Fabulous Fiction First #94

Critics are calling this a "remarkably moving and assured" debut. A Golden Age* by Tahmima Anam tells the story of Bangladesh's 1971 war for independence through the eyes of a widow.

Rehana, a Karachi version of the unsinkable Molly Brown, prizes above all her son Sohail and daughter Maya whom she lost once to a rich and powerful brother-in-law upon her husband's untimely death. Ten years later, secure and prosperous (how she got there is a shameful secret) she is being drawn into political turmoil by her children and it would take another supreme sacrifice on her part to ensure their safety.

"Panoramic in its sense of history, intensely personal in its sense of drama - a wonderfully sad yet joyous read" ~ Kirkus Reviews. This debut from the Dhaka born and Harvard educated Anam compares well with works of Monica Ali and Kiran Desai.

* = Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #92 (Small Gems #3)

A Tranquil Star: Unpublished Stories by Primo Levi - extraordinary writer, poet and a survivor of Auschwitz, is a collection of 17 (very short) stories, published originally in Italian between 1949 and 1986.

“ They reflect Levi's extraordinary range, revealing his abhorrence of bureaucracy, his passion for the most mysterious forces of astrophysics and other sciences, and his Shakespearean understanding of the nuances and peculiarities of human behavior."

This first English edition honors the 20th anniversary of his death in Turin, the city he called home.

Books to Films - December Blockbusters

Ian McEwan’s Atonement on which the film is based recounts events in the unusually hot summer of 1935, when a privileged young woman’s vivid imagination and recklessness forever alters her life and lives of those she loves. Film critics are loving “the stunning landscapes and gorgeous camerawork”.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman is part of a trilogy called “His Dark Material”, set in a parallel universe. The series has often been compared to the Harry Potter novels. The movie is churning up some controversy on both sides of the border for its anti-Catholic bias. Be your own judge and check out the New York Times Review. Better yet, go see the movie.

At long last - the much-anticipated The Kite Runner is here. It's based on Khaled Hosseini’s popular novel that traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day. Read the latest news on what is happen with the young actors.

Dexter

If you haven't been watching Dexter, you should definitely give it a try. It's a great series that premiered last year on Showtime. Not everyone out there subscribes to Showtime, though, which is where the library comes in. The first season of Dexter is based off of Darkly Dreaming Dexter, a book by Jeffry Lindsay, and the upcoming seasons correspond to the remaining sequels. The library carries the DVD's of the first season as well as the book series itself. Talking about the plot is tricky as it would ruin all the fun to reveal too much, but this much can be said: the show centers on a seemingly emotionless monster, a man that has been grooming his entire life to appear as human and likeable as possible, in order to mask his addicted lifestyle.

Mr. BROOKS

A psychological thriller about "Mr. Earl Brooks" (Kevin Costner) who received a “Man of the Year” award and seems like a nice enough guy, except sometimes he becomes possessed by his psychotic alter ego "Marshall" (William Hurt) and goes on bloody murderous rampages. Hot on his trail is a sexy police detective "Tracy Atwood" (Demi Moore) who develops an unusual bond with the slippery, split-personality serial killer. Watch (Mr. Brooks) Trailer.

Fabulous Fiction First #92

I have been saving this for a leisurely read and I was not disappointed.

Princeton professor Sophie Gee's lively, highly literate debut Scandal of the Season* provides the backstory to Alexander Pope’s famous poem "The Rape of the Lock".

1711, London. The anti-Catholic sentiments and secretive Jacobite plots to overthrow the Protestant queen makes for an uneasy social season. Pope’s growing literary reputation allows him entry into high society where he watches with interest the courtship and secret affair between beautiful Arabella Fermor and Robert, Lord Petre.

When Robert is forced to offer marriage to a wealthier heiress, Arabella’s disappointment and humiliation brings on the scandalous event that inspires the famous poem and launches Pope's career.

“Delightfully gossipy, psychologically insightful and historically fascinating”, this novel is "sprinkled with literary cameos, ...crackling verbal one-upmanship and crude double entendres...". For readers of Mary Balogh and regency romance.

* = Starred Review

More November Books to Films

The Mist by Stephen King, was previously published as a novella in Skeleton Crew.

Following a violent thunderstorm, artist David Drayton and a small town community come under vicious attack from creatures prowling in a thick and unnatural mist. Local rumors point to an experiment conducted at a nearby top-secret military base. (This title is also available in abridged audio).

In Starting Out in the Evening, the 1998 novel by Brian Morton, the solitary life of a writer is shaken when a smart, ambitious graduate student convinces him that her thesis will bring him back into the literary spotlight. A marvelous cast includes Frank Langella.

AMERICAN GANGSTER

In 1970s Harlem, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is a quiet, unassuming driver to one of NYC's most notorious drug lords. When his boss suddenly dies, Frank steps into the power vacuum to become an even bigger crime kingpin. Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is the hardnosed cop determined to bring Frank to justice. This is a gangster movie based on a true story. It focused on character rather than action and on the intricacies of people's backgrounds, strategies and motivations, a sprawling, fascinating look into the complicated mind and operations of the head of a crime syndicate. Watch (American Gangster) Trailer.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #91 (Small Gems #2)

Mr. Thundermug is the "inventive and poignant story of a baboon who acquires the ability to eloquently speak human language".

As squatters in a condemned apartment building in a fictional city (think London), Mr. Thundermug and his family face eviction. His trouble escalates when he is arrested for, of all things - cruelty to animals! "The amusing and frustrating transactions between baboon and society attain urban-legend status".

This little fable-like tale is enchanced by moody, sepia-toned photographs throughout. A noteworthy debut for British Cornelius Medvei.

November Noteworthy Books to Films

No Country for Old Men, a Coen Brothers’ adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s fast-paced thriller gives us a “disturbing look into the vortex created by drugs and violence in America and a moving meditation on good and evil, freedom and fate, time and change”, guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seat.

The film version of Beowulf , an epic poem, is a big-budget, digitally-enhanced tale of a warrior sent to battle monsters terrorizing the countryside.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is an enduring classic about two star-crossed lovers. I heard the adaptation is equally engaging.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby is an autobiographic story of the author who became completely paralyzed at the age of 43. Artist Julian Schnabel received Festival de Cannes Best Director award for this remarkable film.

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