Another Turn of the Page – It’s Spring in Wisconsin!

Always read something that will make you look good

if you die in the middle of it.

–P.J. O’Rourke

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Yes it’s spring in Wisconsin. That has nothing whatsoever to do with this month’s list of books even though they do look cheery in their mostly green and yellow covers. No I just like reaffirming that spring is here. Sure in two days it might be gone, maybe a crazy freak snowstorm will move in… but for now…the sun, she is shining; the breeze, he is blowing warm air around; and me, I be smiling. Okay before I start singing and skipping down the road let’s get down to the books for April.

Anita, who just got back from Arizona and the Balkans (she’s an eclectic traveler) told us all about a really good author of historical fiction, Dorothy Dunnett. I’ve heard of her ( it’s the librarian in me) but I bet there are a bunch of you who have not. So if you like romance and history and Scottish noblemen, check out The Lymond Chronicles.

Here are this month’s round table submissions:

Attic4-14The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (2011) 322 pages. A girl recently emancipated from the foster care system takes a job in a flower shop where she realizes she has a gift for helping others through her flowers and their arrangements. Inspiration for this book stems from the Victorian language of flowers where you chose certain blooms  that expressed your feelings, your romantic intentions, your personality.

My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918) 232 pages. It seems like every month someone reads a classic. H.L. Mencken claimed this was one of the best American novels ever written. The book traces the story of a Bohemian family as they settle on the Great Plains in Nebraska.

Flight from Berlin by David John (2012) 384 pages. A cynical English reporter and a beautiful, headstrong, American Olympic hopeful are caught in a lethal game of international espionage during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Debut novel by this author.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (2014) 373 pages. Kidd’s latest takes place in the south of the 19th century and follows the lives of two women, Sarah Grimke, who on her eleventh birthday receives the gift of a handmaid (household slave), Hetty “Handful” Grimke. We follow the next 35 years of their lives.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (2007) 229 pages.  The story is set in Sierra Leone in the early 1990’s. The author, Ishmael, is just a young boy of twelve when his village is attacked by rebel troops. Ishmael finds himself orphaned and on the run until he is recruited. This story is probably the toughest read this month but Ishmael does overcome the early horrors in his life.

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (2013) 320 pages. Evanovich is determined to break away from Stephanie Plum and this one might do it. This little caper features new characters Nick Fox ,the best con around, and Kate O’Hare, ex-Navy SEAL, current FBI agent. After Kate busts Nick, part of his penance is to work with the FBI capturing other cons. Entertaining and just good fun.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (1996) 214 pages. Wendy picked this book up because Bea presented Nicholas Sparks at last month’s meeting. Bea liked the book but forgot to mention that in Sparks’ books the sap runs freely. Wendy would like those hours of her life back. Hey, if you’re a sucker for really sweet romantic tearjerkers, this one is for you.

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007) 230 pages. This is categorized as a Young Adult book but don’t let that stop you. Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, and a great writer. His writing is serious, soulful and humorous as hell. In this book, Arnold Spirit, Jr., a Spokane Indian teenage boy narrates this story about how he took his future into his own hands. The only way for him to do it however was to leave his troubled school on the reservation and transfer to an all-white high school in a town nearby. You’ll learn at lot about life on the Rez and a lot about the strength of family and heritage.

The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric (1945) 318 pages. We finish our list with your history lesson of the month. This book depicts the suffering history has imposed upon the people of Bosnia from the late 16th century to the beginning of WWI. Though a work of fiction, the author’s research is extensive and thorough.

Be nice to a librarian this week. Good reading!

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