Friday, August 15, 2008

Cold nights in Leningrad

City of Thieves is the new novel by David Benioff, who did a terrific job as the screenwriter for the movie The Kite Runner. City of Thieves shows that Benioff is a talent in his own right. The story takes place during the siege of Leningrad by the Germans in World War II. The two main characters, Lev and Kolya, are strangers thrown together in prison for minor crimes that could have major consequences (such as execution). Instead, they are spared and sent on an assignment: find a dozen eggs so that the colonel's daughter can have a cake at her wedding. Leningrad is suffering, and people are surviving in cunning and brutal ways--eggs and chickens have long disappeared. The book is the recounting of Lev and Kolya's adventures and attempts to find the precious eggs before the appointed deadline. As they fight for survival, their friendship builds and becomes a thing of beauty in the midst of horror and depravation. It's a great book.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Going down memory lane

Water for Elephants has been a favorite of book groups all around the country, so the Delphi Book Club has selected it for their August book. Sara Gruen's debut novel is about an elderly man living in a nursing home, lonely and sometimes crotchety, who spends a lot of time in the past. Jacob Jankowski has led a very interesting life, and feels frustrated that his fellow residents and nurses don't seem to get that about him. When a circus comes to town, and he begins mentioning his long-ago days with the Benzini Brothers' Most Spectacular Show on Earth, no one believes him. Most of the book takes place during Jacob's circus days during the Depression, and lets readers into a world filled with adventure, misfortune, and romance. You'll meet Uncle Al, the unscrupulous business manager; Kinko, a bitter dwarf; Marlena, the beautiful horse-riding star of the show; and Rosie, an elephant with personality and a secret. If you'd like to join in the book club's discussion of the book, join us in the program room on August 22 at 9 a.m.