Lisa Christie lives in Norwich with her two active boys, Hank and Mateo and her husband Chris. A nonprofit consultant, Lisa is the founder of Everybody Wins! Vermont, a program that brings reading mentors into local schools. She and Lisa Cadow - a former Norwich bookseller - created The Book Jam, a fun blog about books to "alleviate book jams (e.g., what to read tonight, what to take on that trip to Italy, what to get your mom, your best friend, your brother)". The Book Jam also supports the Norwich Bookstore and other independent booksellers through links to indie web sites and periodic live events.
I loved Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy so much that I leapt at the chance to read some of her short stories. The collection is diverse and always interesting -- from a piece about when do you know a marriage has ended to the title story about an assassin, she keeps you guessing about what is really going on with each character. Read them one at a time, or in one fell swoop.
In a little over 200 pages, this author charmed me with his narrative of a son trying to figure out his unusual family, one orbiting the ups and downs of his mother and the manifestations of her bipolar disease. Uniquely and beautifully infused with compassion, grace, lots of humor, insight and love, this gem of a book is a must read for anyone looking for a good story or anyone whose lives are touched by mental illness. (Note: This would make a great Book Club book - well-written, short, and on many levels profound.)
A powerful look at "what goes down" when a 16-year-old black boy in a hoodie is shot by a white man. Was it defense against a gang incident? Was it a man stopping a robbery gone wrong? Was it being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Was it none of these, or a combination of these? And, just when you think you have all the pieces and perspectives to know what happened, a new piece of information inserted into one of the multiple voices used to tell this story, sends you another direction. A seriously impressive book - cleverly staged, with superb and unique voices throughout, and a plot from today's headlines. This book makes you think about how perspective influences what you see, how stories are told, how choices have implications, and - well, to be honest - the pull and power of gangs. Read it and discuss with your favorite teen.
This debut novel creates suspense from the first pages. Maud is showing signs of dementia, so no one takes her seriously when she repeatedly proclaims her friend Elizabeth is missing. Her attempts to find Elizabeth mingle with her recurring memories of older sister’s disappearance from their London home after WWII. The reader is never quite sure if what has happened is in real time or in Maud's past. This story of an aging woman's attempt to hold on to reality is touching, and the tale of her sister is heartbreaking. A superb debut.
A haunting tale of Iceland. Ms. Kent does a superb job of taking the true stories of Agnes - a woman convicted of murdering two men, of the family who must house her while she awaits her execution, of Toti, the Reverend who must save her soul, and combining them into a fabulous first novel. As winter unfolds, she narrates her version of the events each night as chores are completed. The tale is haunting for all.
When Jennifer Egan blurbs a book and calls the author a "fierce, subtle new American voice" I listen and I read that author's work asap. Since this was her blurb for Kathryn Ma's debut novel, I read. As a mother of two children adopted from another country, I am not certain how I FEEL about this novel - uncomfortable would certainly be accurate. But I am also glad I read it. In this novel, Ari, a young woman adopted as a young girl from a Chinese orphanage into a Chinese-American family from San Francisco confronts her own feelings about adoption, China and identity. Her journey is complicated by the fact as someone adopted by an unmarried Chinese-American mother she doesn't fit in a traditional family of two parents, nor she does not fit the typical picture of two white parents with one Chinese born daughter. The conflict in this novel takes off when she discovers her mother's secret - at the time of her adoption, there was a man in her mom's life who was supposed to have been her dad. Bonus - any fan of San Francisco will love the descriptions of life there.
I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN. And, I cannot say much about the plot as it will ruin the book. But trust me, this story of a privileged family summering on their own island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard is mesmerizing. The plot revolves around decisions leading up to a tragedy, and then how the decisions made afterwards affect the family, particularly Cadence, the 18 year old narrator.
This book combines small town Vermont, McCarthyism, potential Russian Spies, Union troubles and two intriguing kids. I enjoyed learning more about Vermont and McCarthyism; kids will enjoy Hazel Kaplansky, the narrator and girl extraordinaire. Hazel strongly believes in the pursuit of knowledge and truth no matter what the cost, and she loves a good mystery. So, when Senator McCarthy targets a local union in her small Vermont town, "good American citizen" Hazel knows it is up to her to uncover the Russian spies. She enlists Samuel, the new boy with a mysterious past, to help.
Yes, technically this is a book about football, but honestly it is about life, relationships and important decisions. It has inspired a television show and a movie, but basically it is just a great piece of nonfiction for those of you in the mood to read a well-written true story. Bonus -- It is the theme of one of the April fundraising dinners for the Norwich Public Library.
This collection of photos and essays by a diverse array of authors celebrates libraries everywhere, and this is a very good thing. My favorite picture? Just look at page 133 for the greatest sculpture ever - made of string and books.
A superb wordless picture book, with a LOVELY LOVELY story. A great book that has a plot twist; yes, picture books can have plot twists. It also happens to hold a superb lesson about the importance of hard work and giving.
Be prepared to lose a bit of sleep over this page-turner. Yes, it's another action packed young adult novel. In this one, evil business people have discovered five pellets from space that provide super powers, but need teen hosts. So, they find some potential candidates as part of a summer camp for budding astronauts. And yes, these teens must then save the world. But first, they have to figure out who the good guys actually are, and it may not be them.
Publisher’s Weekly says “Fans of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will find this another delightful lesson in art history.” That fan base includes me, so I was thrilled to read this. In this story, Theodora Tenpenny befriends another lovely but lonely girl as they travel Manhattan solving the mystery of a painting Theodora uncovers (literally) once her grandfather dies. The cast includes her eccentric mother who has spent at least 15 years doing nothing else but completing her mathematical dissertation and consuming very expensive tea (but, certainly not caring for Theodora). This tale introduces viewers to the world of beautiful and important art, and the importance of asking for help when you need it. Not bad for an author’s first children’s book!
This debut novel follows a British Mountaineer who died in 1924 attempting to summit Mt. Everest and his lover, a unique young English woman who he met one week before leaving for the Western Front. Weaving present day adventures of a possible descendant of this love affair as he tries to determine what exactly happened between the two, and deciphering the letters of the lovers, this novel explores war, choices and love. A great read for people who like historical fiction or tales of WWI or climbing.
I HATE short stories. They leave me bereft because just as I am starting to care so much about their characters, they are over. So the fact I am recommending a collection of short stories is rare and special. This collection is amazing. Each story has unforgettable characters. Each is well written. How did I survive the bereavement? I chose to concentrate on the integrating theme, and look at it as a uniquely constructed novel about a variety of interesting "communists" -- immigrants to America from various countries behind the former Iron Curtain.
It is almost as if Gail Carson Levine created one of her fairy tale retellings for grown-ups. In this novel, Ms. Blackwell tells the "true story" of Sleeping Beauty, with explanations of why she was lying in the tower when the Prince came, who exactly were Millicent and Flora, and why the king and queen feared spinning wheels. It is truly a page-turning tale of family, secrets, and promises. Read it and enjoy losing your self in an unique telling of a well-known tale.
On a basic level, this is a tale of an unwanted teen pregnancy told from the point of view of the teenage boy. But it is also a tale of learning to live the AA mantra - accepting the things you can't change, changing the things you can and possibly most importantly learning to tell the difference. It is also very well-written (I stayed up most of the night to finish), nothing is black and white and the characters - the karate teaching uncle and his girlfriend, the girl in the building, and the narrator all make you care. Please read this with your favorite teen and use it as a way to discuss a multitude of teenage things (including not living your life through texting or waiting for the guy to text or dealing with college acceptance/rejection letters or...).
When I saw this book on a best of 2013 list - a list that also included Donna Tartt and other authors whose novels tend not to become blockbuster movies - I decided to give it a read. I am glad that I did, as Mr. Grisham is a master at plot and suspense. And, since I am a fan of the movie A Time To Kill, spending time, in a novel this outing, with that movie's Jake Brigance felt like a mini-reunion. Read it and enjoy a post-holidays gift of time with a page-turning story.
An EXCELLENT and FUN tale of Robin Hood and his merry men before they became famous. In this version, you meet them as a gang of outlaws and watch them find their mission in life. A superb adventure for any middle grades reader and the adults who love them, or who love English legends.
Europa does it again with this well-crafted historical novel about food, flavor and savoring life. This one tells the story of Jean-Marie d'Aumont, an orphaned aristocrat in the years just prior to the French Revolution. In his quest to taste all the world's flavors, Jean-Marie will try anything once and the descriptions - and consequences of his desires- are both mouth-watering and macabre.
May all world leaders read this and govern accordingly. But in the meantime, get this book in the hands of your favorite future world leader and yourself. With this book, the best selling author of Code Name Verity takes on the German concentration camps, specifically Ravensbruck, where her heroine Rose, an American ATA pilot, has landed after being overtaken in the sky by two German fighter planes/pilots. What happens to her there is unthinkable; what she witnesses is worse. But somehow, while this book caused me to quietly sob, the message is one of hope, survival and witnessing so that the horrible, horrible things that happened in Ravensbruck and other camps, never happen again.
I highly recommend this for anyone in the mood for a contemporary novel that offers insight without preaching, and provides laughter. As you begin, you think it is a straightforward story about a disparate group of Londoners united only by the fact they all live on the same street - Pepys Road in London-- and the fact they are each receiving anonymous postcards. What sneaks up on you is the social commentary. Mr. Lanchester (an award-winning journalist and novelist) nails life in the 21st century and all its messes and glories. Each short chapter ends with a cliffhanger, often causing you to read on longer than your time, and your need for sleep, should allow. You have been warned!
It's Not Love, It's Just Paris by Patricia Engel (August 2013) - A lovely end of summer book about a group of 20-something young women of wealthy parents, living in Paris in 1998 and trying to figure out what's next. What unfolds is a love story - of a man, good friends, a city and a time in one's life when you can make all the wrong choices and still be mostly OK.
This is the book JK Rowling fans have been waiting for. Enjoy a mystery with an unique detective - a large, wounded Afghanistan war hero, and his new assistant - a young woman searching for a career. In what I hope is the first of a series, they encounter paparazzi, celebrity culture, and murder.
OK I lost sleep because I could not put this book down. It has girl heroes, WWII history, a glimpse into life in England and France, spies, Nazis.... Pick it up and be prepared to lose a day (or night) to reading.
Gothic romance for teens. Lena Duchannes arrives in Gatlin, South Carolina making a statement with her clothes and the fact she lives with her extremely eccentric uncle (think Boo Radley). Ethan Wate is born and bred in Gatlin from a family so established he does not have to worry about fitting in, he worries about getting out. When they discover the voices they have been hearing in their respective heads are each others', they work to change Lena's fate.
We LOVE the Dodsworth books in our house for their humor. In this latest outing, Dodsworth discovers a magic refrigerator that allows him to explore the world a bit. A PERFECT book to share with your young friends as they think about how to design their own summer adventures or as they claim "we're bored."
Fans of the Little House series are going to love this tale of Bo - an orphan adopted by two tough miners in 1920 Alaska. The illustrations perfectly show her exuberance and the variety of characters - Swedes, Creoles, Finns, Eskimos - who inhabit a hard scrabble mining town. Delightful prose makes this a perfect read aloud or interesting chapter book for younger readers.
Julian is not a bully. He just made a very stupid decision that ended up hurting a kid. Set in 1960s Queens NY, this book explores the importance of belonging and of finding your own voice, and ultimately shows just how hard it is to do the right thing when everyone else wants you to do something else. Told through a journal Julian keeps for his English teacher in order to get out of reading Julius Cesar, Julian's voice will entertain as the story of forming his sixth grade "gang" of buddies, the devastation "liking" girls can wrought, and how hard it is to make new friends unfolds. Would be a great book to read with younger kids in your life (8-12), or for a parent child book clubs.
Transatlantic takes three historic stories: 1) the two British WWI veterans who are the first to fly across the Atlantic, 2) Frederick Douglass and his fundraising trip to Ireland to end US slavery, and 3) Senator George Mitchell's journey as he brokered peace in Northern Ireland. He then uses the lives of three generations of very strong women to tie these three seemingly disparate events together. I loved the well-picked prose and I truly enjoyed the company of each of the memorable (historic or otherwise) characters in this novel. Please pick it up and enjoy another book by this National Book Award winning author.
I really need to remember to look to the PEN/Bellwether prize winners for socially engaged fiction whenever I need a good plot with great writing. Alternating chapters and narrative voices, this latest winner looks at a "home" for kids with disabilities and their caregivers. Throughout, you see the unique details of their daily life. You also see their dreams and relationships blossom and fall apart and reconstruct. The author use wry wit to create memorable characters who live on in your head long after you finish reading the last page.
The power of stories, the power of trains to make strangers friends, and the power of love come together in this brief gem of a book. Four strangers sit next to each other on a train from Edinburgh to London: a female and three males. Two are young (20s), two older (let's say past 40). One opens up with a story of why they are on the train - a new job, but tied to a girl; the others follow with their own stories (of their parents' lives in the Australian Outback, of forbidden love of their youth, of the importance of trust in a relationship). By the time they part in London, you know something about each from their stories and their reactions to the stories of the others. You also know a bit more about yourself.
This engrossing, entertaining story follows a group of friends from the moment they meet at summer camp, through how they somehow stay together as they go to separate colleges, get married, try to live in New York City on entry-level salaries, find and lose success, become parents, face an assortment of crisis points and well, just live their lives. Told from the perspective of Jules Jacobson, a girl from the suburbs who infiltrates a group of sophisticated young Manhattanites when sent to their camp on a scholarship, this novel is populated by complex, and well "interesting" characters who come together and apart as their lives and their interpretations of New York City change. In fact, "the City" itself is a character changing as mayors come and go, crime increases/decreases, AIDS epidemic enters, finances collapse and twin towers fall. The Interestings explores friendship, how to make a life, talent and dreams.
Initially self-published, the success of this book in starting conversations about transforming companies caused St. Martin’s Press to publish a new edition. Although it appears to be a tale that your favorite 3rd grader will enjoy (and some 3rd graders do), it is actually a parable designed to start companies thinking about handling change. Read it and see why organizations as diverse as Simon Pearce, AT&T, John Deere and the Methodist Church are using this unique business book to change the way they do business / make money. (Disclaimer: I am married to one of the authors.)
Fans of Gabriel Garcia Marquez rejoice, Ms. Martinez has created characters that will charm you, and stories that will seem believable even when you know there is no way they are real. While this novel exchanges the jungles of Garcia Marquez's Colombia for Spain and northern Africa, it creates magical tales that will linger long after you turn the last page. In this novel, the daughters of Frasquita are haunted by their family's inheritance -- a box that bestows unique things upon each daughter as they come of age. For Frasquita, it bestowed the ability to create gorgeous gowns and fabrics from rags; gowns and fabrics that mysteriously hide flaws and pregnancies and then disintegrate once no longer necessary. Tragedy hits and Frasquita flees Spain for the north coast of Africa where her daughters must come to terms with their own special gifts (e.g., for one, the power to shine like the sun; for another, a gift of song). Pick this up and enjoy some magical tales, characters and time in far off lands.
This slim book is amazing. It is heartbreaking, passionate,and illustrates the power of words and books and friendships and love. The writing dazzles, the plot emerges, the investment in the characters is powerful. Because it is based upon Flannery O'Connor and Robert Lowell, I now want to read everything they ever wrote. A great book for anyone who has ever cared deeply for the wrong person. And, in ways that will become clear as you read this, it could be the perfect book to read during Lent.
Some words to describe this book are: funny; observant; wry; thoughtful; insightful; not preachy; and, modern. I suppose I should have expected nothing less than being able to use these adjectives about a debut novel written by a New Yorker contributor. That said, this book was just what I needed - a funny and unique coming-of-age story about a 40-year-old man (yes, it took him awhile) making a living, but not a life, as a NYC ad man.
This novel was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. My theory as to why is that Ms. Levy manages to pack a lot into a few pages, short chapters, well chosen words and well placed pauses in action. The story looks at love and secrets as two families combine their summer holiday into one villa in the hills above Nice. The action begins with a naked (but live and uninvited) body unexpectedly floating in the villa's pool. But truly, the action began years earlier when the five people on holiday started keeping secrets from each other and from themselves. A perfect quick read for those of you who would like a well-told, well-written story that makes you think.
I am not sure how others feel about Oprah's book picks, but if having her pick a book for her book club turns you away, please ignore her stamp of approval on this beautiful and devastating debut novel by Ms. Mathis. The Twelve Tribes follows Hattie Shepherd, a migrant from Georgia to Philadelphia, as she searches and hopes for a better life. Instead, she marries young to the wrong man; and the novel begins as their firstborn twins succumb to an illness money could have easily prevented. She then gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with tough love and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave from her. Subsequent chapters follow some of her children as they make their way in the world with the knowledge she has bestowed upon them. This novel uses the stories of Hattie as a window to the Great Migration and how it shaped the American dream. It will leave you with a good story to ponder.
This Pulitzer Prize winning volume of poems was my introduction to our current Poet Laureate. In it, I found a moving testimony to the complications of life in "The South" and of being bi-racial. Her word choices seem perfect and her willingness to tackle the personal so publicly, inspiring and fearless.
Through laugh-out-loud and sometimes painful humor, Mr. Thurston, of Jack and Jill Politics and The Onion, speaks about serious and important aspects about race in this country and does so with intelligence and compassion. And, any time I am thinking about how I could better interact with the world, I am appreciative of the source that started that thinking. Oh, and did I mention this book is funny?
I am so glad I read this book; it honestly has me thinking more than any book I have read in awhile. The plot follows a jury as it chooses the final design for the 9-11 memorial only to find out that it was submitted by a Muslim. The reactions to this selection of the jurors, the public, a reporter, and the architect who submitted the design, intermingle with politics, prejudices, emotions and thoughts about art. Somehow this seems like an appropriate book to read in September.
A gem of a novel about a boy vacationing in Acadia who finds himself abandoned by his mother - something that has happened periodically in their home in Jamaica Plain, MA. When it is clear she is not returning to their campsite, he starts running towards the one thing he knows for certain - an elephant. He can't get caught or people will know his mother has left him and take him from her permanently. But he is so very tired of being in charge. A great read about family, the kindness of strangers and doing the right thing even if it may not be exactly what those you love want. Also a good place to introduce the concept of mental illness to younger readers.
I loved this short book about an Afghan refugee, the countries he must cross and what he must do to survive and achieve political asylum. The book is a novel based upon actual conversations between the boy and the novelist, and I also enjoyed the exchanges between the boy and the novelist that are injected throughout. The fact that he was ten when his journey began, and he did it all alone, makes the reading truly incredible. A thought-provoking, quick read!
This latest Bruno, Chief of Police novel may be the best yet. I love this series and its depiction of the French countryside. In this installment, Bruno must learn to work with the new magistrate - a young woman whose need to prove herself outpaces her experience. Here, Bruno and the magistrate find themselves on opposite sides of PETA protests against foie gras, a staple of the local economy. A simultaneous problem with Basque terrorists brings back Bruno's former flame and a whole new set of problems for the town. Add in some information about our species origins from a discovery at an archaeological dig and you will find your self learning while being entertained by this gifted writer of thrillers. Enjoy!
As someone who has always been slightly fascinated by the influence of birth order on personality development, I loved this fun, well-written book. The plot focuses on three sisters and their lives as twenty-somethings once they end up living back with their parents in the town where they grew up. Why are they back home? Because of various failures in their post-collegiate lives, and a desire to help deal with their Mom's cancer. Their abilities to be their own worst enemies, their love and hatred of each other and their attempts to craft a life, both within the family and without, left me hopeful and a bit more understanding towards my own family. And, I loved the Shakespeare references throughout.
As with Ms. Stuart's previous book - The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise - quirky and oh-so-British characters drive the plot of this novel. Princess Alexandrina is left homeless and penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor. Luckily, there are grace-and-favor homes in Hampton Court Palace for downtrodden royalty, and Queen Victoria offers one to the Princess. Though the Palace is rumored to be haunted, initially all is well -- the princess is befriended by three eccentric widows; the dampness of the quarters can be born; and, they have a roof overhead. It gets complicated when Pooki bakes a pigeon pie for a picnic and the insufferable General-Major Bagshot dies after eating a piece or two or three. When the coroner finds traces of arsenic in his body, Pooki becomes the #1 suspect. However, the Princess is not going to lose her servant, and discoveries and encounters abound. A great character driven read for summer's end.
I am not sure what it says about my life that I related to and needed this book. But, I so totally appreciated Ms. Ray’s humorous look at life in a family when the mother does not feel seen or heard by others. The main character has superb self awareness and humor, her overworked husband and two oblivious kids are rendered sympathetically, and you will want a mother-in-law like the one in this novel. If you are looking for a "beach" read that will have you smiling and maybe even appreciating yourself and others a bit more, look no further.
I would describe this as Maisie Dobbs with an edge, but I worry that might turn off some potential audience members for this great read. So what it has: a strong main character - Tom, a former British Secret Service Agent who has retired at a young age to the coast of France; a great setting; a handful of Russians; some Italians; a few sexual escapades; and history of Europe between the two world wars. A great thriller for your summer.
In this new novel, Ms. Mantel continues her chronicle of the life of Thomas Cromwell through the lens of Anne Boleyn's downfall. To help the King bring down Ms. Bolelyn, Mr. Cromwell must play dangerous games with his enemies and his friends, and keep his wits about him in unchartered and dubious waters. Because this account is told from the perspective of the elusive Mr. Cromwell, the famous story of Queen Anne's downfall, trial and beheading, surprise. For those of you who enjoyed Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall, try this sequel. For those of you who have not yet discovered Ms. Mantel's stories of Cromwell, start with Wolf Hall and know a fascinating sequel awaits.
I cried. Yes, I did, even though I saw the ending coming - (I have an annoying habit of being able to guess the ending of television shows, movies and mystery novels) - I cried at the end. Why? Well, it is hard not to put yourself in the place of each of the characters in this novel; a novel about the aftermath of a school fire where a teenager is trapped and a mother goes in to save her. The give and take of who will survive and who caused the commotion is well executed. The questions of what would you do for love resonate long after you finish. (I admit I did not correctly guess "who done it".) I highly recommend this second book by the author of Sister - another well written and moving "thriller".
There are books that you read because the storytelling is so good. There are books that remind you of places you have been, people you have encountered, and important decisions that have impacted you in unforeseen ways. There are books that remind you that people are amazing and that ongoing progress is possible. There are books that inspire you to think about what you can do to help the world be a better place. And, there are books that illustrate the power of great literature to inspire. This amazing book did all of these things for me! The story of William/Bill Abbot/Dean, a unique boy growing up in a rural Vermont town that houses an all boys academy and who has "crushes on all the wrong people", is a novel at its best. Please read it and enjoy.
I SOBBED. Yes, I did, even though I saw the ending coming, I sobbed at the end. Why? Well, it is hard not to put yourself in the place of each of the characters in this novel; a novel about the aftermath of a school fire where a teenager is trapped and a mother goes in to save her. The give and take of who will survive and who caused the commotion is well executed. The questions of what would you do for love resonate long after you finish. I highly recommend this second book by the author of Sister - another well written and moving "thriller".
For me, this author's amazing gift is that she makes a book about a country torn apart from genocide somehow hopeful, without flinching from the awful truths contained in Rwanda and in the world's lack of response to the horrors there. You care for her hero, Jean Patrick, the Tutsi boy who anchors this narrative and his dream to run in the Olympics, as well as all the unique characters he encounters. The story illustrates the strong ties of family and friendship, and the love that can overcome hatred even as all hell breaks loose - even if ultimately, that love can not save everyone. The second of the two winners of the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction that I have truly enjoyed, I will add future winners to my reading lists.
I loved this book. It is a haunting tale about the power of prejudice and love. Set during WWI in a dark cove in the rural Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, the book follows the life of Laurel and her brother Hank, newly returned and maimed from serving in France. The story begins as they offer shelter to a mute musician - Walter - who wanders into their home. Due to abundant local superstitions about the Cove and Laurel's birthmark, a visitor is eerily unique. As Walter stays in their midst, he finds a place as a farmhand and in Laurel's heart. When the outside world intrudes and secrets are revealed, of course tragedy strikes. However, you will enjoy the story that gets you there and the small piece of hope you are left with. An amazing piece of literature.
The book jacket reviews all mention the unforgettable character of Polly Shine. Yes, she is memorable, but the narrator's - Granada's - voice is the one that had me thinking long after I finished the last page. The choice forced upon her at 13 has such ramifications and regret that it is haunting. This story of life on a Mississippi plantation, told from the perspective of Granada, a slave child taken from her momma by the Mistress to be raised as a "pet" and used as a pawn in a marriage gone bad, is well written. It also illustrates the power of stories to save and to teach.
I am not sure how I missed this when it was first published, but I am glad I found it. I must admit that I had to persevere through the first 50 pages, but once the narrative picked up, I was hooked. A fascinating look at Japanese life and Dutch trading in the 18th century and human love.
Finally, the remarkable story of William Kamkwamba - a boy from Malawi who dreamed of building a windmill to help his country grow crops, have electricity and end poverty - is in picture book form. Children and adults will enjoy the pictures and the hope this story inspires.
A collection of art and poems by children from countries all around the world. Each page is devoted to what makes a particular country unique in the eyes of the children who live there. And the best part, sales from the book benefit United Nations and Art in All of Us programs worldwide.
A truly spare and haunting book about a young Muslim war orphan whose family is killed in a military operation gone wrong, and of the American soldier to whom his fate is bound. Jonas lives in an unnamed Muslim country when his family is killed by US Armed forces. With the help of a relief organization he lands in Pittsburgh, PA and finds a foster family, college scholarship and powerful girlfriend. However the adjustment is not all that it seems, eventually, he tells a court-mandated counselor and therapist about a U.S. soldier, who saved his life. This leads to the meeting of the soldier's mother who is searching for any information possible about what happened to her son. The book explores how people adjust to the ultimate tragedy - loss of loved ones. The Book of Jonas allows the reader to look at the terrible choices made during war, how people deal with the unknown and what happens when disaster appears in your own life.
Somehow, Ms. Bradley manages to create a novel that personalizes an uncomfortable topic -slavery- and addresses the particular complications and controversies inherent in Thomas Jefferson's relationship with slavery, specifically with Sally Hemings and her children. I appreciated being able to view slavery, plantation life and President Jefferson through the eyes of three of his young slaves. None of the viewpoints are simple, all of their feelings are complicated. Overall, I believe this novel provides an excellent lens into life in Monticello and the life of our third President. It would be a great book to read with your children and then start a discussion about this painful part of American history and how people can simultaneously act in honorable and dishonorable ways.
I enjoyed the first book in this series, Bruno, Chief of Police: a novel of the French countryside, but I loved The Dark Vineyard, the series second book. In this second book, I believe, the author, Martin Walker, hits his stride with the character Bruno and his story telling capabilities.¬ Walker is the Senior Director of the Global Business Policy Council, so he is smart and the writing is well done. He spends part of his year in the south of France, so he knows the country described in this series. I enjoy keeping company with Bruno, the main character and his neighbors. I always learn something about France. And each book transports me for awhile to a town I would enjoy seeing in person some day.
I found this series because my husband reads thrillers. He gave me one when we were on a trip and I had nothing to read. (Yes, this was pre-ipads.) And, while I often turn my nose down at the thought of a thriller, these are my new mind candy. They allow me to live again in San Francisco, my old hometown, if only for the duration of the novel. They have two fun main characters - Dismas Hardy and his best friend, and former police partner, the homicide detective Abe Glinsky. Each plot places you firmly in San Francisco and provides an enjoyable page turner. My summary - great books for anyone missing San Francisco and wanting some escapist reading. Nothing But the Truth begins the series, but you can start just about anywhere.-=0
I LOVED this novel. All the aspects --- the southern setting, the main character and her unique speech affliction, her beloved great uncle, the changing relationship with her best friend and her mother, her descriptions of both the mundane and profound aspects of life --- work together for a truly, truly enjoyable read. I am sad I can never read it again for the first time.(Just out in paperback!)
The lives of Nina and Philip are revealed over the course of one evening when Nina numbly sits beside Philip's dead body after his sudden and unexpected death. The writing superbly shows how complicated and amazing life and love can be -- even when everyone is not always honest or true at all times in a relationship. I read this book in one sitting on a plane and cherish it.
I read this as the upcoming movie caught my attention while on vacation. While it could be classified a "light" or "beach" read, I enjoyed the premise of looking at the lives of two people on the anniversary of the fateful day they met for 20-plus years afterwards. Yes, it reads like a movie, and now it is, but Nicholls is a clever writer, reminiscent of Nick Hornby. So if you are a fan of Hornby or are looking for a "summer has ended but the joy of the beach read has not" book, enjoy!
The thought of not being able to eat or drink for months on end is disturbing enough. But in the case of Mr. Reiner, this predicament of taking "nothing by mouth" is the only solution his doctors come up with when his Crohn's Disease almost kills him. This book, growing from a critically acclaimed article of the same name, probes multiple questions as Mr. Reiner navigates the medical systems (one disturbing piece - how which hospital accepts the ambulance with you in it may change whether you live or die) and emotional systems (the strain on his family is certainly not trivial) that are trying to cure him. A thought-provoking and very well-written memoir for anyone interested in food (it is amazing how good food seems to one who can only smell it), health care, and/or memoir. James Beard Foundation Award Winner Mr. Reiner uses his unique path through chronic illness and chronic unemployment to dissect his life with more honesty and humor than I think I would be capable of. I hope his lessons stay with me and make me grateful for my current good health, job, and ability to eat for a long time.
This was my first-ever ebook purchase! I enjoyed the incredibly accessible prose of Ms. Sciolino. I also learned from her American take on French life and her extensive research into the French view of seduction. Ms. Sciolino has spent years in Paris as the US correspondent for the New York Times. Her intelligence and insight show with every chapter and her personal stories highlighting the points she is trying to make entertain you along the way.
Incredibly well-written, fun and informative, with interesting revelations/personalities in every chapter. Enjoy this book by and about an amazing woman.
This is the best novel I have read thus far in 2011. While the love saves all theme may be a bit predictable, that seemed somehow appropriate and proves ultimately uplifting and heartening in this well written tale translated from the original French. (There -- just saying translated from the French elevates it somehow.) I loved the four main characters and the myriad of issues they carry with them -- a disgruntled and overworked young chef, his decaying but spunky grandmother, his landlord - a stuttering aristocrat, and a slight girl with plenty of artistic talent and some serious issues. Their time is divided between their various lines of "work" - selling postcards outside of museums, cleaning offices at night to avoid human contact, being yelled at by other chefs, trying to stay out of an old age home, and "play" in a gorgeous, but basically unfurnished Parisian flat where they squat to help the aristocrat save his family's inheritance. Now, to visit Paris and see them, or characters like them. Enjoy!
Days after finishing, I am still pondering the story contained in this memoir. It has so much, the trials and successes of building a life and a family, what it means to to live the best life possible, how failures shape you, the building and tearing and building again of relationships, an unbearable pain that comes with the loss of a child, making peace with an upbringing and a family's choices and more. Beyond the actual real life tale in this book, the author's rendering of her childhood also raises questions about how to accomplish a life that remains true to your ideals and brings the least amount of harm to and the most amount of help for the people you love. Specifically, it deals with organic farming and lessening carbon footprints and dealing with the death of a child. Globally, this book just deals with life. Read it under a tree this summer or wait until winter when you need to think a bit about fresh vegetables from a garden, and find your own answers to the questions within.
This picture book has two things to recommend it -- 1) pictures by Jules Feiffer and 2) a great tale of a girl whose sense of optimism and whose ability to believe temporarily overpowers her common sense.
Yes, this is an older title. However, the fact I pulled this out yesterday twice for probably the thousandth time made me realize how much of a bargain this book is and how everyone really should own it. This cookbook truly does show you how to cook EVERYTHING with simple, easy-to-follow instructions. A superb gift for a graduate or a newlywed or yourself.
A recent trip to the Dominican Republic caused me to revisit this book for the first time in years. The story and writing lived up to my memory of a good tale well told. The sense of political conviction is inspiring and helped me understand this Island I visited a bit better.