Thursday, October 30, 2008

Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby


Theodore Mead Fegley has always been the smartest person he knows. By age 12, he was in high school, and by 15 he was attending a top-ranking university. And now, at the tender age of 18, he's on the verge of proving the Riemann Hypothesis, a mathematical equation that has mystified academics for almost 150 years. But only days before graduation, Mead suddenly packs his bags and flees home to rural Illinois. What has caused him to flee remains a mystery to all but Mead and a classmate whose quest for success has turned into a dangerous obession.At home, Mead finds little solace. His past ghosts haunt him; his parents don't understand the agony his genius has caused him, nor his desire to be a normal kid, and his dreams seem crushed forever. He embarks on a new life's journey -- learning the family business of selling furniture and embalming the dead--that disappoints and surprises all who knew him as "the young Fegley genius."Equal parts academic thriller and poignant coming-of-age story, LIFE AFTER GENIUS follows the remarkable journey of a young man who must discover that the heart may know what the head hasn't yet learned.

This is a remarkable book and a must read for our book club. As a teacher, we often see this same child and wonder what will become of them - thus, reassured by the ending in this novel. Praises to M. Ann Jacoby on her first novel.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ghost Stories? You Bet!!

October, my favorite season! I love the cool, crisp air, the colorful leaves, the excitement among the wildlife, and Halloween. I just enjoy the spooky fun that I remember as a child and fortunately, it wasn't such an issue back then. It was costumes, carnivals, candy apples, fishing for toys, hayrides, pumpkin carving, lots and lots of candy, and ghostly, spooky stories. Children are naturally drawn to "scary stories" as I was. As a school library media specialist that is the hottest request right now - they can't wait to check out those "scary" stories.

But what about adults? What is it about scary stories that keeps us coming back? What is that makes our hair stand up? What makes us shiver? Why the screams? Although, I'm not a big "haunted house" kinda person, I do enjoy reading ghost stories that are not so bloody and evil. Here is my list for this coming week. What are you reading for Halloween this year??

by Steve Berman
The Man In Pictures by Susan Hill

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Thirteeth Tale

Our next selection for Book Club, meeting on October 15 is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfeld. This is one of the most intriguing novels that I have read lately. The Thirteenth Tale is the story of Ms. Vida Winter, a renown British author as she is just discovering that she is terminally ill. The other notable character, Margaret Lea, daughter of a local antique book dealer and biographer, one day finds an unexpected letter from Ms. Winter requesting that Margaret write her biography. As Margaret tries to collect the vivid details of Ms. Winter's childhood, she finds herself digging into her own past.

Margaret visits the enormous Gothic home of Ms. Winters in order to interview her for the biography. Unfortunately, Ms. Winter has more experience at weaving tales and she finds it difficult to stick to the facts. The Thirteenth Tale is, of course, Ms. Winter's life story. As she shares her history with Margaret, we discover a most unusual family, riddled with tragedies, lies, ghosts, evil, incest and many secrets. This novel is reminiscent of the Gothic mysteries and novels by Agatha Christie, Charlotte Bronte, Barbara Michaels and Victoria Holt. So if you find their writing captivating, you will not want to miss this debut novel by Diane Setterfield.