Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Read it! Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

from the VOYA review

James Sveck has it all, or so it seems to his family. He is eighteen, accepted into Brown University for the fall, and has a summer job working at his mother's art gallery. From James's point of view, however, life is not so idyllic. His summer job is a joke because hardly anyone ventures into the gallery-instead he has to appear busy and interested. Ditto the prospect of college: James is not certain that he even wants to attend school, uncertain as to why would he want to spend time with people his own age. On the surface, James appears to be just another disaffected product of a privileged life. Readers will discover, however, that there is more to James than his professed disinterest. Profoundly affected by the events of September 11 and his parents' divorce, James coats his wounds and focuses instead on precision in language from his parents and his peers. What saves this novel from becoming yet another story of a rich teen who is bored by his own life is the slow unfolding of the events that have colored James's outlook on life. Cameron is never rushed in the narrative, taking his time to show readers that sometimes the events of one's life can take a toll that is difficult to see at first. James, forced to become more introspective and to seriously consider why he is so dissatisfied with his life, comes to understand that same lesson and to learn that he can not only survive but also rise above his challenges.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Read it! This I Believe edited by Jay Allison

from Library Journal

In an age of disinformation, spin, and lies, NPR's This I Believe comes as a source of refreshment and useful disquiet. NPR revived this 1950s radio series quite recently, and this collection (not complete at the time of review) draws transcripts from both the original series and its newer version, including some remarkable statements from the likes of dancer/choreographer Martha Graham, autistic academic Temple Grandin, writer and physicist Alan Lightman, novelist and social critic Thomas Mann, economic historian Arnold Toynbee, and feminist writer Rebecca West. Astonishing to hear and astonishing to read and reread, this work is a wonderful addition to any library.