Monthly Archives: October 2011

“The Borrower” by Rebecca Makkai

This is the story of Lucy Hull (shortened from Hulkinov when her father migrated to America), a children’s librarian, and her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake.

Ian is a slightly asthmatic book worm who uses books as an escape.  His parents have forced him into attending a class every weekend run by “Pastor Bob” Lawson’s GHM classes.  GHM stands for Glad Heart Ministries where Pastor Bob is “dedicated to the rehabilitation of sexually confused brothers and sisters in Christ”.  Ian’s parents are worried that he may be gay, or at the least heading “down the wrong path”.  He is not allowed to have sleepovers, play with only girls or only boys.  His mother gives Lucy a list of content matter that Ian must avoid while choosing library books which includes Magic, Weaponry, Halloween and specific authors like Ronald Dahl and Lois Lowry.

While this story centers around Ian, and Lucy’s attempt to rescue him, it is also suggestive of banned books, and those who attempt to regulate subject matter for others.

One morning when Lucy arrives to open the library, she is surprised to find Ian bedded down on a pallet between the book shelves, building imaginary worlds with origami.  She attempts to drive him home and in following Ian’s directions ends up nowhere near his house.  He asks her to just drive a while, or maybe drive to his (non-existent) Grandmother’s house.

Before long they’ve crossed the Mississippi River and enter Illinois.  When she suggests they turn around and go back, he tells her that if she does, he will tell his parents and the police that she kidnapped him from the library the night before and wouldn’t let him go.  He says he will describe the inside of her car and say that she told him she always wanted a child, and now she had one.

While she ponders over whether she’s a kidnapper or he’s a librarianapper, they cover more ground, are gone more than one night, and in their cross country treck they travel through Chicago, Pittsburgh, Vermont, up to the Canadian border and are gone ten days before he’s finally ready to return home.

Meanwhile there is a search going on for the missing Ian Drake, news coverage, and missing posters.  How do they avoid detection for so long, and how does Ian get home, and most interesting, how does Lucy avoid arrest?

In addition to being a book about books and the love of reading, it also has a great plot and a most interesting character in Ian Drake.

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“Skinwalker” by Faith Hunter
Published July 7, 2009

Jane Yellowrock,(Dalonige i Digadoli), a Cherokee Skinwalker whose legal, but completely false, birth certificate puts her at age 29, is a vampire hunter. Her past is beyond reach, as she woke up wondering in the woods, naked, scarred and without memory of the English language. Before that she remembers bits and pieces of her father & grandmother, and her change into “Beast”, a part that is still with her. She believes she is over 100 years old, and her shape shifting and years living as “Beast”, a mountain lion, have kept her physical human age young.

Her shape shifting gives her abilities far beyond a normal human. She can scent and track, has better than normal vision and hearing and can move more than humanly quick – almost vamp quick. She can shift into almost any animal, although big cats are her favorite. She’s still not sure how she and Beast have come to their current duality, but they work together well in her line of work.

She is contracted by an old vamp named Katherine Fontaneau, of Kaitie’s Ladies) to come to New Orleans and track and kill a rogue vamp that is killing indiscriminately between humans and other vamps. Beast names this rogue “Liver Eater”, and with Beast’s help and at times, Beast’s form, Jane is able to track and kill the “Liver Eater”, who she finds is also a shape shifter and she believes, a Cherokee.

Faith Hunter writes this series with a believable knowledge of vamps, their blood servants and hierarchy, and enough knowledge of “The People” and their practices and beliefs to make it a very interesting read. Jane is precocious and aggressive, and her mouth gets her into as much trouble as her chosen line of work. Laugh out loud funny in parts, hard to put down all the way through.

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Quotes about Books

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~Anna Quindlen

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.  ~Paul Sweeney

If you resist reading what you disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe?  The things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our convictions.  ~Author Unknown

A house without books is like a room without windows.  ~Heinrich Mann

Never judge a book by its movie.  ~J.W. Eagan

He who lends a book is an idiot.  He who returns the book is more of an idiot.  ~Arabic Proverb

Let your bookcases and your shelves be your gardens and your pleasure-grounds.  Pluck the fruit that grows therein, gather the roses, the spices, and the myrrh.  ~Judah Ibn Tibbon

No person who can read is ever successful at cleaning out an attic.  ~Ann Landers

To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one.  ~Chinese Saying

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.  ~Anatole France

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