A gritty, dark take on historical fiction with sci-fi blended extremely well with a gothic landscape. Impossible to put down!
The Witcher series is not only great fantasy writing, but the author’s Polish heritage makes his style and perspective very unique to other great fantasy authors like Tolkien and George RR Martin.
This series has been described as “Ender’s Game“ meets “Hunger Games,” and despite its narrative being epic in scope it still is able to provide very deeply complex characters!
In this comprehensive and lively history, Zinn shows how, in the last 244 years, democratic rights, justice and equality were not given freely by the American government to any minority unless that minority demanded and fought for those rights. Zinn reveals hundreds of details about American history that none of us ever got to read in high school or college textbooks. A book for those who really want to understand the history of American democracy.
This is one of the most fascinating and exciting books I've ever read. There are two stories running concurrently in this book: First: What life was like for American Whale hunters at the beginning of the 19th century, especially sailing out of Nantucket. This part of the book is a perfect complement to the second -- the incredible true story about the Essex, a whaling vessel that is rammed by a whale in the Pacific Ocean, 10,000 miles from home, and how the sailors cope with the outcome.
Have you ever spent a night in the woods alone? I've spent a few hundred nights in the woods, but only 3 times totally alone -- the whole night. Christopher Knight spent almost 10,000 consecutive nights in the woods, in a tent, IN MAINE, completely alone. "Hi" was the only word he spoke to another human in 27 years. Read how this incredible man left home and society at the age of 20 and walked into the woods, not to emerge until nearly three decades later.
The book’s cover tells it all: a lonely little boy in the back of his mother's car, driving a desolate highway. She is single and cares deeply for her son, fleeing a "bad situation" and hoping to start a new life. With simple yet compelling prose, Wolff captures what his childhood was like -- lonely, poor and with a mother who made bad decisions, especially when it came to men, and had profound effects on the young Tobias. A sweet book and a triumph by one of America's unsung gifted writers.
This has been one of my favorite stories since childhood. I have always been a fan of Cinderella stories and this one comes from Africa! It is a beautiful combination of illustration and prose with a lesson of kindness vs selfishness and the rewards you reap from both.
Renee Watson has quickly become one of my favorite Early Elementary/Middle Grade authors and her spunky Ryan Hart character will capture your heart like she did mine. Her name is Ryan and no it's not a boy's name, it's HER name. Her comical, creative cooking skills, penchant for solving mysteries, competitiveness and all-around good heart will keep you laughing and cheering from chapter to chapter. Highly recommended for Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby fans.
What if you possessed the power to read yourself into your favorite book or to read your favorite characters out? What conversation would you have? Bookwandering is the ability to wander between the pages of your favorite prose and it takes our heroine, Tilly Pages, one accidental encounter with a certain redhead from Green Gables to learn she has the gift. Of course, having such a gift requires secrecy and rules or else things just might get out of hand. This is a fun and adventurous read.
When you want something easy, uplifting and fun to read, you can't go wrong by turning to beloved author Anne Tyler. We chose this book for the Story & Song Fiction Book Group since there's so much to discuss … from what makes a family to community, choices we make to the truths we discover. Willa Drake has had three opportunities to start her life over and yet she is surprised when in 2017 she is given one last chance to change everything, after receiving a startling phone call from a stranger.
For those of us who grew up in a white family, in a mostly white community, and little contact with people of color, we have much to learn about how different life has been for those of color. In her memoir, Brown walks us through situations and explains how she hears the comments, feedback, and requests in work situations, volunteer efforts, and casual conversation. Austin is open, honest and articulate and gives us a window into the problems that permeate every level of our society.
This is a beautiful fable of friendship and the universal lessons we learn with, and from, one another. British illustrator Charlie Mackesy begins the story with: ‘“What do you want to be when you grow up?’ asked the mole. ‘Kind,’ said the boy.” Add 100 color and black-and-white drawings on the endpapers and throughout, and you have a gift book that is a joy to read and a joy to give. We’ve had customers buy one, then come back for 10 more.
The Secret Life of Bees put Sue Monk Kidd on the map and since, she’s shown her interests in religion and feminism. Here, she takes us into the life of Ana, who lives in an age where women have few options and many obligations. She’s rebellious, engages in scholarly pursuits, meets and marries Jesus, and becomes a part of his family. Kidd offers a well-researched and richly woven story that projects the importance of honoring women’s stories.
How do we pull through the most challenging times in our lives? Julia Alvarez introduces us to Antonia Vega, who, simultaneously retired from her teaching position at the university and lost her beloved husband. And that’s only the beginning. There is so much for book groups to discuss, from love and loss, where we find meaning, the role of family, immigration and teenage pregnancy. It’s in expert writing like this we find our common humanity.
Many of us Americans were raised with the values of being productive and offering something of value each and every day. Sitting still rubs against this, but intuitively we know it’s healthy to know how to rest, how to sit still. Zen Master Tich Nhat Hahn’s Mindfulness Essentials Series offers clear, simple directions and inspiration. I begin my day with a short reading and know that the wisdom has helped me learn to breathe, calm my brain, and open myself to new ways of being.
If you're a food lover and enjoy going behind the scenes to meet the fishmongers and farmers behind the food we enjoy, Melissa Martin's Mosquito Supper Club is a book for you! After Katrina, Melissa went to Northern California to work and returned home to Louisiana to honor the food, the people, the land and the sea where she grew up. This is a beautiful book with gorgeous photography, authentic recipes, and a fascinating venture into the bayou.
A remarkable historical fiction set in NY at the turn of the century, this book is about family life, especially sibling love. An innocent ill younger sister searches for her runaway elder sister and winds up in a Catholic shelter for young women deemed “difficult”. Thankfully parenting skills have improved! I listened to this book while walking and found myself not wanting to go home. The author provides a clear explanation of these “homes for wayward girls” that really existed.
The early John Grisham is back -- The Guardians reads like The Firm and Pelican Brief –- compelling, suspenseful, and naturally a bit of romance. Set in Florida, Post, a minister/lawyer works tirelessly to overturn wrongful convictions and highlights penal system fraud. You’ll end up asking ”just how often do they get the wrong guy?”
We all need an “Olive” in our life. Although the story picks up where Olive Kitteridge ends, you needn’t have read it. Olive is nearing 80, old-fashioned and ornery, yet progressive, and unafraid. She experiences new romance, and is involved with lots of curious events where she imparts her glorious sensitivity, humor, and inspiration.
This book will forever live on my favorites list. Frank, the son of a minister, recalls a summer back in 1961, age 12, with a younger brother who he protects and an older sister who he admires. The family is close knit – until deaths occur and all is broken. A beautifully written story we can all learn from about compassion, forgiveness, and Ordinary Grace.
This is another of my favorite audio books. The different voices used by the characters portray a much clearer picture and help you to sit where they're sitting, and walk right along side, and visualize Alicia Berenson's actions and her life. It's a mystery for sure with a few twists and a great finish.
Like my own son, Casey is a struggling writer with a lot of crises – typical of life in our 20s – college, romances, travels, restaurant jobs, parent disappointments, and living on a shoestring. This book is filled with life’s teaching moments and how one’s fearless ambition and courage blossom into accomplishment and love.
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!
Available in paperback on June 16th, this novel is based on the true story of a Dutch woman who single-handedly smuggled hundreds of Jewish children out of Nazi Germany. Though the story centers around two adolescents forced to sever their friendship, the drama comes from "Tante Truus" and her willingness to risk her life in order to save the lifes of others. When someone puts their own comfortable life in jeopardy to help others, you can't help but feel hopeful.
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.
It's 2011, and Samuel hasn't seen his mother, Faye, in decades since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she's reappeared, having committed a crime that ignites the news and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version is true? Themes of love, family secrets, politics and pop culture make this a memorable read.
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!