Boxer or Saint?

I know that we're only in February, but these are the best books I've read all year. Yang's Boxers & Saints are both epic and dramatic and cinematic. I skipped House of Cards to finish these books and that's saying a lot.

Boxers / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
Saints / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
 
 
I know that we're only in February, but this is the best book (actually two books) I'

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Lakeview Book Club Update: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Notes from the Lakeview Book Club Meeting about Edith Wharton's, The House of Mirth

Eight of us discussed House of Mirth and all seemed to really like it a great deal. We agreed that the writing was wonderful and many quotes were shared that pointed out Edith Wharton's fabulous writing style.

Our discussion leader came with a noted biography of Edith Wharton written by Louis Auchincloss, which she passed around so we could see photos of Edith, her home, her husband, her friends and her style of living. Edith Wharton was born a few blocks from Teddy Roosevelt and was of the same incredibly wealthy class of Americans as Teddy Roosevelt. She lived most of her life abroad, (One aside comment was that she may have had to, because her books put her class in a bad light.) During World War I she was involved with raising money from her wealthy friends to aid Belgian refugees and other needed charities. She received the French Legion of Honor for her good works during that war.

 She started writing as a child. Her education was through tutors. Her

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February

Here's a preview of some great new books arriving in February.

Cover of Kinder Than SolitudeCover of BarkCover of Good Luck

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January is National Hobby Month

Looking for a new hobby in the new year? Check out OPL's offerings.

Although I don't make new year's resolutions, like many people I usually spend the month of January planning and thinking about new hobbies or interests I'd like to pursue throughout the year.  With that in mind, I've highlighted some books covering a range of topics to help you follow your passion and develop a new hobby. 

So, if you've been thinking about starting a blog or making your own spirits or if you're curious about that strange looking bird in your back yard that wakes you up every morning or even if you've ever wondered how a magician makes a 10,000 pound elephant disappear, there's a book for you. 

     

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A Valentine for Jim Dale

To my dearest, favorite narrator Jim Dale, Your voice is like buttered velvet, but not in a gross way. Will you please read the phone book to me?

The plan for this blog post was to reflect on the impressive audiobooks that have come out over the past year, as nominations for the 2014 Audie awards have just closed.  Then I realized that there's really only one voice actor that I hold dear (besides Neil Gaiman, of course, I can listen to him read source code), and that's Jim Dale, ahem, MBE

Dearest Jim Dale,

Your voice is like buttered velvet, but not in a gross way.  Actually, that's a terrible description, what I mean is that your voice is complex and sophisticated and terribly pleasing. Will you please read the phone book to me?  

For me, what makes a great book even better is superior narration, and I'm a big fan of Jim Dale.  With every word, I'm more convinced that our world is filled with magic and wonder.  He seems to almost 

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Lakeview Book Club Update: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Review of the Lakeview Book Club Discussion of Ernest Hemingway's A Farwell to Arms.

Wow, what a Meeting! I think I counted nine of us there to discuss A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.

Where to begin? Our discussion leader sent out an email asking us to think before the meeting about:

  • The body of literary ciriticism characteriizes this book as an enduring American classic. Why?
  • Prose style. Can you describe, find examples, and compare to other genres or writers?
  • Are there character traits of this author that are brought to the fore in the writing?

As usual there were reports on the life of our author. Several members took extensive notes of passages that were memorable in their ideas or in the writing style...either in a positive or negative way.

Most of the group read the entire book. A few didn't finish it and one did not read it and did not plan to read it after we had discussed it.

Regarding liking it or not, a few didn't like it at all. (I had

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Read the Book, See the Film

Check out the many books that have recently been made into movies.

You may have seen any number of recent movie releases such as The Book Thief, How I Live Now, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, 12 Years a Slave, and Catching Fire, which are all based on books.  In 2014 many more popular books for

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A few (1) of my favorite things

As I reflect on the great books I've read this year, one really stands out: Where'd you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

As I reflect on the great books I've read this year, one really stands out: Where'd you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  Bee is an over-schedule teen in a Seattle private school filled with parents who seem to have too, much time, show too much interest or otherwise are over-involved in school politics.  Bee's dad is an up-and-comer at Microsoft, and her mom, Bernadette, is a former prodigy-turned mom-on-the-verge (of a breakdown).  This book is sassy, charming, and Bernadette is totally relate-able.

At a recent holiday party, a friend told me that here favorite part of the book was actually in the reader's guide at the back (trade paperback version).  It's a short piece called "Dear Mountain Room Parents" and it's hilarious!  A mostly

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The 100-Year-Old Man Climbs out a window and accidentally gets involved with crime, wild car cases, eccentric elephant owning women and world leaders! Fun, Fun, Fun!

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Do you crave to find a new funny novel? Well, this is it! So you've read all the "Girl" series, Dragon Tattoo, ...Played with Fire and Kicked the Hornet's Nest....and you've read other Swedish authors and liked their dark, violent mysteries....and you've heard that Swedes and other Nordic people don't have a finely tuned sense of humor.....Well, that is Wrong! This book proves that a Swedish author not only can make you laugh out loud, but will amaze you with his satire and insight of the deadly world of international politics.

Some of you may be familiar with the German folk character of Til Eulenspiegal, the simple country man who does everything wrong and comes out smelling like roses every time! Well, that archetype is our 100-Year-Old Man, except, one who accidentally throughout his long life has single-handedly brought about all the 

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More Oakland Stories

Share your favorite Oakland nonfiction stories!

A few months ago I highlighted fiction set in Oakland.  Several readers suggested I do another posting featuring Oakland nonfiction, so here it is!  Oakland is home to many talented writers of both fiction and nonfiction.  I've listed a sampling of nonfiction titles here.  Have a favorite nonfiction Oakland book that you don't see listed here?  Add it to the list and share your experience of reading the book.             

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