Readers’ Blog

Summer 2018 (includes front cover pictures)

We want to hear from you. Please send a blurb about something you’ve read and want to share with CML.  Postings will be published monthly except over the summer. Next posting will be in September 2018. Send your recommendations to
This month’s blog has 15 entries from enthusiastic readers.  Try some of these selections.  Take a break from all those summer duties.


 My Promised Land by Ari Shavit (20th Century History)

Ari Shavit won an Israeli book award for this book. It is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the history of the Jewish settlement in Israel, the current situation there, and the issues the Jews must deal with to survive in that environment. The author grew up in Israel (was born there), is a journalist, and presents a surprisingly objective view of the Jews and how they have and have not dealt with the Arabs. To me it was a page turner.

Reviewed by Rowena Farrar

Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson (20th Century History)

A terrific non-fiction account of early World War II when a number of European governments flee their Nazi occupied countries and take up residence in London for the duration of the war.  Lynne’s writing is always readable and compelling and full of details I learned for the first time. Highly recommend for everyone!

Reviewed by Judy Danielson

Birding Without Borders by Noah Strycker (Non-Fiction)

This one is an easy to read, adventure filled story of a birder’s “Big Year.” Noah travels around the globe meeting fellow enthusiasts and all kinds of birds. It is not a book just for birders but for all adventurers whether from the couch or out there on their own. The story also serves to remind us that we are all on this planet together and what a planet it is!

Reviewed by Leslie Burhoe


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Fiction)

A marvelous saga spanning a number of decades and three generation of Koreans in Japan.     I learned so much, and was engrossed to the end.    Notice the introduction by Caroline Kennedy, reflecting her three years as ambassador to Japan. This is a National Book Award Finalist….  well worth your time.

Reviewed by Judy Danielson

Turbulence by Stuart Woods (Thriller)

Do you like fine bourbon, beautiful houses and gorgeous women? So does Stone Barrington.  Stone, an extremely wealthy lawyer/ex-cop,  assists the CIA on cases world-wide. Catch up with Stone as he tracks on arms smuggler around the globe.

Reviewed by Steve Dodge

America’s First Daughter  by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (Historical Fiction)

This is the story of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph.  This well-researched book as told through the voice of Patsy Jefferson was written by Dray & Kamoie using as their basis the letters and writings to/from Thomas Jefferson.  Patsy’s dedication to her father from young childhood allows many of that time period’s well-known individuals to come to life. It was Patsy Jefferson Randolph who after Thomas Jefferson’s death painstakingly read all her father’s correspondence therefore as the authors’ indicate, some of the history may be slanted.  Eminently readable.    Recommend.

Reviewed by Connie Locashio

Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Contemporary Fiction)

Louisa Clark heads for New York City as she attempts to start her life again after losing her dear Will.  She has one foot in NY and one still home across the Atlantic, her childhood home.  She meets many roadblocks in her love life and in her professional life.  We are there watching as she struggles to overcome them until the end of the book.  Well done! (This is the third book in the Me Before You trilogy.)

Reviewed by Pam Chenea

River Talk by CB Anderson (Short Stories) 

A collection of short stories with rural central Maine background.  In each story, the characters deal with life’s adversities with typical Maine understatement and sometimes grace. Life is hard, and then you have to do the dishes.

Reviewed by Mary Jean Cowing

Twisted Prey by John Sandford (Thriller)

Lucas Davenport, now a U.S. Marshall investigator, chases a psychotic U.S. Senator after the attempted murder of a fellow Senator. Fast-moving even for Davenport fans!  Well worth the read.

Reviewed by Steve Dodge

Scars and Stripes Forever by Claudia Turner (Fiction)

 Where are you?   November 22nd, 1963    Overhead, the principal’s voice, calls all to the gym.   He tells us “that President Kennedy has been shot.”   How do you feel?   Turner’s novel puts new flesh on the old bones of the “Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory.”  Well researched, is it fiction, or not?

Reviewed by Bill Chellis

This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel (Fiction)

Here is is an amazing fairytale-like book about a family that has a secret.  The secret threatens the happiness of all of them, especially the youngest child, Claude.  Claude feels more like a girl than like his physical self “proves” him to be.  How he/she, his parents and his other 4 brothers work their way over this hurdle is the meat of the story, the result of thoughtful people living in the world.  I highly recommend this book.

Reviewed by Pam Chenea

Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende  (Historical Fiction) 

In 1939 as Poland falls under the shadows of the Nazis and the world goes to war, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her overseas to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in San Francisco in their opulent mansion. There she encounters a young man who is the son of their Japanese gardener and a tender friendship & love begins. Decades later Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life, when case worker Irinia meets her in the charming Lark House, an eccentric nursing home where Alma is living. The book explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption and how they impact lives. Although not usually a big fan of author Allende, this was a very enjoyable book.

Reviewed by Connie Locashio

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Mytholgoy)

Ah, the Norse tales, long my favorite of the of the world’s mythologies. My first was The Death of Baldar.  The version in this copy is much more detailed. Editor/Author Neil Gaiman (Good Omens) has here selected 16 tales from thee EDDA, both the poetic, and prose versions, to weave stories for our enjoyment.  Some were new to me.  Even if you already have memories of these tales, it’s time to read them again.  Refresh yourself!

Reviewed by Bill Chellis

Vacationland by John Hodgman (Humorous Essays)

Highly recommend  John Hodgman’s new book, Vacationland !   Hysterical read on move from the city/burbs to the country. Large dosages of sarcasm on Maine, Kids, White Privilege and Middle Age.  He wrote for TV, including the John Stewart show and currently writes a column for NY Times Magazine. Very Funny!!

Reviewed by M.T. Clark

Varina by Charles Frazier (Historical Fiction) 

Here’s a book that makes me want to go online and find out how much was true.  Frazier weaves a compelling account of Varina Davis’ life (wife of Jefferson)– written with his signature lush descriptive style. I’m am left wondering how did our country every recover from the trauma of secession and the Civil War. I don’t think it will become the blockbuster that Cold Mountain turned into, but this is a book  readers of historical fiction will enjoy. I wonder had she had more options (like the ability to earn a living and support her children) would she not be as complicit in the tragedies instigated by her husband’s administration.

Reviewed by Janet Adelberg