April 2009 Archives

Sea of Poppies

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Click for availability and more information Sea of Poppies , by Amitav Ghosh

Sea of Poppies is the thrilling first installment of a projected trilogy of novels which follow the sea travels of a great 19th century sailing vessel, the Ibis. Amitav Ghosh creates a fascinating world which is populated with strongly detailed characters and events that are connected with the Ibis. He is a true master story teller and readers can relish the powerful tale he tells. Mainly set in India of 1830, the lives of many characters eventually cross paths with the Ibis. Among them are a peasant widow who narrowly escapes being burned on a pyre when her husband dies, a debt-ridden Indian land owner, the second mate of the Ibis, who is an American of mixed blood and fled the antebellum United States, English colonists in India making huge profits from the opium trade, and so many others. Short-listed for the 2008 Man Booker Prize, Sea of Poppies is a wonderfully creative and masterfully-written novel. After finishing the last sentence in the book, this reviewer wanted to immediately grab the next installment to once again be transported in time and read a terrific story. Sea of Poppies is highly and enthusiastically recommended.
-Roy

Downtown

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Click for availability and more information Downtown, by Marshall Crenshaw

While it does not enjoy the eminence in the canon of Crenshaw's debut album, Downtown is another fine example of what MC does best, to wit: gorgeous melodies, concise yet polished wordplay mostly focusing on affairs of the heart, and a pre-Beatles rock 'n roll sensibility in both sound and spirit. The level of craftsmanship brought to these songs' composition and performance is reflected in a notable absence of the extraneous and gratuitous. Among many highlights, romantic obsession is conveyed with scary intensity on "Little Wild One (No.5)"; a lover's kiss off to his mate is given a humorous treatment on "I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)" and the depths of remorse are explored on "Lesson Number One". As always, Crenshaw's guitar playing is a model of elegant soulfulness. Simpatico instrumental assistance is provided by notables such as Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, G.E. Smith, Mitch Froom and T-Bone Burnett.
-David

Millions

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Click for availability and more information Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce

A bag stuffed with cash tumbles out of the sky, landing at Damian's feet. Suddenly he and his brother are rich...very rich! But there's a catch...they have 17 days to spend the money before it becomes worthless. And the crooks who originally stole the cash are closing in...fast.
-Deirdre

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