Just Kids

By Patti Smith

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Harper Collins, 2010

Genres: Nonfiction, autobiography, biography, memoir

ISBN: 9780066211312

Audience: Adults

Number of pages: 279

Settings: Mostly New York City – Manhattan & Brooklyn – but also Paris & Charleville, France & Camden, NJ

Time period: The bulk of the story is set between 1969 – 1978.

Description:  Patti Smith describes her life growing up in NJ and aspirations to become an artist.  At a young age she moves to New York City where she meets a kindred soul, Robert Mapplethorpe.  The heart of this book is about their journey together as friends, artists, and lovers.  They support one another and each other’s work until they are both firmly set on their own artistic pathways. Continue reading

Ghost of a Chance

By Simon R. Green

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Ace Books, 2010

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, paranormal, adventure

Series: Ghost Finders Novel; 1

ISBN: 9780441019168

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 260

Setting: London, England

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: The Carnacki Institute specializes in getting rid of ghosts and other unwelcome supernatural  beings.   When the Oxford Circus Tube Station of London’s Underground becomes haunted by an exceptionally evil force, the Institute sends in its best B-Team to deal with the situation.  (The A-Teams were too far away).  This trio of misfits must save London (and the world) from pure evil, even as agents from a rival institute attempt to kill them. Continue reading

The Listener

By David Lester

Place: Publisher & Year: Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011

Genres: General fiction, historical fiction

Format: Graphic novel

ISBN: 9781894037488

Audience: Adults

Number of pages: 312

Settings: Vancouver, BC, Canada, Lippe, Germany & other locations in Europe

Time periods: Contemporary and 1928-1933

Plot summary: Hitler’s rise to power is described to the main character – a sculptor named Louise – by an elderly German couple she meets while touring Europe.  Louise is travelling in Europe as a means of dealing with the guilt that she feels after a protester fell to his death outside her apartment. The German couple’s story focuses upon the spin doctoring which Hitler performed in the early 1930’s on his way to becoming Germany’s chancellor.  As Louise travels, her background and thoughts about art and politics are described. The two stories are interwoven throughout the book to reveal how Louise is able to work through both her feelings, as well as the history she learned from the couple, to complete her next sculpture. This book has as much to say about the role of art for both individuals and for society as a whole, as it does about the historical past. Continue reading