Dar's a marvel. I don't know how she's able to rattle off such proper, on-the-nose picks for each person who might be looking for what to read next - and still keep her brain storming up new programming ideas to engage the community - like, say, a city-wide book club we call Ferndale Reads.
Anyway, when I wanna talk-books, I talk to FPL Reference Librarian Darlene Hellenberg. These are scenes struck from some dorked-out devotee's rap session ala- High Fidelity or some idyllic Shop Around The Corner where we share possible Best-Of listings of titles and authors.
We've never zeroed-in on just-WHAT-a finalized list, an all-time-Best-Of- might look like...
But this week, even amid her preparations for kicking-off Ferndale Reads 2013 (centered around Kurt Vonnegut's immortal and elastic meditation on war, narrative and time travel Slaughterhouse-Five), she's managed to make the List!
"This is the power list:" -she emailed me, with the corresponding titles attached. (More info on Ferndale Reads -and this year's pick: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut- at the bottom of this post).
Darlene's Picks - February 2013
By Darlene Hellenberg
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the history of a small village called Macondo and the family that founded it, the Buendías. The story spans 100 years in in the town and the interesting, strange, and sometimes fantastical things that happen there. Advice to any future readers: make a family tree!
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”
-Virginia Woolf explores the mind of Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway in this novel. It opens with one of my all time favorite lines in literature. A sentence so perfect, it sums up the main character in just a few words. The novel itself is a journey through Clarissa’s day. It’s structure is somewhat hard to follow but, again, completely worth it in the end.
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
“My mother is a fish.”
-A member of the Bundren family has passed away. The family has decided to take Addie, wife and mother, across Mississippi to bury her. Each chapter is told through another member of the Bundren family. This story is hard to follow, at times, and the dialect isn’t the easiest to understand but it’s worth reading, I promise.
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
“...in words and pickles, I have immortalized my memories, although distortions are inevitable in both methods. We must live, I'm afraid, with the shadows of imperfections.”
-Saleem Sinai is born at the exact same moment that India declares its independence from England. To most this is a simple coincidence. But in the hands of Salman Rushdie it becomes a magical tale of Saleem’s family, India’s liberation, and the other midnight’s children.
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”
-Yes, this book is long but I assure you it doesn’t matter! Steinbeck’s story of the Trasks and the Hamiltons is non-stop literary soap opera! It’s got everything: intertwined family histories, love and hate, betrayal after betrayal, and of course, redemption. Please read this book and then come and talk with me about it.
”Ferndale Reads” is our annual community reading event, buoyed by a range of varying presentations and book discussions (as well as sketch-comedy shows) throughout the area, at the Library, the Community Center and Go! Comedy. Each mini-event is centered around this year’s selection, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and it leads up to a special Author's Talk on March 26th, featuring local historian Dr. Gregory Sumner (U-D Mercy) who recently published an engaging Vonnegut biography titled Unstuck In Time.
By the way--If I were you (and was comparably curious about Ferndale Reads...)...then I'd make sure to be hanging out in the Rust Belt Market this coming Saturday, at about 2:30 p.m. Hint-hint...
*Copies of Slaughterhouse-Five will be available at the Circulation Desk (in FPL). “Ferndale Reads” demonstrates how reading, particularly as a group, elevates its value beyond a solitary recreation, allowing the community to come at the book together from various viewpoints.