I admit that I fell in love with
Slaughterhouse-Five in 1970. And I admit that I almost
spilled a drink on Vonnegut when he came to speak at BSU in the
mid-1980s. So I loved this entertaining, well-researched biography
of this outrageous, satiric author.
Even better and more complicated than
the first Sean Stranahan mystery. Set in the mountains and
fly-fishing streams of Montana, it's perfect for lovers of a good
story even if they don't know how to tie a fly.
A book for lovers of the outdoors,
sailing, or the Arctic. Alvah Simon spent months alone on his
sailboat trapped in the long polar night. Although I would never do
what he did, I enjoyed vicariously sharing his experiences, his
observations of the local Inuit culture, and his personal
revelations about life.
A spy love story for writers and
readers. After Cambridge graduate Serena Frome is recruited in 1972
by MI5, she's assigned to project Sweet Tooth. Her job is to mind
Tom Haley, a promising young novelist. While Serena reads his short
stories so do we. Predictably, Tom doesn't know she works for MI5.
Predictably, they fall in love. Unpredictably, the book ends . . .
well you didn't really think I'd tell you how it ends, did you?
If you've ever driven between Burns and
Bend, you know how desolate the landscape is. Now go back a hundred
and fifty years. Imagine how you would feel if you were
eighteen-year-old, Chicagoan Esther Chambers and you were arriving
in Century, Oregon for the first time. Because Eastern Oregon is
seldom the setting for novels, I was drawn to this debut novel. I
loved the way the landscape defined the characters and how it created
the conflicts between homesteaders, cattlemen and sheepherders.
Since I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale,
I was thrilled to finally get another book by Diane Setterfield that
incorporated the unseen and the ghostly. I loved the mystery of Mr.
Black's identity. But I also loved the details of the inner workings
of Mr. Bellman's cathedral-like store dedicated to Victorian
mourning. A page-turning trip back into Victorian England with
detours into the lives and mythology of rooks.
This novel is an engaging portrait of
life at the famous Highland Hospital in Asheville, NC in the 1930s &
1940s and its most famous off-and-on-again patient—Zelda
Fitzgerald. However, it's also a coming of age story of Evalina
Toussaint, the orphaned child of an exotic dancer. Evalina is
committed to Highland after a suicide attempt, and she shares art
therapy with Zelda. The details of hospital life were fascinating,
especially its innovative treatment regime of exercise, diet,
art,occupational therapy and occasionally shock therapy.
This is a great book for people who
enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
like I did. During WWII, a daughter learns the secret of her
mother's affair during WWI. Told through letters, this is a novel
for people who believe in second chances.
At 87, Buck Schatz is still a smart,
tough sonofabitch. Sure, he can no longer tackle the bad guys he
chases, but that's what twenty-some grandsons are for.
I'm not primarily a non-fiction reader,
but I loved reading this book by the author of Wild Swans.
The official stories of Cixi are displayed at the Forbidden City and
the Summer Palace, but Chang debunks the tourist-guide portrayal of
Cixi as cruel and evil. She had her flaws, and like other Chinese
rulers she did order some people killed. However, she was also the
ruler who modernized China, outlawed foot-binding, and brought years
of peace and prosperity to China. A fascinating person and a
This novel imagines that 86 year old
Queen Elizabeth II is depressed over her uselessness and the sameness
of palace life. Through an odd set of circumstances, she walks out
of the palace grounds to get some more cheddar for her favorite horse
and ends up on a public train to Edinburgh. A sweet novel with lots
of interesting, quirky, kind, and all around good characters. A
great book for readers who enjoy the Number 1 Ladies Detective novels
like I do. I think Precious Ramotswe and the Queen would have
enjoyed riding the train together.
I loved this detailed, unsentimental
memoir of working as a ranch hand on the Sun Ranch in Montana.
Andrews lived and worked on land where elk, cattle and wolves travel
on separate seasonal paths that intersect and often collide. Neither
pro or anti-wolf, his story presents the complexity of ranching and
predators. His chapter on predators is unforgettable. With clean,
well-lighted prose and his black and white photos, Andrews refuses to
simplify the problem. He will probably be damned by the extremes at
both end of the debate, but his respect for both sides is part of
what I enjoyed about this book.
I love Atwood's speculative
fiction because it always takes current events and twists them into
the future. MaddAddam didn't disappoint me with its
story of the aftermath of the Waterless Flood pandemic. I read the
first two books in this trilogy years ago, so I was happy this one
included a summary of the previous events. It's a satisfying ending
to a provocative dystopian trilogy.
I chortled at Federle's witty
description of classic and contemporary novels. His intriguing,
privately-tested drink recipes made me want to buy a Cobbler shaker
and whip up a batch of “Lord of the Mai-Tais.” Or maybe a
“Brave New Swirled” or a “Huckleberry Sin.” This book
includes sections with non-alcoholic drinks (“Refreshments for
Recovering Readers”), snacks (“Bar Bites for Book Hounds”) and
group-sized drink recipes (“Bevvies for Book Clubs”). Toast your
inner literary nerd with this book or give a copy to a friend.
A fascinating historical novel for
people like me who enjoy botany, travel and philosophy. Born in 1800
in Philadelphia, Alma Whittaker is an insatiable seeker of knowledge
and a self-taught botanist. Old scientific and religious ideas are
being challenged, and so is Alma.
The strangest book I've read, and one
of the best. A mixture of a contemporary literary novel and a mythic
story of Japanese gods and goddesses. If you are ready to try
something different, give this novel a try.
It's shocking enough when a priest's
body washes up on shore near Venice, but it's an abomination when
the autopsy reveals the priest is a woman. Solving this murder
requires the unique skills of Second Lieutenant Holly Boland,
Captain Kat Tapo, and Danielle Barbo--the webmaster who created the
virtual Venice called Carnivia. A taunt thriller based on extensive
research, Abomination involves the U.S. Army, the
Venice police, the Catholic church, and the Italian Mafia.
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