Friday, January 26, 2007

The Nanny Diaries

I recently finished The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus in an easy two days. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and enjoyed it all the way through. The good and the bad are well presented in this novel, and I think the two authors’ experience as nannies helped make this book funny, but also tender hearted in the end. A conveniently named Nan, is a young college student who nannies part time. She seems experienced in her stories of interviewing for jobs, getting jobs and keeping jobs. But this story is focused on one four year old Grayer. He is sometimes sweet, sometimes rotten, but completely cute and in need of his parents. Nan goes through school as well as finding a new boyfriend while working for the Xs. They ask her to do the impossible, she misses important events, and she is talked down to. The things that Nan and other Nannies go through are almost unbelievable. She is frustrated with her position, yet she finds the time to become emotionally attached to Grayer, and has a hard time telling the Xs “no.” I picked it up because I heard about the movie coming out (in April) and wanted to read it before seeing it. I hope it is as great as the book!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Edgar Award Nominees 2007

Due to some shuffling around of positions at work, I haven’t had a chance to read much of anything or find the time to report on the novels I have had a chance finish but all that aside…the Edgar Award nominations have been announced for all those mystery lovers out there. The awards for books published in 2006 will be given out April 26, 2007 in NYC. So, out of the nominees for hardback books, I have read four. For the Best Novel Nominees … you can read back to my post on The Virgin of the Small Plains by Nancy Pickard. Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris dealt with life in an uppercrust Brit prep school and the child of the school’s caretaker, flash forward to about 20 years later (if I remember right) and we revisit the school as someone with a vendetta takes on the school and its faculty one by one, in a mystery way, not a horror way and very good with an ending to which I never saw coming (but then again, I’m one of those reader’s that do NOT try to figure out who-done-it, I just go along for the ride!) I also have to mention that The Janissary Tree by Kevin Goodwin is sitting, right this moment, on my bookshelf and I keep looking at it knowing I have to read that (and a million other things) soon. Out of the Best First Novel by an American Author… Sharp Objects was very psychologically intriguing and I normally don’t go reading about people with the afflictions this young reporter had but by the time I realized what was going on, I was already sucked into the story and it was too late to stop, also loaded with tons of dysfunctional family life. And I have commented on another post about Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith but let me reiterate, if you want a super fun Holmesian western mystery out with the cowboys, this is definitely the book for you. I eagerly await the second installment of the adventures of the Amlingmeyer brothers in their second book, On the Wrong Track, due out March 6th. And of course, A Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson and A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read are sitting on that same bookshelf by The Jannisary Tree (need to get to those soon!) Anyway, check the partial list and see you see anything to put on your “to read” list and for more categories (like the Best Motion Picture Screen Play category to go on your “to watch” list…go to the Mystery Writers of America complete nominees list)

Best Novel Nominees

  • The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard (HarperCollins)
  • The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Gentleman and Players by Joanne Harris (HarperCollins - William Morrow)
  • The Dead Hour by Denise Mina (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown and Company)
  • The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (Random House - Ballantine Books)
  • The Liberation Movements by Olen Steinhauer (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Best First Novel By An American Author

  • The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (Random House)
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Crown - Shaye Areheart Books)
  • King of Lies by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur - Thomas Dunne Books)
  • Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith (St. Martin's Minotaur)
  • A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read (Warner Books - Mysterious Press)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Not-So-Grown-Up January Book

This month's book club read is A Long Way Down By Nick Hornby.
Here is a brief summary from the book jacket:

"In his eagerly awaited fourth novel, New York Times-bestselling author Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they've reached the end of the line. Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives. In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances. Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life."

We will discuss this book at the next meeting. It will be held on February 1st, 2007 @ 6:00pm

If you're interested in joining the Not-So-Grown-Up Book Club please visit the James I. Gibson Library or contact us at 564-9261.