Just in time for the 150th Anniversary, the Daily Beast has come up with this list of essential books about the war. There are no fiction titles here (that would be a separate list), and they may be missing a few essential ingredients, but it is an excellent starting point.
I loved this book. It was sweet and funny and a really quick and easy read. Fannie's books always have so much heart in them. It's the perfect thing to read if you are trying to decompress from something stressful (for me it was an algebra class), or a lovely book to spend a couple of hours reading on a nice afternoon outdoors.
The main character in the story is Maggie Fortenberry, a former Miss Alabama who has returned to her home town of Birmingham to sell real estate. On the surface, it looks like Maggie has the perfect life, but things aren't always what they seem. She is berating herself for a lifetime of missed chances, and feels like life is just not worth living any more. You will fall in love with Maggie as she makes plans to leave a world she can no longer bear, and darn it if life just keeps interfering with her plans. My other favorite character from the book is Maggie's boss, Hazel, an eternally optimistic midget who calls herself "the biggest little real estate woman in the world." There is even a neat little mystery wrapped up in this whimsical tale of a southern belle who has lost her way.
This book is also a love letter to Birmingham and the state of Alabama (my home state, so I share Fannie's love for the place). When Fannie describes the heyday of the city and those grand old houses on the hill you can almost smell the magnolia blossoms.
Here's a link to a video of Fannie being interviewed about this book. For some reason it wouldn't let me embed it for you, but I think if you take the time to view it, you'll see why Fannie is a favorite of book clubs.
I absolutely adored this book, just like I adore and admire the irresistably delightful Fannie Flagg.
Yesterday, the American Library Association released its list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins made the list this time in "what's become a virtual rite of passage for young adult sensations," the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reported.
"I've read in passing that people were concerned about the level of violence in the books," Collins said. "That's not unreasonable. They are violent. It's a war trilogy."
This year's top 10 are:
1. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson Reasons
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. Lush by Natasha Friend
7. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
8. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Some random comments:
"It almost makes me happy to hear books still have that kind of power," Alexie said. "And there's nothing in my book that even compares to what kids can find on the Internet."
The ALA reported 348 challenges to books in 2010 and at least 53 outright bans. According to Barbara M. Jones, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, some books on the list "reflect current trends and changes in technology, including Hunger Games, inspired in part by reality television; Aldous Huxley's classic Brave New World, which anticipates antidepressants and artificial fertilization; and a work of nonfiction: Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich's despairing account of trying to get by as a waitress, maid and Walmart worker," the AP noted.
"The closer books come to things that are really happening in a lot of lives, the more they become a reminder of what people don't like to think about," Jones said, adding that Ehrenreich's book "really hits hard what it's like to have a low paying job."
My take: Nickel & Dimed was a great muckraker of a book. Sherman Alexie's book is funny and deserves all the awards it has won. Brave New World...Twilight...you have got to be kidding. What a joke this whole Banned Books thing has become.
First of all, if you haven't read The Hobbit--read it. Tolkien's The Hobbit and his Lord of the Rings trilogy are fantastic books. Secondly, Peter Jackson did a wonderful job interpreting the trilogy and everybody is waiting with baited breath for The Hobbit. This film snippet will whet your appetite and prime you for the filmed experience of Tolkien's magical book.
Everyone has their own favorite list of southern books. Southern literature is definitely one of my favorite genres. Here's Glen Taylor's top ten. Harper Lee is no surprise, and I'm gratified to see Rick Bragg on the list. Eight, nine and ten on his list are certainly classics. There are a few new ones to me that I intend to check out. Maybe you should too.
Good books. Good times. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good beginnings. Good ends. Good people. Good friends. Good fiction. Good facts. Good adventures. Good acts. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good books. Good times.
Yeah, Reading is Sexy
A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat
All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
River of Earth by James Still
Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs
The Mitford series by Jan Karon
The Stand by Stephen King
This quote from Eudora Welty captures perfectly how I feel about books and reading
"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
Get Caught Reading
Want to find time to read? Fall in book love. Seek out the books that fire your passions. Follow your intellect and your heart. Then time will find you. ...Steve Leveen
Stop thinking this is all there is...
Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral.
Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel.
Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious...there's your opening!
And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.
...Mark Morford, Newspaper Columnist and Yoga Instructor
CONAN THE LIBRARIAN
I read as if time were running out, because technically it is. As I grow older, I find I'm increasingly impatient with mediocre entertainments: I want books that will take my breath away and realign my vision...Barbara Kingsolver
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill...Barbara Techman (Writer)
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul...Samuel Ullman
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order...John Adams, 2nd President of the U.S.
Every page allows me to live in the main character's thoughts and marvel at how all of us who grew up poor and female are bonded, regardless of where we were raised or who raised us. I not only feel I know this person, but I also recognize more of myself. That's just one of the great joys of reading. Insight, escape, information, knowledge, power. All that and more can come through a good book...If you're going to binge, literature is definitely the way to do it...Oprah Winfrey
"I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved."
Asking a Librarian her favorite book is like asking a Mother her favorite child
So you want to become a librarian? Welcome to a vibrant and exciting profession. Click here.
The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen. Health and strength may fail. But what you have committed to your mind, is yours forever...Louis Lamour
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.Just get people to stop reading them. ..... Ray Bradbury
I LOVE NEIL GAIMAN
Do yourself a favor and read American Gods, Anansi Boys, Fragile Things, Smoke & Mirrors, The Graveyard Book, MirrorMask, or Good Omens
Love the Fantasy/SciFi genre
Many good authors to try, John Scalzi is one of the newer ones
Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, interesting...Aldous Huxley
The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent read!
I was an adult before I read these books...how sad...
BOOKS: The Other Channel
My lifelong love affair with books and reading continues unaffected by automation, computers, and all other forms of the twentieth-century gadgetry. — Books in My Life Robert DOWNS (1903- )
A room without books is like a body without a soul. .....Marcus T. Cicero
To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry. ......Gaston Bachelard
The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries. — Cosmos Carl SAGAN
The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life. — Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475 Norman COUSINS (1915- )