Having read Treasure Island and The Adventures of Robin Hood as a child might explain Mark’s passion for novels with a dose of escapism and suspense. He’s also a fan of irreverent writers like Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore, and Carl Hiassen. All told, Mark’s reading tastes are eclectic: historical fiction, engrossing non-fiction stories that read like novels, biographies about fascinating people, the occasional personal growth selection, and laugh-out-loud stories.
The 1909 Free Speech riots in Spokane may be the backbone of this unforgettable story, but the plot eerily echoes our own time - the disparity between rich and poor, exploitation of workers to maximize corporate wealth, police brutality, attempts to suppress free speech. An intimate story of brotherhood, love, sacrifice, and betrayal, featuring an unforgettable cast of cops and tramps, suffragists and socialists, madams and murderers. Among the best books I have read all year!
A family's vacation in remote Long Island is interrupted by a knock on the door of their rental home. An elderly Black couple, claiming to be the home's rightful owners, have fled New York City after a sudden blackout. With no TV, internet or phone service, it's impossible to know what (or who) to believe. This novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. In a world where anything could happen, a possible apocalyptic end of the world is unsettling.
When Duncan resurfaces in school librarian Samantha’s life as new headmaster, he’s nothing like the playful man she once knew. Duncan is now obsessed with school safety, and intends to turn Sam's joyful, offbeat school into a prison. Themes like how we deal with loss, the determination involved in personal transformation, what it takes to be an effective leader, and what makes for a safe school environment kept me engaged throughout the story. An entertaining as well as thought-provoking read!
Another riveting story based on the real-life heroism of Nancy Wake, an Australian expat living in Paris who becomes a spy when the Germans invade France. Her ability to evade capture as she smuggles people and documents to safety forces her to leave her husband and France behind and assume an alias. After training with Britain's Special Operations, she is parachuted to France, and organizes and commands French forces. Equal doses of wit, ferocity, bravery and passion make for a terrific read!
When young veteran Cam Harris, rendered paraplegic after serving in Afghanistan, suddenly rises from his wheelchair one hot afternoon in Biloxi, the miracle becomes national news. His doctors at the VA are convinced of a scientific explanation, while the Church embraces the miracle. The author does a remarkable job reporting the unfolding of events as a good journalist would, though writes scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny as American culture intersects the collision between faith and reason.
Always irreverent and deeply respectful, Moore ponders the early life of the Son of God – those missing teenage years – through the eyes of Biff, the Messiah's best friend. The story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Josh/Jesus from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more -- except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala. The greatest story never told is hilarious!