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quarter’s blog has 12 entries from enthusiastic readers. Sample some of these selections while you rest those tired shoveling muscles.
Great description of Alexander Hamilton and wife Eliza, and the historical times they lived through.
Reviewed by Judy Danielson
Don't pick up this book looking for happy endings, characters whom life has treated perfectly, or a life studded with silver clouds -- the things people share on Facebook. Elizabeth Strout and its main character, Lucy Barton, know that "life is lonely and unfair, that only the greatest luck will bring blessings like a long life and a quick death". It is a sad book but perfectly written, seamlessly revealing character and plot, whose tone exactly matches its subject. Its subject is our inarticulateness with those whom we
Reviewed by Betsy Bowen
The latest Maisie Dobbs,
Reviewed by Jane Andrews
Quiet Dell is a novel based on an actual event. In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of 3, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins receiving seductive letters from a chivalrous man named Harry Powers who promises to cherish and
Reviewed by Connie Locashio
It was an excellent read and a very compelling story. It is about a boy from a dysfunctional family who leaves and goes away to college and is assigned to write a paper about an old person. Since he has no one in his family he begins his interview at a nursing home with a convicted killer who is dying of cancer. A relationship develops and a mystery about his conviction. I could not put this book down. This was the first novel for Eskens and he has won several awards as a new author.
Reviewed by Lucy DiRenzo
After experiencing the world though the senses of Doerr's characters, it is hard to believe that this is a work of fiction. The realities of WWII, in which the story is centered, are unfortunately quite real.
The greatest thing about this book has to be the characters. Our hero is a girl who is curious, thoughtful, and blind by the age of six. She loves marine biology and asks too many questions. I wouldn't be opposed to having a daughter just like her. And you just know that in spite of everything, she is the kind of person who will find a way through whatever challenges arise.
Many other characters ended up being major contributors to what turns out to be a shimmering web of story. Central was the way in which people affect other people, offering drive and depth to the personalities involved.
The only thing that threatened to slow down the momentum was perhaps a slight heaviness from too much nostalgia, but it could be argued that the nostalgia felt in real life, by those imprisoned, forced to leave their homes, etc.
Reviewed by Sarah Adelberg
An amazing story of a Somalian woman who grew up in several north African countries, and escaped an arranged marriage by making her way to Holland and applying for asylum. She educated herself, learned 4 + languages, graduated from college, served in the Dutch parliament, and left for America when her life was threatened. She has described her experience growing up in the Muslim religion, denounces many of the practices, and has gained an international reputation. Well written - informative - fascinating - well worth reading !!
Reviewed by Judy Danielson
No matter where you are on the American political spectrum, this book will give you some perspective on these two opposite beliefs from the landing of the Mayflower to current Senate deadlocks. Woodard put forward the premise that only through perceived fairness of the federal government can we protect our freedom, both economic and civic. This Maine journalist writes a persuasive review on a national stage.
Reviewed by Mary Jean Cowing
H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Nature Writing/Personal Memoir)
Reviewed by Jim DiRenzo
This new book is about the friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and an African-American woman several decades her junior. This unusual link fascinated me. Pauli Murray becomes a lawyer, intellectual, and poet and rebel striving throughout her life to bring justice and equality to blacks, the poor, women and others. Eleanor Roosevelt surprises me with her strength of character as she becomes the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, treats all as equals, and is not afraid to stand up for equality in our culture. She and Pauli become fast friends. Better than historical fiction!
Reviewed by Pam Chenea
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (Non-Fiction)
This can be a very hard book to read, but hang in there. Atul Gawande is a surgeon, professor of medicine, and author. In a way that is both emotionally perceptive and clinically informed, he identifies institutional failures and innovative successes in caring for the aging and terminally ill -- in hospitals; in nursing homes; in assisted care facilities. He doesn't flinch from revealing his profession's sometimes desperate, misguided last-ditch attempts to prolong life. He sees the limits of medicine to provide what we most need -- a rich and meaningful life right up to the end. He speaks of "the art of dying," of aging at home, of hospice, about how to be autonomous yet connected with family, how to close out one's life with grace and dignity. I found it impossible to come away from this book and not be better prepared for my own (needless to say, inevitable) aging and death.
Reviewed by Betsy Connor Bowen
Wonderful description of the evolution of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor both as young women growing up, and then as young lawyers confronting restrictions on women. The book then elaborates on how various supreme court decisions have slowly nudged the country into accepting wider roles for both women and men.
Reviewed by Judy Danielson
Young Adults (of All Ages)
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to recommend for the next issue?