Another Turn of the Page: This is a Two-fer.

“Books may look like nothing more than words on a page, but they are actually an infinitely complex imaginotransference technology that translates odd, inky squiggles into pictures inside your head.”

Jasper Fforde, The Well of Lost Plots


I didn’t do a book list last month. It was snowing, again. Snowing and being slippery on the day I go to book group at The Attic Coffee Shop. Thus no report on all those good, …and bad, books we’ve been reading. This month at our March meeting, one of the members handed me a list of what the non-fraidy cats of winter driving, had read. So I now have February and March and am desperately trying to figure out how to get both of them to you without turning this into an interminable list. Let’s start with this month and work back.

marIf you recall we always start this round table with one of the members giving us a short bio of an author. Bea chose Nicholas Sparks, and though I personally think he is a pretty sappy writer, he proved to be an interesting guy. If you are curious I’ll let you look up all his details, while I forge ahead into the books presented this month.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951) 224 pages. This is the third person I know who has read this book in the last three months and all of them can’t quite understand 1) why it is on banned book lists even today and 2) why it is considered a modern classic. Well it is still a somewhat edgy book even today but just imagine it in 1951. And it endures because it captures the eternal teenage experience of alienation. Bottom line, you don’t have to like it but it makes for good discussion.

Life Animated: A story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism by Ron Suskind (2014) 368 pages. Owen Suskind, the author’s son, is an autistic boy who could not speak for years until he was shown and subsequently memorized dozens of animated Disney films. These became the words he used to communicate with the world and people around him.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell (2013) 496 pages. The story of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. By the time she died at the age of 104 in 2011, she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut.  But why had she lived as a recluse for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in charge of her fortune or were there others involved?

Hour Game by David Baldacci (2004) 736 pages. Second in the Sean King/Michelle Maxwell series. The two ex-secret service agents now turned private investigators are on the case of a killer who is copying infamous murderers of the past.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (2009) 291 pages. It is 1907, rural Wisconsin, and wealthy businessman Ralph Truitt posts an advertisement for a “reliable wife.” The woman who answers his post is not what he expected. This relationship may be dangerous to his health. I mentioned this book in my post on ‘Wisconsin Death Trip.’

Civil Action by John Harr (1996) 502 pages. A true story about polluted wells in the city of Woburn, MA. Residents complained about the smell and taste of the water for years and were continually told that there was nothing wrong. Lawyer Jan Schlichtmann accepts the case of eight families, all who have children that have developed leukemia.

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic (2012) 256 pages. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Through stories from his own life and the experiences of others he explains why his life is remarkable.

We are Water by Wally Lamb (2013) 561 pages. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Anna has fallen in love with Vivica, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.” -Goodreads. Our reviewer who has enjoyed other books by this author felt that this one was just one big soap opera. She does not recommend.

Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005) 552 pages. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. Death has never been busier, but he has time to tell us this story of Liesel, from her journal. Liesel lives in Germany, she steals books, her foster parents are hiding a Jewish man in their basement.

Breaking Point by C. J. Box (2013) 384 pages. #13 in the Joe Pickett series. Two EPA employees had just been murdered, and all signs point to Butch Roberson, a local man who has been trying to build a house on land designated as a wetland. Joe must find the truth.

My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira (2010) 364 pages. Mary Sutter is a brilliant, head­strong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon during the Civil War. She faces a hard struggle against the sexism of the time.

That’s March. As to the February titles…well I’m just going to feature them in a row of covers. Click on the picture to see them larger and to read the author’s names.Two are from past lists, three are non-fiction, five are novels. Looks like eight people didn’t mind driving in the snow.


8 thoughts on “Another Turn of the Page: This is a Two-fer.

  1. Interesting list! Reliable Wife sounds similar in plot to the first book we read in your “other book group.” Agreed on the “meh” response to Catcher in the Rye-I felt the same on re-read as I did when in college.

    • Yes, you’re correct. We did Reliable Wife and I recall you thought it was not good. The reviewer in the Attic group enjoyed it. Different strokes for different folks. And I think it’s time to take CintheR off required reading lists.

  2. My other book group just read Catcher in the Rye. I didn’t get to it, but the last time I read it, I did find it somewhat dated. It’s still important, I think, in that it was a first and one-of-a-kind, but the shock and awe factor has been severely dimmed over time.

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