Here are some titles that members of the Readers Advisory team have recently enjoyed:
Life on the Refrigerator Door: A Novel in Notes by Alice Kuipers
This was a sweet and touching little book about a mother and her teenage daughter as they exchange notes in place of actually spending time with each other. Mom is an obstetrician and daughter a high school student. Both are dealing with the everyday pressures of their hectic lives, including the demands of work and homework, dating, etc. Each relies on the other to get things down around their home. Mom eventually learns that she has breast cancer, which draws them closer and causes them to rethink what is most important in life. The saddest element of all is the price their lack of time for one another costs them in the end. (I wanted to call my mom and hug my kids after I finished this book!)
Last Light: A Restoration Novel by Terri Blackstock
This first book in the author’s Restoration series deals with what a post 9/11 day family/community has to face when the power goes out all over the world unexpectedly and nothing works, including cars, cell phones, etc. All forms of modern communication are lost. I was really looking forward to this title based on the recommendation I received from a patron, but unfortunately I found the writing to be really flat. The family at the center of the book has four kids which are incredibly whiny while the parents spend a lot of time focusing on what God’s message must be through all of this. I enjoy inspirational fiction but did not expect that in this story (my patron never mentioned it), and found it to be jumbled up into the plot along with a serial killer, a cancer patient, abandoned families, hoarding of goods, and more. Everyone runs around with guns and by the end of the book, there is no resolution to this major catastrophy, which enables Blackstock to continue on with the series. I would have liked to have seen more written about how the family reverts to earlier times in order to survive without modern conveniences. If nothing else, it is a good reminder that what I enjoy reading may not always appeal to others.
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer
Whether you’re a long-time follower of the Justice League or not, this is an interesting graphic novel to try: Meltzer (known for his best-selling thrillers) has written a mystery revolving around the shocking murder of the wife of Elongated Man, which raises troubling questions about the safety of all the heroes’ loved ones. The artwork brings to life the characters and vividly captures the themes of grief, friendship, betrayal and moral ambiguity.
Death at Charity’s Point by William G. Tapply
A bit dated (published in 1990) but still enjoyable, this is the first mystery featuring Brady Coyne, an attorney to the well-heeled in Boston who reluctantly investigates an apparent suicide at the request of one of his clients. The murder plot is a bit thin, but snappy writing and a likable protagonist were enough to make me want to check out the second in the series.
The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai by John Tayman
Another “travesty of justice” story filled with haunting tales of heroism by victims and concerned advocates.
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.
My personal favorite for the month – charming, absolutely charming; and a great audiobook performance by the author.
Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – and the Journey of a Generation by Shelia Weller
Excellent nostalgia factor for female baby boomers.
The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller
Vintage Miller; relationship between two women of different generations – one a political wife, the other a professor’s wife – great audio performance by actress Blair Brown.
March by Geraldine Brooks
The ravages of the Civil War on the March family of Little Women fame.
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg
Some laugh-out-loud stories, some make-you-cry stories – also perfect for female baby boomer audience.
Resistance by Owen Sheers
Poet Owen Sheers’ beautiful novel brings to life the German invasion of Britain during World War II in this speculative fiction that touches on the lives of several Welsh women whose husbands have disappeared. Captain Albrecht Wolfram and his men are detached to Ochlon Valley on a mysterious mission. As the harsh winter unfolds, both women and soldiers are forced to depend on each other for survival, but when spring comes, the world and war shatter their peculiar idyll. Another realistic, haunting look at the seemingly endless ravages of World War II. (Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky or The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman
Sister Wendy on Prayer by Sister Wendy Beckett
Art historian Sister Wendy Beckett offers a reflection on the beauty of prayer that she has learned from her life of silence and contemplation as a nun. explorING several paintings she feels especially connected to, Sister reveals the power of art and prayer to enrich one’s life. And what she gleans from studying a work of art is always fascinating!
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
If it’s been awhile since you’ve watched or listened to The Merchant of Venice, you might want to give this powerful drama another chance. Yes, everything you have ever read or heard about the beauty of Shakespeare’s language, his insight into the flaws of humanity and the universality of his themes will touch you more deeply that ever. His chilling portrayal of the effects of prejudice and fear has especial significance for today’s world.
The Florist’s Daughter by Patricia Hampl
Once a daughter, always a daughter…and what a faithful, honest and witty daughter Patricia Hampl reveals herself to be in this lovely memoir. Keeping vigil at the bedside of her dying mother, the author’s storytelling’s gift (like her mother’s) shines through in beautiful prose and piercing insight as Hampl discovers the absolute mystery of the “relentlessly modest life.” Don’t miss this wonderful, evocative and funny memoir that is a tribute to the passion of “supposedly’ ordinary people who struggled out of the Depression for a better chance, not only for themselves but for all.
- Ballet DVDs May 20, 2013
- Listening Station 4.15 April 15, 2013
- Time to fire up the grill May 9, 2013