The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

The Book Nook, October 6-12

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

ImageSince I got into the working world, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I just don’t like to read books,” or, even worse, “I used to read books, but I just don’t have time anymore.” Somehow, in their frenzied, harried lives, a lot of people lose the passion they had for books as children. I guess when you’re a grown-up and you’re working some big, important job, it just doesn’t seem as important anymore. But to me, this is the reason it’s all that much more important. Whatever your situation, reality can sometimes be a place you want to escape. And sure, movies and television shows are fine, but only books allow you to really bring yourself into the material.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life lost in books, pretending to be someone or something different.  Some of these books have affected my life and my worldview profoundly, and some of the characters have become more my friends than people in the real world.  Books have allowed me to travel to distant times and places.  Books have made me laugh, made me cry, but most of all they have made me think.  So for this, the inaugural edition of the Book Nook, I wanted to talk about some of the books that have been important in my life:

·     *A Wrinkle in Time: As an adolescent, I was Meg Murray, awkward and insecure.  Despite being surrounded by people with supernatural gifts, it is the Meg who is the hero of the book.  This is a book that says nonconformity is good, and this is something that an adolescent girl cannot be reminded of enough.

·     *Anne of Green Gables: I was 11, the exact age of L.M. Montgomery’s titular character, when I first read this book, and the world of this imaginative, spirited orphan captivates me to this day.

·     *The Catcher in the Rye: I read this book when I was a junior in high school, and Holden Caulfield’s voice so echoed the angst and confusion of my adolescence that I didn’t realize he was having a nervous breakdown until much later, when I read some literary criticism of the book.  Apparently, the lesson here was that all teenagers are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, or at least that I was.

·     *The Lorax: I wasn’t much of a Dr. Suess fan as a young child, but when I was about 12 I babysat for a kid who loved this book.  For months, this kid had me read this to him every evening.  I was amazed at just how profound—and ahead of its time—this environmental allegory was.  To this day, I can recite much of the book by memory.


Selected Book Releases for the Week

Monday, October 6

The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones—Now that the British publication of Jones’ book about Aisha, Mohammad’s third wife, is in doubt due to fears about terrorism, the American publisher has moved up its release date.   In the long run, the controversy may work to Jones’ advantage: nothing helps sales more than a scandal.

Kill Bin Laden by Dalton Fury—Eyewitness account of the US Army Counterterrorism Unit sent into the Tora Bora Mountains to kill Osama Bin Laden in November 2001.  Forward by Fox News.


Tuesday, October 7

Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole by Victoria Osteen—The co-pastor of Lakewood Church, America’s largest church, writes about her journey of faith and finding life fulfillment.  I couldn’t find a website for Osteen, but what I did find made me wonder whether the book would mention the allegations that Osteen assaulted a flight attendant in 2005.  Yeah, probably not.

A Member of the Family: Cesar Millan’s Guide to a Lifetime Fulfillment with Your Dog by Cesar Milan—Cesar Milan, a.k.a. the Dog Whisperer, gives practical advice about integrating your canine pals into your household.

Paula Deen’s My First Cookbook by Paula Deen—A children’s cookbook by the Food Network personality.

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke—The third book in the Inkheart children’s book series.

A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre­—A novel about extraordinary rendition in Germany.  On his official website, author John le Carre states that the novel is about balancing the “political imperative against the individual passions and human morality.”

The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body by David Macaulay—The bestselling author and MacArthur Grant recipient tackles the operations of the human body.

Grace by Richard Paul Evans—From what I can find, the newest book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Gift and The Christmas Box is the story of first love, with a Christmas edge.  It sounds sappy, but I’ll probably read it anyway.

The Runaway Dolls by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, illustrated by Brian Selznik—I’ve been wondering what Ann M. Martin has been doing lately, now that the members of the Baby-Sitter’s Club are all about 40 years old.  From what I can tell, this is a series about living dolls for middle-grade readers.

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell—Essays and public radio contributor writes about the journey of the Massachusetts Bay Puritans from England to North America, showing how the US’ current problems are linked to its past.  Sounds like an interesting read.

Tales from the Dad Side by Steve Doocy—The Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and Fox and Friends cohost writes about his parenting misadventures.

Chef Jeff Cooks by Jeff Henderson—Chef Jeff Henderson’s new cookbook contains over 150 recipes.

Called Out of Darkness by Anne Rice—Anne Rice’s first nonfiction book is a memoir about the renewal of her religious faith.

Michelle: A Biography by Liza Mundy—A biography of Michelle Obama by Washington Post staff writer Liza Mundy

Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson—A story by the author of Le Divorce about a CIA agent who relocates to Marrakech, Morocco to rekindle the romance with her English boyfriend.  Somehow, the combination of CIA agent and chick lit seems like a little too much for my tastes.