Luise’s Summer Reading Reviews

Our Fiction Librarian, Luise, has been reading up a storm for the Summer Reading Game! Here are her reviews.

y648And After the Fire: a Novel by Lauren Belfer

Weaves an engaging story around a fictional long-lost Bach cantata with anti-Semitic lyrics. Incorporates facts about many interesting historical figures (Bach, Mendelsohn, Luther, etc.). Shows the progression of anti-semitism over the centuries. Touches on many interesting subjects, from musicology to philanthropy and includes a love story – lots to like!   (Historical Fiction)

 

man-s-search-for-meaningMan’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir about his years in Nazi death camps and the lessons he learned for spiritual survival. His theory (logotherapy) is that it is not the pursuit of pleasure and happiness that gives us meaning, but the ability to find meaning and purpose in unavoidable suffering. Amazing insights by an exceptional individual who lived through unspeakable trials; a timeless classic.   (Memoir)

 

adams_invinciblesummer_1_12Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

“Four close friends who graduate college together in 1998 venture off to pursue their fortunes in the new millennium, but find themselves drawn back together twenty years later amidst broken dreams, lost jobs, and shattered relationships.” (publisher summary)
A great summer read, well written, entertaining without being shallow.   (Romance/Love story)

 

thetroublewithgoatsandsheepThe Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

I expected an amusing, light summer read, but this debut novel is simply brilliant on so many levels! Yes, it was charming and quirky with plenty of eccentric characters (including the wittiest and smartest and most lovable two 10-year-old girl “sleuths” I’ve ever encountered), but it was also dark and tragic and full of depth and nuances and complex characterizations evoking the reader’s empathy for both victims and perpetrators. On the surface this is a very British book with countless cultural and food references (vast amounts of very unappetizing sounding sweets are being consumed throughout this book), but the message is universal and timeless (and very timely in the age of Trump). Best of all, the writing is exquisite! Don’t miss this one!

Plot-loving mystery fans beware, though – this is a different kind of “mystery”.   (Mystery)

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club October Selection

The Tuesday Afternoon Book Club will meet Tuesday, October 20th at 2 pm. This month we’re discussing Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand“a wise comedy about the unexpected miracle of later-life love”. Helen Simonson’s debut novel  became an international bestseller when it was published in 2010.

About the book

When Major Pettigrew, a retired British army major in a small English village, embarks on an unexpected friendship with the widowed Mrs. Ali, who runs the local shop, trouble erupts to disturb the bucolic serenity of the village and of the Major’s carefully regimented life.

As the Major and Mrs. Ali discover just how much they have in common, including an educated background and a shared love of books, they must struggle to understand what it means to belong and how far the obligations of family and tradition can be set aside for personal freedom. Meanwhile, the village itself, lost in its petty prejudices and traditions, may not see its own destruction coming.

“Thoroughly charming . . . With her crisp wit and gentle insight, Simonson . . . knows just what delicious disruption romance can introduce to a well-settled life.”—The Washington Post

Helen Simonson talks about Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (video)

About the author

Sussex, England: The setting of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Book review by Alexander McCall Smith (NY Times)

Staff Reviews for the Reading Game

librarian glassesSummer Reading Game action continues behind the scenes! The Library staff are playing their own reading game, and writing reviews.  This might help you choose your book when you spin next…

 

Now & forever by Mary Connealy51KXpsLoSeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Now & Forever is the second book in the Wild at Heart Series, with a story that can stand alone.  This is the tale of Shannon Wilde, homesteading in the Idaho Territory of 1866. She is one of three sisters, all of whom were bullied by their father into disguising themselves as men, and serving in the Civil War.

The action in this story starts right on the first page. Shannon, out for a hike in the woods, comes face to face with Mountain Man, Matthew Tucker–and a mad grizzly bear right behind him.  Since they are on the edge of a cliff, Shannon sees their only chance for survival is jumping into the river below. Unknown to Shannon, that is the Slaughter River, so named because no one has ever gone in it and survived…”

Staff review by Kemmie S., July 2015

Category: Christian Historical Romance

 

My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall13587511

“Penny Marshall has written about what happened in her life without seeking praise or forgiveness or anything else from the public.  She’s not perfect and she is not a saint, but she is no way claiming to be either. Penny lives by simple rules: ‘try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun’.

If you liked Laverne and Shirley or her work on The Odd Couple, or any of the movies that Penny Marshall has directed, than I think you’ll enjoy this book. It’s simple. This isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s funny, and I really recommend it.

Staff review by Kemmie S, July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

 

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me.CMYK.jpgMy Grandfather would have shot me: a black woman discovers her family’s Nazi past by Jennifer Teege

A German-Nigerian woman finds out that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler’s List.

Fact really can be stranger than fiction! Not only is Teege the mixed-race offspring of a brutal racist, but she has a strong connection to Israel, having spent years there learning Hebrew and immersing herself in its culture and history.
Interesting observations on the parallels between what descendants of war criminals and descendants of their victims go through.
I liked the way the first person account was interspersed with observations by the interviewer.

Staff review by Luise M-J, July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

 

The Adult Summer Reading Game continues until August 18, with a prize draw every week, and a grand prize draw for a Kobo Arc at the end of the game! Stop in to the 2nd floor of the Library to play.Adult SRG banner 2015