Saturday, April 9, 2011

Consider Yourself Checked Out: Saturday, April 9, 2011

How to Participate: For all you library and book store employees, give us a sampling of 10 or so books in any of the following categories from the past week:
a) Books that were requested
b) Books that you recommended
c) Books that are currently on the "holds" shelf
d) Books that are on currently the "returns" shelf (in the case of libraries)

Remember, respect patrons' privacy and don't give out any identifying information about who you helped.  Just tell us what books went out the door this week.  Please link to your specific post, not to the front page of your blog.  Don't have a blog? Feel free to post in the comments section below.  This link will be up every Saturday and will be open for the entire week.  Feel free to participate any day you want!
And so we begin:

I get asked for this book all the time. Usually by slightly frightening looking folk with tattooed teardrops at the corners of their eyes.  But hey, I'm just glad they're using the library. I have to say, it kind of makes me chuckle that this guy:
wrote this book: 
It just seems so incongruous.After reading Publishers Weekly's starred review, I wouldn't mind reading it. Too bad three of the library's four copies have been stolen.

2. The Confession by John Grisham
This is Grisham's latest legal thriller.  One has to wonder, though, how many times can he dip into that well?  I'm thinking people are getting a little sick of him, because I don't get asked for him nearly as much as I did a few years ago.  I'll always have a soft spot for him, though, because my aunt took me to see The Firm after we'd both read the book.  I was about 13 and it was my first R-rated movie.  I felt very mature.

3. Toys by James Patterson
Speaking of people who dip into the same plot well too often, apparently James Patterson's newest book has been catalogued, because there are three copies on hold for people. I love that 84 customers have already reviewed it on Amazon and it's averaging out at 2/5 stars.  When the tagline reads, "The one with the most toys--dies" you have to know it's not going to be pretty.

4. Dog Eat Dog by Edward Bunker
What intrigued me about this book is that there is a forward by William Styron of Sophie's Choice fame.  Upon closer inspection, it looks like Edward Bunker was an ex-con who wrote books about, well, ex-cons.  Apparently, many of the books' plotlines are based on his time spent in Folsom prison.  Not sure that I'd pick up any of his novels, but his memoir, Education of a Felon might be interesting.

5. Palace of Desire by Najib Mahfuz
This is part of Mahfuz's Cairo Trilogy which also includes Palace Walk (#1) and Sugar Street (#3).  With all the unrest in Egypt, I've been curious about life over there.  While it only covers from 1919 to 1944, it claims to look at the socio-political life of that time through the eyes of one man and his family.  Obviously, it's a translation (Mahfuz is an Egyptian author).  Caravana de Recuerdos recently hosted a Cairo Trilogy read-a-long and Valerie at Life is a Patchwork Quilt has an interesting post about book one. So, if you're thinking about picking these up, there are some starting points at least.

Hmm. This was published in 2004. I wonder if the economic collapse of '08 was a result of so-called "cheating culture."

Lucille Ball, Princess Diana, Tupac Shakur, and Walt Disney seem to be the timeless biography classics around here.

8. Permanent Parisians: An Illustrated Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris by Judi Culbertson
Bet you didn't know about this book!  Bet you also didn't know who all is buried in Paris: Chopin, Isadora Duncan, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Marcel Proust etc.   Obviously, this is the guidebook you need to bring with you on your next visit to France.

9. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
My Contemporary Novels professor assigned this to me about ten years ago and I didn't read it.  Roth turned me off with Portnoy's Complaint which totally grossed me out. Of course, I was only eighteen years old when I read it and was coming out of over a decade of private schooling.  To say I was a tad sheltered is probably an understatement.  Last fall, I picked up Nemesis and loved it which made me decide to try again with Roth now that I'm older and more <snicker> sophisticated.  Not sure if I'm ready for Portnoy again, so American Pastoral it will have to be. I'll let you know how it goes.

Just got a call for this one and unfortunately we didn't have it. (Never fear, though, I filled out the handy-dandy patron request form.)  So, this 19-year old girl gets caught up in the wrong crowd and winds up pleading guilty to dealing heroin because she was told that if she did so she would just get probation, since it was her first offense. Nope. She lands in prison. And, get this, after 14 months in the slammer her grandfather busts her out.  She then leads a double-life for over thirty years, until the police finally catch up with her in 2008.  Read about it here. Wowser. That book is sure to circulate a zillion times.

Well, there you have it. I guess we're a bit heavy on the prison books this week. Oh well.  Maybe next time we'll have more redemptive titles.

P. S. Some of these books weren't available at Vroman's, hence the links to Alibris, Powell's and Barnes & Noble.


  1. I quit John Grisham after I read A Time to Kill. I thought the movie was so much better than the book, and that's just wrong.

    Portnoy's Complaint is a bit much. I read it last year, and I'm still not quite sure what I think of it. Maybe I'll give Nemesis a try.

  2. Yeah, there is something definitely wrong when the movie beats the book.

    Have you read any other Roth besides Portnoy's Complaint? Is it worth a revisit? I think I especially found Nemesis fascinating because my mom had polio as a little girl and this book really captures the time period and the panic that parents were feeling. It made me appreciate what my grandparents experienced.

  3. Thanks for linking to me regarding The Cairo Trilogy! Yes, even though it takes place during an earlier era in Egypt, it does sort of help me understand their cultural background.

    That is so interesting about the first title you listed about the Mexican mobster. Makes me wonder if the author was in danger while writing about his book -- he certainly would have stood out too much to go "undercover"!

  4. Hi Valerie! That was a great post about The Cairo Trilogy. I actually found it by doing a Google blog search and yours was by far the best review I found. Our copies are all checked out my library, but I think I'm going to pick it up when it comes back. I'm glad to hear it helps with understanding the cultural background. So much change over there, it's hard to know where to begin.

    I didn't even think about the fact that the author of the Mexican mafia book could be in danger--I wouldn't be surprised if you're right. Scary thought.