Book choice for October 2012

The Help [suggested by Cate Bale]

[this book originally suggested in Nov 2010, from where this text is taken, and also in Jun 2011. At the third attempt, it makes it to the top of the pile]

The Road

What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.
From Publishers Weekly - Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

There's also a Wikipedia page.

About the Author

Kathryn Stockett has not been around long as an author and consequently online resources are limited.

She was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter. The Help is her first novel.

The above is taken from her website and naturally she also has a Wikipedia entry.

 

Shortlisted for this month

Book selectors can bring one, two or three books for selection, although it's usual to bring three. This month Cate's other selections were:

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon...

The prelude to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies since its publication in 1937, establishing itself as one of the most beloved and influential books of the twentieth century. [Product description from Amazon]

Wikipedia page.

About the Author

Wikipedia page.
Literary Appreciation Society.

The Beach

[this book originally suggested in May 2009, from where this text is taken]

The Beach

The Khao San Road, Bangkok - first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners traveling in Southeast Asia. On Richard's first night there, in a low-budget guest house, a fellow traveler slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to "the Beach."

The Beach, as Richard has come to learn, is the subject of a legend among young travelers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for a thousand years. There, it is rumoured, a carefully selected international few have settled in a communal Eden.

Haunted by the figure of Mr. Duck - the name by which the Thai police have identified the dead man - and his own obsession with Vietnam movies, Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful and idyllic as it is reputed to be. Yet over time it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly, undercurrents.

Spellbinding and hallucinogenic, The Beach is a look at a generation in their twenties, who, burdened with the legacy of the preceding generation and saturated by popular culture, long for an unruined landscape, but find it difficult to experience the world firsthand.

The book has its own Wikipedia page.

About the Author

When these notes were originally written, biographical information about Alex Garland was few and far between. In the 3+ years since, not much has changed. He still does not have his own website, has a rudimentary mention on Fantastic Fiction and his Wikipedia entry has grown (a little).

Perhaps the most complete biography of him is on the alumni pages of Manchester University, and there are also some notes about him now on Goodreads.

 

Previous Months' Book Choices

2012

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2011

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2010

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2009

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2008

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2007

January February March April May June July August September October November

2006

January February March April May June July August September October November