The Gate

Book: The Gate

Author: Natsume Sōseki, a giant of modern Japanese literature. Other works include I Am a Cat.

Genre: Literary fiction

Readers: Reading teacher Emry, retiree Sulyn, stay-at-home mom Colleen B. and literature professor Irene Adler.

Publisher Summary: A humble clerk and his loving wife scrape out a quiet existence on the margins of Tokyo. Resigned, following years of exile and misfortune, to the bitter consequences of having married without their families’ consent, and unable to have children of their own, Sōsuke and Oyone find the delicate equilibrium of their household upset by a new obligation to meet the educational expenses of Sōsuke’s brash younger brother. While an unlikely new friendship appears to offer a way out of this bind, it also soon threatens to dredge up a past that could once again force them to flee the capital. Desperate and torn, Sōsuke finally resolves to travel to a remote Zen mountain monastery to see if perhaps there, through meditation, he can find a way out of his predicament.

Read It If You Love: Classic literature, Japanese culture, Hakuri Murakami, International Fiction

Skip It If You Hate: Slow plots, spare prose, sad books.

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Book: Collateral

Author: Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Triangles and the Crank trilogy. She writes both Adult and Young Adult fiction.

Genre: Romance

Reviewers: Bookseller Pam, day care teacher EMarie, accountant Gina aka Slappy, professor Michal and teacher Ninian.

Publisher’s Summary: Meet Ashley, a graduate student at San Diego State University. She was raised in northern California reading poetry and singing backupin her best friend’s band. The last thing she ever expected was to end up a military wife. But one night, she meets a handsome Marine named Cole. He doesn’t match the stereotype of the aggressive military man she’d always presumed to be true; he’s passionate and romantic, and he even writes poetry. Their relationship evolves into a deeply felt, sexually charged love affair that goes on for five years and survives four deployments. Cole desperately wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a college professor, with similar professional pursuits and values, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war.

Written in Ellen Hopkins’s stunning poetic verse style, Collateralcaptures the hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield and the minds of the friends, family, and lovers they leave behind. While those at home may be far from the relentless, sand-choked skies of the Middle East and the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, they, too, sacrifice their lives and happiness for their country at war. And all must eventually ask themselves if the collateral damage it causes is worth the fight.

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The Art Forger

Book: The Art Forger

Author: B. A. Shapiro, she is the author of several previous thrillers.

Genre: Commercial Fiction, Mystery

Reviewers: JoLee and Renee in higher education, retiree Nancy, event planner Kathy and research assistant Rosie T.

Publisher Summary: In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, two men dressed as police officers bound and gagged two guards at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, and stole thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million. Despite thousands of hours of police work and a $5 million reward, the artwork has never been recovered. Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

After a scandal involving the provenance of an acclaimed modern painting derails Claire Roth’s career, the promising young Boston artist, now a pariah in the art world, makes a living reproducing famous works of art for the popular online retailer, In a desperate move to improve her situation, Claire makes a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner, to forge a Degas masterpiece stolen during the Gardner Museum heist, the largest unsolved art theft in history, in return for a one-woman show at his gallery. Their romantic entanglement adds danger to their business arrangement and heightens the possibility of betrayal as each struggles to achieve the end that initially drove them into their illegal pact.

But when the long-missing Degas painting—the one which had been hanging for 100 years at the Gardner Museum—is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may not be the original, but a forgery itself. As she begins her search for the truth about the painting’s origins and its possible link to a secret relationship between Edgar Degas and Isabella Stewart Gardner–revealed to the reader through Isabella’s letters to her niece—Claire finds herself in a breathless race through a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may hold the key to the mysteries of the present.

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Finding the Right E-Reader

There’s a lot of information about e-readers out there. We’re here to help you make a decision based on what you need as a book-lover. So here are some recommendations for the readers out there if you’re thinking about making the e-reader plunge.

For the Cheap Reader

About you: You get most of your books from the library or borrow them from friends. You can’t afford a whole bunch of new books all the time, buying a book is a special occasion.

Why you should get an e-reader: You can get library books on it. You can borrow books on most of them. You can get loads and loads of free books. And many books are cheaper on Kindle than the are in hard copy.

Your Ideal E-Reader: If you’re paying for it, stick with the $69 Basic Kindle.
It’s the cheapest option on the market. It will come with ads and it won’t have any kind of fancy accessories like a touch screen or a light, but you’re all about keeping it minimalist anyway, right?


For the Hipster

About you: You buy all your books from your local independent brick and mortar bookstore. You may even resist the idea of an e-reader because it’ll look too trendy and no one will see what book you’re reading.

Why you should get an e-reader: You can buy from your favorite Indie bookstore even if they’re closed. You can read giant epics without hauling them in your bag. And no one will know when you secretly read a trendy new romance you’re too embarrassed to admit you love.

Your Ideal E-Reader: The Kobo Mini $79 or the Kobo Glo $129 are the way to go. You can set up your Kobo account to buy books from your favorite indie bookseller (not only is our friend Powell’s there, we also found our favorite Boston shop and our favorite Austin shop so you should be covered). If you want to keep it on the down-low, the Mini is the smallest e-reader out there and not as recognizable as the Kindle or Nook. But if you’re going to want it in bed, consider the Glo.



For the Constant Reader

About You: You love books. Lots and lots of books. You must have them all the time. You keep one in your purse and several on your nightstand.

Why you should get an e-reader: Not only is it cheaper to buy e-books, it’s also a lot easier on your overstuffed bookshelves at home and your overstuffed suitcase on vacation. You don’t have to give up paper books forever, but you can cut back a little. After all, books are big and heavy. (How many boxes of books did you have last time you moved, eh?)

Your Ideal E-Reader: The Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light. Reading in bed is a must for you, as is reading in daylight. You need a reader that’ll work anywhere. This isn’t a machine to watch movies or listen to music. It’s for reading, pure and simple. It’s also completely ad-free. This one is currently marked down to $119.


For Anyone and Everyone

About You: You like books. You like a lot of variety. You like convenience.

Why you should get an e-reader: Flexibility. Period. You can’t get absolutely every book as an e-book, but there are plenty of books you can ONLY get as an e-book. There’s also an abundance of self-published books out there that are cheap and/or free.

Your Ideal E-Reader: The Kindle Paperwhite 3G ($179 with ads, but we’d go without for $199). Like others it has the light-up screen that doesn’t strain your eyes the way a television or computer screen does. It’s readable in daylight, unlike a smartphone or tablet. The 3G is the big deal here, you don’t have to have a wifi connection to make a purchase unlike all the other e-readers. You can be at the park and buy a book. You can be at the airport and buy a book. Plus the Amazon bookstore has a huge and easy-to-navigate Kindle Store and always has their Top 100 Paid as well as their Top 100 Free Kindle Books listed.


For the Tech-Lover

About You: You want a tablet, but you don’t want an iPad. You’d like to stream video, listen to music and use apps.

Why you should get an e-reader: There are a lot of tablets out there, but the Nook HD and Kindle Fires have all the books in addition to being great tablets.

Your Ideal E-Reader: Take your pick. You’d rather check out the specs yourself, right? You’ve got 2 versions of the Nook HD starting at $199 and 3 versions of the Kindle Fire, starting at $159.


If you still can’t decide, you can get your hands on Nooks at Barnes & Noble or Target, while Kindles and Kobos are available at several retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Staples and more. Hold it in your hand, take it for a spin and see how you like it.