Our library theme for 2020 is Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World–because with the library, you truly can travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Every month in 2020, we’ll be landing at a new place on the globe. In May, we’re in India.
Aviva has a seemingly bright future ahead of her, circa 1999/2000. She’s doing well in her classes at the University of Miami, working toward a degree in political science and Spanish, and has recently been promoted from her position as an unpaid intern to a paid job working for her local congressman. It’s all going so well — until her affair with said congressman is made public. Aviva quickly finds herself with no job, no friends, and no prospects. Years later, she has made a life for herself, far away in Maine under a new name, working as an event planner, when she decides to run for mayor. But in the online age, her old scandal is just a Google search away. . . .
Channeling my inner Jane Austen here: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of a retelling of a classic story has one of two reactions, joy at revisiting a tale that is both familiar and new or complete, unmitigated horror at the desecration of a favorite book.
Well, perhaps I exaggerate just a little, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that people tend to either really like contemporary updated versions of old favorites or the very idea is repellent to them. Personally, I like when a classic is effectively brought into a different time and place because I like spotting all of the allusions and seeing what the author changed and what he or she didn’t and pondering why. With all of that in mind, I approached Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest book Eligible with a great deal of curiosity.
A few months ago, the library’s book club read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Now, I am not a member of that book club, but I do always like seeing what they’re reading and discussing the books with coworkers who are members. I remember this one being particularly popular; in addition, a short time later, a patron who belonged to the book club–Callie–also recommended the book to me and suggested I review it for the blog. (Thanks, Callie!) I ended up enjoying it and think it would appeal to most people who love reading and books.
[Usually blog posts are written by Shirley, Berryville’s library services associate, but today we have a special treat–a guest review written by Tiffany Newton, the director of the Green Forest Public Library. She’s reviewing Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore for us!]
“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines — it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.”–Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
Do you love books? Quests with wizards, rogues, and warriors? Do you love code-breaking? What about ancient conspiracies? Living Forever? Modern Technology? 3D Printing? Rock Climbing? Computer Animation? Late nights spent reading your favorite childhood novel? Audio Books? Knitting?
What do all those things have in common? Well, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan takes all those amazing things and mixes them into one page-turner.