalog
MARCH 30, 2010
The Book Bar ~ New Book Store opens in Columbia

Did you know there's a new book store in town?

The Book Bar  is located in in the Columbia Shopping Plaza located at 187 Route 66 East.

Owner, book enthusiast  and Columbia resident, Rebecca Stearns has fulfilled  a longtime dream by opening an independent book store.

You can read about the variety of services offered by visiting The Book Bar's website

Be certain to take a look at theupcoming author visits. Among others, Flat Belly author, Kristyn Dudek will be at The Book Bar, Saturday 17 April 2010, 6:30 PM.


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MARCH 27, 2010
Shades of Grey ~ Jasper Fforde
****reviewed by Mercedes

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Fascinating yet complicated! This book is classic sci fi - somewhere in the future, our world has gone through an experience that changes all of society. Society is reworked into something new - a hierarchy. Then someone from the upper echelons discovers that their peaceful, enlightened world is not all it seems and they hook up with someone from the bottom of the social rung and make a run at changing the world. Very familiar and yet oh so different. Fforde is a new author for me although he's been around for years. His nursery crimes series grabbed me and his similarities to Terry Pratchett have kept me interested. This new series is very intriguing although it took me almost three weeks to read the book. This was partly because I only have short amounts of time to read in and this book required a lot of thought, so I couldn't just zip through or I'd miss something dreadfully important. It was very much like reading a puzzle. Each line of dialogue, each description was one more piece to creating the whole picture and without the whole picture, this world was very difficult to understand. Everyone sees in colors (well, so do we right?) Some see only shades of red, others only shades of yellow. No one can see the entire spectrum naturally. Color is created synthetically and piped into gardens and food. The lowest order of people are greys. The highest are purples. And color is used to heal, to invoke emotions, as a drug, as an ovulator, as a weapon. The premise is so amazing I can only wonder where it came from in Fforde's mind and how he keeps it all straight! I'll be looking forward to the next two books with the high hopes that all will be resolved in this quirky world and for our quirky characters. Did I mention that swans are deadly, spoons are not allowed to be manufactured, and no one shouts in public? Shades of Grey is an interesting ride if you're ready.

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MARCH 24, 2010
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie ~ Alan Bradley
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

reviewed by CarolK
Just when I think there can't be anything new out there in mystery fiction along comes a book to prove me wrong. Not only has Sweetness won numerous awards but it was one of the picks for favorite books read in 2009 by the members of fiction_l, an electronic mailing list discussing readers' advisory topics. Looking for something light to read I thought this might be a good pick. Yes, it is somewhat cozy but goes well beyond that. It's got a great story with wonderful characters, particularly eleven year old Flavia de Luce. She's smart, quick thinking, and loves science and chemistry. She's also just a bit mischievous. Set in England in 1950, Flavia must solve her mysteries by doing research at the library and using her wits. No internet for her. Her first outing finds her discovering a dead body in the garden. The previous evening Flavia heard her father having a bitter argument with the dead stranger. Her father couldn't be responsible but if not he, who? There are 2 more sisters, various servants, a few good detectives and townspeople to round out the story. Lots of musky buildings, things that are not quite what they seem, and stamp collecting, make the whole delightful. This is Bradley's debut novel. A trilogy is planned. I'm so glad.

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MARCH 21, 2010
District 9
District 9 ***
reviewed by CarolK

I didn't think I'd like this one. First of all, it's sci-fi, secondly it deals with aliens, and lastly I heard there was lots of shooting and violence. On the whole, not my cup of tea. So why did I find myself captivated this past Saturday evening? I'm not entirely certain but the story was just unique enough to keep my interest. It's about a group of aliens, stranded on earth in 1982. Known as prawns, kind of bottom feeding crustacean like creatures, they are relegated to a military guarded slum, District 9, in Johannesburg. Their numbers have increased to well over a million in the 21 century, necessitating The Multinational United (MNU) to relocate the whole mass. The political undertones including apartheid, witch craft and the social themes of segregation keep the plot moving. The main characters, one human and one extraterrestrial, are well drawn. The human, Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is strangely complex and surprises me with his actions. Both are somehow appealing. It could have been better, less shoot-em-up, less over the top antics, better looking aliens. Several reviewers found it extremely racist.

 Yep, it made me uneasy, kept me on the seat of my chair, promises a sequel and provided lots of stuff for my husband and I to discuss. Not bad for a free flick from the library.

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MARCH 19, 2010
National Book Critics Circle Awards Announced
From an article in Omnivoracious the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards:

  • Fiction: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Nonfiction: The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes (just out in paperback)
  • Autobiography: Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill
  • Biography: Cheever by Blake Bailey (also just out in pb)
  • Criticism: Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays by Eula Biss
  • Poetry: Versed by Rae Armantrout

    Wolf Hall has certainly garnered a lot of press these past few months. Besides winning The National Book Critics Circle Award, it is also the winner of The Man Booker Award and has been nominated for several other prizes.  It presents another look at the fascinating story of King Henry VIII. Simply put, the King wants to annul his twenty year marriage and marry Anne Boleyn. He is meeting opposition from all corners, the pope, and his people. But he needs an heir. Historical fiction fans have embraced this tale of society on the brink of change.

    Though Wolf Hall has circulated quite well in our library, I haven't heard any comments from our readers about it. Have any one you read it?  Care to comment.
  • Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


    MARCH 16, 2010
    In The Authors Own Words ~ Elly Griffiths
     photo by Jerry Bauer

    Welcome Guest Blogger, Elly Griffiths as she gives us a bit of insight into her first novel. The Crossing Places. I'm certain you'll agree with me that it sounds exciting. Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway returns in The Janus Stone in 2011.

    We were walking across a marsh. It was cold and it was raining (it doesn’t always rain in Norfolk, only when I’m there). The kids had run on ahead pretending to be Ancient Romans (they have active imaginary lives but their scenarios rarely fit the occasion, when we were in Rome they pretended to be Martians). Andrew and I stomped along. It was heavy going, the long grass criss-crossed with streams, birds rising up out of the rushes, the wrong step could send you plunging into the mire.

    ‘You know,’ said Andy dreamily. ‘Prehistoric man thought that marshland was sacred. Because it’s neither land nor sea they saw it as a kind of bridge to the afterlife. Neither land nor sea, neither life nor death.’

    And the idea for my novel The Crossing Places came to me in that instant.  

    But really the origins of the book lay further back than that. When I met Andrew he worked for a merchant bank. He had a pin-striped suit and an expense account. The problem was, he told me that first night in the wine bar surrounded by braying City types, he had never wanted to work in a bank. He had always wanted to be an archaeologist. But, when he was choosing A-Levels, someone had casually remarked that you need physics to study archaeology. Totally untrue but, as teenagers sometimes do, he changed his mind on the spot. He decided to study law. A safe option.

    When we got married, we agreed that, one day, Andy would leave the bank and do a second degree in archaeology. I think, deep down, I never thought it would happen. But, when our children were still at primary school, he went back to university. He graduated with a distinction (it was the first time, he said, that he had ever studied a subject that interested him) and is now an archaeologist.

    Our home life has changed completely. We no longer have the city salary but, amazingly, we have hardly noticed. OK, we’ve got a battered car and we have cold, wet holidays, but the children see their dad all the time and that has made us immeasurably richer. And the archaeology has enriched us too. When we are walking on the downs, Andy can bend down and pick up a prehistoric flint hand-axe that was used to butcher mammoths. Imagine that! Mammoths wandering the South Downs. .. Of course, when I pick up an identical stone, it’s always just a stone.

    And now he has given me the idea for a book and, in Ruth, a feisty archaeologist heroine.

    Elly Griffiths

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    Category: Meet the Author


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