Another Turn of the Page: Yikes! It’s June.

Next Thursday is the June book group meeting and I haven’t even posted May. Not like I have thousands of rabid readers out there in blogland clamoring for my next post but I do like to keep current. At our last meeting we had an all time high in attendance, fourteen. The daughters of two of our members were in town and came along and shared their current reading and it seemed no one else was on vacation yet. I have to apologize that I could not locate one of the daughter’s books. She said it was The Samurai’s Daughter and it was published in 1936. She couldn’t remember the author. I found, “A Daughter of the Samurai” by Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto but I wasn’t able to verify if that might be the one. Oh well.

But back to the crowd. We try to keep our meeting to an hour and I was skeptical that was going to happen however we got around to everyone in the group in just about 70 minutes. This group is getting very good at summarizing their reading. Let’s see how good I am (with a little help from Goodreads). Here’s the list.

May1. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lustania by Erik Larson (2015) 430 pages. An engrossing story of the sinking of the luxury liner, Lusitania, by a German U-boat in 1915.

2. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (2014) 398 pages. Well if you don’t really LOVE elephants this book isn’t for you. The plot is basically about a missing person and includes psychics and a private investigator and did I mention – elephants. Reviews are mixed.

3. Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult (1993) 464 pages. Surprisingly we had two Picoult books reported on by different readers. This one is about a girl whose mother walks out on her and her father when she is a little girl. The girl spends the rest of her life trying to make sense of her mother’s abandonment.

4. Driftless by David Rhodes (2008) 352 pages. Rhodes follows the lives of the residents of the fictional rural town of Words, located in the Driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin. The author is a poetic writer who perfectly captures the characteristics of rural life and the personalities of the people who live it.

5. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen (2015) 348 pages. Set during WWII, Maddie, her husband Ellis and his best friend Hank leave their pampered high society lives in Philadelphia after falling out of grace with family. To prove themselves they cross the ocean in search of the Loch Ness Monster. Our reviewer said it sounds more exciting than it reads.

6. Takedown Twenty (2013) 307 pages & Top Secret Twenty-one (2015) 341 pages. by Janet Evanovich  Our Stephanie Plum lover has finally caught up with the series. Says they are still good and funny. It will be interesting to see what he reads while waiting for #22.

7. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown (2013) 416 pages. The story of the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew and their quest for gold. A team, composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, who defeat elite rivals from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler.

8. Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (2010) 352 pages. An alternate history of World War II. It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have warlocks, and one British Secret Agent tries to use both for victory.

9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (2011) 707 pages. An excellent biography about a brilliant visionary but not a very good person. Jobs gave Isaacson exclusive interviews for this book.

10. Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier (1935) 320 pages. They don’t make covers like that anymore. The story: It’s early 19C in Southern Cornwall and Mary Yellen’s dying mother asks her to sell the family farm and join her Aunt Patience and her husband at Jamaica Inn in Northern Cornwall. A spooky, gothic tale. Vintage DuMaurier.

11. Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong (2004) 527 pages. An epic Chinese tale about the dying culture of the Mongols (the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world) and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the Mongolian wolf.

12. Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini (1992) 448 pages. A really good courtroom thriller. #1 in the Paul Madriani series.

13. The Stranger by Harlan Coben (2015) 400 pages. “Someone, a stranger, approaches Adam Price and tells him something provocative about his wife, Corinne…a secret she’s kept from him. And so begins a story of deception, mystery and conspiracies that escalate dangerously.” -Goodreads

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