The February Meeting for the Greedy Reader Book Club will be Tuesday, Feb 22 at 2:00 pm in room Y-233.
Cleopatra: Life by Stacy Schiff --- DT92.7 .S35 2010
From Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Schiff (Véra [Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov]) offers another fine biography here. Though few reliable records remain regarding the Egyptian queen, this book peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Cleopatra and attempts to reveal a legend in her own time. While Schiff takes a few liberties by ascribing emotion to her subject, she demonstrates an immense amount of research. Her narrative does not so much bring forward anything new about Cleopatra as it presents her to the contemporary reader in a more accessible and, indeed, engrossing way. The results complement Diana Preston's Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World, which examined the reality behind the first "celebrity couple," also with an eye to contemporary readers.
VERDICT With her new book, Schiff showcases her skill at capturing a life. Her prose is elegant but easy to read and briskly paced. In spite of extensive research, Schiff's projection of emotions and motivations onto her subject tilts the results more toward pop history than real scholarship. Undergraduates, lovers of biography or ancient history, and those seeking an introduction to Cleopatra will delight in this take on the near-mythical last queen of Egypt. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/10.]—Crystal Goldman, San Jose St. Univ. Lib., CA
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The book for this month is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
From the Publisher:
The international literary sensation-a runaway bestseller in Spain, rights sold in more than 20 countries-about a boy's quest through the secrets and shadows of postwar Barcelona for a mysterious author whose book has proved as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget.
Barcelona, 1945-just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn't find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
As with all astounding novels, The Shadow of the Wind sends the mind groping for comparisons-The Crimson Petal and the White? The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte? Of Victor Hugo? Love in the Time of Cholera?-but in the end, as with all astounding novels, no comparison can suffice. As one leading Spanish reviewer wrote, "The originality of Ruiz Zafón's voice is bombproof and displays a diabolical talent. The Shadow of the Wind announces a phenomenon in Spanish literature." An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller's art.