Sunday, October 4, 2009

Deadmistress - Discussion Point

How does Susan Lombardi fit the profile of the “new heroine”?

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Deadmistress, by Carole Shmurak

Deadmistress, by Carole Shmurak
This semester has been a real killer. The headmistress of a posh private school for girls has been found brutally murdered in her office. When professor and educational consultant Susan Lombardi learns that her close friend John has been accused of the crime, she wastes no time setting out to clear his name. While doing so she uncovers some troubling secrets about the school’s faculty and staff, and it soon becomes clear that John is definitely not the only one with a motive for murdering the "deadmistress".

My Life in France, by Julia Child

My Life in France, by Julia Child
Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France. Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years. Multiple copies available at the Rowayton Library

Bleachers, by John Grisham

Bleachers, by John Grisham
With Bleachers John Grisham departs again from the legal thriller to experiment with a character-driven tale of reunion, broken high school dreams, and missed chances. While the book falls short of the compelling storytelling that has made Grisham a bestselling author, it is nonetheless a diverting novella that succeeds as light fiction. The story centers on the impending death of the Messina Spartans' football coach Eddie Rake. One of the most victorious coaches in high school football history, Rake is a man both loved and feared by his players and by a town that relishes his 13 state titles. The hero of the novel is Neely Crenshaw, a former Rake All-American whose NFL prospects ended abruptly after a cheap shot to the knees. Neely has returned home for the first time in years to join a nightly vigil for Rake at the Messina stadium. Having wandered through life with little focus since his college days, he struggles to reconcile his conflicted feelings towards his former coach, and he assays to rekindle love in the ex-girlfriend he abandoned long ago. For Messina and for Neely, the homecoming offers the prospect of building a life after Rake. Physically a narrow book, Bleachers is a modest fiction in many respects. The emotional scope is akin to that of a short story, with a single-minded focus on explorations of nostalgia and regret. The dialogue, especially that of Neely's friend Paul Curry, is sometimes wooden as characters recall Messina history in paragraphs that were perhaps better left to the narrator. But Grisham has otherwise written a well-made, entertaining--if a bit sentimental--story. --Patrick O'Kelley -- Multiple copies are available at the Rowayton Library.