Monthly Archives: January 2011

Bite Me: A Love story – Review

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Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Age: Adult

***** SPOILERS ******** SPOILERS*********

If you haven’t read Bloodsucking Fiends, or You Suck, then this review of the third and final book in the trilogy may contain some spoilers.

***** SPOILERS ******** SPOILERS*********

Chet, the fat vampire cat is on the loose in the streets of San Francisco, killing off the homeless population and turning stray cats and birds into vampires. Meanwhile, Jody and Tommy are trapped in bronzed statues of themselves, a la their minion, Abby Normal. As the Emperor, the Animals, and the police try to put an end to the deadly vampire cats, Jody and Tommy must find a way out of the bronze statues soon once a pack of elder vampires park their boat at the pier and save the residents of San Francisco.

The third book in the series is centered on Abby and her quest to become “Nosferatu”.  She is clearly the favorite in this, as she has the best lines and the best storyline in the book. A good chunk of the beginning of the book involves Abby recapping the previous books for us, and that was sort of annoying. It went on for much too long. The actual storyline of vampire cats roaming the streets, the samurai with the bright orange socks, and the ship full of ancient vampires back to set order to the City got a little carried away. Between all of that, Abby trying to become a vampire, and the storyline with Jody and Tommy, I felt like there was a lot of clutter. Moore did a decent job of overlapping all the storylines, so that there weren’t any loose ends or random tangents.

Although Moore incorporated his perfectly sarcastic and absurd humor, this book just didn’t have the same feel as the first two books. Once you get into the quick-paced writing its easy to get sucked into the storyline and not be able to put down the book. I carried this book around with me everywhere looking for moments to sneak in a couple of pages. This one really felt like the weakest of the three books. Its really Moore’s writing style and his ability to incorporate the quirks and history of San Francisco, that only San Franciscans know, in his books that made this enjoyable for me.

Book 3 of 2011

Bite Me: A Love Story
Christopher Moore
William Morrow, 2010
ISBN 978061779725
309 pages


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Bite me : a love story

The Dewey Decimal of my Dreams

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Random library pun fun!

Celebrity Pictures - Joseph Gordon Levitt - Checking You Out

SF Booklist (Adult) Legal

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San Francisco is home to some of the finest legal thrillers and series. The Bay Area is home to a few mobsters, a few bums, quite a number of pimps, and gangs. Although there is no CSI: San Francisco, or Law & Order: San Francisco on TV, the golden city by the bay is not without its crime and shadowy corners.

  1. Jim Barnett
    1. Imagine
  2. Dudley W. Buffa
    1. Star Witness & other works
  3. Vincent Bugliosi
    1. And the Sea Will Tell
  4. Robin Burcell
    1. Cold Case
  5. Patricia Campbell
    1. Lush Valley
  6. Angela S. Choi
    1. Hello Kitty Must Die
  7. Gaylord Dold
    1. The Devil to Pay
  8. Robert Dugoni
    1. The Jury Master
  9. Michael Eberhardt
    1. Witness for the Defense
  10. Joe Gores
    1. Deak Skip & Other Works
  11. Stephen Greenleaf
    1. State’s Evidence
  12. Blair Hoffman
    1. Murder for the Prosecution
  13. Jonnie Jacobs
    1. Shadow of Doubt & other Works
  14. Gus Lee
    1. No Physical Evidence
  15. John T. Lescroat
    1. The 13th Juror & Other Works
  16. Claudia Long
    1. Weave Her Thread With Bones
  17. Malcolm McPhearson
    1. Deadlock
  18. John S. Martel
    1. The Alternate & other works
  19. Lia Matera
    1. Havana Twist & other works
  20. Marcus McGee
    1. Legal Thriller
  21. John Miller
    1. Causes of Action
  22. Will Nathan
    1. Book of Business: A Novel of the Law
  23. Carla Neggers
    1. Outrageous Desire
  24. Perri O’Shaughnessy
    1. Unfit to Practice
  25. Richard North Patterson
    1. Eyes of the Child & other works
  26. John A Peak
    1. Mortal Judgements
  27. Sheldon Siegal
    1. Incriminating Evidence & other works
  28. Julie Smith
    1. Death Turns a Trick & other works
  29. Shirley Tallman
    1. The Cliff House Strangler & other works
  30. Alfred Vea
    1. Gods Go Begging
  31. Chelsea Quinn Yarbo

1. Bad Medicine

SF Booklist (Adult) – Detective

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Detective and Private Investigator mysteries set in San Francisco. Anything in italics is reflective of a series of books featuring the same character. Most mysteries tend to come in series, so don’t be surprised to find other titles by the same authors when browsing at the bookstore.

  1. JL Abramo
    1. Jake Diamon Series
  2. Charles Alverson
    1. Not Sleeping, Just Dead
  3. Diane Anderson-Minshall
    1. Blind Eye Mystery series
  4. William Babula
    1. St. John series
  5. Donald Bain
    1. Martini’s and Mayhem: Murder She Wrote
  6. David Berlinski
    1. Aaron Asherfield series
  7. Meredith Blevins
    1. The Red Hot Empress
  8. Kelly Bradford
    1. Footprints
  9. Richard Brautigan
    1. Dreaming of Babylon
  10. Kate Bryan
    1. Murder on the Barbary Coast
  11. Robin Burcell
    1. Face of a Killer
  12. Dorothy Byrant
    1. Killing Wonder
  13. Chad Calhoun
    1. The Frisco Lady
  14. Jerry Jay Carroll
    1. Inhuman Beings
  15. Michael Castleman
    1. The Lost Gold of San Francisco & Other Works
  16. Whitman Chambers
    1. Dog Eat Dog & Other Works
  17. Leonard Chang
    1. Fade to Clear
  18. Mark Coggins
    1. August Riordan series
  19. Curtis Christopher Comer
    1. Blake Danzig Chronicles
  20. Catherine Coulter
    1. FBI Series & Other Works
  21. Pamela Cranston
    1. The Madonna Murders
  22. James Dalessandro
    1. Bohemian Heart
  23. Kenn Davis
    1. Melting Point
  24. Kyra Davis
    1. Sophie Katz series
  25. Janet Dawson
    1. Jeri Howard Mysteries
  26. Dianne Day
    1. Fremont Jones Mysteries
  27. John E. Douglas
    1. Broken Wings
  28. Stella Duffy
    1. Wavewalker
  29. David Feeney
    1. A Skeleton in the Closet
  30. Denny Martin Flinn
    1. San Francisco Kills
  31. Raymond Fraser
    1. A Change Called Death
  32. James Frey
    1. Came a Dead Cat
  33. Anderson Gabrych
    1. Fogtown
  34. Meg Gardiner
    1. The Dirty Secrets Club
  35. Danielle Girard
    1. Savage Art
  36. Herbert Gold
    1. She Took My Arm As If She Loved Me
  37. Lee Goldberg
    1. Mr. Monk series
  38. Steven Gore
    1. Final Target
  39. Joe Gores
    1. Daniel Kearny Associates & Other Works
  40. Ron Goulart
    1. Ghost Breaker
  41. Linda Grant
    1. Catherine Saylor Series
  42. Stephen Greenleaf
    1. John Marshall Tanner Series
  43. Dashiell Hammett
    1. The Maltese Falcon & Other Works
  44. Dorothy Hannah
    1. Come and Be Killed
  45. TC Harbaugh
    1. The Boy Detectives
  46. John Haskett
    1. Policy Terminated
  47. Edward Hurlbut
    1. Lanagan
  48. Marian Jackson
    1. The Cat’s Eye
  49. Jonnie Jacobs
    1. Kate Austen Mysteries
  50. Bret Austin Jones
    1. Nest of Vipers
  51. Stuart Kaminsky
    1. Poor Butterfly
  52. HRF Keating
    1. Murder by Death
  53. Jerry Kennealy
    1. Nick Polo Mysteries
  54. Laurie R. King
    1. Mary Russell Mysteries & and the Kate Martinelli Mysteries
  55. Andrew Klavan
    1. Weiss & Bishop Mysteries
  56. Chris Larsgaard
    1. The Heir Hunter
  57. John T. Lescroat
    1. Dismas Hardy Series
  58. Will Lee
    1. Cobalt
  59. Hailey Lind
    1. Anne Kincaid Mysteries
  60. Margaret Locke
    1. A Relative Stranger
  61. Lisa Lutz
    1. The Spellman’s Strike Again
  62. Jack Lynch
    1. Bragg series
  63. Tim Maleeny
    1. Cape Weathers Mysteries
  64. Peter Marvalis
    1. San Francisco Noir 1 & 2
  65. Derek Marlowe
    1. Somebody’s Sister
  66. Sujata Massey
    1. The Samurai’s Daughter
  67. Ross McDonald
    1. The Way Some People Die
  68. Melisa C. Michaels
    1. Through the Eyes of the Dead & Cold Iron series
  69. John Miller
    1. San Francisco Thrillers
  70. Richard Morgan
    1. Altered Carbon
  71. Patricia Morrison
    1. Ungrateful Dead: Murder at the Filmore
  72. Marcia Muller
    1. Sharon MaCone series
  73. Jim Nisbet
    1. The Damned Don’t Die
  74. Carol O’Marie
    1. Sister Mary Helen Series
  75. Diana Orgain
    1. Kate Connelly Series
  76. Elane Osborn
    1. A Season to Believe
  77. Richard North Patterson
    1. Conviction
  78. Linda Lee Patterson
    1. Edited to Death
  79. Elizabeth Pincus
    1. Nell Fury Mysteries
  80. CE Poverman
    1. On the Edge
  81. Bill Pronzini
    1. The Nameless Detective Series
  82. William Rivera
    1. Panic Walks Alone
  83. Lora Roberts
    1. Murder Follows Money
  84. Alan Russell
    1. No Sign of Murder
  85. Eugene Sawyer
    1. The Coleraine Tragedy
  86. Leslie Scalapino
    1. Dahlia’s Iris
  87. Harry Schezade
    1. The Mystery of Eve
  88. Barry Shannon
    1. The Bold Stroke
  89. Robert Sharpe
    1. The City of Love and Pain & Other Works
  90. Roger Simon
    1. The Big Fix
  91. Carla Simpson
    1. Seduced
  92. Jack Spicker
    1. The Train of Thought
  93. Domenic Stansberry
    1. Dante Mancuso series
  94. Arne Sultan
    1. Hart in San Francisco
  95. Mariann Tadmoor
    1. Murder in San Francisco
  96. Jean Taylor
    1. The Last of Her Lies
  97. Ronald Tierney
    1. Paladino & Lang Mystery & other works
  98. Jim Thompson
    1. Ironside
  99. William Viharo
    1. Love Stories are Too Violent for Me

100. Bob Weaving

The Cull

101. Pat Welch

Still Waters

102. BJ West

Fog City Nocturne

103. Gloria White

Ronnie Ventana Mysteries

104. Collin Wilcox

Hire a Hangman

105. Hugh Wiley

Murder by the Dozen

106. Mary Wings

Emma Victor Series

107. Larry Wonderling

The Ultimate Evil

108. Gil Van Wyck

Simon Purvis

109. William Vollman

The Royal Family

110. Fred Zackel

Cocaine and Blue Eyes


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  1. William Viharo
    1. Love Stories are Too Violent for Me

2. Bob Weaving

    1. The Cull

3. Pat Welch

    1. Still Waters

4. BJ West

    1. Fog City Nocturne

5. Gloria White

    1. Ronnie Ventana Mysteries

6. Collin Wilcox

    1. Hire a Hangman

7. Hugh Wiley

    1. Murder by the Dozen

8. Mary Wings

    1. Emma Victor Series

9. Larry Wonderling

    1. The Ultimate Evil

10. Gil Van Wyck

    1. Simon Purvis

11. William Vollman

    1. The Royal Family

12. Fred Zackel

    1. Cocaine and Blue Eyes

Jonathon Livingston Seagull – Review

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Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Age: all

This illustrated short novel is about Jonathon, a seagull who is not content with the life laid out for him by his flock. While everyone else is content to merely living to eat, Jonathon yearns to fly and improve his understanding of his abilities as an avian creature. When he is cast out of the flock for his adventurous nature, he soon transcends his world into another and becomes a leader amongst seagulls for his innovative ways.

A fairly short and quick read, Jonathon Livingston Seagull (JLS) is your basic story of thinking outside the box and not conforming to the expected norm in your culture. The book is broken into three parts, with each part we follow Jonathon into a new arena of his life. There are religious undertones through the book that mostly start in Part 2. (Is Jonathon really the Messiah of the gulls?) In the many versions of the afterlife, there are sections of Jonathon teaching this new “faith” to his “disciples” as they try to convert many of the gulls still on Earth who aren’t happy with their lives.  I definitely was not expecting the religious themes in this book, so that caught me off guard. Its very in your face, the way the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis are religious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, its just the main element of the book. So its probably not the book for Atheists or Agnostics. The main point of the book, for me at least, is that we should always stay true to our dreams and true natures despite what the community thinks.

Book 5 of 2011

Jonathon Livingston Seagull
by Richard Bach
Scribner, 1973
112 pages


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Hotel of the Saints – Review

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Hotel of the Saints by Ursula Hegi

Age: Adult

This book is a collection of short stories, mostly taking place in Washington State. The back synopsis coves everything I want to say about the contents of the book.

In the Hotel of the Saints, Hegi enters the perspectives of lovers and loners, eccentrics and artists, children and parents: a musician who tries to protect her daughter from loving a blind man; a seminary student yearns for the certainty of faith that belonged to him as a boy…

I’m never sure of how to review short story collections. All I can say about this book is that Hegi is a very talented and complex author. Her perspective is wide and each story is different. Although each story shares a common thread of isolation, and sadness, there are different levels, different people and different emotions linked together. There is an element of loss in each story. Either the character has lost something, is looking for something or is afraid of losing something or someone. This fear and the sense of loss is the catalyst for many of the actions and decisions taken by the characters. I wouldn’t call this collection uplifting, but it is engrossing and the reader can learn a lot about themselves through the though processes of the various characters.

Although each story is touching and can bring out unforeseen emotional responses in the reader, it was the last story that I really connected to. This is a story about two sisters living together with their elderly dog and the fear of losing their dog in the battle against his impending death. Having recently lost a beloved pet, I was holding back tears reading through this chapter. Hegi was able to articulate the connection we develop with animals, and the attachment that grows which is often more for us than for the animal.

If you have ever experienced loss or a sense of doubt, then at least one of these stories will resonate with you in some way.

Hotel of the Saints
by Ursula Hegi
Simon & Schuster, 2001
ISBN 0743227166
170 pages


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Hotel of the Saints by Ursula Hegi

Book 4 of 2011

SF Booklist (Adult) Sci-fi/Fantasy

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Time travel, rock star elves, death, vampires and werewolves all plague San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area cities in this collection of works by Bay Area authors. I highly recommend the Christopher Moore titles…since those are the only ones I’ve read off this list.


  1. Erin Allen
    1. Another Foot in the Grave
  2. David Skibbins
    1. Eight of Swords
  3. Sara Gerstle
    1. Four Ghost Stories
  4. Christopher Moore
    1. A Dirty Job
  5. Melisa C. Michaels
    1. Cold Iron & Other Works
  6. Michael Shea
    1. Copping Squid and other Mythos Tales
  7. William Irwin Thompson
    1. Islands Out of Time: Memoirs of the Last Days of Atlantis, a Metafiction
  8. Laurie Ann Fox
    1. The Lost Girls
  9. Ann Zavala
    1. San Francisco Gold
  10. Jean Fitzgerald
    1. The Golden Gate Bridge Troll


  1. JR Levitt
    1. Unleashed & Other Works
  2. TA Patt
    1. Blood Engines


  1. William Gibson
    1. All Tomorrow’s Parties
  2. Sonia Singh
    1. Ghost, Interrupted
  3. Ron Goulart
    1. After things Fell Apart
  4. Brian Herbert
    1. Prisoners of Arionn
  5. Lisa Mason
    1. Cyberweb & Other Works
  6. John Shirley
    1. City Come a Walkin


  1. Amelia Beamer
    1. The Loving Dead
  2. Edo Van Belkom
    1. Wyrm Wolf
  3. Saje Williams
    1. Tales from Magitech Lounge
  4. John Shirley
    1. Demons
  5. Meljean Brook
    1. Demon Angel
  6. Allyson James
    1. The Black Dragon
  7. Mercedes Lackey
    1. The Fire Rose
  8. RA Ruetter
    1. Lycanthropes and Leeches


  1. Jon Cory
    1. A Plague of Scoundrels
  2. Stephan Dedman
    1. Foreign Bodies
  3. David Rey Echt
    1. Messenger From the Summer of Love
  4. Guillaume Musso
    1. Will You Be There
  5. Susan Squires
    1. Mists of Time
  6. James Swanson
    1. The Stuff Dreams are Made Of
  7. Brad Linaweaver
    1. Sliders: A Novel


  1. Dodie Bellamy
    1. The Letters of Mina Harker
  2. M Christian
    1. The Very Bloody Marys’
  3. Linda Grant
    1. Vampire Bytes
  4. Keith Herber
    1. Dark Prince & Prince of the City
  5. Christopher Moore
    1. Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story
  6. Christopher Moore
    1. You Suck: A Love Story
  7. Christopher Moore
    1. Bite Me: A Love Story
  8. Elaine Moore
    1. Retribution
  9. Clare Willis
    1. Once Bitten
  10. Mary Wolfman
    1. The Curse of Dracula


  1. Felicia Andrews
    1. Moon Witch
  2. Ann Zavala
    1. Crystals
  3. Cameron Dokey
    1. Haunted by Desire (Charmed TV Show)
  4. Elizabeth Lenhard
    1. Charmed Again (Charmed TV Show)

The Thin Man – Review

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The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

Age: Adult

Set in the backstreets of New York City during the 1930’s Depression Era, San Francisco detective Nick Charles finds himself dragged into solving a murder mystery concerning one of his former New York friends. With a dead body, a missing father, police and the mob and a very dysfunctional family all vying for a chance to gain Nick’s trust and confidence, will he be able to figure out whodunit?

Hammett’s writing is fluid, colloquial and highly entertaining with Nick and Nora’s sarcastic jabs and jests. Although this book is a stand-alone, it had the feeling of being part of a series, and that Nick and Nora were characters we were already familiar with. I have never started reading a book and felt so attached to the characters. The setting is utterly noir, set in speak-easys and apartment homes scattered throughout New York City. There are mobsters, police, conmen and more through the book. Not too mention all the alcohol consumed just by Nick alone. If one isn’t chain smoking, then they are sipping on a glass of whiskey. I found this entirely intriguing given that it took place during Prohibition when alcohol was banned across the United States. Although there were a number of twists in the book, I was able to figure out whodunit before the book’s end summation. I think this is one of those books where the animated and kooky characters more than compensate for a lacking storyline. There is more talking and quips going back and forth in this book than in a typical Gilmore Girls episode. (fans of GG know what I’m talking about…those 80 page weekly scripts.)

I may not like contemporary mystery novels, but this one I can really get into. 80% of it is because of the language. Words and phrases like “what a rotten guy” “what a mug he has” etc. Although there is one phrase, that for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it means.

Dorothy’s coming up. I think she’s tight.

What on Earth does “tight” mean? It’s used again in the book and confused me for a bit.

Dashiell Hammett is one of the most influential and profound mystery authors of the previous century. His works have been turned into popular movies: The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart, as well as the Thin Man movies. There is even a Dashiell Hammett tour in San Francisco once a week. It’s a 4 hour tour, for $10, and it follows in the footsteps of Sam Spade, the San Francisco detective from The Maltese Falcon.

The Thin Man
by Dashiell Hammett
Vintage Crime, 1933
ISBN 0679722637
201 pages


Find this book at your local library

The thin man

ALA announces youth media award winners

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The 2010 youth media awards have been announced by the American Librarian Association. These books are chosen for their outstanding writing, context and influence on teens and children.

Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth.  Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s and young adult experts, the awards encourage original and creative work.  For more information on the ALA youth media awards and notables, please visit the ALA website at

A list of all the 2011 award winners follows:
John Newbery Medal
Moon over Manifest
“Moon over Manifest,” written by Clare Vanderpool, is the 2011 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
Randolph Caldecott Medal
for the most distinguished American picture book for children
A sick day for Amos McGee

“A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” illustrated by Erin E. Stead, is the 2011 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Philip C. Stead, and is a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing.
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award
recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults
One crazy summer
“One Crazy Summer,” written by Rita Williams-Garcia is the 2011 King Author Book winner. The book is published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences
  • “The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel,” by Alden Bell, published by Holt Paperbacks, a division of Henry Holt and Company, LLC
  • “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel,” by Aimee Bender, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • “The House of Tomorrow,” by Peter Bognanni, published by Amy Einhorn Books, an imprint of G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of the Penguin Group
  • “Room: A Novel,” by Emma Donoghue, published by Little, Brown and Company a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
  • “The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel,” by Helen Grant, published by Delacorte, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • “The Radleys,” by Matt Haig, published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
  • “The Lock Artist,” by Steve Hamilton, published by Thomas Dunne Books for Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press
  • “Girl in Translation,” by Jean Kwok, published by Riverhead Books, an imprint of the Penguin Group
  • “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard,” by Liz Murray, published by Hyperion
  • “The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To,” by DC Pierson, published by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • Follow the link to see the winners and honorees of the remaining awards.

    The Night Bookmobile – Review

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    The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

    Age: Adult

    The Night Bookmobile is a graphic short story that tells the story of a young woman who encounters a mysterious, disappearing Winnebego that carries the most valued elements of her past on the streets of Chicago. The night bookmobile is run by Mr. Openshaw and its hours run from Dusk to Dawn. Exploring through the stacks and stacks of books, Alexandra discovers that the bookmobile houses every single book she has every read, or attempted to read in her life. This chance encounter draws Alexandra into an almost obsessive cycle of reading, and trying to find the bookmobile once again, even going so far as to become a librarian to one day work for the bookmobile and The Library.

    I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. – Jorge Luis Borges, “Poema de los Dones”

    This is the quote that kept running through my head while I read this graphic novel. Alexandra’s chance encounters with the bookmobile are sporadic, but timely.  She always comes across the bookmobile at a major turning point in her life, three major turning points to be exact. This book reads more like a cautionary tale against having too much love of reading and books (something unheard of among bibliophiles). Seeing the path Alexandra is drawn down is somewhat disturbing, but maybe because I see myself in her place. Who wouldn’t want their heaven to be full of books, read and unread? Audrey Niffenegger made an interesting point in the afterword:

    As I worked it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer lives, a cautionary tale of the seductions of the written word. … What is it we desire from the hours, weeks, lifetimes we devote to books? What would you sacrifice to sit in that comfy chair with perfect light for an afternoon in eternity, reading the perfect book, forever?

    It is a very haunting story, very much in step with Niffenegger’s style. I love my books, I love the stories, the characters and the lives I can spyon  in any book I pick up and read. But I’m not sure what I would sacrifice for that perfect book in that comfy chair with the perfect lighting. This book brings up many thoughts on life and death, being anti-social and the difference between living for a dream and living in reality. I think any reader who comes across this book should take a pause and really understand why they read and just where books fall in line with their priorities.

    The Night Bookmobile
    by Audrey Niffenegger
    Abrams, 2010
    ISBN 9780810996175
    33 pages


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    The night bookmobile