Another Turn of the Page: Mad March Books

“By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.
Not that year.
Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold.”      ― Neil Gaiman, Odd and the Frost Giants


Yes, I know it is April but this is the March list and it still feels like March here in Wisconsin. Gaiman’s quote described this year exactly. Winter is refusing to die. It snowed twice this month around here and more than that in other parts of the state, we just lucked out. This week, the weatherman has forecast 60’s and maybe a 70 by the end of the week and he better be right or there will be people with pitchforks and torches pounding on his door. Realistically we have no choice but to brew up some espresso and crack open a new book and hope that Spring is around the corner.

Here are the mad and crazy books our group enjoyed last month:

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman (2012) 337 pages. A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (1998) 252 pages. One of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary was Dr. William Chester Minor. Not only a fine wordsmith he was also an insane murderer who sent his submissions from his cell in one of England’s harshest asylums, Broadmoor.

The Hundred-Year Walk : An Armenian Odyssey by Dawn Anahid MacKeen (2016) 339 pages. Just before killing squads in Armenia slaughter his caravan during a forced desert march, Stepan manages to escape, making a perilous six-day trek to the Euphrates River carrying nothing more than two cups of water and one gold coin. After discovering his journals a century later, his granddaughter retraces his steps. A true story.

The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron (2014) 336 pages. In this quirky, humorous novel, Ruddy McCann, an all-star football player destined for greatness in the big leagues, has a bad thing happen to him and he ends up as a repo man and part-time bouncer in the bar he co-owns. Oh, and he also hears dead people.

Driving on the Rim by Thomas McGuane (2010) 306 pages. An intimate view into the life of a man who crosses the class barrier in a small town in Montana.              

Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Frances Sharma (2014) 400 pages. In a seaside village in Trinidad, Marcia Garcia, a gifted sixteen-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policeman, her life takes a major turn. Their courtship takes them through some historical events which threaten the secret Marcia harbors.

Great Leader and Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole his Way to Freedom by Blaine Harden (2015) 304 pages. The true story of how Kim Il Sung grabbed power and plunged his country into war against the United States while the youngest fighter pilot in his air force was playing a game of deception and escape.

The Fox and the Hound: The Birth of American Spying by Donald E. Markle (2013) 265 pages. A book about espionage during the Revolutionary War. A fascinating topic but kind of a slow read.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012) 313 pages. Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has terminal cancer. Then she meets Augustus at a Cancer Kid Support Group. He has come to support a friend but his and Hazel’s lives will never be the same.

Heaven’s Keep by William Kent Krueger (2009) 321 pages. In this, the ninth of the series, Cork O’Connor investigates the disappearance of his wife. This book is a major turning point in the series.


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