Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

April 15, 2014

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those terrific, but unfortunate (for adults, anyway), books that is labeled as “teen.” Most adults probably would pass this slender tome by, and that would be a sad mistake.

Chboksy’s debut novel is a cult classic as well as being critically acclaimed; no easy feat. Anyone who navigated adolescence (uh, all of us) can relate to some aspect of Charlie, an awkward wallflower and high school freshmen that no one seems to notice. The novel is written in a series of letters to a “friend,” and captures what it is like to experience everything for the first time.  It doesn’t shirk from the topics of: deep friendship, homosexuality, sex, drugs, alcoholism, theft, mental illness, sexual abuse – you name it, it’s in there, and written about in a candid, open way.

Charlie retires his wallflower status when he is befriended by high school seniors/brother and sister Patrick and Samantha. As he is brought into their inner circle of friends, Charlie learns that the people he used to admire from afar, and think had perfect lives – are just as damaged as he is. Most of the novel rings very true, and Charlie as written by Chbosky (who has said he has a lot of Charlie in him) is a delight to read. I normally don’t enjoy epistolary novels, but this one had me riveted so much that I watched the film after reading the book (hint: the book was better, but note that Chbosky also wrote the screenplay AND directed the movie). Well-drawn characters, realistic dialogue, and a plot twist at the end all make for a classic.

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Best New Books of 2013: Melissa O’s Picks

December 12, 2013

Here it is! My favorite blog post of the year. It is difficult to narrow down my favorite books of the year to only five, but here is a sample from all over the library. As you can see, I have wide ranging interests, so you never know what I might stumble across to share with you!

The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber
This book combines the suspense of a crime drama, the anxiety many of us feel about going into the hospital, and a serial killer into a frightening edge-of-your-seat tale! This is the true story of Charles Cullen, a registered nurse who was implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients during his career and was finally arrested in 2003. The most terrifying aspect of the story is how he managed to be so successful as a serial killer.  For more information read a review of this book or check out the author’s website.

Nobody by Jennifer Barnes
Have you ever felt invisible, overlooked, or unimportant? Of course, it is all in your head. But what if it wasn’t? What if you COULDN’T be noticed? Meet Claire, a Nobody who does not know she is one. Until the day someone tries to kill her.  But how can he notice her when no one else does? And why would anyone care enough to want to assassinate her? With a nice mix of Sci-Fi, action, and romance this is a fun read.

Suspect by Robert Crais
This is a must read for any mystery, action thriller, or dog lover! A new favorite, this book grabbed me from the first pages as it brings together two damaged souls: a cop and a former war dog. Both are recovering from devastating injuries. Both have lost their partner. Can Scott and Maggie help each other heal? And will they ever be able to protect and serve again? You cannot help but root for this duo as they fight to solve the mystery of Scott’s partner’s death.

The Elite by Kiera Cass
The second book in Cass’s dystopian series (after The Selection) immerses you in political intrigue, romance, and … reality TV? Torn between two loves, America Singer is vying for the hand of Prince Maxom even as she is drawn back to her first love. But this prince doesn’t woo his princess in the way you would expect. He selects his bride through a televised competition. Think “The Dating Game” meets “The Real Housewives!” A fun read and I am looking forward to the next installment.

Frozen In Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of WWII by Mitchell Zuckoff
Two stories are woven together in this suspenseful retelling of a tragic and heroic rescue effort from WWII.  The book begins with the November 5, 1942 crash of a US cargo plane in Greenland. The rescue effort saw another plane crash, and the vanishing of a Grumman Duck amphibious plane. The modern day quest for those lost men and the retelling of the months long rescue is a riveting tale. What made it more special is describing the book to my grandfather, an Army lieutenant throughout war, and having him recall hearing about these lost men over 70 years ago.

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