Posts Tagged ‘LVF’

The Leper Compound – Book Review

June 5, 2008

The Leper Compound by Paula Nangle

“The Leper Compound” is the story of Colleen, the daughter of a white Rhodesian settler. Colleen is growing up in Rhodesia around the time of the Rhodesian civil war and the creation of the state of Zimbabwe. This is Paula Nangle’s first novel and it is fantastic for a first novel. Nangle is clearly very familiar with her subject matter – she lived as a child in southern Africa with her missionary parents. Touching on racial tensions in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, Nangle’s book should challenge so many Americans who consider Africa to be a mono-culture.

All this being said, this book really just wasn’t for me. It was the moving story a girl growing up and searching for connection, about racial tensions and the aftermath of colonialism. Sounds like a great book for me, right? However, Nangle’s storytelling style just isn’t my favorite. Although the writing was beautiful, the story felt as if it was being told from a distance, as if Colleen never managed to attain a connection even with herself. Perhaps this is what Nangle was attempting and she is just that genius, or perhaps that is simply her style. It is not by any means a bad style, I just prefer a more personal method of story telling, one that is more in the head of the main character.

So although this book wasn’t for me, it might be for you. I am amazed that this is a first novel, and will definitely be looking to give Nangle’s next book a try.

Buy this book on Amazon

Monique and the Mango Rains – Book Review

May 20, 2008

Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway

In 1989 Kris Halloway became a member of the Peace Corps and was sent to Mali in Africa. She went to help people, and immerse herself in another culture. She went and came back changed. Other than perhaps the fellow Peace Corps volunteer who would one day become her husband, the person who had the greatest impact on Kris’ time in Mali was Monique Dembele, Kris’ host and the village midwife. Monique had a love for life, good humor, and a friendly, comforting demeanor.

According to my contact at Literary Ventures Fund, Kris originally published her book through a textbook company that sold only directly to professors through a mail order catalog, a company that had no connection to major bookstores. Thank goodness that Literary Ventures Fund got involved! It would have been a shame if this book hadn’t been released to a wider audience.

This book is valuable for a number of reasons. First, it describes in a very straight-forward way the lives of these people in this small village in Mali. Although Kris occasionally pushes back against parts of the culture she disagrees with (female circumcision, for one), this is done in a decidedly un-paternalistic way. Second, the book is, quite simply, wonderfully written. The words flow beautifully, and the emotions are real and completely accessible to the reader.

I picked this book up Friday morning while I was on the train on my way to the airport. While I was reading nothing else existed for me but this village and these people: not the people on the train talking on their cell phones, not crying children at the airport, not airline announcements, nothing. Thank goodness I finished before my flight was announced! I will give this book the highest praise I can: even though I read it a mere 5 days ago, I’ve already bought another copy and given it as a gift.

Buy This Book on Amazon: Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali

Literary Ventures Fund

May 14, 2008

Literary Ventures Fund

So I just had a conversation with Kate from the Literary Ventures Fund.  The more I read about them and talk to her, the more I’m really impressed with their organization.  They basically work with publishers that are too small to have dedicated marketing people and help them market their books.  They do not, however, work with just any old book.  They have to fall in love with a book first – which explains why all the books Kate already sent me all look so fantastic!

Kate and I talked for about half an hour.  She told me more about LVF, I talked about the different places I have been getting books for review: ReaderViews, Barnes and Nobles First Look Book Club, LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Evidently Kate likes the way I write about the books I read (Big Smile), so I’m going to be reading some of their books and reviewing them here for all of you.  Most of the authors whose books LVF works with are still in their day jobs, so are approachable and not big, scary, FAMOUS people, so expect to see some of them submitting guest posts here, or being interviewed by yours truly.

I’m super excited about this: reviewing for a good cause and reading great books!

Library Thing Tuesday – Intros

May 13, 2008

The Early Reviewers group on LibraryThing decided a week or so ago that we all need to share our book blogs with one another. From that decision, an idea was formed to do a once-per-week blogging circle/prompt along the lines of Booking Through Thursday.

Our goal today is simply to introduce ourselves and our blogs. Those that have been reading for awhile, please bear with me. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even learn something new.

I have been on LibraryThing for approximately a year, but did not get active in the community until discovering Early Reviewers sometime in February. The community there, as well as The Literate Housewife’s blog, inspired me to begin my own book blog to post my reviews, and perhaps be sent some books for review. Now I’m totally addicted to my blog, and to reviewing. This is something like post 74 in about 2.5 months, so close to a post a day on average (P.S. I’ll be having a big contest for post 100, although I haven’t decided whether to start or end it on post 100). I would love to someday be a professional reviewer. This blog is pretty much solely about books but NOT about my life in general, except as it relates to books (for example: Reading While Remodeling or Book Promiscuity).

I read a good deal of fiction, primarily historical fiction, but I do love good non-genre fiction, as well as non-fiction and memoir. At this time I have not been reading much young adult literature or science fiction, but I have read them in the past and am hoping to get back into them (I’m killing two birds with one stone this summer by being part of J. Scott Savage’s blog tour). I am currently attempting to “Read Around the World,” although my progress is fairly slow.

The books I review are those from my shelves, from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, from ReaderViews, Connecting Books with the Online World, Literary Ventures Fund, and authors’ blog tours. Now if someone would just decide to pay me to do this (besides in free books, which is great in itself), so that I could sit at home all day and read!

By the way, all of my reviews are posted on LibraryThing as well. However, I post only a partial review there – although enough that LT readers would not be confused – and post a link back to my site for people to get the entire review.