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Thursday, September 15, 2016

#60 - Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Blinking Eye - Kathryn Kenny

Title:  Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Blinking Eye
Author:   Kathryn Kenny
Genre:  Children’s Mystery
Category:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  originally 1963
Dates:  9/7/16 – 9/12/16
Pages:  212

We find all the Bob-Whites and their friends, Bob and Barbara Hubbell and Ned Schulz, from Iowa enjoying an August vacation in New York City.  Their chaperone – the inimitable Miss Trask.  At Kennedy International awaiting their friends’ arrival, Trixie helps a Mexican woman connect with a flight home to Mexico City.  In payment the mysterious woman gives Trixie a pretty straw purse, telling her to use it right away and fore-telling good fortune will come her way.   A while later Trixie buys a funny little statue at an antique store that she declares is so ugly it’s cute.  That same day, Trixie discovers a scribbled wad of paper in the purse the fortune-telling woman was given her.  They beg Miss Trask to translate what appears to be Spanish which she does with much grace and ease.  From there, an outline of the Blinking Eye mystery is revealed and the Bob White company of friends pursues it in a frenzy of sight-seeing and intrigue.   

Monday, September 12, 2016

#59 - The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht

Title:  The Tiger’s Wife
Author:   Tea Obreht
Read by:  Susan Duerden and Robin Sachs
Genre: Literature
Category: Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  2011
Dates:   8/25/16 – 9/12/16

This is an amazing fairy tale full of enchantment and symbolism, told by Tea Obreht, story-teller extraordinaire.   From the back cover – “In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage.  By the time she begins to inoculate the children, she feels age-old secrets gathering everywhere around her.  But Natalia is also confronting a private mystery: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her grandfather’s recent death.  He set off for a settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone.  A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel.  Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.”
The stories he told her when she was a child come tumbling back to her.  The Tiger, the Bear, the Deathless Man, her grandfather’s book, The Jungle Book – all are so compelling.  While I don’t claim to understand much about what these symbols represent just hearing them read is enough.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

#58 - The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

Title:  The Bell Jar
Author:   Sylvia Plath
Reader:  Christina Moore
Genre:  Literature
Category:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  originally in 1963
Dates:  9/1/16 – 9/11/16
Cds/Hrs:  7/8.25

Esther Greenwood is our protagonist.  She’s won an essay contest and spends a few weeks in New York as one of some other junior editors working for a women’s fashion magazine.  Filled with parties, not much work and other aimless activities, Esther and the other girls go all out.  When Esther gets back to her mother’s suburban Boston home, she finds she has traded one artificial world for another.  Her depression is fueled by her estrangement from her family, her boyfriend, her inability to write.

Before long she finds herself in an asylum, subjected to shock treatments, and sinks into further desperation and mental illness.  All the while she continues to assess who she really is versus who she thinks people want her to be.

This book was originally published in 1963 London under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.  Plath, who wrote this book before her thirtieth birthday and died shortly thereafter, relates well to the college age set and the book was inspired by her own short life.  Also a consummate poet she received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1982.  It was a Special Posthumous Award.