Chicago, Illinois, 1974. A blizzard rips through this tough, mid-western city; yet its icy fingers cannot touch the warmth of a tiny hospital room where newly made mother and child rest in their cocoon of glowing happiness. And she shall be named Laura. After much deliberation chain-smoking Winstons and basking in the flickering aura of the television set, the parents decide on this name. They're big fans of the Dick Van Dyke show.
Reading interests: Fiction, linguistics, astronomy, science fiction, art, crafts, cookbooks, travel memoirs, women's studies.
In this amazingly excellent dystopian novel, the main theme crops up often in the form of a quote from Star Trek:Voyager: Survival is insufficient. Besides the fact that I got the warm and fuzzies figuring the author must be a Star Trek fan, this quote perfectly describes the band of wandering musicians and Shakespearean actors eking out an existence in a world totally ravaged by deadly disease. When the human species is struggling just to survive, do we still need art and beauty? In my mind, the answer is a resounding YES!
A beautiful novel set in the mid 1980s: June loves to roam the woods imagining she's a medieval maiden and wants to be a falconer when she grows up. Feeling misunderstood by her sister and parents, she values her time spend with her artist uncle in New York City; the only person that truly "gets" her. When Uncle Finn dies of AIDS, her parents struggle with their prejudices in light of this unknown and frightening disease. June realises the only person who can relate to her grief is Finn's partner, Toby, who was never known to the family before Finn's funeral. --Laura
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England--until the reclusive Mr. Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.