This page is for our readers! Here you will find links to our recent book acquistions as well as suggestions from BookLovers' Cafe,
The Rockport Public Library Book Group, and Rockport Readers Recommend. We love talking about the books
you love at RPL. We hope you find these suggestions useful. As always, you can contact the staff for help in finding a good book.
Rockport Readers Recommend
Our readers have supplied the following recommendations either by filling in a form at our
circulation desk, or by entering directly into the form linked to this web page. Please use this space to share your impressions and comment on your favorite books.
We have a display of many of these books as you enter our library.
We hope you are inspired to try a book from this list. Enjoy!
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22 Brittania Road Amanda Hodgkinson (Fiction HOD) I think there must be many such stories from WWII waiting to be told. When the War ended... and I was born after that... my guess is people didn't want to know about the atrocities. They needed to move on. Stories such as this have waited almost 70 years to be told. This impressive first novel reminds me of another WWII novel, Julie Orringer's "The Invisible Bridge." In other words how does a person, in this case a young wife and mother, move from the ordinary life of home and family to become a person who can survive with her young son in the Polish forest for six long, cold, and brutal years? What must one become in order to survive? And then, with the war's ending, how to be
About a Boy Nick Hornby (Fiction HOR) This book is laugh outloud funny! If you saw the movie, the book is even better. It's the story of Will, a self-absorbed thirty-something who gets involved with a motley bunch of characters, including Marcus. Marcus is twelve and usually picked on at school. Will and Marcus form an unlikely friendship that ultimately benefits them both. Hilarious along the way.
Alice Bliss Laura Harrington (Fiction HAR) You better have a box of Kleenex when you read this book. It's about a teenage girl whose father is being deployed to Iraq. I could barely see to read the last third of this book, I was crying so.
The Anthologist Nicholson Baker (Fiction BAK) For people who love words and poetry. A gentle meandering story. The language is delicious.
Black Ice Linda Hall Her stories are in Maine-Great reading.
The Blood Spilt Asa Larsson The author, Asa Larsson, is a beautiful young woman, married with two small children... and a former tax lawyer. The heroine of her books is Rebekka Martinsson, also a tax lawyer, who stumbles onto some pretty horrific murders in northern Sweden, near the town of Kiruna. I came to have a real respect and affection for many of the recurring characters in these books... Martinsson, her friend, officer Anna Marie Mella, and Mella's partner, Sven Erik Stalnacke, a lonely divorcee who is devoted to his cat. These characters are flawed but very human. The action moves along quickly keeping the reader riveted but also with plenty of time to think about what demons enable ordinary people
Blue Moon Circus Michael Raleigh (Fiction RAL) A beautiful book. One of the best I've read in a long time. Very sympathetic characters.
The Boy Who Came Walking Home Peter Scott (Maine Fiction SCO) This book should appeal to anybody interested in the Maine Coast. It's a beautifully written evocation of Barter Island off Stonington during World War I.
Boy's Life Robert K. McCammon (Fiction MCC) Nostalgic time in American history in the early 60's in the south when the KKK was very vibrant and much involved in the lives of people. It is the story of a 12 year old boy and his coming of age, and a brutal murder that he and his father witness (the aftermath of). It is also the story of two communities: one black and one white and how this young boy bridges the divide.
Campbell's Kingdom Hammond Innes (Cassette Fiction INN) This audio book is beautifully written, gripping, and very well read.
Cane River Lalita Tademy (Fiction TAD) The author, a successful African American businesswoman, researched her genealogy back to ancestors who were slaves. She calls her book fiction but it is based on fact. It was heart rendering, memorable. I couldn't put it down.
Caravan Dorothy Gilman (Fiction GIL) Looking for adventure in foreign lands? A great survival story set in the early 20th century? Strong female protagonist? Find it all here, as you follow a girl pickpocket from a poor background in America, later the wife of an English anthropologist in London, to the deserts of North Africa. When her husband is murdered in a raid by Tuareg nomads, Caressa must find a way to survive the adventure. She's smart and resourceful. By the author of the Mrs. Pollifax series.
The Chequer Board Nevil Shute (Fiction SHU) This book was written in 1947, but it deals very positively and openly with race relations and inter-racial marriage in a way that books 60 years later still do not do.
China Run David Ball (Fiction BAL) I would recommend to anyone who likes adventure novels. He is the equal to Hammond Innes.
Clay's Quilt Silas House (Fiction HOU) A good read. Family story.
Code of the West Aaron Latham (Fiction LAT) Kind of like Larry McMurtry- with a basis in the legend of King Arthur. Strongly shows how people of the time had to depend on each other. Excellent book. I give it a very strong recommendation.
Crescent Diana Abu-Jaber (Fiction ABU) Easy to read, very well written, excellent use of language, very timely, thought-provoking, many layers. Stories within stories.
Crow Lake Mary Lawson (Fiction LAW) Well written-Canadian genre? Bit of a tearjerker but it will make you think!
Death's Autograph Marianne Macdonald (Fiction MAC) Death's Autograph is the first in a series, a British cozy mystery with Dido Hoare, bookseller in London, as its sleuth. Very satisfying, twists, turns, surprises, up-to-date with realistic knowledge of "the book" industry. I highly recommend it, although a warning...in the first 2-3 chapters I thought Dido rather inactive or in denial about her situation. It's wonderful to see the changes in the protagonist.
Decline and Fall Waugh, Evelyn (Cassette Fiction WAU) This is worth listeing to if only for some of the reader's characterizations. Excellent reader!
The Divide Nicholas Evans (Fiction EVA) Great story -- hard to put down.
Easy Silence Angela Huth (Fiction HUT) A new author for me, Angela Huth's novels are set in England. Nice easy reading about people and their loves. Nothing shocking. Other titles are Wives of the Fisherman and Land Girls.
An Echo Through the Snow Andrea Thalasinos (Fiction THA) Slow going, but well worth reading. She's done a lot of research and really understands Siberian huskies.
Echoes from the Dead Johan Theorin (Fiction THE) Johan Theorin manages to create for the reader a very gentle but relentless momentum to his unfolding story. I found so much more than just a %u201Cwho-dunnit%u201D in this unique book. I discovered (yet again) the magic of the memories of childhood; the slow healing of terrible loss and pain; the frustrations of the frailty of aging and the the power of love and reconciliation.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog Muriel Barbery (Fiction BAR) This extraordinary novel, ably translated from French, has two protagonists: a 58 year old concirage and a twelve-year old girl. Both are intellectually brilliant, both have reasons to disguise this, which they do with great skill. The novel is a series of musings on life and art by both characters; given that, a reader might think it would be boring-- it is, instead, riveting, even though there are many occasions when I had to stop reading and reflect on what a character had observed. It is impossible not to be caught up in what is transpiring. Will the girl commit suicide? Will the 58-year-old break out of her self-imposed prison?
Family Album Penelope Lively (MP3 Fiction LIV) Audio Edition. Get ready to be transported to the suburbs of England in the late 20th Century. Evocative story of a family with six siblings and an au pair but the lead character in this story is the physical home Allersmead. This audio book continues to play in my memory although months have gone by since I listened to it.
Fatherland Robert Harris (Fiction HAR) Set in 1964 Germany after Hitler won WWII, it's the story of a decent policeman who tries to enforce the law in a totally corrupt system. Very memorable!
The Finkler Question Howard Jacobson (Fiction JAC) This book is both very funny and painfully sad. Mr Jacobson has a way of writing that brutally and explicitly depicts our human weaknesses. He does this with candor, warmth and mischievous humor. Please ignore many of the published reviews. It is a book about the human spirit - that is in all humans, not just Jewish humans!
Folly Laurie R. King (Fiction KIN) Very intense and gripping. A wonderful reading experience.
Freedom Jonathan Franzen (Fiction FRA) The most richly developed characters I've read in a long time. Intricate family relationships you get totally involved in--I stayed up until 3:00 am because I had to find out what happened to everyone.
Galore Michael Crummey (Fiction CRU) Galore is beautifully written weaving the stuff of myth with life lived by several generations of island people whose universe is off the eastern Canadian coast. The relational aspect of hard working people with an ancient feeling mythic presence who appears in a most amazing way reminds me of magical realism migrating North. Surprising experiences of eccentric mostly good people and the wonderfully poetic flow of story telling will have you waiting for his next book.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson (Fiction LAR) This is a rip roaring read, guaranteed to keep one up at night. The author, who sadly died in 2004 at the age of 50, has a wonderful knack of weaving stories within stories in such a way that I really had difficulty putting the book down. At the same time I noticed myself slowing my reading pace down considerably towards the end of the book because I did not want it to end. I have just discovered that this is the first novel in a trilogy. Yes it is sad that the author died so young but he has certainly left very rich material for his growing readership.
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa Drayson, Nicholas (Fiction DRA) Highly delightful - wonderful read. Couldn't put it down; read it in 2-1/2 hours. Sweet book, gives you faith.
The Hakawati Rabih Alameddine (Fiction ALA) Incredible book! Took a little while to "get into" it, but well worth it.
A Happy Marriage Rafael Yglesias (Fiction YGL) This novel was inspired by real events in the life of the author- his experiences being married to his wife, Margaret and ultimately having to say goodbye to her. It is a raw, real, poignant, and beautiful story of one couple's relationship. The novel weaves between the past and present and the reader is transported seamlessly back and forth. I found myself wanting to get back to the past when I was in the present and when I was in the past I wanted to find out what was happening in the present. At times I felt as though I was trespassing on some very private moments.
Another reader wrote: This novel was inspired by real events in the life of the author- his experiences being married to his wife, Margaret and ultimately having to say goodbye to her. It is a raw, real, poignant, and beautiful story of one couple's relationship. The novel weaves between the past and present and the reader is transported seamlessly back and forth. I found myself wanting to get back to the past when I was in the present and when I was in the past I wanted to find out what was happening in the present. At times I felt as though I was trespassing on some very private moments.
Hard Bottom G.F. Michelsen (Fiction MIC) Great for a boat-oriented person. Lots of authentic detail-also conflict between native Cape Codders and the developers.
The Haunted Ground Erin Hart (Fiction HAR) The best writing since the last P.D. James- the best book I've read in a long time.
The History of Love Nicole Krauss (Fiction KRA) I listened to the audio version of this book. The reader for the character of Leo Gursky was especially good. This is a well-written and beautiful story about a "what was thought of as a lost manuscript" and how it came to influence every person who read this story.
Hull Creek Jim Nichols (Maine Fiction NIC) I couldn't put it down! If you want a good story about lobstering and life on the coast of Maine this book is for you. I was cheering for the protagonist even though I did not always agree with his choices. I loved this book. Great characters-I'm still thinking about them. Gritty.
The Hummingbird's Daughter Alberto Luis Urrea (Fiction URR) Award winning book about the author's own great (aunt?) some relative. Set in Mexico in the 1800's. Epic saga concerning a section of Mexico I knew very little about. Focuses primarily on the apprenticeship of Teresa learning herbal and medical practices. Great, can't put it down, 500 pager.
Ice Trap Kitty Sewell (Fiction SEW) A great first book!
Icon Frederick Forsyth (Cassette Fiction FOR) Tip top combination of an excellent story with superb narration. Accents are great and interpretation is right on. Can't miss with this one. (Audio Book)
Inheritance christopher Paolini (YA Fiction PAO) An absolutely amazing novel. One of the best1!
Into the wilderness Sara Donati (Fiction DON) The first in a series about a young woman settling in NY. Interesting characters and good story. I enjoyed this book and each of the following books. A little romance, a litle adventure, vivid characters, and mystery.
The Invisible Bridge Julie Orringer (Fiction ORB) This is one of the best books I've read in years. It's very tightly written and deals with what really happened in World War II. The setting is Europe and the story follows a young man and how his life is affected by the great war.
Italian Shoes Henning Mankell (Fiction MAN) Deeply atmospheric writing is what sets this writer apart. You may be familiar with the Kurt Wallander mystery series, but this one is a stand-alone. This is a book that many readers have reported not being able to put down.
The Janissary Tree Jason Goodwin (Fiction GOO Mystery) Interesting picture of Istanbul in time of Sultans.
La's Orchestra Saves the World Alexander McCall Smith (Fiction MCC) This is an understated yet deeply moving story that is a %u201Cstand alone%u201D and not part of one of Professor McCall Smith much loved series. The story unfolds in England during World War II. Unlike many wartime novels this one celebrates the utter ordinariness of life and character. Bravery, fearlessness are not traits to be admired from afar but are qualities we all have when circumstances allow. I defy anyone to read this low key celebration of the human spirit and have dry eyes at the end!
Last Car to Elysian Fields James Lee Burke (Fiction BUR) Sensuous detail about southern Louisiana. The smells, sights, sounds... All of Burke's books have this quality. Good writing.
the last chinese chef mones (Fiction MON) Great writing style. Well researched. History, passion, food, and culture.
The Last Town on Earth Thomas Mullen (Fiction MUL) Excellent on audio. Very interesting insight into the 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza Epidemic. A small town in Washington State quarantines itself in order to isolate itself from the flu outbreak. Many interesting ethical questions are raised as the book examines the consequences of quarantine. As we think ahead to the possibility of another world wide epidemic, we will need to review the moral, social and economic consequences of our actions. Highly recommended!
Life on the Refrigerator Door Alice Kuipers (Fiction KUI) A small book, with an interesting format, this book takes you on an emotional journey---laughter, tears, and everything in between. It's told in the notes passed between a mother and daughter, posted on their refrigerator.
The Likeness Tana French (Fiction FRE) What a book! Ms French delves deep into her characters' psyches and chooses fascinating themes to explore so one gets a great deal more than just a good who-dunnit. Amongst the many aspects of the book that had me enthralled was her exploration of charisma in deeply flawed characters and her examination of the ease with which we can become caught up and controlled by the magnetism of another person. It is her skill to enable the reader to personally identify with her characters in an internal deeply personal way. Ms French has an ability to almost magically draw the reader into her descriptions of place and character. Be warned her writing is intoxicating!
The Little Book Selden Edwards (Fiction EDW) Magical time travel, thoughtful ideas, and a great story.
The Lost Hero Rick Riordan (YA Fiction RIO) Awesome book!!! everything about it would give anyone a good feeling, just awesome.... all the way around a terrific,awesome,and absolutely a wonderful story. Once you flip over the first page your eyes will be glued to the story.
The Love-Artist Jane Alison (Fiction ALI) Very interesting take on Ancient Rome and the poet, Ovid.
Lucy: a novel Ellen Feldman (Fiction FEL) Unusual perspective of Lucy Rutherford and FDR. Read right along. I really enjoyed this book.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Helen Simonson (Fiction SIM) A lovely read--a gentle book, and I didn't want it to end. It's only her first novel, but I love the way she writes. (Rockport PL has this title on order)
Master Butcher's Singing Club Louise Erdrich (Fiction ERD) An unusual cast of characters but ones that are appealing. An interesting take on "coming to America".
A Million Nightingales Susan Straight (Fiction STR) Well written- a slightly different perspective of slavery and the old South.
Mink River Brian Doyle (Fiction DOY) Its poetic- Beautiful blend of cultures. Superb storytelling, unique use of language. I will be very sad to finish it. If you like Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez you will like this story by Brian Doyle.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs (Fiction RIG) Haunting story. Unique style of integrating old photos and weaving a story connecting these strange photos together. Nothing like it. Unforgettable.
The Moonlit Cage Linda Holeman (Fiction HOL) I could not put this book down! Great historical fiction about mid-19th century Afghanistan.
The Moonstone Wilkie Collins (Fiction COL) The first detective novel, and such fun to read: well-written, well-constructed, a true classic.
Motherless Brooklyn Jonathan Lethem (Fiction LET) Perhaps the most inventive and original use of the English language I've read in a long time; brilliant word play- story centers on search for a murderer by a man with Tourette's Syndrome. Funny. Poignant. Just brilliant.
Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch Alice Caldwell Higgin (Fiction HEG) This book is SO charming! I haven't seen it since I was a child. It's funny, whimsical, sad, and delivers a message much needed message much needed today. A beautiful edition from 1901.
Mudbound Hillary Jordan (Fiction JOR) This book is extraordinarily engaging and well-written. It is a fictional account of a period of time in the US, not so long ago, that describes what life was like in the deep south, from the point of view of all the main characters. It combines the history and the culture of the time to create a story that is at times horrifying, at times sad, at times enlightening, but throughout-always compelling. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how our recent past still very much affects our present, in terms of male/female relationships and our struggles with racism.
Another reader wrote: I sat down to read this and didn't get up until I finished it. It was excellent--the characters grab you and pull you in. I highly recommend it.
Murder in the Bastille Cara Black (Fiction BLA) Wonderful series, this is the fourth and the best so far. Quirky, original, beautifully written characters and for anyone who loves, or dreams of Paris. Paris is as alive as another character, vividly described.
My Dear I Wanted to Tell You Louisa Young (Fiction YOU) If you like historical fiction that really draws you in, you will love this book. This book takes place during WWI but is a home front novel. Reviewers say the novel stayed with them long after they've read it.
The Natural Disorder of Things Andrea Canobbio (Fiction CAN) Interesting mix of gardening, Italina living, intrigue, family tragedy, and a love story.
The Nature of Water and Air Regina McBride (Fiction MCB) Written by a poet. Beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. Set in Ireland. A little offbeat. Highly recommend!
Never Change Elizabeth Berg (Fiction BER) A beautiful book (but sad) about a district nurse and a cancer patient.
North River Pete Hamill (Fiction HAM) Story set in the 30's. Rough and tumble and rowdy. About a doctor who lived in New York City with the Irish and Italians.
Nowhere to Run C.J. Box (Fiction BOX) This book should have 6 stars! I couldn't put it down; it was a compelling story from beginning to end. The landscape description is excellent, transporting you absolutely from Rockport to Wyoming. It's one of this author's best yet.
An Object of Beauty Steve Martin (Fiction MAR) Great book, well written, funny with some good life lessons. Easy to read, enjoyed it and I think you will too! Good story without a lot of tension and no horror.
Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout (Fiction STR) This is reminiscent of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg Ohio. Set in Maine each chapter is about a character in the town with Olive as a central character woven throughout. Olive is a difficult character to love but someone for whom I felt great compassion. Olive Kitteridge is unforgettable and I will read this story again.
Tomb of Zeus Cleverly, Barbara (Fiction CLE) Set in 1928 in Crete, archeologist Laetitia Talbot is investigating the 'tomb of Zeus' when she encounters some perplexing and mysterious people at the villa where she is staying. This is a real page-turner and almost impossible to put down. The author has a popular mystery series, but here is a new protagonist in an exciting story.
One Dog Night David Rosenfelt (Fiction ROS) You know all that advice our librarians give us like "occasionally read out of genre?" Well... I did it and wound up with a winner. "One Dog Night" is an Andy Carpenter mystery which meant nothing to me but I found out that Andy is my idea of a perfect hero, smart, funny, independently wealthy, and a dog lover. He is also self proclaimed lazy but seems to be a good man to have in a legal fight. Oh, and I forgot to say he is a lawyer with a lot of quirky friends. "One Dog" is about a family man who beat a serious drug problem but six years later has been accused of a heinous crime he can't remember committing. Did he do it or not? Andy has some serious doubts.
The Orphan Master's Son Adam Johnson (Fiction JOH) Once you start it you can't stop! I've never read anything like it.
Pacific Glory P.T. Deutermann (Fiction DEU) Anyone who is interested in WWII particularly Naval history will love this book.
Painting the Darkness Robert Goddard (CD Fiction GOD) For sheer brilliance of narrative, continual suspense and perfection of structure this book is hard to beat. The narrative is excellent and the author is true to each of the many locations he describes. if one hopes for Goodness, it's there. Not in substance but in form; not through presence but absence.
Panic Jeff Abbott (Fiction ABB) Good story-not predictable.
Peace Like a River Leif Enger (Fiction ENG) A good book. He is a great writer. I was right there in the story. I couldn't put it down. I hope he writes some more books!
Pen Pals Olivia Goldsmith (Fiction GOL) Interesting. About women in prison but really about business high jinks. It's not what I expected at all but highly recommend it.
People of the Book Geraldine Brooks (Fiction BRO) This is one of the most engaging, well-written books I have read in ages. It has a complex plot with fascinating characters.
Another reader wrote: Wonderful complex plot. It wasn't an easy read, but very well written. Lots of interesting characters. It was just excellent!
Play Dead David Rosenfelt (Fiction ROS) Perfect read for lovers of dogs and cozy mysteries. Look for lyrical,witty little nuggets-funny and suspenseful at the same time. Lovedit-hope you will too!
The Price of Love Arnold Bennett (MP3 Fiction BEN) Audio edition. It is like an O Henry story. The work transcends the reader. Don't give up on it.
A Prisoner of Birth Jeffrey Archer (Fiction ARC) The author's background: Oxford Grad, 5 years in House of Commons, 14 in House of Lords and 2 years in Her Majesty's Prisons (!) The background gives enormous credibility to the novel-- a young lower-class Brit is arrested and imprisoned for life for a crime committed by a cabal of old-school-friends, including a lawyer. In prison the protagonist is taught to read, speak, and write by another inmate-- an hereditary Scottish lord whom he resembles physically. On the lord's death, he assumes the lord's identiity and is released. Then: revenge! But-- will his ploy be discovered? The characters are well drawn, the plot is riveting, and the ending satisfying.
The Rainbow D.H. Lawrence (Fiction LAW) No doubt about it! DH Lawrence is a good writer! Quite lyrical. I wasn't aware of The Rainbow. Interesting volume. And one of the very first Modern Library Editions.
Red Dust Gillian Slovo (Fiction SLO) A great read! I read it first for 'who done it' but want to read it again because the author touched on a lot of issues that deserve a more thoughtful read.
A Red Herring Without Mustard Alan Bradley (Fiction BRA) The third novel in the Flavia de Luce series and the first one I have read. Mr Bradley spins a delightful, rip-roaring crime/mystery tale set in deepest rural England around about 1950 and narrated by the precocious, eccentric, amateur chemistry researcher, the eleven year old Flavia de Luce. Mr Bradley joyfully plunders his style from classic crime/mystery writers and from pre 1960 boys and girls adventure fiction. He throws it all into his creative blender and produces a delicious frothy milk shake of a yarn that is intriguing, clever, amusing and thrilling to read!
Reeling in Russia Fen Montaigne (799.1 MON) Well written adventure. Exciting fun read. It's a book you'll want to read over and over again and you don't have to be a fly fisherman to enjoy it.
The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd (Fiction KID) The most beautiful story I have ever read. Another reader wrote: a very beautiful story about what is inside of you if you really look hard enough.
Shantaram Gregory David Roberts (Fiction ROB) Beautifully written epic of India. A remarkable read!
Ship Fever Barrett, Andrea (Short Stories BAR) This book is delicious--I loved it.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Marina Lewycka (Fiction LEW) This was the well-chosen selection for the January, 2010, RPL Bookgroup discussion. How could you guess from the title that this is a universal story (so universal, in fact, that it has been translated into 22 languages) of aging parents and their children, of war and peace, of avarice and charity, of life and death, and in the end, redemption? You will laugh aloud over the grasping would-be immigrant Valentina, the Crap car, and Papa's innocence. You will despair of (and recognize) the sisters' contentiousness, and weep over the memories of the war and its refugees.
The Snow Falcon Stuart Harrison (Fiction HAR) This is a good story. The falcon is almost a character in the story. I learned a lot about falcons. From the back cover: "...The story is tough as it is tender, an exceptionally well-woven tapestry of romance and danger."
Something in the Water Peter Scott (Maine Fiction SCO) This is the second of Peter Scott's books about "Barter Island" off Stonington. It is set during WWII, and evokes island life during a time when German U-Boats were destroying Allied shipping, and even landing spies on shore in Maine. There is an especially riveting scene near the end of the book when the island schoolteacher and a young lobsterman, using home-made depth bombs, manage to sink or disable a U-Boat. The action was tightly tied to an earlier scene; the death of an islander who was working as a "coast-watcher."
The Spare Room Helen Garner (Fiction GAR) A little book with a big impact. If you have ever been a caregiver of someone facing a terminal illness you will relate to this book. There are moments of tenderness, frustration, humor, and joy. This story resonated with me in the most personal way. I could have written it if I had any talent at all. It went straight to the heart and the characters have remained with me. An interesting look at the conflicts between 2 people who would choose a different path in treatment and how ultimately one cannot force their choices upon another.
the spider's web Peter Tremayne (Fiction TRE) Tremayne writes of a time in early Irish history. The presumed research adds a great deal to the book.
A Spot of Bother Mark Haddon (Fiction HAD) If you read one book this year, read this one! He is an excellent writer, and knows human nature so well. It will make you laugh at the human condition.
Standing in the Rainbow Fanny Flagg (Fiction FLA) Very well written. A charming and engaging retrospective of life in a small town in Missouri from the 1940s through the 1990s. Filled with delightful characters.
Another reader wrote: Very well-written and filled with delightful characters. A charming and engaging retrospective of life in a small town in Missouri from the 1940s through the 1990s.
Stella in heaven Art Buchwald (Fiction BUC) About a man who has lost his wife and she advises him from the greatbeyond. Fun, humorous.
Still Alice Lisa Genova (Fiction GEN) This is a difficult book to read because you can't see through your tears watching a brilliant Harvard professor, 50-year old Alice Howland, succumb to early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The story is told by Alice as she gradually loses her memory, her ability to work, and her freedom to live independently. You see the changing relationships with her husband, children, friends, and co-workers. You experience her confusion and embarrassment, getting lost in familiar places, unable to find the bathroom in her own house, and finally not recognizing her own husband. If you know someone with dementia, at any age, you must read this book, which is more fact than fiction.
Still Life Louise Penny (Fiction PEN) This mystery has well developed characters and a crime that kept me guessing 'who done it' until the very end.
Tea Rose Jennifer Donnelly (Fiction DON) One of the best books I've read in a long time. The story sticks with you. You don't want to put it down. Jack the Ripper, etc. Kind of like Maeve Binchy but historical.
The Third Secret Steve Berry (Fiction BER) Good read, historical accuracy ie: the Vatican & Fatima.
Those who save us Jenna Blum (Fiction BLU) Historical Fiction-A beautifully crafted book with haunting images of the Holocaust. Graphic (though tastefully if that's possible).
Tithe Holly Black (YA Fiction BLA) Well written, fast-paced, a different take on faerie-more like Charles de Lint.
A town like alice Nevil Shute (Cassette Fiction SHU) It's just a lovely story that gives one a glimpse of the war with Japan (WWII) and Australia, that period combined with the pluck of an extraordinary woman.
A Trick of the Light Louise Penny. (Fiction PEN) When is a book characterized as literature? To put Louise Penny's "A Trick of the Light" in such a narrow category as "mystery," is to do the book a real injustice. This book is much more than that... it is beautifully written, irreverent, funny and with insight after insight into the human condition. I was moved to tears often, not big crocodile tears, but tears of sympathy and recognition. I found myself with a lot to think about at the end and wanting more, more more of Louise Penny! This book should be on the NY Times Notable book list for 2011! NOW!
an unexpected forest Eleanor Morse This book leads you to places you didn't know you would go when you started. and it has a happy ending
War Story Sara Hely (Fiction HEL) A nice easy read set during World War II. Probably appealing to readers of a certain age.
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen (Fiction GRU) Amazing on many levels. Wow! Well written by reminiscent narrator as modern circus comes to town-he is 93 and sharp as a tack. His years working for traveling circus in the 1930's is ficional but based on the author's new fascination with the most spectacular show on earth era when the circus came to town on huge trains and everyone in small town (and big town) America went!
A Week in Winter Marcia Willett (Fiction WIL) A lot like Rosamunde Pilcher. Wonderful, wonderful book.
White Ghost Girls Alice Greenway (Fiction GRE) Informative. Adolscent girls growing up in Hong Kong during Vietnam era. Moving.
The Winter Rose Jennifer Donnelly (Fiction DON) If you like historical fiction, this is the book for you. The protagonist is a young woman doctor in turn-of-the-century England. It's 700 pages, but Jennifer Donnelly is such an excellent writer and superb storyteller, that I couldn't put it down. I almost gave up eating and sleeping, because I became so involved with the characters. I had to know what was going to happen next. Don't let the length of it discourage you.
The Woodcutter Reginald Hill (Fiction HIL) In a detour from his brilliant Dalziel & Pascoe crime novels Reginald Hill gives us a dark drama reminiscent of Will Shakespeare%u2019s later works. Think Lear and Othello, meld them together adding Mr Hill%u2019s signature humor and spin out a Homeric modern day epic full of astonishing revelations and insights, and you have this gem of a novel. After sketching some key aspects of the story Mr Hill keeps pulling back curtains revealing enough twists, turns and machinations to keep the reader spellbound for over 500 pages. The Woodcutter is definitely now in my lifetime top ten best books list!
World without end Ken Follett (Fiction FOL) Fantastic! Ken Follett weaves stories of the lives of his 14th century characters in a masterful way to illuminate the momentous changes that affected life-and life even in our own times-in the late middle ages.
World Without End Ken Follett (Fiction FOL) This is an excellent book about human nature and character. No matter how many years pass, the nature of human beings remains the same - good, bad, strong, weak...whatever. Good does not always triumph over evil, but the strong do survive...
1776 David McCullough (973.3.MCC) It tells a lot about the man who started our form of government and the characters of the American Revolution.
52 Loaves Alexander, William (641.8.ALE) Subtitled: One Main's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust, the book is the story of the author's determination to bake the perfect loaf of Peasant Bread, one loaf each week for a year (why is his bread too dense and moist and has no air holes?). To get there he takes us to a yeast factory, explores the history of pellagra, contemplates the Zen of bread, grows and threshes his own wheat, and builds a backyard oven. He visits Paris, Morocco and a monastery in Normandy, all with good humor and passion, in a tone reminiscent of Peter Mayle's "Year in Provence". It's a light-hearted read for cooks and bakers - even includes a few bread recipes at the end. Excellent.
The Accidental Masterpiece Michael Kimmelman (700.KIM) Quirky and interesting, about artists and their works that are off the beaten path. Fun and informative.
After Iraq : Anarchy and Renewal in the Middle East Gwynne Dyer (956.7044 DYE) The message from the author of "Future: Tense" is that Iraq needs to find its way without foreign intervention: "Getting out of Iraq is the least bad thing the United States can do now, and the sooner the better". Dyer, whose newspaper column appears in the Bangor Daily News (and around the world), gives a logical, historical, and geographic perspective to the current turmoil in the region. This is Middle East 101 and required reading for our new political leadership in the U.S.
The Alice Behind Wonderland Simon Winchester This is a marvelous little book that is interesting, informative and readable. We do learn a little about the girl who was in part Lewis Carroll's inspiration for writing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland but we learn far more about the man behind the Carroll nom de plume: Charles Dodgson. In particular we learn about Mr Dodgson's obsession with and mastery of the then brand new art and science of photography whilst continuing to teach mathematics at Oxford. We learn that Dodgson's idyllic early childhood combined with his love of the science of photography equipped him to become a natural and enchanting teller of fantastic tales that both children and adults have adored ever since.
American Country Churches William Morgan (726.MOR) So worthwhile to read and even to just look at the pictures and reminisce.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver (641.3.KIN) This book is an inspiration to eat well, locally, and sustainably. Kingsolver's husband and daughter are also contributors to this volume---with sidebars and recipes. With her characteristic good humor and excellent writing, Kingsolver offers a book that touches on personal, political, and global themes around food and cultivation. Also excellent on audio, read by the author.
Architecture of Happiness Alain de Botton Outstanding book about how architecture affects our lives, well-written, illustrations and how design in all things matters.
Beautiful Evidence Edward Tufte (302.23.TUF) ...is about the visual display of quantitive information (the title of an earlier of Tufte's books). It is written by an artist for writers, presenters, and consumers of information. Tufte critically reviews a wide range of presentation examples, among them Minard's brilliant map of Napoleon's Russian campaign, NASA's failed analyses of the challenger disaster, Galileo's notes of his observations of Jupiter, and Microsoft's PowerPoint software. Basefall fans will wonder why Tufte's sparklines are not a universal sports page feature, and others will look for new ways to employ them. Two thumbs up.
Books Larry McMurtry (B McMurtry) I found it interesting that the successful author was also a bookstore owner and collector. McMurtry writes so well and with so much humor about people and their foibles.
The Boy and the Dog are Sleeping Nasdijj (923.Nasdijj) Very informative about Native American life and pediatric AIDS. Very sad but also uplifting. A wonderful book.
The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread Reinhart, Peter (641.88 REI) You don't even have to turn the oven on to enjoy this cookbook. Ron Manville's photographs of the loaves and the process are almost enough. Yes, there are the (excellent) recipes and baking instructions, but there are also the stories behind the breads and the bakers, and a reverence for the bread-baking journey as well as the end result.
Callings Finding and Following an Authentic Life Gregg Levoy (158.LEV) beautifully written, insightful. the author draws from many sources talking about the choices we make in life and how to find our way. You can read it little bits at a time in order to absorb it. This review doesn't begin to describe how much of an impact this book has had on me. It makes me want to read more of his writing.
Climate Wars Gwynne Dyer (363.7 DYE) Gwynne Dyer, author of Future Tense: The Coming World Order, draws four conclusions after a year of reporter's research on climate change: (1) It's coming faster than we think, (2) Merely changing light bulbs is not going to fix it; we need to reach zero carbon emissions globally by 2050, (3) We probably won't meet the deadlines, and (4) The consequences of failure are war, famine and the collapse of the global cooperation that is essential to averting disaster. This is sobering analysis of the huge political challenge to solving climate change, with hypothetical future scenarios and interviews with eminent scientists.
Cobra II Gordon and Trainor (956.7044.GOR) A skillful, detailed account of the war in Iraq analyzing the strategy and tactics of the campaign for Baghdad, the successes and the failures, which in the confusion of combat are many. Giving credit where due and criticism where merited, the authors make clear the reasons for the outcome. This is not a book for the casual reader, rather one better understood with the benefit of military experience. Nonetheless, it is amost telling analysis of a war gone wrong through the failure or inability of the perpetrators to understand the cultures of the country they aspired to transform.
Color Finley (701.FIN) This book takes readers on a tour of color: origins, history, uses, and anecdotes. It reads like a page-turner and sometimes feels like a travel memoir, as the author investigates the uses of ochre by Australian aboriginals and gets a visa from the Taliban to visit the lapis mines in Afghanistan. Fascinating history and excellent writing and research.
The Crime of Reason Robert B. Laughlin (323.44.LAU) The author is a Nobel laureate in physics who discusses the effect of copyright, patent, and government secrecy laws on ideas, creativity and freedom of thought. Does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act help commerce or hinder thoughtful endeavor? How can we allow patenting of natural processes, like genomes? Does anyone remember the bizarre 1977 U.S. government suppression of a university undergraduate's thesis in nuclear bomb design? If you don't allow free discussion of the science of bio-terrorism, will you be prepared to counter a bio-terrorist threat? This can be a difficult read in parts (he lost me in his chapter on cloning), but it's a short one and worth the effort.
Desert Queen Janet Wallach (B Bell) This bio is extremely timely, as it is the key to understanding Iraq today. If only our leaders had read this, we might not be mired in this misbegotten conflict. Add to that it is a wonderful picture of the most extraordinary women. Victorian or not!
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight Alexandra Fuller (928.FULLER) Growing up in Africa (Rhodesia as it became Zimbabwe) told from a child's point of view-interesting people and situations.
Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert (910.4.GIL) I couldn't put this down. One woman's journey through a year divided equally between Italy, India, & Bali. Filled with astute observation as well as wonderful tidbits about each country, religion, food customs...
Einstein's Telescope Evalyn Gates (523.1.GAT) Subtitled, "The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe," this book explains, in layman's language, the advances in physics since my college days in the 1960's. Subjects include quarks, anti-matter, WIMPs, MACHOs, gravity waves, relativity theory, spacetime, black holes, and why the Large Hadron Collider is interesting. The title refers to "gravitational lensing," which enables us to "see" distant objects in the universe, and to infer the existence of massive dark objects. The ultimate question posed here is, "What is the universe made of, when what we can see is only 5% of the total?" This is difficult, mind-bending stuff. It is a challenging and rewarding read.
The End of the Free Market Bremmer, Ian (330.12 BRE) It explains what non-financial majors don't know so clearly a wonderful book!
The End of Your Life Book Club Will Schwalbe (B Schwalbe) This is more memoir than book review, but it's a wonderful blend of both. As Will's mother is dying of cancer, they discuss the books they're reading, and form a book club of two. Nothing is given away about any of the books--he just gives you enough to lure you to read them yourself--but they're used as a springboard for the story of his last years with his mother. I loved it, and hated to see it end.
Ethical Realism Lieven (172.409.LIE) It's a voice or reason and moderation that might help to correct the mistakes we've made in getting along with other nations. "How to" is stressed.
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer Novella Carpenter (630.9173.CAR) Such an interesting and funny book! Urban farming and boundless energy is a winning combination in this title, as Carpenter marries her love of cities to her interest in small-scale farming in Oakland, California. The turkeys are called Harold and Maude, if you need a teaser!
Following Foo B.D. Wong (792.028.Wong Family) Touching, funny, sad story of building a family. Told through e-mails.
Forever on the Mountain James M. Tabor (796.5 TAB) Tabor looks back at the 1967 climbing tragedy on Alaska's Mt. McKinley (Denali) when the strongest storm in the mountain's history took the lives of 7 young men who had just gained the summit. He recreates the event and probes the leadership and finger-pointing controversy in the aftermath. He interviews the 5 survivors 40 years after the expedition to see how they have coped with the loss. Incidentally, Alaska/Denali icons Brad Washburn and Don Sheldon are tarnished in the account. This is a must read for both the climber and the wannabee.
Frankie's Place Jim Sterba (920.5741.Sterba) A nice read. Readers will recognize people and places in Maine...
George, Being George Nelson Aldrich (B Plimpton) George Plimpton was the editor/publisher of Paris Review, the patrician amateur trying professional stuff, like quarterbacking the Detroit Lions and sparring with Muhammed Ali, friend of Kennedys, diner at Elaine's. Ho hum, right? Well this is a surprisingly interesting biography, told in a series of chronologically selected vignettes by 200 of his closest friends, including photos. Did you know he wrestled the gun from Sirhan Sirhan when Bobby Kennedy as assassinated?
The Healing of America : A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care Reid, T. R. (362.1.REI) A timely look at health care systems in other countries; how they work, their expense, and their effectiveness. He identifies three models of national health care systems among other rich, developed nations. (1) A system of tightly regulated private insurers and providers, (2) a system where providers are government employees and health care is a public service like police and fire, (3) a national health insurance system with private providers and a single (government) payer. Their common moral decision: "... guarantee [of] medical care to anyone who gets sick."
Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo Paula Huntley (914.97.HUN) Volunteer teaches English as second language to teenagers-heart warming and informative.
High Crimes : The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed Michael Kodas (796.52.KOD) The people who attempt Everest these days don't climb the mountain for the view or the camaraderie. Extremely competitive amateurs spend tens of thousands of dollars and risk permanent injury, disfigurement and death, determined to punch their Everest ticket. They hire guides with sometimes elastic ethics and marginal skills. Kodas documents the chaos, criminality and incompetence he encountered during his own 2004 attempt from Tibet, and a coincident attempt from Nepal that resulted in the death of 69-year old Nils Antezana. This is a compelling read for the armchair climber, and a cautionary tale for anyone contemplating a Himalayan trek or climb.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded Thomas Friedman (363.7.FRI) This is an important alarm about climate change, by the NY Times columnist and author of "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" and "The World is Flat." Full of examples of what's wrong, how soon, how to fix it, and interviews with experts, one of whom says, "the decisions Americans make about sustainable development ... are decisions about who we are, what we value, what kind of world we want to live in, and how we want to be remembered." For Friedman the two crucial questions are: "Can American really lead a real green revolution?" and "Can China really follow?"
The Invention of Air Steven Johnson (B Priestley) A story of Joseph Priestly, the "father of modern chemistry," and the confluence of science, religion, and politics at the time of the American Revolution. Who knew of his close relationship with Jefferson, Franklin and John Adams, or that he was hounded in England (and finally fled to America) for his "History of the Corruptions of Christianity?" Two thumbs up.
Left to Tell Immaculee Ilibagiza (922 Ilibagiza) An eye-opening about Rwandan Holocaust! Reading first hand account made it more real than reading it in the newspaper or (watching it) on TV!
The Lincolns: Portrait of a marriage Mark Daniel Epstein (B. LIncoln) Equal to Michener and McCullogh in nonfiction historical books, this work is a winner. The Lincolns begins with the courtship of Abe and MAry, ending with his death. Not a quick read, the research is amazing with lots of detail on politics of the time, social customs, health problems, the Civil War, and personalities of the couple. If you have any interest in the 1860s and the couple's life together, it's worth the time.
The Lobster Coast Colin Woodard (974.1.WOO) It's fascinating, extremely well written. Discusses the roots, causes of the Maine psyche, the current conflicts, issues, dating back to the 1500's? or 1600's. Details the fisheries questions or the mystery of the success of the lobster fishery. It is a book to keep in one's own library. I did notice two minor factual errors.
Love by the Glass Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher (641.22.GAI) An absolute delight - the wine columnists from the Wall Street Journal tell about wine and their lives. Even non-drinkers will smile and enjoy.
Merle's Door Ted Kerasote (636.7.KER) If you liked Marley & Me, you'll *love* this.
Monkey Dancing Daniel Glick (910.4.GLI) A divorced father takes his two kids around the world. Environmental issues, family, grief, love, all woven together in a marvelous story.
Monster of God David Quammen (591.6.QUA) Beautiful writing! Fascinating study of four major carnivals, their history and future prospects.
My Beloved World Sonia Sotomayor (B Sotomayor) A wonderful book--very interesting!
My Bread: The Revolutionary No-work, No-knead Method Jim Lahey (641.8.LAH) Because of my impatient personality, bread-making and me were never a good match. This book finally makes me feel like a baker! The no knead method really works, is easy, and creates fabulous and delicious results.
My Korean Deli Ben Ryder Howe (381.147 HOW) New England boy marries Korean girl. Korean girl buys a deli in Brooklyn as a gift for her mother. Anybody with any interest in Brooklyn, Paris Review, and what kind of trouble people who live on Staten Island can get into in a convenience store-this book is for you! Laugh out loud!
The Naturally Clean Home Karyn Siegel-Maier (648.5.SIE) There are so many good ideas in this small book! This is a good volume to get familiar with green cleaning techniques, as well as green home management solutions, from ants to weed inhibitors. The ingredients are easily available. Good inspiration for your spring cleaning!
New England Soup Factory Cookbook Marjorie Druker & Clara Silverstein (641.8.DRU) I loved the Watercress Soup. It was so invigorating! There are lots of good recipes in here.
The Nuclear Express Thomas Reed and Danny Stillman (623.409 REE) A history of the atomic bomb, its use and its proliferation by two nuclear weapons experts (one at Los Alamos and one at Lawrence Livermore Labs). Heavy reading. You want to be sure our foreign policy people have read this.
An Ocean of Air Gabrielle Walker (551.509.WAL) Should be required reading for everyone. 5th and 6th grade on up. Thanks for buying the book.
Organizing and Editing Your Photos with Picasa Steve Schwartz (006.686.SCH) Worthless. Unless you need your teenager to turn on your computer for you, do not waste your time flipping the pages of this book. Picasa is almost self-explanatory, and this book adds nothing.
Out of Gas: the end of the age of oil David Goodstein (622.18.GOO) Goodstein's warning about the "end of the age of oil" is that "Civilization as we know it will come to an end sometime in this century unless we can find a way to live without fossil fuels." The author is vice provost and professor at the California Institute of Technology. This short book (140 pages with bibliography and notes), written by a scientist for the layman, is an understandable guide to energy past, present, and future. Spend an evening or two with Goodstein and learn the basics about Hubbert's peak, electricity, nuclear power, greenhouse gases and solar energy. He believes we will find our way through technology, but it won't be easy or painless.
The Parrot Who Owns Me Joanna Burger (598.7.BUR) Wonderful observations by a scientist about our emotional attachment to animals. She's really spunky too! I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Professor and the Madman Simon Winchester (Cassette 423.WIN) I listened to this (we have it on cassette), and loved it! It's a fascinating story about the creation of the OED, made much more interesting by the fact that one of the major contributors was incarcerated in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. Good reader. Keep listening right through the notes at the end--they're interesting, too!
The Proving Ground G. Bruce Knecht (M797.1.KNE) An excellent book. For anyone who enjoyed The Perfect Storm, The Hungry Ocean or even Into Thin Air.
Running North Ann Mariah Cook (798.8.COO) A great book about moving from Connecticut to Alaska, a young couple's experiences and struggles of running the Yukon Quest sled dog race. Great story. Recommend it.
Sailing by Starlight Alex Capus (M910.4.CAP) Cocos Island, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is where the legendary Treasure of Lima, including a solid gold, life-size statue of the Virgin Mary, was reputedly buried by pirates in 1821. Is this the real Treasure Island of Robert Louis Stevenson's book? Or is the Cocos Island of legend really a near neighbor of Samoa, where Stevenson spent his last years? Did Stevenson secretly recover the treasure? This is a short biography of Stevenson which centers on speculation about the real treasure island. It's a fun story that will inspire you to read about Ben Gunn, Long John Silver, and young Jim Hawkins all over again.
The Science of Liberty:democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature Timothy Ferris (303.48.FER) This book requires your full attention but is worth it. Ferris explores the close relationship between the advancement of science and liberal governments such as ours. It also delves into the negative affects that totalitarian governments and academic ideology have on the development of new technologies.
Scorpion Down Ed Offley (M 359.409 OFF) The U.S. nuclear submarine Scorpion was lost in the Atlantic in May 1968 with all hands. Offley's credible theory is that she was deliberately sunk by a Russian torpedo. He uses a lot of then-classified material that is now available, including how the ship was finally located using our extensive chain of land-based listening posts. Not all of the navy's information on the Scorpion has been declassified, though, which keeps the mystery alive and bolsters the author's work. This is the real life detail behind The Hunt for Red October.
Sophie Emma Pearse (CD 636.7.PEA) I had this out as an audio book and wanted so much to like it... an animal story with a happy ending. As it was also a true story, so much the better. It's the story of an Australian Cattle dog, Sophie, who loses her footing while out with her owners on their boat. She falls overboard while her owners are briefly occupied elsewhere, and, if such bad luck can be good luck, Sophie falls in just the right spot for the tides to wash her ashore where she survives for 5 months. The author takes a basically 6 or 7 page story and casts it into book length by endlessly repeating the same information over and over in every conceivable form. I was screaming "Get to the point!" by the end.
Squint: My Journey With Leprosy Jose P. Ramirez, Jr. (362.196.RAM) This important book not only chronicles one man's journey with the potentially physically disabling Hansen's Disease, but also addresses the collatoral damage done by the fear, prejudice, and misunderstandings about leprosy that continue even into our modern times. Ramirez dispels the myths about HD and advocates for sufferers world-wide who have been marginalized in the interest of "protecting society".
Storms of My Grandchildren Dr. James Hansen (363.73 HAN) Subtitled: "The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity." The author is the NASA scientist whose views the Bush/Cheney administration tried to silence. To save the planet from the effects of climate change, he advocates limiting total atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 ppm by (1) eliminating the of coal and (2) the construction of fast breeder nuclear reactors for power. He straddles the divide between scientist and politician, discussing the folly of cap-and-trade policies for limiting emissions, favoring instead the simple "carbon-tax and dividend" system. An important but disorganized book, and difficult to read. Start in the middle and stay with it.
Tales of a Female Nomad Rita Golden Gelman (910.4.GEL) This is a marvelous story of a woman who left conventional life to help and learn from other cultures. She's interesting, frank and unafraid and her adventures make for a delightful, eye-opening book.
Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin (923.Lincoln) Easily the best of the many Lincoln biographies I have read. Goodwin tells us of the whole Lincoln, the self-educated master of English prose, the country lawyer, the frequent candidate, the consummate politician, the good-humored raconteur, the anguished human. Team of Rivals describes in detail the ambitions, the backgrounds, the egos of Lincoln's rivals for the presidency and his genius in bringing them into his cabinet, recognizing them as the most able of the country's leaders. This is not stodgy history. Team of Rivals reads like a novel. Even though one who has read history knows what is going to happen, one will find it hard to put the book down.
The Tender Bar J.R. Moehringer (920.5.Moehringer) A tender memoir of a fatherless boy finding his male role models at the local bare where his uncle is the bartender. Wonderfully human. I loved it.
That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story DeBlasi (914.5.DEB) A wonderful true story of the author's month spent in a Sicilian mountain villa, home to a wealthy Sicilian woman who opened her home to the needy peasants of her region. During countless hours with the Sicilian woman, the author learned of older woman's unusual and intriguing love story, the culture of the mafia, and country life in Sicily.
This Boy's Life Tobias Wolff (928.Wolff) Well written story of a typical kid growing up in a dysfunctional family who eventually makes good.
Three cups of tea Mortenson (371.822.MOR) About how the power of one person can make all the difference. After a failed attempt at K2 Greg Morrison vows to return to Pakistan to build schools for girls. This is an incredible and inspiring story. If you like mountaineering, adventure, stories of humanitarian heroism, then this story is for you.
To End All Wars Hochschild (940.3.HOC) Terrific! The approach that this author takes to the subject of World War I is unique, touching on the social, political, economic, and intellectual themes of this complex moment in history. Very engaging writing.
An Unexpected Light Jason Elliot (915.81.ELL) Beautiful writing- a wonderful portrayal of contemporary Afghanistan.
When the Elephants Dance Tess Uriza Holthe (Fiction HOL) A riveting account of Filipinos during WWII when Japanese had infiltrated their country, their struggles to survive and family stories/myths.
The Wikipedia Revoluton Andrew Lih (031.LIH) The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, was launched in 2001. It has grown to be one of the top 10 visited web sites in 2009, with more than 10 million articles in 250 languages; 2.6 million in English. More interesting than the technical details of assembling the knowledge of the world in one place, are the social aspects. How do you let anyone, and everyone, create and edit articles that purport to be authoritative without a hierarchical expert review structure? Can you trust the Wikipedia article you found on the web? You don't have to be a techie to enjoy this book.
With Speed and Violence Fred Pearce (551.6 PEA) Though the title sounds sensationalist-it is a very informative book. The author presents a subject in a way the layman can understand. Not a lot of highly technical scientific jargon. When he presents a theory and they're not certain-he states "the jury is still out". He presents different ideas about what causes climate change and the possibility of dangerous tipping points.
Working on the Edge Walker, Spike (639.544.WAL) First published in 1991, this describes a boom period in the Alaska crab fishery, from 1976 to 1984, in which the author participated as a deckhand, earning as much as $12,000 in one 24-hour stretch of fishing. It's a riveting story of long hours, little sleep, terrible risk, and heart-breaking disasters. The book suffers from poor editing and proof-reading, and you wonder if the original hardcover had decent reproductions of the photos. Maritime and Alaska junkies won't want to miss this title, though, in spite of its short-comings.
Here are the books the library has purchased over the past year or so.
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