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This month's blog has 12 entries from enthusiastic readers. Sample some of these selections before the blackflies hit.
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood (Contemporary Fiction)
For fans of Monica's book, When We Were the Kennedys, you won't be disappointed with her new book. The main characters...the boy, the father, and the 104 year old woman... come into each other's lives to create a heartfelt story, weaving every emotion in and out, from beginning to end. I especially loved the friendship between the young boy and the old lady. Monica chooses her words so well and her pages read as smooth as butter. Would be a perfect pick for book groups. New at the Cary!
Recommended by Bev Petell
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (Histoical Fiction)
I just finished this mystery and highly recommend it. Bohjalian is a very good storyteller. This is as good as his Midwives. It is based in Italy during World War II and the historically heart-wrenching divide between those who collaborated with the Germans and those who did not. Once started, you cannot put it down. There are parts that will make one weep, but still worth it for the intricate plot and great writing.
Recommended by Barrie Colbath
Euphoria by Lily King (Historical Fiction)
Euphoria is historical fiction about Margaret Mead, one of my childhood heroes. The book was not long enough. I wanted much more information about her studies of the tribes in New Guinea. But what a taste of her life. It was fascinating, scary, and fraught with tension. The author presented Margaret as a brilliant, caring, intense woman with big marital issues. I know the facts are true from the research done by the author, and I think Lily King did a fine job of filling out the portrait. An excellent read.
Recommended by Barrie Colbath
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katrina Bivald (Contemporary Fiction)
The book is set in Broken Wheel, Iowa where Sara has traveled from Sweden to meet her elderly pen pal Amy only to discover that Amy has died and her funeral is in progress. The residents of down-at-the-heels Broken Wheel take Sara under their wings in her confusion. Sara opens a book store in one of the many vacant store fronts with the books from Amy’s house where she is staying for a few weeks. A large cast of characters who are interesting and as the synopsis from one review says of the book “it makes us realize why so many of us are book lovers”.
Recommended by Connie Locashio
The Stargazer's Sister by Carrie Brown (Historical Fiction)
The Stargazer’s Sister is an amazing book by Carrie Brown about William Hershel, astronomer and musician, and his sister Caroline. Caroline spends much of her life waiting on her brother and taking notes for him, as he gazes through his telescope and dictates to her. She is only 4 feet 3 inches tall, but she becomes larger than life as a renowned astronomer, and the first woman to discover a comet. Fascinating (at least partly) true story.
Recommended by Pam Chenea
These Is My Words, The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy E. Turner (Historical Fiction)
On a recent visit to see a high school friend in Arizona (Winthrop, class of 1959!) I was given a book I didn’t think I would be interested in, therefore I encourage readers to not give up immediately. These Words is told in journal form by Sarah Prine about her trip to the Arizona Territory in 1881 and her early years there. The book is inspired by the author’s own family memoirs. The grammar initially is that of an uneducated young girl, but improves as the book moves on and the reader gets caught up with the life of Sarah and her extended family. For those that enjoy this adventure, the author has written other books including a sequel entitled Sarah’s Quilt.
Recommended by Connie Locashio
Natural World of Winnie the Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood by Kathryn Aalto (Natural History/Literature)
A book for everyone who loves the natural world regardless of whether like me you love Winnie the Pooh. It is the story of the people, the place (Ashdown Forest), the animals that inspired the Winne the Pooh stories.
It gives details of the life and personality of AA Milne and tells how he worked with his illustrator E. H. Shepard. This book is richly illustrated with Shepard’s drawings, pictures in Ashdown Forest and many nature photos.
The author also writes about Ashdown Forest today, the existing Poohsticks Bridge and how to visit the forest. This book takes you there. Reading it on a cold, dark, dreary, winter’s day was indeed a wonderful trip!
Recommended by Cindy Pelliccia
The Poison Patriarch by Mark Shaw (History/American Politics)
One doesn't ask the Illinois mob to deliver that state to elect your son President, insist RFK become attorney general and then encourage him to attack your benefactors, without consequences. Knowing RFK would be powerless without JFK and with LBJ, JFK was executed. Five years later RFK's growing momentum toward the presidency and the renewed threat of prosecution targeted him for execution. Their father's request for underworld help in the 1960 Illinois election and subsequent prosecution created a scenario where his two sons’ deaths were nearly inevitable. It makes perfect sense. An important educational read.
Recommended by Bob Stephenson
How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson (History and Technology)
Our teachers’ book club just finished a fascinating book titled, How We got to Now, by Steven Johnson. The author traces the development of six different topics, Clean, Time, Light, Sound, Glass and Cold. Johnson’s central line relates to what the author calls the humming bird effect. As the humming bird discovered the need for pollen it developed wings that could be rotated to allow them to hover. The author points out that as flowers changed to developed pollen the bird changed to be able to gather the pollen, a form of co evolution. The topic, glass was studied from the very discovery of melted silica in the desert, to spectacles and telescopes and microscopes. One of Johnson’s very interesting facts related to glass was that only the monks needed spectacles as they copied the scriptures, until Gutenberg invented the printing press. The press made more reading material available and caused more people to need glasses. Johnson traces air conditioning from the first ice blocks that were shipped from Maine to Cuba. II was particularly interested to see how many inventions were found in New Jersey. A doctor Leale from New Jersey found that chlorine when added to water could kill many harmful bacteria that were responsible for killing thousands of people. Dr, Leale, without permission chlorinated the Jersey City reservoir in Boonton, NJ. Can you imagine that happening today?
My first impression of this nonfiction was that it was a bit dry but as I read on I found myself needing to learn more. The folks in our book club expressed similar reactions.
Recommended by Jim DiRenzo
Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell (Biography)
Sonia Purnell is one of a generation of biographers turning to primary sources-- letters, diaries, memoirs and interviews -- to overthrow historical orthodoxies, particularly about women. Churchill himself said he could not have led Britain to victory without Clementine by his side, but nobody seemed to hear it. The book starts slowly, dwelling on her difficult childhood and struggles for independence, but picks up steam with her marriage to this courageous and brilliant but autocratic, emotionally out-of-control, rampantly egocentric man. She alone could "manage" him. A skilled political wife, she helped assemble and provided hospitality to the alternative intelligence network Churchill relied on to keep him informed of Hitler's plans through the 1930's. Then she worked beside him as he came to power in 1939, brought the United States into the war, and led Britain to an Allied victory.
Recommended by Betsy Bowen
Young Adult for ALL AGES
A Wrinkle In Time/A Wind In The Door/A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
A Tesseract? Who was Proginoskes? How did Charles Wallace save the world?
Answer these questions by reading Madeleine L'Engle's trilogy.
A tale of brilliant children in a troubled world.
If these books are not already on your "Life List", return quickly to the children's area, and correct the problem.
Recommended by Bill Chellis
Ashley Bryan, Illustrator (The Library has several of Bryan's books)
Wonderful and whimsical art. Where?
Children's books, especially those for the very young reader, depend on the illustrator to help carry the message.
One of my favorite is Maine artist, Ashley Bryan. He has taken African Folk Tales, and added his art.
Take a few minutes from your day, sit down, check out this world of art, and see what you have missed.
You may even find a book to take home and share.
Recommended by Bill Chellis