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Mandy Haynes

Always an avid reader and lover of libraries, Betty Anne received her Masters in Library Media in 1998. She worked first as Media Specialist at St. Jude the Apostle School in Atlanta, then became Library Director at Marist School, where she served from 2001 to her retirement in 2017.  Having moved to Amelia Island full-time following her retirement, Betty Anne enjoys reading fiction, walking, cooking, traveling, and solving puzzles (particularly the daily New York Times crossword and the monthly cryptic puzzle from Harper’s Magazine).


This book will forever be on my short list of favorites. When Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced by the Stalinist government to house arrest in Moscow’s elegant Metropol Hotel, he does not allow that confinement to limit him; rather, over the next decades, he creates an entire world with a delightful cast of characters, both hotel workers and guests, to lighten his days. I found this charming tale to be an uplifting antidote to our own troubled times and one that has stood up to multiple reads

Set in the near future, this thought-provoking novel is narrated by Klara, an Artificial Friend, a humanoid machine created to be a companion/servant to a human teen. With themes of the unintended consequences of technological advances, the effects of obsolescence on humans and machines, and the fundamental question of what it means to be “human,” this haunting story and Klara have remained with me well after reading.

"Harlem Shuffle" is a heist novel, with the well-meaning but imperfect Ray Carney being led by his association with dubious friends to take part in a robbery. This simple premise leads to so much more: a colorful cast of characters rarely without a witty comeback, a touching examination of the conflict between loving one’s family and striving for success, and a brilliantly drawn picture of life in Harlem in the 1960s. This book crackles with suspense and humor.

In "Bullet Train", what you see is what you get: five hired assassins board a high-speed train in Tokyo and commence to act on their conflicting agendas. No deep themes or philosophical wrangling here; rather, "Bullet Train" is a high-speed and darkly comic adventure meant to be enjoyed as a diversion. If it seems cinematic in nature, it will come as no surprise that it is “Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture” starring Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock.

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