“I like my coffee with cream and my literature with optimism.”
It has been a year since we moved our Whadda Ya Readin’? Book Group from The Attic Books and Coffee Shop. After a brief hiccup getting settled at the library, we have found a room with comfy seats that is quiet enough that we can hear everyone, even the people with soft voices. Our only regret at the time was, no readily available coffee. But a wonderful thing happened last month, a coffee shop opened its doors in the newly remodeled third floor of the library. This was an area that used to be offices but now has areas called Think Tanks that you can reserve AND it has The CURA Coffeehouse. So I think we may be complete now. Just before we meet, our members can zip up there, get their coffee or tea or hot chocolate, and be ready to join the group. Sweet. So go grab a cup and catch up on what we read this month.1. Fifty Fifty by James Patterson & Candice Fox (2017) 377 pages. #2 in the Detective Harriet Blue series. Sam Blue stands accused of the brutal murders of three young students, their bodies dumped near the Georges River. Only one person believes he is innocent: his sister, Detective Harriet Blue.
2. Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases and Finding Redemption by Shon Hopwood (2012) 320 pages. This is an improbable-but-true-memoir — the story of a young bank robber who became the greatest jailhouse lawyer in American history.
3. How to Make a Life: A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted by Madeline Uraneck (2018) 208 pages. A wonderful blend of personal stories of both the author and the Tibetan refugee members she writes about. Mixed in is background on the early conditions in Tibet that forced their migration across the Himalayas, their experiences in refugee camps, and their final arrival in America and Madison, Wisconsin.
4. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (2017) 416 pages. This novel is based on the true story of a Polish Jewish family under Nazi occupation.
5. Love and Ruin by Paula McLain (2018) 389 pages. This novel chronicles the relationship between Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century.
6. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton (2018) 272 pages. When he was 29, Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of a murder he did not commit and was sentenced to Death Row in Alabama. It took thirty years before he was able to convince the US Supreme Court that his first trial was unfair and hadn’t allowed him to present clearly exculpatory evidence.
7. Miss Subways by David Duchovny (2018) 309 pages. Miss Subways is inspired by the Irish mythology of Cuchulain, a warrior who has the love of all women, but none of them is good enough for him, intellectually. Until, Emer. A darkly, funny novel that our reviewer loved. Don’t be put off that it is written by David Duchovny, he is a surprisingly good writer.
8. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan (2017) 513 pages. This novel is based on a real life Italian teenager, who, in 1943 began guiding Jews over the mountain passes to Switzerland.
9. Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna (2018) 311 pages. When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires Alice Vega, a tough bounty hunter whose specialty is finding missing children. She teams up with former cop turned private detective, Max Caplan. A really good thriller. I hope we see more of Alice and Max.
10. Intrepid’s Last Case: The Super Spy who Helped Take Down the Nazis by William Stevenson (2002) 352 pages. This book chronicles the post-World War II activities of Sir William Stephenson, whose role in helping to defeat the Nazis was the subject of the worldwide best-seller A Man Called Intrepid.
11. Robin by Dave Itzkoff (2018) 544 pages. You will have to decide if it is still too early to read about Robin William’s life but when you are ready this bittersweet biography portrays him, not as a tormented soul who ends his own life, but more as a tender man desperate for talent validation.
12. Never Go Back by Lee Child (2013) 400 pages. Jack Reacher #18. While traveling through South Dakota in the last book ,61 Hours ( #17), ex-military cop Jack Reacher had occasion to call in to his old office in Washington, D.C, the headquarters of the 110th MP. Reacher once commanded the unit but it now belongs to Major Susan Turner and he is determined to meet her.
13. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchey ( 2012) 464 pages. In this, her last novel before her death, Maeve takes her readers to the west coast of Ireland to the village of Stoneybridge where hometown girl Chicky Starr has returned home to open a holiday hotel.
14. Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson (2015) 287 pages. An intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.
15. The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (2010) 416 pages. The Island referred to in this novel, Tuckernuck, is a real honest to goodness island about 1/2 mile from Nantucket. It is there that 4 women, 2 sets of sisters go to relax, regenerate and resolve their own personal problems and those of their family.