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.
I loved this collection of long short
stories with commentary by the author. Willis's speculative fiction
feels like Ray Bradbury with a sprinkle of Terry Pratchett. There
are silent alien visitors who only respond to choral music. Then
there's a humorous parody of academic writing “proving” that
Emily Dickinson's poetry referenced the 1897 Martian invasion that
H. G. Wells described. A perfect introduction to one of my favorite
science fiction writers. -Barb
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.
Darker than the first book in the
Carnivia trilogy, but just as engrossing. Another book that I stayed
up until midnight to finish. Conspiracies inside of conspiracies
abound after an American teenager is kidnapped in Venice. To save
her, Second Lieutenant Holly Boland, Captain Kat Tapo, and webmaster
Danielle Barbo pool their resources. The kidnappers seem to be
working for either an anti-American protest group, the U.S. Army, the
Vatican, the Venetian police, or a disgruntled Carnivia
Being bee-ignorant, I had no idea what
was going to happen next in this book. Seeing the world through the
eyes of Flora 717, a worker bee, changed my view of the flowers in my
garden. Because Flora 717 is different genetically from her sister
floras, she ends us disrupting the normal hierarchy of the hive. But
she also helps solve hive crises like an attack by wasps and the
unexpected death of the queen. A fascinating, compelling read with
an unpredictable (unless you're a bee) ending.
This was my first book in the Ian
Rutledge series, and I loved it. Set in 1920s rural England,
Rutledge is haunted by shadows of his WWI experiences. Both the good
and the bad characters struggle to cope with what they saw or did
during the war. Especially those who were assigned to be snipers.
To other soldiers and civilians, snipers were seen as despicable.
Being a sniper wasn't even noted in their military service record.
When a two prominent men are killed by sniper shots, Rutledge has to
uncover all those men in the nearby villages who were snipers in the
A fascinating combination of literary biography, Cold War espionage, literary criticism, and Russian political history. As a teenager I fell in love with Russian literature because of Dr. Zhivago. I had no idea that it was such a controversial novel or that both the Kremlin and the CIA used as a weapon in the Cold War.
One of my favorite mystery series set
in Montana. Sean Stranahan is a sleuth who's an artist and a fly
fisherman. This one centers on a missing female fishing guide and a
dead ranch hand whose body is found impaled on the antlers of a bull
elk. Quirky, yet believable characters.
While this biography does deal with the
murder she committed as a teenager, it also covers the 50 plus years
beyond that and her life as a writer. It asks the question of
whether people can ever pay the bill in full for their violent
crimes. Can they ever live a life that's worthwhile after something
like that? The author makes no direct judgements on Anne Perry's
teenage actions or on what she did after her release from prison.
She explains why without passing judgement. I like the way she
analyzes the ways Perry is like her character Inspector Monk, and the
way her life affected her writing.
In Chromatacia your place in the social
hierarchy is determined by what colors you can see, with purples on
the top level and greys on the bottom. With his better-than-average
red perception, Eddie Russet hopes to marry in a powerful violet
family. That is until he meets Jane Grey who shows him the illusions
of his world. A fascinating, often funny, futuristic fantasy.
If you enjoy the quirky humor of Terry
Pratchett's Discworld, you'll love Jasper Fforde's Bookworld. Visit
Fforde's alternative version of 1985 Great Britain, where time travel
is routine and characters can be kidnapped from books. Meet Thursday
Next, famed Special Operative in Literary Detection. Thursday has to
track down the villain who's kidnapped Jane Eyre. To do this she has
to enter Bronte's novel and travel through Bookworld. Lots of puns,
literary allusions, and laugh out loud details.
Every recipe I've made from this
cookbook has been delicious and easy to make. The text is sexy,
informative, and fun to read. So this is the perfect cookbook for a
nutrition minded cook or people who enjoy reading cookbooks.
cozy mystery series set in Cambridge in the 1950s. Sidney
Chambers--the vicar of Grantchester--becomes involved with detective
work because there are some places where a clergyman can go but a policeman can’t. After officiating at the funeral of one of his
married parishioners, Sidney is visited by a woman who insists that
the deceased hadn’t committed suicide. She reveals that they were
in the midst of an affair and had planned on running away together in
two weeks. Only a clergyman could delicately probe the
grieving widow for more details. I enjoyed the series of
mysteries in this book and Sidney’s moral dilemmas as he works with
the police on solving each one.