19 March 2008

13. The Patron Saint of Liars

This first novel from Ann Patchett begins with a lie of omission. The consequences of that lie and how the characters deal with them is at the heart of the remainder of the book. Which is laden with lies. The story is told from three perspectives: Rose, who left her husband who did not know she was pregnant and traveled from California to Kentucky to stay at a Catholic Home for Unwed mothers to deliver her child and give it up for adoption. Son, the older man who is a maintenance man for the home who eventually marries Rose and serves as a father to Rose's daughter. And Sissy - the daughter who wants a mother to love her. No one in this story really gets what they want. Actually it was the side characters that I really enjoyed in this book - a young girl whose baby dies at birth, a nun who can see the future for the unborn babes, and the other girls who wind up at St. Elizabeth's.

I enjoyed the book as it was told from Rose's and even Son's perspective. I did not care for the daughter's perspective which included an ending that was too abrupt although somewhat expected.

TITLE: The Patron Saint of Liars
AUTHOR: Ann Patchett
PAGES: 335
TYPE: Fiction
RECOMMEND: Yes, it is worth the read especially if you are Catholic


12. Good Masters, Sweet Ladies

I cannot think of the words to say how much I loved this latest Newbery winner. Good Masters, Sweet Ladies: Voices from a Medieval Village is a wonderful adventure in medieval history. Written by Laura Amy Schlitz to be performed by middle school students with each having a substantial role, the author introduces a variety of young people who might have lived in a village in England in 1255. Interspersed between the short vignettes provided for each villager, the author includes brief historical notes and longer explanations of specific topics which might be of interest to the reader. What a successful plunge into the publishing world by a fellow librarian.

I cannot leave you with my favorite quote because I just don’t think I have one. You need to read the book (I read it in only about 30 minutes) and see what you think. I should also add that I really liked the illustrations by Robert Byrd as well. Another quality which is very nice in a children’s book is a full bibliography. I loved it!!

TITLE: Good Masters, Sweet Ladies: Voices from a Medieval Village
AUTHOR: Laura Amy Schlitz
TYPE: Historical Fiction, children
RECOMMEND: Yes, absolutely. I hope this book is embraced by middle school history teachers across the world.


03 March 2008

11. The Knitting Circle

I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish the last 100 pages of this wonderful book. Hood allows us to experience the growth and acceptance of these women, who have only become "friends" through a knitting circle that meets weekly at the little knit shop. Each woman has lost something and Hood, through the main character, allows us to discover what the loss is and how it has affected the life of each character. While there is some sadness in reading this book, particularly if you have lost something as these women, there is great hope in the friendships and exchanges between these women. I would recommend each woman to read the book and then find such a group of women.

TITLE: The Knitting Circle
AUTHOR: Ann Hood
PAGES: 352
TYPE: Fiction
RECOMMEND: Yes, each woman should read this book