The Passage by Justin Cronin
Friday, October 1, 2010
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The reviewer for Bookletters said, “If you choose to read just one novel in these waning days of summer, it should be the lovely and terrifically paced The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry.” This book is part historical novel (did you know that lace making was a key industry in Salem, Massachusetts?); part romance and part mystery.
The opening sentences drew me in immediately. “My name it Towner Whitney. No, that’s not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.”
And it gets better. Towner has returned home to Salem after a long absence because her Aunt, Eva, has drowned in the harbor during her daily swim. The death is suspicious and involves an accusation of witchcraft (of course – it’s Salem, after all), a local evangelist and the tea room Towner’s Aunt has been running.
And through it all runs the thread of lace and lacemaking and the women who can read the future in the patterns the lace makes. This is “a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets” that leave you pondering the difference between fact and fiction, real and make-believe, the scientific and the fantastical. Meg
Monday, June 28, 2010
Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo
But it actually happened. Around noon on January 15th, 1919, a fifty foot tall tank FILLED with over 2 million gallons of thick, black molasses collapsed – creating a massive tidal wave (fifteen feet high, some say) that traveled at a speed of over 35 miles per hour and transformed Boston’s North End into a disaster area. Twenty one people were killed, many animals were destroyed, and the injury and destruction left in its wake were devastating.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend by James S. Hirsch
Just in time for baseball season! James Hirsch, author of the 2000 bestseller, Hurricane, (about Rubin Carter), produces a definitive biography of one of baseball’s greats – Willie Mays, considered by some to be the best player in baseball.
From a Bookletters review: “Willie is perhaps best know for “The Catch” – his breathtaking over-the-shoulder grab in the 1954 World Series. But he was a transcendent figure who received standing ovations in enemy stadiums and who, during the turbulent civil rights era, urged understanding and reconciliation.”
A great read to get you in the mood to “play ball.” Meg
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
Beauty by Sherri Tepper is not a fractured fairy tale so much as the tale of Sleeping Beauty told through a dark and sometimes bizarre and mysterious lens. Beauty is able to escape her wicked aunt’s curse, set for her 16th birthday, but that escape does not lead to happy-ever-after. Beauty is the half-daughter of a fairy queen herself, and the rest of the book explores the world of Faery and what it means to be “special.”
As Beauty searches both for her mother and for answers to the mysteries that surround her, we move, not only through Sleeping Beauty, but also glimpse elements of Cinderella, Snow White and even meet a frog prince. The land of Faery is not a place for the naïve and unaware, and Beauty’s journeys are fascinating and dangerous.
Beauty is a fairy tale for adults and even if you are not a fairy tale or science fiction fan, I highly recommend it. Meg
A note about the author: Sheri Tepper is a fairly prolific author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels. Beauty won the Locus Award for 1992.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Song Yet Sung by James McBride
The Plot: Liz Spocott, slave, breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinth of the creeks and swamps of Maryland’s Eastern shore. What follows is a chase story that involves slave catchers, small plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves and a secret underground network of free blacks helping their fellows. Mixed into this adventure tale is also the story of Liz’s special talent of visioning the future. As the New York Times said, in its review, Song Yet Sung is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.
I don’t generally like historical novels, but Song Yet Sung brought me to the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War and showed me a face of slavery and small farm living that has been hard to forget. The power of the tale – which is an exciting adventure, by the way, as well as an historical novel – comes from the fact that McBride never directly rails against the evils of slavery. He shows you – with a powerful narrative and complex and unforgetable characters – that no matter how much “the whites” cared for their slaves, or how much the slaves cared for their masters – the institution of slavery, by its very nature, is evil. And no good can come of evil – ever.
If you are looking for something really special to read in honor of Black History Month try McBride’s Song Yet Sung.