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Library - Brown Bag Booktalk
Stephanie, Judy, and Evelyn holding stacks of books and paper bags that spell out Brown Bag Booktalk

Looking for something new to read? Why not join Stephanie, Judy, Evelyn, and others at one of our quarterly Brown Bag Booktalks? You bring your lunch; we'll bring the coffee and some fresh-brewed book recommendations. At the end of the session, we’ll open the discussion for some recommendations of your own, so feel free to bring a book to share with the group!

The next booktalk will be Thursday, February 5 at 1:15 pm at the Velma Teague Library. In the meantime, enjoy the booklist from the last booktalk! "JAC" are Judy's picks, "SCR" are Stephanie's picks, "EL" are Evelyn's picks, "SL" are Shelly's picks, and "ON" are Olive's picks. Click on a book's title or cover image to find it in our library catalog.

For more information, please call 623-930-3431.


Brown Bag Booklist from November 14
 
Apart at the seams
Bostwick, Marie Apart at the Seams (Fiction Bostwick) – This is the sixth novel in Bostwick’s Cobbled Court Quilts series. It tells the story of a new member of the group, Gayla Oliver, who comes to her vacation home in New Bern, Connecticut after discovering that her husband  is contemplating divorce. She decides to take a sabbatical from both her job and her family, to pursue her creative impulses in quilting and gardening, and to strike up new rewarding friendships. She inspires the other quilters in the group to each try something new as well.  –JAC
A walk in the woods : rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Bryson, Bill A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (NonFiction 917.404 B916w) - Bill Bryson is a travel writer with a sense of humor. In this memoir Bryson chronicles his adventures, at the age of 44, of hiking the 2100 mile Appalachian Trail with his friend, Katz. With very little hiking experience, self-professed couch potatoes, Bryson and Katz set off on a quest to connect with nature. Along the way, they meet quirky characters, challenging terrain, and a wild animal or two. Bryson also tells us about the history of the Appalachian Trail (the trail runs from Georgia to Maine) and makes a plea for better conservation efforts to preserve the magnificent wilderness. -EL
Hall of secrets
Campbell, Cate Hall of Secrets (Fiction Campbell) –This is a follow-up to the Benedict Hall novel recommended last year. Several months have passed since the death of Preston Benedict in a fire he set. The heroine, his sister Margot, has now started her medical practice, and is still dating Boeing engineer Frank Parrish. She causes great consternation to her family and friends by advocating birth control in her medical practice. New characters and old continue to delight and intrigue in this story taking place in 1920s Seattle. –JAC
Brotherhood : dharma, destiny, and the American dream
Chopra, Deepak and Chopra, Sanjiv Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny and the American Dream (NonFiction 610.92 C549b) - Brotherhood is the memoir of two brothers who grew up in India. Their father was a Western-trained cardiologist who was a brilliant diagnostician and treated many patients for free. The brothers were close, but competitive in school and sports. Both went to medical school in India and immigrated to America to finish their post-graduate work. It was in America where their paths significantly diverged. Sanjiv became a world-renowned specialist in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and a Professor at Harvard Medical School. Deepak became an Endocrinologist and Chief of Staff at New England Memorial Hospital. Soon, however, Deepak became interested in the mind-body holistic approach to medicine and started combining the principles of Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) with Western medicine. This eventually led to Deepak becoming one of the world’s most well-known spiritual leaders. The memoir is written in two voices, each brother taking turns to relate his own personal perspective about the events in their lives. –EL
Gutenberg's apprentice : a novel
Christie, Alix Gutenberg’s Apprentice (Fiction Christie) – This book is an absolutely stunning debut for author Alix Christie. The apprentice, Peter Schoeffer, is on the verge of professional success in Paris in 1450 as a scribe. Suddenly, his foster father, merchant and bookseller Johann Fust, tells him to come home immediately to Mainz. To Peter’s disgust Fust announces that he is to now be apprenticed to Fust’s partner, Johann Gutenberg. Gutenberg is an inventor, and far from the easiest person to get along with. The latest invention is what Gutenberg has dubbed the printing press. Peter works with others to develop moveable type made of metal. Gutenberg decides to keep the invention secret, and after several false starts they begin to set the type for a magnificent Holy Bible. By the time the first Bibles are sold in 1454, readers will be exposed to ambition, camaraderie, betrayal, politics, art and commerce, fifteenth century style. –JAC
The house girl
Conklin, Tara The House Girl (Fiction Conklin) – (1850s) A slave girl, Josephine, was taught to read and write by her mistress, LuAnne Bell, an aspiring artist. Josephine also has a natural artistic talent and is allowed to paint occasionally. (2004) Lina is a high powered attorney whose father is an artist. She is assigned a case suing the government and large companies who had made a profit from slave labor. The story flips back and forth as Lina attempts to trace the descendants of Josephine. In this case valuable paintings thought to be the work of LuAnne are now thought to be the work of Josephine. –ON
A Place Called Hope : a novel
Gulley, Phillip A Place Called Hope (Fiction Gulley) –This novel amusingly recounts the trials of a Quaker pastor, his growing family and his congregation. This book along with his others shows the humor of being both a pastor and a family man. Gulley’s books are always enjoyable and easy reads.–ON
84, Charing Cross Road
Hanff, Helene 84, Charing Cross Road (NonFiction 816.54 H238e) –Somehow, I missed both this classic book and the movie starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. The book was written in 1970 and the movie came out in 1987. It seems most unlikely that the book would ever be popular, After all, this is simply a memoir written as a series of letters. Hanff began the correspondence by writing to a bookseller in London. She is single and poor, but an aspiring script writer, living in New York, and it seems that Marks & Co in London can actually provide the esoteric (and usually non-fiction) books she is searching for. Even with shipping, the books are far cheaper than anything she can get in New York. The correspondence begins toward the end of 1949, a time just after the end of the war when rationing was still in effect in England. The bookseller in London is Frank Doel, somewhat aloof, but a devoted family man. The correspondence continues for some twenty years as a mutual love of books forms a lasting bond. –JAC
Unbroken : a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption
Hillenbrand, Laura Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (NonFiction 940.547252 H651u) - Unbroken is the fascinating and inspirational story of Louie Zamperini, who went from being an incorrigible child to a teenage world class runner to a World War II prisoner of war to a motivational speaker. Louie was preparing for the 1940 Olympics when World War II broke out and the Olympics were cancelled. Instead, he was drafted and became a bombardier in the Army Air Force. One day, while on a search and rescue run, his plane had engine problems and went down over the Pacific. He and two other crew members survived for weeks in two rubber rafts. Eventually, he and one of the other crew members were captured by the Japanese and imprisoned in POW camps. Louis suffered many atrocities while imprisoned, and was near death when he was freed two years later at the end of the War. Afterwards, with the help of his wife, he was able to deal with PTSD and other emotional baggage from the War, and he eventually became a motivational speaker. The movie version of this book is scheduled to be released on Christmas Day. –EL
Somewhere safe with somebody good
Karon, Jan Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Fiction Karon) – Fans of Jan Karon rejoiced when it was announced that she had written a new book in her Mitford Series. Coming in at a bit over five hundred pages, this is a hefty tome and was well worth the wait. Tim Kavanaugh and his wife are back in Mitford after traveling to Ireland. It seems that Father Tim is trying to decide what he wants to do when he grows up. Actually, he is trying to decide where he wants to go next with his retirement. Many of the old, familiar Mitford characters are still around and a few newcomers are introduced. Father Tim could go back to the pulpit, but he kind of enjoys being a part-time bookseller, and he also loves spending time with his wife and family. Wanda’s Feel Good Café opens and much of the story takes place in the Happy Endings bookstore. We find that Mitford still does a wonderful job of ‘taking care of their own’. Let us hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next Mitford story. –JAC
The Owl & Moon Cafe
Mapson, Jo-Ann The Owl & Moon Cafe (Fiction Mapson) –Four generations live and work together. The grandmother gets cancer and then the teenager becomes involved in a controversial science project dealing with the legal use of marijuana for cancer or pain patients. Questions about the identity of several fathers in the past are also raised. –ON
Bittersweet
McCullough, Colleen Bittersweet (Fiction McCullough) -The four Latimer daughters are eager to leave their parents behind and start their new lives as student nurses at the Corunda Base Hospital in Southern Australia. When the English heir to a local estate arrives in town to take over the administration of the hospital, he sets his eyes toward the beautiful Kitty Latimer. His willful desire, coupled by the onset of the depression, changes the courses of all their lives. –SCR
The butterfly's daughter

Monroe, Mary Alice The Butterfly’s Daughter (Fiction Monroe) -Esperanza, who raises monarch butterflies in Milwaukee, suddenly insists on returning to her native village in Mexico, via San Antonio, where the monarchs winter. Her granddaughter, Luz, whom she has raised, is reluctant to leave home. When Esperanza dies suddenly, Luz decides to take her grandmother’s ashes home. Her life is changed by the people she meets during her journey. Each chapter begins with information about the monarch butterfly’s life. –ON

The hundred-foot journey
Morais, Richard C. The Hundred-Foot Journey (Fiction Morais) - In the pastoral French countryside, Madame Mallory is the long-time proprietress of an elegant Michelin-rated restaurant. When the boisterous Haji family moves their Indian restaurant directly across the street, her stylish and orderly world falls to pieces. It is only when Madame notices that the young chef is blessed with a very unique style of cooking, that she sees the folly of her ways and warms up enough to mentor the young chef. –SCR
Some luck
Smiley, Jane Some Luck (Fiction Smiley) - In the first volume of Pulitzer Prize winning author Jane Smiley’s new trilogy, Rosanna and Walter marry, settle on their new farm and begin their family. Frankie, their firstborn, is handsome, wilful, and eager to explore the world. Joe, the fretful child, is just the opposite. Mary Elizabeth, a daughter lives only a few years, but then perfect child Lillian comes along. Henry and Claire follow. Each chapter covers one year on the Langston farm, some more eventful than others, depending on what is happening in the world around them. Smiley is a master at engaging you even at the family’s more ordinary moments. –SCR
Rain of gold
Villaseñor, Victor Rain of Gold (NonFiction 929.2 V929.2) –This nonfiction saga is based on the story of two families who left Mexico during the Revolution, and their journey to the United States. The story includes information about the religion, superstitions and general life in the mountains of Mexico and the challenges of being immigrants in California. This is a very interesting and easy read. –ON
Lisette's list : a novel
Vreeland, Susan Lisette’s List (Fiction Vreeland) - Lisette leaves Paris with her husband, André, to care for his Grandfather Pascal in pre-war Provence. It isn’t long before Pascal enthralls her with tales of his early days in the nearby ochre mines and how he came to possess seven priceless paintings. When the war breaks out and Nazis find their way into the village, Andre manages to hide the paintings. Unfortunately, he neglects to let Lisette know where they were stored. –SCR
Audition : a memoir
Walters, Barbara Audition: A Memoir (NonFiction 92 Walters, Barbara) – Barbara Walters grew up with an impresario father whose fortunes rose and fell, an insecure mother, and a developmentally disabled older sister.  When she “accidentally” entered broadcast journalism she became a trailblazer for all women in the industry.  Her in-depth memoir reads like a who’s who. As a child she played with the children of celebrities and ate dinner with famous comedians and musicians at her father’s nightclub, The Latin Quarter. In her 40-year career, she has interviewed, among others, celebrities, politicians, heads of state, athletes and crime figures.  However, underneath the veneer of the tough journalist is a woman who is afraid to drive, feels guilty about her relationship with her impaired older sister, and always felt like she had to “audition” for her place in the world. Walters’ biography is frank, but never salacious, and is full of interesting tidbits about the people she has known and the many historical news events in which she was privileged to be involved. –EL
That summer
Willig, Lauren That Summer (Fiction Willig) –Willig is best known as the author of the Pink Carnation series of romance novels. This stand-alone novel has two story-lines, one in 2009 featuring Julia Conley, and one running from 1839 through 1857 featuring Imogen Grantham. Julia lives in New York, and hears that she has inherited a house outside London known as Herne Hill. She is currently unemployed and unattached so she flies to England in order to get the house ready for sale. Imogen is trapped in a loveless and boring marriage, and lives in that house during the 1840s. She becomes acquainted with several of the pre-Raphaelite artists and falls in love with one of them. We are introduced, via the intertwining stories, to much of the history of this artistic movement. There is also a mystery, which Julia eventually solves through her research into a mysterious portrait of Imogen. –JAC
Other Good Books:
In a sunburned country
Bryson, Bill In a Sunburned Country (NonFiction 919.4 B916i) – Following his book, A Walk in the Woods, Bryson takes us to the other side of the world, to Australia. This is Bryson’s humorous chronicles of his travels in Australia, where he meets some of the world’s most dangerous creatures (crocodiles, snakes, etc.), withstands the unrelenting heat of the outback, and finds unusual place names such as Mullumbibby, Jiffalong, and Tittybong. -EL
Notes from a small island
Bryson, Bill Notes from a Small Island (NonFiction 914.1 B916n) – Bryson writes humorously of his travels in his adopted country of England. -EL
The monogram murders
Hannah, Sophie The Monogram Murders: the New Hercule Poirot (Fiction Hannah) - In this Agatha Christie estate sanctioned mystery, Hercule Poirot is pulled from a peaceful vacation when he is interrupted by a woman who fears she will be murdered soon. The bodies of two women and one man turn up in a nearby fashionable London hotel later that night, and Poirot partners up with Scotland Yard to solve the mystery. –SCR
Love Letters
Macomber, Debbie Love Letters (Fiction Macomber) – This is the third novel in Macomber’s (last name is pronounced MAY-cumber) Rose Harbor Inn series taking place in Cedar Cove. The storyline follows the author’s reliable and entertaining formula. It is now summer at the Inn. Proprietor Jo Marie Rose has spent a lot of time with handyman Mark Taylor, but neither admits to any romantic chemistry. The first guest at the Inn is Ellie Reynolds, who has come to Cedar Cove to meet her internet pen-pal Tom for the first time. Next to arrive are Maggie and Roy Porter, who are taking their first vacation alone since their children were born. They are hoping to rekindle the magic in their marriage. In each of the three stories there will be a moment when someone takes the courage to write about their true feelings. –JAC
The long way home
Penny, Louise The Long Way Home (Fiction Penny) – This is the tenth novel in Penny’s magnificent series taking place in and around the Quebec village of Three Pines. If you haven’t yet read any of the novels in this series, I would seriously recommend that you start with at least the first two before plunging into this story. The main protagonist, other than the beautifully described quiet village, is Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sureté du Québec. He and his wife have now retired to the village. He is approached by one of the villagers, the artist Clara Morrow, who asks him to find her husband Peter. Peter is also an artist who has always been more famous than his wife until recently. Now her fame has eclipsed his and they couldn’t seem to get along. They have agreed to a trial separation of a year, but it is now over fifteen months and Clara has had no word of her artist husband. Gamache heads up a search that leads to Paris, Italy and even Scotland, before homing in on the area in Quebec at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Penny’s puzzles are always complex, but she writes in a way that appeals to the heart and soul as well as the intellect. –JAC
Sunset bridge

Richards, Emilie Sunset Bridge (Fiction Richards) –This is another novel about the nice relationships of a group of five women on the barrier island known as Happiness Key. –ON

Christmas Bonus Books:
The Christmas cat

Carlson, Melody The Christmas Cat (Fiction Carlson) – Garrison Brown has just returned from a stint in Africa as a missionary when he receives word that his beloved Grandmother has just passed away. Besides coping with sadness, Garrison finds that his grandmother had six cats at the time of her death – and – he is horribly allergic to cats. Before he can sell her home and move on with his life, he must find homes for each cat, and his grandmother left very specific directions on who would be acceptable adopters. –JAC

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm

Fisher, Suzanne Woods Christmas at Rose Hill Farm (Fiction Fisher) – This is an Amish Christmas romance. Billy Lapp works for Penn State University as a rose rustler. [That doesn’t mean he steals roses, but that he tracks down the origins of old, antique roses]. He wants nothing to do with his former home town of Stoney Ridge. Bess Riehl discovers a forgotten rose in a corner of the family greenhouse at Rose Hill Farm in Stoney Ridge. When she contacts Penn State for help in identifying the rose, she is disconcerted, to say the least, when Billy arrives to help. Billy had once courted Bess, but she always refused his advances. Maybe this is the time that they will get together. It is the Christmas season after all. –JAC

Christmas is good! : Trixie's guide to a happy holiday

Koontz, Dean R. Christmas Is Good! Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Holiday (NonFiction 817.54 K828c) –Dean Koontz is a perennial best-selling author of suspense thrillers. However he has also written several books about his golden retriever dogs. Trixie was his first dog. She was a former service dog, for people with disabilities, who had to retire at three with an elbow problem, before she came to live with Dean and his wife Gerda. His second dog is Anna, who flunked out of Canine Companions for Independence, because she could not resist chasing birds. She has also written a book called Ask Anna. Koontz donates all of the proceeds from the dog books to that organization. –JAC

A Nantucket Christmas : a novel

Thayer, Nancy A Nantucket Christmas (Fiction Thayer) – Nantucket, Massachusetts is a magical place. Nicole Somerset is new to Nantucket and is recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home reflects the warmth and festive atmosphere of Christmas, but when Nicole’s stepdaughter arrives she is chilly and without a hint of the holiday spirit. It seems that Christmas might be spoiled for everyone, but somehow several, new, unexpected arrivals bring holiday joy to everyone. –JAC

Shadows on a Maine Christmas

Wait, Lea Shadows on a Maine Christmas (Fiction Wait) –This is the latest in the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series. Maggie Summer is going to spend Christmas in Maine visiting her friend Will and his Aunt Nettie. The couple has decisions to make, mostly centered around Maggie’s intense desire to adopt two children. Will has shied away from that kind of commitment, but he is trying to decide whether he should buy an old mansion to transform into an antique mall. Or perhaps he is even considering it as a family home. Meanwhile, a murder occurs and some very old secrets from Aunt Nettie’s past surface to mar the holiday season. As always, Wait begins each chapter with a catalog description of an antique print. –JAC


Brown Bag Booklist from August 14
 
A Year by the Sea

Anderson, Joan A Year by the Sea (NonFiction 158.1 A547y) -- Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. As her husband received a wonderful job offer out-of-state, shocking both of them, she refuses to follow him and retreats to their family cottage on Cape Cod. This year of self-discovery brought about extraordinary changes in the author’s life. --SRL

The Visitors

Beauman, Sally The Visitors (Fiction Beauman) -- Lucy has just lost her mother to Typhoid Fever in 1922, contracted after drinking unpurified water. Still recuperating from both the loss of her mother and the disease, she is dispatched to Egypt with a nanny to regain her health. In Cairo, she soon becomes enamored in the exciting archeological digs found in the Valley of the Kings led by the renowned Howard Carter. --SCR

Chestnut Street

Binchy, Maeve Chestnut Street (Fiction Binchy)  -- Irish author Binchy passed away a couple of years ago now. She left behind many character sketches presented here as short stories. The interconnecting thread is that the characters all lived on chestnut Street in Dublin. I normally am not a fan of short stories, but I did enjoy these. Some of the characters and stories are more filled out than others, and many of the characters I wish had made it into one of her longer novels. There is no common plotline or even a set time, simply a common place with ordinary people and their everyday problems and joys. --JAC

This House Is Haunted

Boyne, John This House Is Haunted (Fiction Boyne) -- Written in the tradition of the Victorian gothic ghost story,This House takes place in 1867and features young governess Eliza Caine. Her father has recently and suddenly passed away, so she is alone in the world when she accepts the position at remote Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk. She arrives to find two precocious young charges, Isabella (12 years old) and Eustace (who is 8), but no signs of any adult family members. Eliza is further spooked by a feeling of a malign presence, and is even more disturbed by the discovery that the help-wanted ad was placed by the former governess (she is governess number six in the past year). Not only did I enjoy the ghost story, but the language was very evocative of Dickens. Some interesting Victorian facts were cleverly melded into the story. For example the Dandy horse (Eliza’s sole transportation) was an early two-wheeled bicycle without pedals. --JAC

A Long Way Home

Brierley, Saroo A Long Way Home (Biography 92 Brierley, Saroo) -- Saroo was five years old when he lost sight of his brother at a train station in Khandwa, India. After he mistakenly boards a train bound for Calcutta, he is forced to survive on the streets. By chance, he ends up in an orphanage and is later adopted by an Australian family from Tasmania. Never forgetting his biological family, he methodically searches Google Earth to find his way back. . --SCR

Nothing to envy : ordinary lives in North Korea

Demick, Barbara  Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (NonFiction On Order) -- Shortlisted for the National Book award in 2010, journalist Barbara Demick chronicles the lives of 6 North Korean defectors over a fifteen year period of time. As a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times stationed in South Korea, Demick documents the rise of Kim Il-Sung after World War II, the collapse of Kim Jong-il’s economic system and the subsequent famine after outside subsidies stopped in the 1990s. --SCR

All the Light We Cannot See

Doerr, Anthony All the Light We Cannot See (Fiction Doerr) -- The lives of two young teens come together during World War II. Blinded by cataracts as a young girl, Marie-Laure lives with her father who works at the Paris Museum of Natural History. The boy, Werner Pfennig has been rebuilding radios in Germany since childhood and now serves in the German army. It is when Marie and her father escape to the south of France transporting the gem known as the Sea of Flames that their two paths intersect with explosive results. --SCR

Frankie's Letter

Gordon-Smith, Dolores Frankie’s Letter (Fiction Gordon-Smith)  -- Dr. Anthony Brooke is an English spy in Kiel, Germany in 1915. A fellow spy stumbles into his room and dies at Brooke’s feet. This blows Anthony’s cover and he is forced to flee to England. Before dying, his fellow spy gasped out a message. “There’s a spy in England… he must be a gentleman … knew about me … read Frankie’s letter… big ship … Star’s Anger?... going to kill the passengers.” After a wild escape and chase, Anthony successfully returns to England and is then assigned to figure out what the cryptic message meant. The trail then leads to Starhanger, the country estate of a publisher, and Brooke uncovers a network of spies, treachery and terrorism.  This is a fast-paced spy thriller book packed with action, adventure and some unforeseen twists. --JAC

Random Acts of Kindness

Higgins, Lisa Verge Random Acts of Kindness (Fiction Higgins) -- Three women embark on a trip across the country in a rattletrap car with an incontinent lap dog. They learn about themselves and life as they visit old friends and uncover their life stories. --SRL

Goodnight June

Jio, Sarah Goodnight June (Fiction Jio)  -- June is a high-powered banker based in the city of New York. She considers the work fulfilling, but is suffering from high blood pressure and an incipient anxiety disorder. Her great aunt, Ruby Crain passes away and bequeaths her beloved children’s bookstore, Bluebird Books, to June. The store and her great-aunt were a very important to June when she was growing up in Seattle. June heads to Seattle with every intention of selling the bookstore (after all she is an expert at foreclosing on small, failing businesses). But then she finds a letter from Margaret Wise Brown to her Aunt and is led on a scavenger hunt that reveals how the beloved children’s book Goodnight Moon came to be written. In her trademark style, Jio ties past and present together in this imaginary tale of how the classic came to be written. --JAC

Henry's Sisters

Lamb, Cathy Henry’s Sisters (Fiction Lamb) -- The Bommarito sisters are a diverse lot. Isabelle is a famous globe-trotting photographer, her fraternal twin, Cecilia, is a self-destructive, widowed kindergarten teacher, and their sister Janie suffers from OCD but writes best-selling crime novels. The family is rounded out by their depressive mother, River; their grandmother, who believes she is Amelia Earhart; and Henry, who is mentally challenged, but the most wonderful, loving and giving person imaginable. Even though the family has dispersed they are all brought back to Trillium River, Oregon when River has to have open-heart surgery. Someone has to help take care of Henry and the grandmother and the family bakery. --JAC

A Snicker of Magic

Lloyd, Natalie A Snicker of Magic (Youth Fiction Lloyd)  -- Felicity Juniper Pickle is twelve years and has just arrived in Midnight Gulch, Tennessee in time for the start of school in September. She hopes that maybe this time her mother will decide to stay put, because she is tired of moving from place to place with her six years old sister Frannie Jo, their dog Biscuit and their battered old van the Pickled Jalapeño. She wants to make a friend and become part of the community. Felicity is a little different from most little girls because she collects words. They don’t have to be written or spoken – the words might be what people are thinking or things that they want. Midnight Gulch seems to be the answer to her prayers, because she soon makes a friend Jonah Pickett, and there (at least) used to be magic here, and besides there is a great ice cream factory. Maybe Felicity can even make the magic come back. Jonah thinks that is a spindiddly plan. --JAC

The Shape of Mercy

Meissner, Susan The Shape of Mercy (Fiction Meissner) -- Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention, and her family’s expectations, by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job with 83-year old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal of her ancestor, Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials. --SRL

Me Before You

Moyes, Jojo Me Before You (Fiction Moyes) -- The lives of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor intersect when she is hired by his mother to aid with his daily care. Louisa is determined to show Will that he can still live a fulfilling life even as a quadriplegic, but her efforts are resisted by Will. --SCR

The Garden of Happy Endings

O’Neal, Barbara The Garden of Happy Endings (Fiction O’Neal) -- Reverend Elsa Montgomery is shattered by a tragedy in her small community church in Seattle. She is finally persuaded by her church’s board that she needs to take a sabbatical to recover her purpose and faith. She returns to her old hometown of Pueblo, Colorado where she is able to re-establish ties with her sister, Tamsin, and her childhood friend, Father Jake. She begins her healing by working in a soup kitchen and in a new community garden project where she meets Deacon McCoy. Not all goes easily, or smoothly, for Elsa and Tamsin, but eventually the renewing power of sun, earth and rain begins the real healing process. --JAC

The Late Scholar

Paton Walsh, Jill The Late Scholar; the New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery (Fiction Paton Walsh) -- Dorothy Sayers was, for many readers, the best of the golden age mystery authors. Paton Walsh has continued her series, featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, with great success. In this outing (taking place in 1952) Peter and Harriet are long-married and Peter is now the Duke of Denver. To his surprise he is contacted by St. Severin’s College, Oxford University to solve a dispute. That is not Peter’s own college; it seems that he has inherited the duty to officiate over disputes simply because he is the ‘Visitor,’ an obligation he inherited with his dukedom. At issue is whether or not a very valuable old manuscript should be sold in order to raise funds for the college. Of course a few dead bodies also appear to muddy the waters. Never fear, Peter and Harriet and manservant Bunter (of course), save the day. This is a welcome return to the world of Gaudy Night, one of the best Sayers’ novels. --JAC

The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek

Perrine, Jane Myers The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek (Fiction Perrine) -- Upon his arrival, Butternut Creek Christian Church’s newly-minted minister is met by a welcome committee led by Miss Birdie and her friend Mercedes, a.k.a. “the Widows”. Their first order of business, to educate him on how things should be done, quickly gives way to a campaign to find him a wife. --SRL

The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek

Perrine, Jane Myers The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek (Fiction Perrine) -- Once again, the Widows of Butternut Creek are determined to find a bride for Pastor Adam. This time, their candidate is as gun shy as the pastor. A traumatic experience has left Gussie Milton ‘once bitten, twice shy’. Although she would like a relationship, she is frightened. --SRL

China Dolls

See, Lisa China Dolls (Fiction See) -- In 1938, Ruby, Helen and Grace, three girls from very different backgrounds, find themselves competing at the same audition for showgirl roles at San Francisco’s exclusive “Oriental” nightclub, the Forbidden City. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family with deep roots in San Francisco’s Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. At times their differences are pronounced, but the girls grow to depend on one another. Then everything changes in a heartbeat with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. --SRL

The Care and Management of Lies

Winspear, Jacqueline The Care and Management of Lies (Fiction Winspear) -- Winspear is the bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs  novels. Maisie is a former World War I nurse turned investigator. This is a stand-alone novel taking place during the war itself and shows how thoroughly Winspear knows the time period and her native England. Kezia and Thea have been best friends since girlhood. Kezia is about to marry Tom, who is Thea’s brother. Both women are about to embrace new lives, which may destroy their friendship. Thea has passionately embraced women’s suffrage and thinks that Kezia has no idea what it will mean to be the wife of farmer. Thea’s ironic wedding gift to Kezia is a book on household management called The Woman’s Book. Soon after the wedding, war breaks out, Tom enlists and Thea is drawn reluctantly onto the battlefield herself. So Kezia, with virtually no experience but with the help of the book, has to manage the farm on her own. The story is advanced brilliantly through a series of letters. Tom never reveals how atrocious the brutal chaos of war is. Kezia writes of the farm’s successes and minutely describes the meals she prepares for Tom (which are totally imaginary). Tom shares Kezia’s letters with his army unit, which seems to bring them all a measure of comfort. This is a beautiful and poignant picture of love and friendship strained by the pain of separation and war. --JAC


Brown Bag Booklist from May 8
 
Lunch in Paris : a love story, with recipes

Bard, Elizabeth - Lunch in Paris, a Love Story with Recipes (Biography 92 Bard, Elizabeth) – This is a memoir to enjoy on many levels. It is a love story: Elizabeth Bard, an ex-patriot American living in London, falls in love with Gwendal, a French engineer living in a student apartment in Paris. It is a marvelous cookbook: beginning with relatively simple recipes and learning to shop in Paris markets and cook on a two-burner hotplate in an unheated student apartment. And, it is a story of how we make our own family, and, how even our recipes have the myriad sources of our friends/family. Bard, herself, calls it “a tale of an American who discovers Paris, one meal at a time.” -- JAC

Cavendon Hall

Bradford, Barbara Taylor - Cavendon Hall (Fiction Bradford) – Bradford, born and brought up in England, has been awarded the Order of the British Empire for her literary achievements. She is best known for her epic sagas, especially the Emma Harte stories, which began with A Woman of Substance. Cavendon Hall begins a new saga, starting in 1913 Edwardian England. If you are thinking Downton Abbey, that is indeed the genre. Cavendon is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams, and the Swanns who serve them. The Inghams have four daughters and two sons. Walter Swann is valet to the earl; his wife Alice is a clever seamstress. The focus of the story becomes Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the Inghams, and Cecily Swann, poised to become one of the most chic couture designers in London. -- JAC

A Call to Action

Carter, Jimmy - A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power (Non Fiction 323.34 C323c) -- This publication is President Carter’s report on the global discrimination of women.  Carter asserts that “the most serious and unaddressed challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls, largely caused by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts….”  Examining both the Bible and Koran to see if there is any basis for this discrimination, he finds little to document women as lesser human beings in either publication.  From the lack of voting and property rights, to child marriage, dowry deaths, honor killings, and rape, the Carter Center has become involved in educating women to stand up for their rights, with some success.  Carter acknowledges that progress is slow, but rightfully takes pride in the Center’s accomplishments. – SCR

Killing Custer

Coel, Margaret - Killing Custer (Fiction Coel) -- Coel has long been recognized as one of the best mystery writers specializing in stories about Native Americans. Tony Hillerman, himself, called her a master of her craft. The Denver Post said that she “brings Native Americans to the fictional frontier in a way that honors the genre.” While this is the seventeenth novel in her Wind River Mystery series, you can easily read it as a stand-alone story. The two main series characters are Arapaho attorney, Vicky Holden, and Jesuit priest, Father John O’Malley. Why military re-enactors think it is a good idea to stage a re-enactment of the Battle of the Little Bighorn on the Wind River Reservation is unclear. When the impersonator of General George Armstrong Custer is shot during a parade, it seems inevitable that Colin Morningside, a descendant of Crazy Horse, must be to blame. Is he? -- JAC

Life in Motion

Copeland, Misty - Life in Motion: an Unlikely Ballerina (Biography 92 Copeland, Misty) -- In this highly regarded memoir, Misty Copeland documents her meteoric rise to the top of the professional ballet world as the first African-American soloist at the American Ballet Theatre.  Because she came from an unstable and poor family, her biggest aspirations were to join her middle school drill team.  It isn’t long after she joins the team, that her teacher recognizes her unique talent and obtains a scholarship for her to attend a local ballet school.  Dancing at recitals and competitions, her abilities lead her to summer internships at prominent ballet companies.  But it is not all sweetness along the way.  Family difficulties and poverty intrude upon her efforts, but not enough to stop this very talented ballerina.  -- SCR

Lauren Greasewater's War

Hirst, Steve - Lauren Greasewater’s War (Fiction - Free downloadable book) -- Lauren Napier is an urban Native American musician living in New York City. A Havasupai stranger attends one of her performances, and says he knows her. The man comes from her people, and she asks to meet her family. The story traces her quest from the streets of New York to the Canyons of the Southwest, finding her way back to her birthplace to reinvent herself as Lauren Greasewater. Caught between two worlds, she unintentionally turns a cultural misunderstanding into an armed conflict, which captures the nation’s attention. (One Book Arizona)  -- SRL

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Horan, Nancy - Under the Wide and Starry Sky (Fiction Horan) -- Horan’s first book, Loving Frank, was the fictionalized biography of Frank Lloyd Wright. This time she has penned a fictionalized story about Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne.  At the age of 35, Fanny leaves her philandering husband in San Francisco, and moves (with her three children in tow) to Belgium to study art. Soon she is staying at a quiet artists’ colony in France where she meets a young Scot lawyer, Robert Louis Stevenson. He longs to devote his life to writing; which he eventually does with such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They eventually fall in love with each other. This is their story which took them around the world. Neither of them was a saint, but the story of their decades long affair is as luminous as the stars. -- JAC

Calling Me Home

Kibler, Julie - Calling Me Home - (Fiction Kibler) -- Miss Isabelle, 90 years old, enlists the aid of her African-American hairdresser, Dorrie, to drive her back home to Cincinnati. Dorrie knows Isabelle treats her like the daughter she never had, but isn't really sure why she wants her to come. Along the way, Isabelle's story of her youth comes out; how her Daddy was the local G.P. in town, how they had Nell as their housekeeper, and how her Daddy mentored Nell's young son, Robert, to become the town's next doctor. One day when Robert sees Isabelle is in trouble with a strange man, he comes to her aid. From that moment on, Isabelle takes a real interest in Robert, as only a naïve 16 year old can. Though she is warned against taking the relationship to the next level, she doesn't stop to think of what her actions will cost him and his family. -- SCR

The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Livesey, Margot - The Flight of Gemma Hardy (Fiction Livesey) – This novel is often called a homage to Jane Eyre by reviewers. Gemma is taken from her native Iceland to live in Scotland when her widowed father drowns at sea. But, at the age of ten her doting uncle and guardian also dies, and Gemma is left to the care of a resentful aunt. She receives a scholarship to Claypoole School, where, it turns out; she actually is treated as an unpaid servant. When the school goes bankrupt, Gemma takes her minimal education and finds employment as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to a London businessman, Mr. Sinclair, and Gemma’s charge is his eight year old niece. Set in Scotland and Iceland in the 1950s and 1960s, this is a saga featuring love, betrayal, redemption, discovery and intrigue.  -- JAC

Blossom Street Brides

Macomber, Debbie - Blossom Street Brides (Fiction Macomber) – I would venture that Macomber is one of everyone’s favorite romance authors. This time she is back on Blossom Street and the community that centers on A Good Yarn store. Lauren Elliott is a jeweler who has waited years for her long-term boyfriend to propose. She makes a bold choice that leads her to a man she never dreamed she would meet. Newly married Bethanne Scranton is madly in love with her husband, Max, but it is difficult for him to work in California, while her job keeps her in Seattle. Lydia Goetz is happy with her husband and their two children, but she worries about her aging mother, the nightmares of her daughter, and the fate of A Good Yarn in difficult economic times. As usual, the solution to all the women’s problems takes place within their intersected lives. – JAC

The Girl in the Blue Beret

Mason, Bobbie Ann - The Girl in the Blue Beret (Fiction Mason) -- This novel was inspired by the World War II experiences of the author’s father-in-law. Widower Marshall Stone was shot down in occupied Europe, now, many decades later, he is about to retire as a commercial airline pilot. Marshall goes back to France to try and find the resistance members who risked their lives to get him over the Pyrenees to Spain so he could get back to his base in England. He wants to thank the courageous men and women and renew their ties, if possible. Most of all he wants to find the teenager who guided him through Paris, The Girl in the Blue Beret. -- JAC

A Fall of Marigolds

Meissner, Susan - A Fall of Marigolds (Fiction Meissner) -- The story opens in September of 2011, with remembering 9/11 and the collapse of the North Tower in September of 2001. Taryn Michaels was on her way there to meet her husband for breakfast and to announce that they were going to be parents. She is late because she stopped to pick up a scarf one of her customers wanted matched for fabric - a marigold scarf. The story then switches to September 1911. This part of the story involves the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in Manhattan.  Nurse Clara Woods had witnessed the awful destruction of lives and relationships in the fire. She moved to Ellis Island to work with immigrants who are isolated because of scarlet fever and other illnesses until they are cured or until they die. One of the immigrants enters with an orange marigold scarf. How does this scarf entwine these two women’s lives?  This is a very interesting story with a lot of history.  – SRL

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

Sendker, Jan-Philipp - The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (Fiction Sendker) -- Julia Win has just graduated from law school when her father disappears.  The only clue she has is a love letter written by her father to a woman Julia doesn’t know. Once Julia arrives in her father’s homeland of Burma, she is met by an old man, U Ba, who says he has been waiting four years for her to come. U Ba knows all about her: how old she is, who her parents are, and what stories her father told her as a child.  Though she isn’t sure she wants to hear, the old man also tells her the story of a man she is not familiar with, one who was abandoned and blinded as a boy and who loved a disabled girl named Mi Mi. Though she wonders how on earth this unfortunate boy has anything to do with her father’s disappearance, she is drawn into the old man’s tales.  You will also be drawn into this tale and its sweet resolution.  -- SCR

A Well-Tempered Heart

Sendker, Jan-Philipp - A Well-Tempered Heart (Fiction Sendker) -- Ten years after her visit to Burma, Julia finds herself at a crossroads.  Though she is a successful lawyer, she is now estranged from her family and boyfriend of four years.  One day at an important presentation, Julia hears a woman’s voice asking: “Who are you?” “What do these men want with you?”  When she is unable to find a way to eliminate the voice, she seeks the advice of a monk, who advises her to find the voice’s owner back in Burma.  Once again you will become entwined not only with the woman’s story, but how Julia finally finds peace in her life. -- SCR

The Story of Beautiful Girl

Simon, Rachel - The Story of Beautiful Girl (Fiction Simon) -- The story begins with Lynnie and Homan running away from the Pennsylvania State School of the Incurable and Feebleminded in the late 1960s. Lynnie is pregnant and does not want to give birth at the school.  They knock on a stranger’s door, Kate, an ex-school teacher who was never able to have children of her own. It changes all of their lives forever.  The book is presented from the point of view of Lynnie, Homan, Kate and, eventually, the child. This was one of my favorite books.  It is also a story about institutions and how people were treated in them, and some of the situations that led people to put their children in them. It was a very moving story by a great storyteller. – SRL

Other Good Books:
The Daring Ladies of Lowell

Alcott, Kate - The Daring Ladies of Lowell (Fiction Alcott) -- It is 1832 when Alice Barrow decides to follow her dreams of independence by signing on as a mill girl in Lowell, Massachusetts.  When Alice discovers the mill is running with unsafe conditions, including inhalation of cotton fibers and machine accidents, she assumes the role of advocate for mill safety to the mill-owning Fiske family.  Though she is invited to the Fiske’s Beacon Hill home, only Hiram Fiske’s son, Samuel, seems to listen to her concerns.  Things come to a head when one of the mill girls turns up dead, and the coroner rules it a suicide. – SCR

Dead Water

Cleeves, Ann - Dead Water (Fiction Cleeves) – The detective in this mystery series is Inspector Jimmy Perez. Despite his name this is a series that takes place in the Shetland Islands. While the murder is not described in too gory a fashion, Cleeves mysteries are a bit on the dark side, and probably more true to life than a traditional cozy. Perez has been on leave, but decides to help with the investigation when the body of a journalist is found in a traditional Shetland boat. The victim had left the islands years before to pursue his career. It is possible that he was now chasing a story that many islanders don’t want to come to the surface. It is possible to enjoy this book without reading the earlier ones in the series. The series is being filmed for the BBC and will probably appear on American television next year. -- JAC

Shadows of Death

Dams, Jeanne M. - Shadows of Death (Fiction Dams) – Coincidentally this book also takes place on Scottish islands. In this case it is the Orkney.  Dorothy Martin is an American widow who has married an English retired Chief Constable, Alan Nesbit. He suggests a trip to Orkney to see some intriguing Stone Age excavations. Dorothy and Alan note that there is considerable dissension between the archaeologists and the main donor for the dig (an abrasive American). When the donor’s body is found at the dig an investigation ensues. Dorothy and Alan then launch an unofficial and unwelcome investigation of their own. While part of the Dorothy Martin mystery series, this novel can still be read on its own. -- JAC

The Reading Circle

Lee, Ashton - The Reading Circle (Fiction Lee) -- This is a sequel to The Cherry Cola Book Club. Librarian, Maura Beth Mayhew, has one year to prove how important her library is to the town of Cherico, Mississippi. Of course her nemesis, Councilman Durden Sparks, wants to divert the library budget to his own pet project – an industrial park that will bear his name (and fatten his wallet). It seems that even nature is against the Library as a horrific storm batters the library building and other city structures. But the Cherry Cola Book Club is attracting new members and may still be the savior of the library. The title for the club to read this time is Forrest Gump, by Winston Groom, which the men in the group think will be more fun than Eudora Welty’s The Robber Bridegroom. Once again the book club members win the day against Sparks. A few recipes are included. -- JAC

Park Lane

Osborne, Frances - Park Lane (Fiction Osborne) -- This is another book that may appeal to fans of Downton Abbey. The mansion on Park Lane is owned by the family of Bea, a bored, recently jilted girl, still living at home and looking for excitement. Grace is working there as a housemaid, even though she is a trained secretary. It seems that her lower class northern accent prohibits her from London office work. The story covers the years between 1914 and 1923. Both young women are harboring secrets: Bea has joined her aunt as a follower of the radical suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, even though her mother supports the non-violent suffragists. Grace has not told her family she is working as a maid. -- JAC


Brown Bag Booklist from February 13
 
The first phone call from heaven

Albom, Mitch - The First Phone Call from Heaven (Fiction Albom) -- The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of people who are getting phone calls from heaven -- from people who have passed away -- children, sisters, mothers and a call from an employee who was fired from his job. Are the phone calls for real?  People from all over the world want to visit this small town and hear more about the phone calls that happen every Friday. Mitch Albom also wrote Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, just to mention a couple of his books. -- SRL

Lost Lake

Allen, Sarah AddisonLost Lake (Fiction Allen) -- Lost Lake Camp is in southern Georgia. The camp, with twelve cabins and a house is owned by Eby Pim, who has lived there for most of her life. She is a long-time widow, and now wants to travel the world. She decides that this will be the last summer for the camp, which she is ready to sell to a developer. As the summer progresses, Eby’s great niece Kate Pheris and daughter Devin decide to visit on a whim. A couple of eccentric old ladies, Selma and Bulahdeen, who have been coming for years also decide to come, as does a very quiet gentleman named Jack. And then there are people from the past including Eby’s mute housekeeper Lisette and her young neighbor Wes. This is an atmospheric, enchanting and somewhat mysterious novel. -- JAC

The bride's house

Dallas, Sandra - The Bride’s House (Fiction Dallas) -- This is a novel about the secrets and passions of three generations of women, who have all lived in the same Victorian home called the Bride’s House. The three generations of women in this novel are Nealie, a battered but strong girl who strikes out on her own to build a new life in Colorado during the late 1880’s and finds love with two very different men. Later, comes Pearl, quiet and dutiful who must find her own happiness as she lives a life shaped by her father’s memories. Finally, there is Susan, a child of privilege who may have the chance to find her dreams in Georgetown, Colorado. -- SRL (based on the summary in Goodreads.com)

The whole enchilada

Davidson, Diane Mott – The Whole Enchilada (Fiction Davidson) -- Goldy Schultz is a fantastic caterer in Golden, Colorado. She is devastated when one of her best friends dies as she is leaving a birthday party which Goldy had catered. She is even more upset when the autopsy reveals that it was not a massive coronary, as was originally believed, but murder. Then it becomes clear that Goldy herself may be the next victim. It is up to Goldy and her sheriff husband Tom to figure out the motive and the culprit. This is the seventeenth novel in this series which continues its great popularity. As always, recipes are included. -- JAC

The all-girl filling station's last reunion : a novel

Flagg, Fannie – The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion (Fiction Flagg) -- Sookie Simmons Poole has just married off her last daughter and wonders what will come next.  Since she lives next-door to her aging, overbearing and formidable mother, Lenore Simmons Krackenberry, who is the epitome of genteel southerness, Sookie is pretty sure she won’t be bored. Then a mysterious letter arrives, and Sookie questions everything she thought she knew about her Alabama family and their roots. Her story soon dovetails with that of a proud Polish family from Wisconsin. The Jurdabralinki’s gas station nearly had to close when all the area men joined up during World War Two. But the family’s four girls stepped up to the challenge. Fritzi, the eldest daughter became the mechanic and the other girls offered full service (on roller skates). Later, Fritzi, who had also been a stunt pilot, joins the WASPS, an elite female branch of the U. S. Air Force. Fannie Flagg is in rare form and this may be her best novel yet. It is warm and funny and has a fascinating historical backstory. This may be the best genealogical novel I’ve had the pleasure of reading. -- JAC

Murder by sunlight : the charity quilt

Graham, Barbara – Murder by Sunlight (Fiction Graham) -- Tony Abernathy is the Sheriff of Park County in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. His wife, Theo, owns a quilt shop, also known as gossip central. The small town of Silersville is about to celebrate the Fourth of July. Tony hopes it will be quiet, but has his doubts with a quilt show being hung in his mother’s folk-art museum, the first annual ramp (an  aromatic onion type bulb) festival and an antique car parade. The book is a good example of a small-town rural police procedural. It is also peopled with some very strange local characters. A number of crimes soon take Tony’s and his small staff’s attention: an intruder who attacks with a hammer and wrench, a body found in a tree, another body found in a greenhouse. For those who like crafty mysteries, Theo’s mystery quilt pattern (included in the book) will add another layer of enjoyment. -- JAC

The girls of Atomic City : the untold story of the women who helped win World War II

Kiernan, Denise - The Girls of Atomic City (Non Fiction 976.873 K475g) -- During World War II, the women left behind joined forces in their desire to help win the war in any way they could.  Though many began to work in their local factories, some relocated to a secretive facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  After surviving lengthily interviews, invasive background checks, and substandard living conditions, they began working in jobs they did not fully understand.  It wasn’t until after the news that the atom bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, that they finally discovered their roles at Oak Ridge. -- SCR

The boy on the wooden box : how the impossible became possible... on Schindler's list

Leyson, Leon - The Boy on the Wooden Box:  How the Impossible Became the Possible. . . on Schindler’s List (Youth Biography 92 Leyson, Leon) -- Set in the century’s darkest times, Leon Leyson recalls his life as a young boy in World War II Krakow.  After the Nazis invaded Poland and life became dangerous for the Jewish population, Oskar Schindler hired Leon’s father.  Though Schindler was not seen as a trustworthy man, employment at Schindler’s enamelware firms saved Leon’s family and many others from certain death.  This memoir is from the youth department, but do not let that stop you from reading this poignant memoir. -- SCR

Garden of stones

Littlefield, Sophie - Garden of Stones (Fiction Littlefield) -- Lucy Takeda is just 14 years old when her father passes away and the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor.   Soon, both she and her mother are sent from their comfortable San Francisco home to the Manzanar Interment Camp for Japanese.  When her mother’s exquisite beauty attracts the unwanted attention of camp authorities, tragedy ensues. -- SCR

Dogtripping : 25 rescues, 11 volunteers, and 3 RVs on our canine cross-country adventure

Rosenfelt, David – Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventures (Biography 92 Rosenfelt, David) -- My first question in reading this was why would anyone have 25 dogs? Well the answer is that David and his wife run a dog rescue operation called the Tara Foundation, which has placed several thousand rescue dogs with their forever families. And why would anyone move from California to Maine with such a large canine family? Well they certainly couldn’t leave the dogs behind. In addition to the hilarious tale of the trip, Rosenfelt tells the individual heart-warming stories of many of the dogs. -- JAC

Philomena : a mother, her son, and a fifty-year search

Sixsmith, Martin - Philomena:  A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search (Biography 92 LEE, PHILOMENA) -- A young unwed mother is forced to give up the rights to her son 3 years after giving birth in an Irish convent.  Fifty years later, after Philomena confesses this indiscretion to her daughter, a renewed search leads them to the United States to pick up the trail.  While the movie of the same name focuses on the search itself, the book explores the young boy’s anguish over not knowing the circumstances behind his adoption. -- SCR

A star for Mrs. Blake

Smith, April – A Star for Mrs. Blake (Fiction Smith) -- In 1931 Cora Blake is offered the trip of a lifetime by the United States government. Thirteen years earlier, she lost her only son, Sammy, in World War I. He lied about his age and enlisted at the age of sixteen, and was the only one from their small Maine community to die. In 1929, Congress passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of fallen soldiers to visit their sons’ graves in France. This is the story of Cora and four other ‘Gold Star’ mothers who went on that pilgrimage. Cora is an organizer (actually she was a librarian) who takes it upon herself to bring their small group together. The group includes Katie, an Irish maid who lost two sons; Minnie, a Jewish farmer’s wife; Wilhelmina, who has spent time in a mental asylum; and Bobbie, a wealthy Boston socialite. They also have a military escort and a nurse assigned to the group. This is a touching and well-written story about a little-known footnote in American history. -- JAC

While we were watching Downton Abbey

Wax, Wendy – While We Were Watching Downton Abbey (Fiction Wax) -- This is a wonderful novel about friendships. In this case, the friendships are nurtured while watching the hit drama Downton Abbey. The Alexander is an historic Atlanta apartment building. The apartment concierge, Edward Parker, who is a transplanted English butler, has the idea to show the episodes from seasons one and two of the drama on succeeding Sunday evenings. The idea is a hit and serves as a way for three very different women to interact and become friends. Samantha Davis has been married for 25 years. She married for security, but could it have deepened into real love? Claire Walker has been divorced for a long time, and has just sent her only daughter off to college. A published author of two romance novels, she is taking the plunge into becoming a full-time author. The only problem here is writer’s block. The youngest woman is Brooke MacKenzie. She is raising her two young daughters alone, after a bitter divorce. She spends a lot of time avoiding her ex-husband who has moved into an apartment in the same building. -- JAC

I am Malala : the story of the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban

Yousafzai, Malala - I Am MalalaThe Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (Biography 92 Yousafzal, Malala) -- This is the inspirational story of Malala Yousafzai, a young teen who dared to stand up to the Taliban in favor of equal educational opportunities for girls in Pakistan.  Because Malala’s parents held her in the same regard as her two brothers, she attended the school her father owned.   When Malala began to vocalize her views on the educational rights of women, she was shot in the head.  After her miraculous recovery in England, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. -- SCR

Cozy Corner:

If you enjoy cozy mysteries, check out our new mystery blog called the Cozy Corner. A new title will be posted weekly, along with a description of the story and a list of all the books in a series (if appropriate). You may access the blog through our homepage under Library News and Events, or you may go directly to http://cozycornergpl.blogspot.com/.

Other Good Books:
Murder at Hatfield House : an Elizabethan mystery

Carmack, Amanda – Murder at Hatfield House (Paperback Mystery Carmack) -- This is the first book in a mystery series set in Elizabethan England. In this story, taking place in 1558, Queen Mary is still on the throne and Elizabeth is at the center of many intrigues. Kate Haywood, a simple musician in Elizabeth’s household, sets out to solve the murder of Queen Mary’s envoy. –– JAC

Lending a paw

Cass, Laurie – Lending a Paw (Paperback Mystery Cass) -- Librarian Minnie Hamilton drives a bookmobile in the resort town of Chilson, Michigan. She is assisted by her rescue cat Eddie. Eddie leads Minnie to the discovery of a man’s body. This is the first book in the Bookmobile Cat Mystery series. -- JAC

Jeeves and the wedding bells

Faulks, Sebastian – Jeeves and the Wedding Bells; an Homage to P. G. Wodehouse (Fiction Wodehouse) -- Wodehouse documented the lives of Bertie Wooster (a young man about town) and his butler Jeeves (the very model of the modern manservant) from 1915 until 1974. Now, forty years later, the comic duo returns in a hilarious affair of mix-ups and mishaps. -- JAC

Morning glory : a novel

Jio, Sarah – Morning Glory (Fiction Jio) -- Boat Street is on Seattle’s Lake Union. The last slip on the dock (street) holds a houseboat with weathered cedar shingles and trailing morning glory (a white flowering vine whose loveliness is deceiving). The story ties together Penny Wentworth from the 1950s and Ada Santorini in the present day. In typical Jio fashion, Penny’s mysterious past and Ada’s clouded future are destined to converge. -- JAC

The invention of wings

Kidd, Sue Monk -- The Invention of Wings (Fiction Kidd) -- When Sarah Grimke turns 11 years of age, her family gives her ownership of a young slave girl named Handful.  Sarah has rather unconventional ideas for early 19th century Charleston; the first thing she does with the young girl is to try to set her free. Though her parents stop this effort, a clandestine visit to Handful’s family leads to a promise to set Handful free in the future.  -- SCR

The birth house

McKay, Ami – The Birth House (Fiction McKay) -- Dora Rare is the first daughter in five generations of Rares. As an apprentice to the outspoken Acadian midwife Miss Babineau, Dora learns to assist the women of an isolated Nova Scotian village through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies, and unfulfilling sex lives. During the turbulent World War I era, uncertainty and upheaval accompany the arrival of a brash new medical doctor and his promises of progress and fast, painless childbirth. In a clash between tradition and science, Dora finds herself fighting to protect the rights of women as well as the wisdom that has been put into her care. -- JAC

Stella Bain : a novel

Shreve, Anita – Stella Bain (Fiction Shreve) -- It is 1916 when a young woman awakens in a field hospital in Marne, France with amnesia.  Though she recovers from her physical injuries, she remains ignorant of her identity.  After deciding to stay at the hospital using the name of Stella Bain, she helps as a nurse’s aide and ambulance driver.   When her memory finally returns, she finds out that she has two children and a very complicated marriage in America.  -- SCR


 
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