All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has been on our “Most Popular Books” list since it was released in June of this year. A “stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.”
If you’ve already read and enjoyed, or are still waiting to get your hands on a copy, you might like to try some of the following read-alike suggestions:
Ondaatje, Michael. The English Patient. 1992.
Heig, Ursula. Stones from the River. 1994.
Marra, Anthony. Constellation of Vital Phenomena. 2013.
Moyes, JoJo. Me Before You. 2012.
Orringer, Julie. Invisible Bridge. 2010.
Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken: A World War Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. 2010.
The Seniors Book Club will meet Wednesday, November 12 at 2 pm in the second floor Training Room. We will discuss the novel The Confabulist by Steven Galloway, one of our recent StarFest authors. As many of you were at the event we should have an interesting conversation, enriched by your impressions.
Confabulation is the invention of imaginary memories to compensate for memory loss. It’s not lying because the confabulist is not aware the memories are false. This fascinating novel is narrated by Martin Strauss, who confesses to two things: he is the man who killed Harry Houdini (twice), and he suffers from a degenerative condition that affects his brain’s ability to store memories. Strauss tells a fascinating story about the unknown Houdini: stage magician—sure, we all know that—but also a secret spy for the U.S. Treasury Department, advisor to the American military, confidant of a Russian spy, faker of his own death. Strauss’ story so cleverly mixes historical fact with fiction that it is virtually impossible to separate the two (and, remember, Strauss believes it’s all true). Author Galloway will often take a real event, such as Houdini’s escape from a prison transport in Moscow, and layer on fictional elements, but it’s done so seamlessly that it’d be easy to think the whole episode really happened (as Strauss, in fact, does). The book’s title itself could easily apply either to Strauss (for obvious reasons) or to Houdini himself, whose escape-artist persona, even his name, was an embellishment of the real man. A brilliant novel, and one that virtually demands multiple readings to pick up all the subtleties (especially concerning the end of the book, and enough said about that).
The Monday Evening Book Club will meet November 10th at 7 pm in Forsyth Hall to discuss the intriguing historical novel Life after life by British author Kate Atkinson.
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its destiny? And if she can–will she?
Kate Atkinson’s homepage
New York Times review
Youtube video of an author interview
Chatelaine Q & A with Kate Atkinson
The Seniors Book Club will meet Wednesday, October 8th at 2:00 pm in the Training Room to discuss Somewhere in France by featured STARFest author Jennifer Robson.
About the book…
A daring young woman will risk her life to find her destiny in this atmospheric, beautifully drawn historical debut novel—a tale of love, hope, and danger set during the First World War.
Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lilly from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front.
Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lilly’s dreams. She doesn’t care that Robbie grew up in poverty—she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lily is the most beautiful—and forbidden—woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he’s determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart.
In a world divided by class, filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive. . . or will it become another casualty of this tragic war?
STARFest Author Event Visit with Jennifer Robson!
Jennifer Robson’s website
Review of Somewhere in France
The Great War: 100 years ago
Our blog has found a new home in the “Reader’s Corner” on the library website. We’re expanding our reach beyond our book clubs to bring you up-to-date information and musings about a wide range of literary news and events of interest to all St. Albert readers.
We welcome our new audience and appreciate any comments!