Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour March 31

Saturday, March 31 is the day to take part in Earth Hour. In 2011 more than 5000 cities and towns turned off their lights for an hour to send a message about the importance of climate change and to show the power of individuals working together for a common cause. If you are looking for a little fiction to enjoy by candlelight, you might consider one of these illuminating titles.

Duane Moore has been through a lot in his life during the course of The Last Picture Show (M), Texasville (M) and Duane's Depressed (M). Now in When the Light Goes (M) by Larry McMurtry Duane is 64 and has returned to Thalia after a brief vacation to find that his attitude to his life has changed and he is now at odds with everything that was once familiar. Duane is suffering from from serious health problems, he has lost his wife, his son has taken over his role in the family business and his friends are vanishing. Duane finds, however, that when the light seems to go, there is still hope. Unexpected (and not unwelcome) connections with young women revive his zest for life. When the Light Goes is part of a series of character driven novels, which are humorous, and evince a strong sense of place.

City of Darkness, City of Light (M) by Marge Piercy is an intricately plotted, dramatic tale set during the French Revolution. Piercy tells the story from the perspective of three women, each of whom take on a role which allows them to make their voices heard and paly and active part in the revolution. Piercy describes the details of everyday life - how they lived, the struggle for food, the crowded bustling streets. City of Darkness, City of Light is work of fictionalized biography using actual people to explore what this turbulent time in history must have been like and how women played both an active role and achieved greater freedom.

Man in the Dark (M) by Paul Auster is a bleak and thought-provoking book about a man, August Brill, who is recovering from a car accident. He is haunted by recent tragedies in his life and, as sleep eludes him, his mind takes him to dark and disturbing places. He imagines a parallel world in which, rather than being at war with Iraq, the United States collapsed following the 2000 election and a bloody Civil War ensued. Brill imagines Owen Brick, a professional magician, whose mission is to assassinate Brill in order to end the war. In this alternative history, Brill gives in to the darkness and isolation of insomnia and allows his already troubled mind to carry him to disturbing depths.

Everything is Illuminated (M) by Jonathan Safran Foer features fictional author Jonathan Safran Foer who is traveling to Eastern Europe in search of Augustine, a woman who is supposed to have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Included as well in this stylistically complex novel if Foer's fictional history of Trachimbrod, his ancestral village in the eighteenth century, and letters written to Foer from his Ukrainian guide and translator, whose English seems to have been run through an online translator with hilarious, and yet somehow elegant, results. All three paths, all witty and moving in their own way, lead the reader to the ultimate destination - The Holocaust.

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