By Gini Rainey
“The Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown
A New York Times best-seller, “The Weird Sisters” is an interesting novel about three sisters whose brainiac father’s main method of communication is by using quotes from William Shakespeare. In fact, he is so enamored by the Bard that the girls are named after three of his characters: Rose (Rosalind, “As You Like It”), Bean (Bianca, “Taming of the Shrew”) and Cordy (Cordelia, “King Lear”). However, their mother is still stuck somewhere in the peace-loving 60’s and has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Wonderfully written, this is a book you’ll have trouble putting down. Although not new to the market (published in 2011), the interwoven lives of the three sisters gives a fresh look at the relationships in a family filled with people who don’t know how to live their own lives, nor how to communicate with one another.
This tale of relationships between siblings is not a new concept, but Brown’s take on the three sisters, their ethereal parents, and life in a college town was unique. Each one of the girls returned home, trying to escape a life that was in shambles, and consequently, are attempting to get their collective acts together while getting help and encouragement from one another. What they found was a mother facing a serious illness who, although wouldn’t admit it, needed their love and support to continue through her own healing process.
This compelling, coming-to-adulthood story follows the different paths that each of the sisters has chosen and aren’t necessarily happy with. Through the process of their discovering that they pretty much define themselves by the relationships and characteristics of the other sisters, the reader is able to pretty much take a bird’s eye view as the process unfolds. “Sisters,” told in an unusual, but fitting, collective first person “we” voice, makes for some interesting Escher-like shifts in perspective as the story seamlessly moves among the different sisters lives as they comment on their entanglements and deliver sisterly judgements and reactions to each other.
Although the book got off to a slow start, and I had to give some extra thought to the Shakespeare lines for better clarification. When it was all said and done, this turned out to be a great read that I found hard to put down.
Copyright 2011 – Berkley
Rating: 4 out of 5
“Cary Grant: Dark Angel” by Geoffrey Wansell
Geoffrey Wansell, an acclaimed biographer and former reporter and feature writer for “London Times,” columnist for the “Observer” and the “Sunday Telegraph,” takes on the awesome task of writing a biography about one of the most iconic leading men that has come out of Hollywood. From his humble beginnings as Archibald Leach in England, to the star-studded glamour of the big screen, Cary Grant’s life is laid out for the reader in straight-forward language, with very few punches pulled.
Cary Grant had a fairly unusual, challenging life, and was blessed, yet riddled, with different issues from his childhood. Even though, as an adult, he kept much of his private life to himself, and had many emotional insecurities, Grant was able to create a cool, suave, meticulous character that he shared with the public who adored and revered him.
Unfortunately for me, I read this book on my Kindle and just now discovered that originally it was published in a coffee table book format and was filled with, apparently, wonderful photographs that gave a visual backdrop to Grant’s life story. Somehow I can’t help but think the visual would have greatly enhanced the reading experience of this book.
Although Wansell gave some insight into the complexity of Grant, I had a lot of trouble staying with this book. In my opinion, this book, with all of the interesting stories about Grant’s life, is really more of a chronological account of the life and times of Cary Grant, and although all the speculation in the world can be made about what might have been going through his mind and motivating him, Grant is the only one who knows for sure where that truth lay.
Copyright 2011 – Arcade Publishing
Rating: 3 out of 5
“Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir” by Kambri Crews
In this critically acclaimed and “New York Times” best-seller, Kambri Crews tells the story of her life growing up with two Deaf parents in a voice that is fresh, fearless, and singular. This is another one of those books that I found difficult to put down. With Crews telling the story about her family’s struggle to repair their broken relationship by moving the family into the woods deep in rural Texas, you had to question the wisdom of such a move. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out the way they had planned and had to abandon the woods to move into Ft. Worth and a more advantageous job market.
Through Kambri’s brilliant use of descriptions and character development, she had me laughing, crying, becoming angry, and feeling intense sorrow, as I was pulled into the riveting story about her family’s attempt to find a semblance of normalcy in spite of several set-backs.
The major unsettling undercurrent in the Crew’s family was Kambri’s father’s inability to escape the demons that seemed to plague him, and that ultimately succeeded in pulling him in directions that landed him in jail and serving a 20 year sentence.
If nothing else, “Burn Down the Ground” illustrates the infuriating complexities of life. There are so many sides to every story, and as much as we would like to have them fit neatly into a box, they just can’t and won’t. Kambri learned through living how to survive, and through that survival she has become an incredible writer who isn’t afraid to tell it like it was.
By leading us through the challenges she faced, Crew helps us to become much more wise and compassionate to ourselves and others when life gets messy and doesn’t go ‘according to plan.’ The honesty and rawness of this book makes it a must-read if you’re wanting to gain the perspective of the life of someone who has dealt with things most of us will never know, and survived to tell about it, in an completely honest and mature way.
Copyright 2012 – Villard
Rating: 5 of 5
May 19th: Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells at Tyler Public Library
Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells & Makerspace At The Library
The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to tylerlibrary.com.
All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium.
Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am
Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday
Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am
Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am
May 5th (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.
May 26th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature May 12th: Drawing with Finch™ Robots and May 26th: Maze Challenge with Finch™ Robots.
May 19th (10:30am) – Family Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch fun feature-length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.
Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at library.cityoftyler.org/Programs/Teens. Events are:
May 1st: Free Play with Finch™ Robots
May 8th: Dancing with Finch™ Robots
May 15th: Battle Bots with Finch™ Robots
May 22nd: Scavenger Hunt
May 5th (10am-12 noon) – EastSide Fiber Artists – An open gathering of all things fiber. Whether you quilt, knit, crochet, weave, spin, needle felt, etc. Bring your current or completed project and make some new friends.
May 11th (11:30am) – “Sex in the Garden, All About Propagation” with Debbie Watkins will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series.
May 17th (5pm) – Reel Talk – This event is like a book-club, but for movies! Free to attend.
May 18th (1-3pm) – Veteran’s Movie – Join this biweekly screening of movies presented especially for veterans. This free event is held the first and third Friday every month.
May 19th (10am-3pm) – Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells – Local Author Patricia Taylor Wells will be selling copies of her new memoir, “Mademoíselle Renoír à París.”
May 29th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles.
Every Tuesday (10am-1pm) – Quilting Class – Learn the art of quilting at the Library. Fabric and quilt patterns will be provided. Participants are asked to provide their own sewing machines, if you have them, plus scissors, and neutral or white thread. For details and a complete list of supplies please contact the Library’s information desk.
Every Tuesday (5:30-6:30pm) – Evening Meditation – Learn the practice of Heartfulness Meditation with Gayathri Kambhampati.
Every Wednesday (5:30pm) – Gentle Yoga – This gentle yoga class will be taught by Meagan Vrba who is certified in yoga, CPR, and first aid.
Every Saturday (11am-12 noon) – Crochet Classes will be held in the 3rd floor Internet Center Workroom. These are free classes. Learn to crochet with Library staff and volunteers. All materials are provided. All experience levels are welcome.
Get Prepared for Summer! Here’s Your 2018 Summer Reading List
What’s on Your Reading List for Summer?
By Gini Rainey
“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
If you are interested in reading a book that has won nearly every award out there, then this is a must-read for you. Scheduled to be a series next season on Hulu, this page-turner follows the perfect-on-the-outside family as their life is shattered by a nomadic artist and her daughter who land in their neighborhood.
Written by the same author of Everything I Never Told You, Ng doesn’t disappoint in the building of three-dimensional characters who can hold their own in the real world. With opposing family values creating social conflict after social conflict, this book is simply a book of contrasting human characteristics. While the topics of conflict were introduced gently, there is nothing gentle about the impact of they had on both families.
Although this book started out slow, it wasn’t long before it turned into a can’t-put-down page-turner. I found that I couldn’t read this book without feeling anger, sympathy, joy, worry, hope, and loss. Little Fires Everywhere might be a fast read, but it is definitely an emotional roller coaster, so get ready for an excellent literary ride.
Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 2017 – Penguin Books
“The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel” by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
If you’re anything like me, reading the Bible straight through is nearly impossible. Studying individual verses on my own time is easier, but leaves a lot to be desired as far as any kind of continuity. The Book of God was recommended to me by one of my pastors a few years ago as a means to provide me with a greater understanding of the Bible. Written in novel form, Wangerin helps to make the ancient men, women, and events come alive with vivid detail and dialogue.
I will admit that even though I love the language used in the King James Version, there are times when the lilting phrases make it difficult to comprehend and focus on the core messages. One of the greater bonuses gained by reading this version is the flow of the stories, especially when reading the Old Testament.
With this book, Wangerin has provided Christians and non-believers a better understanding of the history of the Bible in addition to the many translations and paraphrases of the Bible that are already available. He has taken what historians know about the lives of people in Biblical times and woven it with the historical books of the Bible and provided us with a new and intrinsic way to view the people of the Old and New Testaments.
Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 1998 – Zondervan
“The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” by Stella Brooks
Are you a WWII history buff? How ‘bout a Texas high school football fan? Are you interested in an aspect of Ft. Worth’s Depression-era history?
If any or all of those topics catch your eye, you will get your money’s worth of stories from the book “The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” by Stella Brooks. It offers such unique nuggets of Texas and WWII history that has yet to be addressed.
Author Stella Brooks, in her first published work, achieves an informing and warm balance between biographical facts and connecting the reader to the characters.Similar to non-fiction biographies, this book is written in third person. The author does a great job connecting the reader with Miller’s thoughts and emotions allowing the reader to watch the story unfold before their eyes.
It is obvious to any reader that this book was well researched and that much of the information was provided to the author through her first hand interviews with Dr. Moseley and his “brothers” from the Masonic Home. By the time the last page is read, it is clear this story was told not only with paper, pen and ink, but also with heart. It is a true account of Miller’s life that could not be told in any other way.
From the author Stella Brooks, “His wife forewarned me that he had never discussed his life. He had given small morsels of information, but nothing more. But it was one of those small morsels that had me intrigued. I knew there had to be more to this man. Something was missing Expecting the same resistance, I knocked on his door. He must have felt instant trust because he spilled everything. Miller’s wife said ‘Stella, You have the magic key. Miller has never told anyone about his past, not even me.’ Those close to Miller echoed the same. It was a miracle indeed. This book is a lifetime of silence unmasked. I will always cherish our friendship.”
“The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” is a gripping story of faith, dedication, perseverance, and overcoming adversities in order to achieve greatness.
Rating: 5 of 5, Self Published
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Story Times
Barnes & Noble Booksellers Story Times
Every month Barnes & Noble (B&N) has a variety of events. All events are free to attend. B&N Booksellers is located at 4916 S. Broadway, Tyler. For more info on this and other events call (903)534-3996 or go to barnesandnoble.com.
April 28th (11am) – “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” Storytime – Full of rhyming fun, “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” features appearances by some of the world’s greatest scientists. Young readers will enjoy learning about scientists and how they changed the world.
May 5th (11am) – “Llama Llama Loves to Read” Storytime – Llama Llama is becoming a reader and can’t wait to show his mother everything he’s learned. Join this storytime and activities featuring this beloved character.
May 12th (11am) – Mother’s Day Storytime featuring “I’ve Loved You Since Forever” and “Everything Is Mama” – Join this special Mother’s Day storytime featuring books by bestselling authors Hoda Kotb and Jimmy Fallon. Activities to follow.
May 19th (11am) – “Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century” Storytime – Join this storytime and activities in celebration of the Royal Wedding. In this wonderful book about weddings big and small, Fancy Nancy helps out the bride and attends a fabulous party.
May 26th (11am) – “An Elephant & Piggie Biggie!” Storytime – Elephant & Piggie are back to celebrate 10 years of friendship in this special collection featuring five classic Elephant & Piggie stories. Join this storytime with activities to follow.
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance
July 4th: Freedom Fighters 5K Race and more races!
Theatre Guide: “The Odd Couple” Performing Mother’s Day!
Liberty Hall: “Finding Dory” Swim Along June 2nd
May 19th: “Nut Job 2, Nutty by Nature” Movie Nights at Bergfeld Park
October 13th, Award-Winning Band MercyMe in Concert
Festival of Fruit: 34th Annual Tomato Fest Saturday, June 9th
May 20th: Pooches on The Patio!
May 17-24th Foodie Events: Boards & Bites Coming Soon!
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