The Patriot Act and Your Bookstore

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation barring the FBI from using the Patriot Act to search bookstore and library records unless they relate to a suspected terrorist or someone known to the suspect.  Now the bill, USA Patriot Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011 (S. 193), moves to the Senate floor where it will be brought to a vote sometime before the end of May, when several provisions of the Patriot Act will expire. The Campaign for Reader Privacy–representing librarians, booksellers, authors and publishers–is urging its supporters to ask their senators to support S. 193.  The Booklover is also asking its readers to contact their senators and ask them to support S. 193!

Book Review: The Sandalwood Tree

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In 1947, American historian and veteran of WWII, Martin Mitchell, wins a Fulbright Fellowship to document the end of British rule in India. His wife, Evie, convinces him to take her and their young son along, hoping a shared adventure will mend their marriage, which has been strained by Martin’s war experiences.

Soon, Martin and Evie find themselves living in a colonial bungalow in the northern Indian town of Simla.  It is in that house, hidden behind a brick wall, that Evie discovers a packet of old letters.  The letters tell a story of love involving two young Englishwomen who lived in the same house in 1857.

Evie then sets out on a quest to unravel the  mystery of the two young Englishwomen and their life in northern India.  Her search leads her through the bazaars and temples of Simla and leads to her a greater understanding of the nature of India and its people.  She can finally begin to see why two young Englishwomen would be so drawn to these people and to India.

Books about faraway places have always appealed to me and this was the impetus for my reading The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark.  This book was difficult to put down and I read it quickly, always trying to grab a couple of minutes to catch up with Evie and see if she had put together the pieces of her mystery.  The story has a fabulous ending – do not miss this book!

Book Details: Published by Atria (April 5, 2011), 368 pages, ISBN: 1416590595


Murder in the High Himalaya

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The mountain of Cho Oyu lies nineteen miles east of Mt. Everest on the border between Tibet and Nepal and is frequently used as a warm-up climb for Everest-bound mountaineers.  For Tibetans it is much more – it is the pathway to freedom if they can make it.

Murder in the High Himalaya is an account of the brutal killing of a seventeen-year-old Tibetan nun.  Kelsang Namtso was fleeing across the Nangpa La when she was murdered by  Chinese border guards.  The murder was witnessed by dozens of Western climbers and the nun’s death sparked an international debate over China’s ongoing oppression of Tibet.

Jonathan Green’s glimpse into modern Tibet is a treat. The glimpses into climbing culture were particularly fascinating! In many ways, climbing is not what I thought it was – rough and rugged adventurers doing what few can.  The descriptions of the corporate business of mountain expeditions are quite interesting and shed a whole new perspective on mountaineering.

Reading about the Chinese domination of Tibet is disturbing. I was mindful as I was reading of the many regimes throughout the world that hold their people under tight control and what a nightmare that can be.

This was a terrific account of an actual event that reads like a novel! I look forward to the author’s next book.

Book Details: Published by PublicAffairs (June 1, 2010), 304 pages, ISBN: 1586487140

Library Ireland Week

The week of March 7th, 2011 is Library Ireland Week.  The celebration is an initiative of the Library Association of Ireland.   Library Ireland Week 2011 is a week when libraries show how smart they really are and that Smart People Use Smart Libraries.  Check out the video promoting Ireland’s libraries!