Readers’ Blog

Fall Blog 2018 (includes front cover pictures)

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This month’s blog has 10 entries from enthusiastic readers.  Try some of these selections.  Take a moment to sit back and enjoy a world away.


Grant by Ron Chernow (biography)
Quick-what do you know about U.S. Grant? Hard drinking, heavy smoker, military general, president for 2 terms, buried in Grant’s Tomb of New York City to name a few? Oh, there is so much more. Chernow leaves few stones unturned in this stirring biography of a seemingly ordinary man in a truly pivotal moment of American history.  I came away with a much better understanding of how a great man can make a difference.  My only caution is – To be prepared to read this tome, you might benefit from a pillow for your lap (very heavy) and good light (small print).  You will be well rewarded for your time spent in 19th century America.

Reviewed by MJ Cowing

For Kids

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Middle Grade Chapter Book)
” This is the best book in the whole world! I love it.”

Reviewed by Sophie (age 6) (Sophie is the grand-daughter of Jane and Stan Davis)


The Neighbor by Joseph Souza  (Suspense)
 This twisted thriller asks “Do you know what secret your neighbor is hiding?” Would you want to know?  Read only in the bright light sunlight!

Reviewed by Steve Dodge

Circling the Sun by Paula McLlain (Historical Fiction)
 I just finished reading Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, available at the Cary Library.  It is fiction but based on the life of Beryl Markham, renowned aviatrix, author and adventurer.  Raised by her father in colonial East Africa, Beryl hunted with the Masai, bred thoroughbred horses, romanced Denys Fitch-Hatton and defied constraining social rules. The majority of the story takes place in and around the Rift Valley, Kenya Colony, 1920. A good read. Having visited this area in Africa, I was able to relive the time I spent on safari and living up close and personal with the terrain and of course the animals.

Reviewed by Jill Howes

A Place of Execution by Val McDermid (Mystery)
This is the first Val McDermid I read after Janet showed me the book.  It made me want to read more by this award-winning crime fiction/mystery/suspense/thriller writer who has been compared to Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers.

It’s 1963.  2 children have disappeared from Manchester, England and then a 13-yr old girl from another community goes missing.  Then commences a search for the girl, an investigation with inspector George Bennett leading, a trial.  Decades later Bennett tells his story about the murder to a journalist.  Just before the book is to be published Bennett tries to stop it from coming out.

Since I read A Place of Execution, I have read several more of Ms. McDermid’s books. I just finished The Skeleton Road which has received some high praise and some less than sterling reviews.  I thought it an amazing read. I am about to begin Out of Bounds. I plan to read every Val McDermid I can get my hands on. The Cary has several.

Reviewed by Cynthia Pelliccia

Emily Davis by Miss Read (Fiction)
Did you read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and  love it?  You will love Emily Davis.  Did you read Olive Kitteridge and hate it? You will love Emily Davis.  This novel, about a school teacher in rural England during the first half of the 20th century, was written by a school teacher who taught in rural England a bit later in the 20th century.  Like Olive Kitteridge, the book is a series of linked stories about the main character throughout her life, from many different narrators. Unlike Olive, Emily is a lovely person.   A wonderful book about a compelling woman and her life in a rural village; although entirely lacking in thrills and chills, it was hard to put down.  If you like it, you will be happy to learn that Miss Read wrote many many other books, several of which are available at the Cary.

Reviewed by Jane Andrews

Liar’s Candle by August Thomas (Suspense)
Terrorist bombing on the Fourth of July at the US Embassy in Ankara.  Penny, an Intern, wakes up to find she is being hunted by the CIA and Turkey. What does she know? As up to date as it gets! Read it!

Reviewed by Steve Dodge

Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman (Mystery)
Detective Nils Shapiro is called to a house filled with the dust from vacuum cleaner bags. Oh yeah, by the way, there’s a body under all that dust.

A well-written read, worth your losing sleep. The library also owns the second book in the series.

Reviewed by Steve Dodge

Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd (Mystery)
Hunting Shadows (2004) is a mystery set in Cambridgeshire, England in 1920 with the shooting of a man who has come to attend a society wedding in the small community of Ely. This is part of an Inspector Ian Rutledge series with many before it and a number following (per computer website).   The book was given to me and I thought it was a “stand alone” until I was too deep into it to stop. Have now ordered from Bailey Library A TEST OF WILLS which was the first in the series published in 1996. An interesting approach to read of a detective who is with Scotland Yard and trying to solve crimes in the early part of the 1900’s without any of today’s modern help…well written, not brutal and an enjoyable read.  From the dialog in the book, it is obvious that there are characters and events that have shaped the Inspector’s life. For you who enjoy this genre, I recommend and suggest starting at the beginning of the series.

Reviewed by Connie Locashio


Raven Black and sequels by Ann Cleeves (Mystery)
 I kept hearing about the Shetland series, both in print and on Netflix, so decided to try the first one. If you are in the mood for a character-driven, atmospheric mystery series these are just the ticket. The protagonist, Jimmy Perez, is so under-stated that you might believe not much is happening. Then voila–the strands and details come together. The Shetland Islands are fascinating to read about and much island culture is woven in.  Not flashy, but a compelling, high quality series. Great for a long winter’s night.

Reviewed by Janet Adelberg