Recommendations from April 2008
It’s always a pleasure to hear the diverse opinions we have on books; one person’s experience of a book can be quite the opposite of another’s. Our conversation this month took us through the present-day conditions of China to unruly teens to a travel book restaurant in Connecticut. This restaurant sounded like a place to plan a stop: a free book with every meal, and lots more books to choose from at reasonable prices, according to the recommender. Check out this link for more information—it’s off of I-84:
Please join us next month on May 24th from 10-11:30. Please note the new and extended time! We have found that we need more time to chat about our reading materials, so we are scheduling an hour for our group—with an extra half hour, in case we need to keep going! The side discussions are too interesting to cut short. Make a note to come at 10 a.m. next month and plan to stay awhile.
Albert, Susan Wittig. Nightshade, (2008). Another entry in the China Bayles mystery series, this touches on many family themes that are touched upon in previous installments. Bayles is an herbalist, so there’s always some interesting plant information that is interspersed with the story. These are good to read in order, so start at the beginning if you’re new to the series. (MINERVA owns.)
Bellow, Saul. The Actual: A Novella, (1997). This author was recommended to one of our members by her writing group. She chose this one because it was short, and was pleased by the quality of the writing, the character development, and the relationships that are depicted. (Rockport Library owns: Fiction BEL)
Bernhardt, William. The Capitol Conspiracy, (2008). This was both “hard to read” and “hard to put down!” After a failed assassination attempt on president that leaves the First Lady dead, the preposition is made that the Bill of Rights be thrown out. “A frightening and suspenseful book!” (Rockport Library owns, new fiction: Fiction BER)
Davis-Gardner, Angela. Plum Wine, (2006). This is the May selection for the Rockport Public Library Book Group; the meeting is on May 7th at 6:30 and all are welcome. The story is about Barbara, an American professor living in Japan in the 1960s. When Barbara’s Japanese “mother” dies, she leaves a camphor chest full of plum wine to Barbara. But there are also clues to her past hidden in the chest. There are many accurate and interesting cultural details that are explored in this novel, and it’s “brilliantly written.” (MINERVA owns.)
Girzone, Joseph G. Joshua series. This series speculates about what would happen if God was living among us today. The first book was simple, yet hopeful: conflicts are opportunities to come together for the betterment of humanity. (MINERVA owns.)
Hodgson, Ken. The Man Who Killed Shakespeare, (2007). This was quite short and unexpectedly good. Set in Depression-era New Mexico, in the mining town of Shakespeare, this is the story of the town’s slow demise after the mine fails. When a con artist seeks refuge in the town with a new scam in mind, the townsfolk are eager for any respite from their troubles. Beautifully developed characters. (Rockport owns, new fiction: Fiction HOD)
Picoult, Jodi. The Pact, (1998). Picoult frequently deals with hot-button topics: this time it’s teen suicide. When Em finds out she’s pregnant, she asks her longtime friend Chris to pull the trigger. Chris is the survivor and the result is a suspenseful and “creepy” story.
Pratchett, Terry. Witches Abroad, (1991). Another recommendation for Terry Pratchett this month! This children’s author has the wonderful talent of creating humorous and detailed fantasy books that adults can enjoy, too. This book was described as “great fun.” (MINERVA owns.)
Shreve, Anita. Body Surfing, (2007). A well-written book about the upheavals of an emotionally charged time in one family’s history. Told from multiple perspectives, this is a tale of “deceptive love and stark betrayal” (Publisher’s Weekly, on amazon.com). (Rockport owns: Fiction SHR)
Hall, Meredith. Without a Map, (2007). Hall’s memoir recounts her pregnancy as a teen in the 1960s. The baby was given up for adoption and there was a lot of secrecy and shame around the event. The book follows how the early episode in Hall’s life later effected her progression through life as a bright student and successful woman. (Rockport owns, New nonfiction: B Hall)
Pink, Daniel H. A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, (2005). Will right-brainers rule the future? This author tells us why right-brain capacities will make us better equipped to meet the challenges of the Conceptual Age. He offers six competencies, such as Design, Story, and Symphony, and provides practical applications of each. (MINERVA owns.)
Plourde, Lynn. Margaret Chase Smith: A Woman for President, (2008), D. McPhail, illus. Maine native Plourde, best known for her playful verse in picture books, has made a successful leap into children’s nonfiction with this volume. Margaret Chase Smith is an important figure in Maine’s, the nation’s, and women’s history for her place in political life. There is lots of interesting information here to place Smith’s achievements in context. (Rockport Library owns: J Maine B Smith).
Sells, Scott. Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager: 7 Steps to Reestablish Authority and Reclaim Love, (2001). Although the recommender was reading this for professional, not personal interest, she found it an interesting and hopeful sourcebook. Striking a balance between tough and soft techniques, working as a team with other adults in the teen’s life, and other suggestions seemed helpful. But how do they get out of control in the first place? This was not addressed. (MINERVA owns.)