What Would They Read?: Parks and Recreation

parks-and-recreationThose of you familiar with the lives of the employees of the Pawnee Parks Department know how they feel about the Pawnee Public Library.  The presence of Ron Swanson’s crazy ex wife, Tammy, doesn’t help to mend the fences between these two village departments.  However, I would like to believe that this rivalry between the parks Department and the library would in no way hinder Leslie Knope and staff in their love of reading.  I mean, obviously they would probably have to get their books through Amazon or a bookstore so as not to encounter Tammy.  Let’s see what books the Parks Department would read!

Leslie Knope – Leslie is a very powerful woman who strives at excellence in everything she does.  When I think about disreputable-historyLeslie, I immediately think of Frankie Landau-Banks.  In 2009 Printz Honor book The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Frankie orchestrates a mission to infiltrate The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male secret society on her school campus, of which her boyfriend is a member.  Of course, being a member is not enough for Frankie’s ambition.  Instead, she starts to design school pranks and directs the Bassets in carrying them out.  Frankie is definitely a teen Leslie would be proud of if she were a citizen of Pawnee.  Another title that I would set aside for Leslie is Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer.  Bauer’s story includes a mayoral race in a small town.  When Hope moves to the small Wisconsin town from a fairly big city, she does not expect to get caught up in the situations of her new home.  However, when the owner of the diner she works at decides to run for mayor against a corrupt politician, Hope jumps into local politics with both feet.  Bauer’s book combines two of Leslie’s loves: politics and diners. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Parks and Recreation

Jukebooks: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell“I kill as a matter of habit and as a consequence of the way I was raised.”

Kit’s mother was an assassin. She carefully trained Kit in the art of murder until Kit’s abilities surpassed her own. Now Kit works solo. She’s known all over London as the “Perfect  Killer” because she never leaves a clue behind. Kit kills by request; people write letters, explaining who they want killed, and Kit simple follows their directions. Is Kit insane? Or is she, as she believes, simply well-trained in serial killing?

The moral ambiguity of the book reminded me of an old Talking Heads song, Psycho Killer. The song was written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth, who eventually recorded it as the band Talking Heads  in 1975. The lyrics sound like the feverish, tormented mind of a killer, as he reminisces (in French) about an earlier murder. Byrne’s voice is deliciously foreboding with a slight lilt of mockery, complementing the driving beat of the song.

This performance took place at the CBGB music club, which, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, was an early venue for new wave and punk bands.

-Diane Colson, currently reading an advance reader’s copy of No Summit Out of Sight by Jordan Romero