Theme of the Week

P – Language and Literature – The Diary of Bridget Jones

Reader: Cindy Parkhurst
Author: Maya Angelou
Title: I know why the caged bird sings
Call Number: PS 3551 N464 Z466 1993 Rating: 4

Summary: Maybe I’m nosy or maybe I just like to meet new people, but I love to read about people’s lives. So, it will come as no surprise that I love biography and memoir. I particularly love memoir as it is colored with the author’s perceptions of events in their lives.

Maya Angelou’s book about her early life has been on my “To be Read” list for longer than I’d like to admit. Some of you who know me know that I have a very large list indeed! I must say that I really enjoyed this book! I have always enjoyed her poetry – her use of words is so amazing to me! I was not disappointed in this memoir. She used words to paint a picture of her life that was at once haunting, incomprehensibly sad, victorious and hopeful. If this sounds like a big bill to fill, it is...but she does it in less than 300 pages and paints an amazing picture with her words.

She was born to parents who loved her but were absent due to the drama in both their lives. Her stability came from her grandmother who lived in Arkansas and from her older brother with whom she shared everything. When the children were sent to live with their mother in Kansas City, things got very rocky for 7 year old Maya – she was raped by her mother’s live–in boyfriend. This tragedy is poignantly and vividly described and I could see the author attempting to deal with fall–out of this trauma through the rest of her adolescence and early adulthood.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I want to read the rest of her story – she has five other books about her life so I will not want for reading for awhile.

Cindy Parkhurst

Reader: Kitty Simmons
Author: Alan Moore
Title: The Watchmen
Call: PN 6737 M66 W38 2008
Rating: 5

Summary: “And now for something completely different.”––Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Reading my first graphic novel was about as different an experience as I ever expect to have with a book. About as far removed from the comic books of my childhood as a pail of sand is from the beach, this book was a thrill ride and well worth the effort of getting used to an unfamiliar format. Imagine a world where “superheroes” who have delivered a vigilante form of justice are retired, tights hanging in closets, and then they make a comeback of sorts. However, these characters don’t really have any superpowers (except for one who is more mutant than Superman). They just dress up and act like superheroes. The murder of one of these “Watchmen” provokes the others to action as they hunt for the killer. From there the plot takes too many twists and turns for a simple summary. Elements of science fiction, politics, noir, and even romance, are skillfully blended into a pretty amazing story.

Of course, in this genre, the illustrations are not just an interesting accompaniment to the text, but an integral part of the work. The visual impact of this book is impressive to say the least. The author also includes pages of textual backstory and additional exposition of the plot. The “comic within a comic” is another unusual element that takes the reader along two completely different storylines at the same time.

I’m looking forward to seeing the film adaptation of this book now that it’s out on DVD, but I recommend reading the book before seeing the movie to get the full blast of the creators’ vision for this work. I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy reading The Watchmen since it is completely different from what I usually read on many levels, but sometimes different is just the ticket.

Theme Archives

B’s – philosophy, psychology, theology, religions
C or D – history of Europe, Africa, Asia, archaeology History of the World part 1
E or F – history of the Americas – Roots
G or H – Economics, business, anthropology, sociology, crime – Wall Street
L – Education – Stand and Deliver
M or N – Music, Art – Amadeus
P – Language and Literature – The Diary of Bridget Jones
Q or R – Science, Math, Medicine – Beautiful Mind