top of page
So far I have done FOUR BOOK REVIEWS (of six books). These were not written, published reviews, but rather a live presentation and discussion as part of the Books Sandwiched In series presented by The Friends of the Library at the Southeast Steuben County Library, based here in Corning.
The first one was Memoirs of A Geisha. At the time, I owned a bookstore which always stocked the New York Times bestsellers. The store, called Bookmarks, had always supported the BSI program by providing promotional bookmarks (what else?). I also had lots of fun with window displays, literally making sandwiches out of the featured books and loaves of bread. I don't have a record of my review, nor - sadly - photographs of the windows, but I do recall that I didn't much care for the book and found reviewing fiction quite difficult.
That changed a few years later when I joined the selection committee half way through the process. They had chosen the six books to be reviewed but were lacking one reviewer. The committee Chairwoman summed up the situation, saying, everything is in place except we still have to find a reviewer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I didn't quite jump on the table, but I did wave my arms in the air and yell, "ME, ME, ME". You can read my review here.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, Harry Potter became something of an obsession. I have read the seven volumes a total of about 50 times - in English (both US and British), in French, Italian and Spanish. I also own copies of some of the books in Afrikaans, German, Welsh, Latin, Russian and Bengali. (If you happen to have a copy in some other language that you don't really want any more, just send it to 81 East 3rd St, Corning, NY 14830. I will happily re-imburse the postage.). But that was just about the last fiction that I have read. Nowadays, I am so caught up in learning about the appalling state of the world that I read, almost exclusively, books about the environment and the political landscape.
Cleaning out my husband's office after he died, I came across The God Delusion on CD. I listened to it on my way to and from Dimmock, PA, where I went to see firsthand the damage that fracking can do. As you will see if you happen to read my third review, I included a book giving the other side of the story. (Hah!)
In 2016, I was still on the selection committee, but only had one book to offer - The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson, a sequel, as it were, to his Notes from a Small Island. The latter contains a passage about a discussion in a pub describing how to get from A to B via the B4735, various roundabouts and the B632, I still cannot read it without falling about laughing. Little Dribbling has a similar passage about a trip to McDonalds with all the grandchildren in tow. This was, in other words, a book just waiting to be reviewed.
However, the committee had some other suggestions which I dutifully began reading. One of those was Grunt, by Mary Roach. She is a science writer, and this book is about the science that keeps the army functioning. Absolutely fascinating, and a joy to read. Now I was in a pickle. Which one should I choose to review? I did both, but the simple expedient of talking about humor in non-fiction writing and offering both books as examples. It went over quite well, I think.
bottom of page