Yikes! Almost everyone was back from vacation. We had a big crowd for the second week in July and it turned out to be a great mixture of fiction and non-fiction. One of our books, Stolen Village, falls into both categories. For me fiction is the only way to go, especially in the summer, but I’ll keep my non-fiction prejudices to myself. Author of the month was James Herriot, veterinarian author of titles like, “All Creatures Great and Small.” Most of us started reminiscing about the BBC television series which began in the 70’s before I dragged them back to the book discussion. Hmm, wonder if I can get those old shows on Netflix?
So get out your notebooks, some of these you will definitely want to put on your “to read” list. After all there is still a lot of summer left.
The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King ( 2013) 432 pages. King is known for her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. This book, set in Paris during the Jazz Age, is the second in a new series featuring private investigator Harris Stuyvesant.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010) 370 pages. Henrietta was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cervical cancer cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. HeLa cells have led to many important advances in medicine like polio vaccine, gene-mapping and in vitro fertilization.
Ask Bob by Peter Gethers (2013) 320 pages. What looks like a fluffy romance is really a funny, touching character study of Bob Heller, a pet doctor. The novel is divided into two parts, before and after a life changing event.
Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors and High Explosives by John Elder Robison (2013) 384 pages. The author, a man with Asperger’s, talks about raising his son who also has Asperger’s.
King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny and the Inspring Story of How She Changed an African Village by Peggielene Bartels, Eleanor Herman (2012) 334 pages.The real-life tale of a secretary (in the Ghanan embassy in Washington) who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished African fishing village.
The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates by Des Ekin (2008) 488 pages. In 1631 pirates attacked the small village of Baltimore in Ireland, capturing over 100 men, women, and children. Very few of them were ever heard from again. They disappeared into the slave market in Algiers. From reviews I could not get a handle on whether this was written as historical fiction or a nonfiction account but either way it is quite an interesting true story.
It’s a Wild Life by Bud DeYoung (2014) 256 pages. DeYoung’s story of how he came to build a huge private zoo around his home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Want to visit? Info at DeYoung Family Zoo.
The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan (2013) 448 pages. A novel about a man found frozen in the Arctic ice for more than a century, who wakes up in the present day.
The Painter by Peter Heller (2014) 364 pages. From the first line, “I never imagined I would shoot a man. Or be a father. Or live so far from the sea.”, this book sucked me in. Jim Stegner is a painter, an avid fly fisherman and a murderer and this is his emotional, haunted story. The author’s first book, Dog Stars, is also a great read.
And finally the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich (1994 -2014 so far) Our reviewer Pete loves Evanovich and is working through all of her books. He recommends all of them and is having a great summer.