Tag Archives: Five Book Friday

Five Book Friday!

And a very happy Free For All birthday wish to Hans Fallada!

Via Melville House Press

You might not have heard of Hans Fallada.  That’s ok.  His work fell into general obscurity over the second half of the twentieth century.  However, the grand and glorious people at the Melville House Press (whose blog is very nearly almost as terrific as ours), have gone a long way to bringing him back into the literary fold, so to speak, and to put his work in front of the eyeballs of a new generation.

Fallada (whose given name was Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen) was born on this day in 1893 in Greifswald, Germany. Though he always seems to have had trouble fitting in with his peers, his real struggles began in 1909, when he was run-over by a horse cart, and kicked in the face by the horse, and 1910, when he contracted typhus.  The pain and isolation of these events marked Fallada for life,–as the drug addiction he developed from the pain killers he was given.  His battle with depression was a life-long one, as well, meaning he spent a good deal of time between the wars in asylums and prison as a result of his drug addictions, even as he grew in prominence as an author.

Fallada was very much a writer of the moment, and his books dealt with contemporary scenarios and politics.  As a result, it wasn’t long before some of his most popular works were banned from German libraries, and Fallada himself was declared an “undesirable author”.  Fearing for his well-being, Fallada’s British publisher, George Putnam, send his personal yacht to Berlin to pick up Fallada and his wife.  Though their bags were packed, Fallada declared at the very last minute that he couldn’t leave (he had confided to a friend years before “I could never write in another language, nor live in any other place than Germany.”)  He wrote children’s books and other non-political pieces in order to remain under the radar, until he was called upon by Goebbels to write a specifically anti-Semitic novel that would be backed by the Nazi party.

As the result of an altercation with his (now ex-) wife, Fallada was incarcerated in an insane asylum in 1944.  In order to protect himself, Fallada told officials he had an assignment to fulfill for Goebbels’s office, which protected him from the inhuman treatment to which asylum patients were typically subjected. But rather than writing the anti-Jewish novel, Fallada used his ration of paper to write a novel called The Drinker (Der Trinker), a deeply critical autobiographical account of life under the Nazis, and a short diary In meinem fremden Land (A Stranger in My Own Country).  He wrote in a dense, overlapping hand that obscured most of his words, allowing the manuscript, and Fallada himself, to be saved until he was released in December 1944 as the Nazi government began to crumble.

Fallada died in February 1947, aged 53, from a weakened heart due to years of addiction to morphine, alcohol and other drugs, leaving behind the recently completed novel Every Man Dies Alone, an anti-fascist novel based on the true story of a German couple, Otto and Elise Hampel, who were executed for producing and distributing anti-Nazi material in Berlin during the war.  Though many German writers who had escaped Nazi German disparaged him (and his work) because he chose to remain, we thankfully now have the chance to meet Fallada anew, and to realize just how brave a survivor he was, and to encounter his words anew–when we may need them more than ever.

Via http://www.fallada.de

And speaking of books, let’s take a look at some of the other books that traipsed onto our shelves this week…

Vexed with Devils: In a week that saw the dedication of the Salem Witch Trials memorial, it seems fitting to showcase Erika Gasser’s new book, which focuses on the cultural history of witchcraft, witchcraft-possession phenomena and the role of men and patriarchal power.  As she discusses in this fascinating work, witchcraft trials had as much to do with who had power in the community, to impose judgement or to subvert order, as they did with religious belief.  Essentially, witchcraft was used as a form of social policing.  She argues that the gendered dynamics and power-plays inherent in stories of possession and witchcraft show how men asserted their power in society and over each other (and the women around them). While all men were not capable of accessing power in the same ways, many of the people involved—those who acted as if they were possessed, men accused of being witches, and men who wrote possession propaganda—invoked manhood as they struggled to advocate for themselves during these perilous times.  This is a wonderfully researched and insightful book, and, as Publisher’s Weekly noted,  “Anyone seeking a fresh perspective on, and deeper understanding of, such possession accounts will not be disappointed.”

Like a Fading Shadow: Using recently declassified FBI files, Antonio Muñoz Molina has reconstructed a fiction look into James Earl Ray’s final steps through the Lisbon, where he hid for two months following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  But Molina has also wrapped his own story up in this tale of self-identity and deception, alternating between Ray in 1968 at the center of an international manhunt; a thirty-year-old Muñoz Molina in 1987 struggling to find his literary voice; and the author in the present, reflecting on his life and the form of the novel as an instrument for imagining the world through another person’s eyes.   The result is a deep, complex, and enlightening work that Kirkus Reviews noted, “delicately oscillates between an author’s quest for truth and a criminal’s search for safety . . . A tragically poetic study of the calamity that set back the civil rights movement.”

At the Table of Wolves: Kay Kenyon is a science fiction writer beloved by reviewers and readers alike, and the opening of her new series–described as a mix of espionage and X-Men is sure to win her even more followers. In 1936, there are paranormal abilities that have slowly seeped into the world, brought to the surface by the suffering of the Great War.  The British haven’t managed to outpace Germany in weaponizing these new powers, until the ultra-secret site called Monkton Hall is established.  Kim Tavistock, whose power allowers her to draw out truths that people most wish to hide, is among the test subjects at the facility. When she wins the confidence of caseworker Owen Cherwell, she is recruited to a mission to expose the head of Monkton Hall—who is believed to be a German spy.  As she infiltrates the upper-crust circles of some of England’s fascist sympathizers, she encounters dangerous opponents, including the charismatic Nazi officer Erich von Ritter, and discovers a plan to invade England.  Though no one believes her story, Kim is determined to expose the plan and save England–even if she has to do it single-handedly.  With deft characterization and quick pacing, Kenyon has created a book that earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it  “A superb adventure, worthy to launch a distinguished historical fantasy series.”

Less: Picture it: You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.  What do you do?  Well, if you’re Arthur Less, you accept every single one of those invitations, and embark on a marvelous, unexpectedly touching, madcap journey around the world, through surprise encounters and unanticipated birthdays and into love.  This sharp satire on Americans abroad is also a lovely look into our shared humanity, and a book that encouraged The Washington Post to declare, “Greer is an exceptionally lovely writer, capable of mingling humor with sharp poignancy…. [His] narration, so elegantly laced with wit, cradles the story of a man who loses everything: his lover, his suitcase, his beard, his dignity.”

The Epiphany Machine: “Everyone else knows the truth about you, now you can know it, too”–that’s the slogan for an odd, junky contraption that tattoos personalized revelations on its users’ forearms. A number of city dwellers buy into the epiphany machine, including Venter Lowood’s parents, and even though they move away, Victor can’t ignore the stigma of those tattoos–or their accuracy.  So when Venter’s grandmother finally asks him to confront the epiphany machine, he’s only too happy to oblige.  But when he meets the machine’s surprisingly charming (if slightly off-putting) operator, Adam Lyons, Venter finds himself falling for the machine, as well…until Venter gets close enough to recognize the undeniable pattern between specific epiphanies and violent crimes.  A pattern that’s gone unreported.  A pattern that proves the machine may be right, after all.  This big, imaginative, tragicomedy of a book earned another starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who cheered that “This is a wildly charming, morally serious bildungsroman with the rare potential to change the way readers think.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

And a very joyous la fête du 14-juillet to you, beloved patrons!

Storming of The Bastile by Jean-Pierre Houël

July 14th is indeed the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, when, in 1789, some 950 inhabitants of Paris, who were opposed to Louis XVI and his conservative regime, gathered around the Bastille prison in the hopes of securing the cannon, gunpowder, and other weaponry being housed there.  Three of the crowd were sent into the prison to negotiate with the 32 guards who were posted inside, but after hours has passed, the crowd grew impatient, and began marching into the inner courtyard.  Panicked, the soldiers began shouting at the crowd to disperse, but in the confusion, their calls were mistaken as a welcome to enter.  Gunfire started (I couldn’t find an accurate assessment of who first opened fire), and the crowd quickly turned into a mob, while the handful of guards were reinforced with guards and cannon.  Fearing a massive loss of life, the Governor de Launay capitulated around 5:30pm, and the now-mob swept in to liberate the fortress.  Fearing reprisals at the hands of government, the citizens of Paris began building barricades in the streets and arming themselves, officially marking the battle lines of the French Revolution.

Claude Monet

The holiday, however, began in 1790, when a feast was held to celebrate peace and the unity of the French nation.  Another feast was held in 1878 to commemorate and celebrate the French nation–a celebration that was commemorated in the painting by Monet above–and was such a rousing success that the day was enshrined as a national holiday in 1880.  So you don’t have to wish anyone a “Happy Bastille Day”, or anything like that.  But you can come in and check out some of the wonderful new books that have pirouetted onto our shelves this week!

Why?: What Makes Us Curious: An astrophysicist himself, Mario Livio is fascinated by the mechanisms that make human curiosity–why we are more distracted by only hearing one side of a conversation, why we care about places and people and things we cannot see before us.  Why we invent thins. In order to attempt to answer these questions, Livio interviewed scientists, examined the lives of two of history’s most curious geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci and Richard Feynman, and talked to people with boundless curiosity: a superstar rock guitarist who is also an astrophysicist; an astronaut with degrees in computer science, biology, literature, and medicine.   And in this enormously readable book, he concludes that there is no definitive scientific consensus about why we humans are so curious, or about the mechanisms in our brain that are responsible for curiosity–but doesn’t that just make you more curious in the end?  Livio’s work has earned praise from Nobel winners, scientists, and readers alike, with Kirkus Reviews calling this fascinating book “A lively, expert, and definitely not dumbed-down account of why we’re curious.”

The Reason You’re Alive: From the author who brought you the Silver Linings Playbook comes another fascinating tale that transforms a personal journey into some much, much bigger.  After sixty-eight-year-old Vietnam Vet David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard–that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline, and whom David is now determined to track down and make amends.  As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and good-hearted American patriot fighting to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche that Publisher’s Weekly calls “Dark, funny, and surprisingly tender.”

Gork, the Teenage Dragon: With a title like this, how could you not resist a peek into Gabe Hudson’s debut novel?  Gork isn’t like the other dragons at WarWings Military Academy. He has a gigantic heart, two-inch horns, and an occasional problem with fainting. His nickname is Weak Sauce and his Will to Power ranking is Snacklicious—the lowest in his class. But he is determined not to let any of this hold him back as he embarks on the most important mission of his life: tonight, on the eve of his high school graduation, he must ask a female dragon to be his queen. If she says yes, they’ll go off to conquer a foreign planet together. If she says no, Gork becomes a slave.  In the course of his interactions with his fellow dragons, from the nerds to the jocks, from Dr. Terrible, the mad scientist to Metheldra, a healer specializing in acupuncture with swords, Gork begins to realize that his biggest weakness–that big heart of his–may just be the secret power he needed all along.  This is a delightful, silly, honest, and uplifting coming-of-age tale that will capture the hearts of readers of any age, and that Publisher’s Weekly hailed  as “Cleverly plotted and executed. . . . Gork’s amusing growing-up story unfolds in vignettes of encounters with various kooky fellow dragons. Throughout, Hudson makes…brilliant reflections on humans’ often reptilian behavior.”

Hannibal: If everything you know about Hannibal begins and ends with elephants, you are definitely not alone.  But thanks to Patrick Hunt’s insightful new biography, you can realize what an incredible tactician and leader Hannibal really was, and just what an impact he had during his life, even though he was by no means undefeated…or, indeed, successful.  Nevertheless, to this day Hannibal is still regarded as a military genius. Napoleon, George Patton, and Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. are only some of the generals who studied and admired him. His strategy and tactics are still taught in military academies. He is one of the figures of the ancient world whose life and exploits never fail to impress. Historian Patrick N. Hunt has led archeological expeditions in the Alps and elsewhere to study Hannibal’s achievements. Now he brings Hannibal’s incredible story to life in this riveting and dramatic book.  Though this is a book that will definitely appeal to military history buffs, Library Journal points out that “The military history is thorough and balanced. . . . Drawing on both ancient and modern scholarship, this book is accessible for the nonspecialist; military history buffs will enjoy.”

Live from Cairo: Another debut here, this one from Ian Bassingthwaighte, whose own work in refugee legal aid informs much of this story about an American attorney, a methodical Egyptian translator, and a disillusioned Iraqi-American resettlement officer trying to protect a refugee, Dalia, who finds herself trapped in Cairo during the turbulent aftermath of the January 25, 2011 revolution.  As these individuals come together, united to save Dalia, laws are broken, friendships and marriages are tested, and lives are risked—all in an effort to protect one person from the dangerous sweep of an unjust world.  Though very much a book of–and for–the times, Bassingthwaighte’s work is also a story about the human need to seek connections and hope in the darkest of moments, and the joys that can be found, even in the midst of tragedy and fear.   Kirkus gave this book one of its many starred reviews, saying “There are far too many great things about this book to list in this small space: the tension and energy of the plot…the richness and subtlety of detail in the writing…profoundly humanizing the global refugee crisis. Bassingthwaighte’s virtuoso debut deserves the widest attention.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons, Happy Reading!

Five Book Friday!

And here’s a little factoid for your Quirky History files…

Today is the birthday of sliced bread.

Nom, nom, nom…

Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, United States (pictured below, courtesy of The Woodstock Whisperer), graduated from what is now the Northern Illinois College of Ophthalmology and Otology in Chicago in 1900, with a degree in optics.  He went to work as a jeweler, but used his skills to invent new devices.  Convinced that he could build a machine that could slice a loaf of bread into individual, even pieces, he sold his three jewelry stores to afford the supplies.  Unfortunately, a fire in the factory where he worked destroyed not only his prototype, but the blueprints, as well.

It would take Rohwedder several years to secure the funds needed to build again, but by 1927, he had crafted and tested a machine that not only sliced bread, but wrapped it, as well.  After applying for patents, he sold his first machine to a baker-friend named Frank Bench, who installed it at the Chillicothe Baking Company, in Chillicothe, Missouri, in 1928. The first loaf of sliced bread was sold commercially on July 7, 1928.

In advertising their shiny new sliced bread, the Chillicothe Baking Company stated in their advertising that it was “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”.   In 1940, a form of bread consisting of two wrapped half-loaves, called Southern Slice Bread, was advertised as the “greatest convenience since sliced bread”…sound familiar?  A few after Chillicothe made history, Wonder Bread made sliced bread a nation-wide product, which in turn, boosted the sale of single-slice toasters.   So when you’re having your breakfast, or sandwich, or afternoon tea today, feel free to regale your friends and eating companions with today’s fact of the day, dear readers.  I’m sure they’ll all be very grateful.

An add for sliced bread from the Chillicothe Baking Co., Courtesy of The Atlantic

Hey, and speaking of that, you know what else is the best thing since sliced bread?  New book!  Here are some of the titles that have dashed up onto our shelves this week, and are eagerly waiting to join you in your summer excursions!

Scribbled in the Dark: Anyone looking to overcome their metrophobia should look no further than friend of the Peabody Library, Charles Simic’s newest book.  In each of these pieces, all of which are single-serving portions of poetry, Simic manages to combine the mundane, the familiar, and the cosmic and overwhelming, creating poetry that is at once accessible and eye-opening.  Peopled by policemen, presidents, kids in Halloween masks, a fortune-teller, a fly on the wall of the poet’s kitchen, from crowded New York streets, to park benches, these works toy with the end of the world and its infinity, with its ugliness and its beauty. Charles Simic continues to be an imitable voice in modern American poetry, one of its finest chroniclers of the human condition.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this collection a starred review, relishing that “Image by image, Simic composes miniature masterpieces, offering what appears as a seemingly effortless study in language’s cinematic possibilities.”

Kingdoms of Olive and Ash: Writers Confront Occupation: This collection of essays was compiled to observe the fifty-year anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, organized by renowned writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, along with the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence—an organization comprised of former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied territories and saw firsthand the injustice there.  Each of the essays here, from writers as famous and diverse as Colum McCann, Jacqueline Woodson, Colm Toibin, Hari Kunzru, Raja Shehadeh, Mario Vargas Llosa and Assaf Gavron, goes beyond the headlines and click-bait pieces to understand what occupation means, and the cost it takes on all those involved.  Booklist gave this work a starred review, noting especially its “Dramatic testimonies… radiant with telling details, vital portraits, and explosive facts…. This sensitive, galvanizing, and landmark gathering brings the occupation into sharp focus as a tragedy of fear and tyranny, a monumental failure of compassion and justice, a horrific obstacle to world peace.”

White FurJardine Libaire’s novel is set in the mid-1980’s, a time of big hair and spandex, cultural clashes and divides, and all that neon intensity is reflected in the wild love story at its center.  Although Elise Perez and Jamey Hyde are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in public housing without a father and didn’t graduate from high school. Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune.  But when they first meet, nothing else matters.  They move to Manhattan, eager to start a new life together, exploring Newport mansions and East Village dives, WASP-establishment yacht clubs and the grimy streets below Canal Street, all while fighting to stay together in a world designed to keep them apart.  Like so many books out current, Libaire’s story is as much a love story to the 1980’s as it is about her characters, and her passion for place shines through every page of her book.  NPR agreed, calling this book “A fairy tale of love and class and money and death and New York City in the 1980’s, as seen through eyes so new and so young that everything seems like magic all the time…What holds it together is ferocity — Libaire’s elegant, incongruous, glitz-and-trash command of the language of youth and young love, and the uncompromising fire of her main characters as they drift and dash from page to page.”

The Little French Bistro: Readers who loved George’s The Little Paris Bookshop will be delighted to return with her to France’s idyllic scenery for another tale of self-discovery and delicious food.  Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage. After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, where she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome and joy for living.  Gradually, as she begins to remember the parts of herself she thought long gone, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.  This is another book that will seduce you with settings (and food.  Seriously, the food.), as well as the rich personalities that grace these pages.  Kirkus Reviews, specifically noted that it “is as much about indulging the senses with succulent dishes and dazzling sights as it is about romance and second chances. With a profound sense of place and sensuous prose, the novel functions as a satisfying virtual visit to the French Riviera. A luscious and uplifting tale of personal redemption…”

The Best Land Under Heaven The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny: Many of us have heard of the Donner Party, that ill-fated group of travelers who got caught in the Rocky Mountains during a hellish winter…but in this new study, Michael Wallis cuts through the myths and legends that have sprung up around their story to explore who and what the Donner Party actually were, and the historical context of their journey, showing them as a microcosm of the United States at the time.  There’s a great deal that still needs to be discussed about not just the Donner Party, but the concept of Manifest Destiny that drove so many people into areas that were utterly unknown to them, and the unspeakable toll those journeys took on so many lives.  But Wallis has begun that process here in a book that is both empathetic and focused.  The Boston Globe loved this book, noting in the review, “The saga of the Donner Party is one of the most horrific and fascinating events in the history of the American West. A cautionary tale at the time, it becomes in Michael Wallis’s thorough and persuasive new telling…of the more shadowy aspects of Manifest Destiny. . . . [A] welcome update of a nightmarish tale.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

And many very happy Free-For-All birthday wishes to poet, prose writer, diplomat, and translator, Czesław Miłosz!

Courtesy of Culture.pl

Miłosz was born on this day in 1911 in Szetejnie, then part of the Russian Empire, now Lithuania.  A polymath from a young age, Miłosz became fluent in Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, English, and French.  His first volume of poetry was published in 1934, the same year he received his law degree from Stefan Batory University in Vilnius.  He spent most of the Second World War in Nazi-occupied Poland,and while he didn’t joint the resistance or take part in the Warsaw Uprising, he did join the Organizacja Socjalistyczno-Niepodległościowa “Wolność” (“The ‘Freedom’ Socialist Pro-Independence Organisation”), and was responsible for helping Jews escape Poland.  Though the exact number is unknown, we know that he personally saved the Tross and Wołkomińska families, actions which earned him the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations in Yad Vashem, Israel in 1989.  In later life, he also became a supporter to gay and lesbian rights, especially in Poland.

After the war, he served as cultural attaché of the newly formed Communist People’s Republic of Poland (you can see his passport on the left, courtesy of Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library) , though he defected in 1951 and lived under political asylum in Paris until moving to the United States in 1960.  Because his works were banned by the Communist Party as a result of his defection, his work was almost never read in his home country.  It was only when Miłosz received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980 that many Poles discovered his work.  After the Iron Curtain fell, he was able to return to Poland, at first to visit, later to live part-time in Kraków, where he passed away in 2004.

You can check out Miłosz‘s poetry via PoetryHunter.com, or come into the Library and check out some of his printed works.

And speaking of books you can check out, here are some of the new books that paraded onto our shelves this week, and are eager to be a part of your Independence Day festivities!

We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria: In 2011, hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights in the movement that became known as the Arab Spring. The government’s ferocious response, and the defiance of the demonstrators, spiraled into brutal civil war that has escalated to become the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.  However, in the midst of all the headlines, arguments, and racist dogma that has been unleashed by the war in Syria, the voices of individual Syrians has gone largely overlooked.  This book, based on interviews with hundreds of displaced Syrians conducted over four years across the Middle East and Europe, tells their stories.  Some are pages long, some read like a verse of poetry.  Together, though, they provide an unforgettable testament to human strength and endurance, as much as it is a counter-narrative to the prevailing tale of brutality, hatred, and disregard for that self-same humanity.  Larry Siems, author of The Torture Report, wrote a powerful review of this book, saying, in part, “To read these pages, to meet these men and women, is to cross a bridge ourselves, and to tremble: at the fragility of social order…but also at the love, anger, terror, trauma, compassion, endurance, awe, and determination a single human voice can convey.”

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter: For the record, I am physically exhausted by books that define women by their relationship to men.  However, this book puts a feminist spin on some of the best of 19th-century’s weird and science fiction, so it definitely deserves another look.  Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a significant financial reward for information leading to his capture, but Mary’s search leads her instead to Hyde’s daughter, Diana.  With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, befriending more women created through experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.  When their quest brings them face to face with the power-crazed scientists who created them, the question becomes, who is the real monster of this story?  Theodora Goss’ debut novel is full of bravery, action, sisterhood, and a whip-smart intelligence that re-imagines all these classic 19th-century narratives of ‘progress’ that earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it “A tour de force of reclaiming the narrative, executed with impressive wit and insight.”

Grief Cottage: On the surface, Gail Godwin’s newest book is a ghost story.  But it’s also a very human story about loss, grief, guilt, and the power of art that transcends typical conceptions of genre.  After his mother’s death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she’d moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life, and inspired her to paint as a way of capturing their mutual desolation.  The islanders call the place “Grief Cottage,” because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since.  Marcus himself begins paying visits to the cottage, eventually meeting the young ghost who haunts it, and learning about the truth behind its possession of Grief Cottage.  Booklist gave this haunting tale a starred review, noting “Godwin’s riveting and wise story of the slow coalescence of trust and love between a stoic artist and a grieving boy . . . subtly and insightfully explores different forms of haunting and vulnerability, strength and survival”.

The Black Elfstone: The Fall of Shannara: Terry Brooks is arguably one of the best-known fantasy authors at work today, and with good reason.  His Shannara series has spanned 41 works (broken up into various sub-series), and this newest work launches the first in the series’ four-part epic conclusion.  Across the Four Lands, peace has reigned for generations. But now, in the far north, an unknown enemy is massing. More troubling than the carnage is the strange and wondrous power wielded by the attackers—a breed of magic unfamiliar even to the Druid order. Fearing the worst, the High Druid dispatches a diplomatic party under the protection of the order’s sworn guardian, Dar Leah, to confront the mysterious, encroaching force and discover its purpose.  Meanwhile, onetime High Druid Drisker Arc and his protege are beginning quests of their own, quests that will eventually drawn them together with Dar Leah in a tale that will have monumental consequences for the Four Lands.  Though new readers may have a little bit of difficulty getting into this series, overall, Brooks’ works aren’t impossible to pick up mid-series, and his skills in the fantasy genre shouldn’t be missed.  Patrick Rothfuss (one of my favorite fantasy authors) wrote a blurb for this book, saying “I can’t even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks’s books I’ve read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood.”

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions: Our planet has witnessed five mass-extinction events in its history, and scientists today are seeing some pretty strong correlations between those events and our current climate changes.  In this terrifying, fascinating, and wide-ranging book, journalist Peter Brennan delves deep into earth’s past to discuss the five previous life-changing (literally) events, while presenting the stories from the scientists on the front lines of climate change research today, whose modern technology can reveal even more to us about the catastrophes of the past, how life on Earth manages to endure, and what all these stories can mean for us and our own future.  This is far more than “those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it”.  Indeed, according to Library Journal, “If readers have time for only one book on the subject, this wonderfully written, well-balanced, and intricately researched (though not too dense) selection is the one to choose.”

Until next week, beloved patrons–Happy Reading!

Five Book Friday!

And a very happy Bloomsday to you, beloved patrons!

As we discussed a while back, Bloomsday celebrates James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, which is set entirely on June 16, 1904–which Joyce chose because it was the anniversary of his first meeting with his wife and muse, Nora Barnacle (pictured on the left).  Festivals are held around the world to commemorate the day in the life of Leopold Bloom (hence the name of the day), but there is no one who can outdo Dublin .  Don’t believe me, check out the Bloomsday website, with the week-long schedule of festivities!  For those of you on Twitter, also check out the feed of the National Library of Ireland, which is having way too much fun today with their mini-Joyce:

While we don’t have a Tiny Joyce wandering through out stacks today, we do have plenty of new books that have strolled onto our shelves this week that are very much looking forward to making your acquaintance!  Check out some of them below:

Love, Africa: Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jeffrey Gettleman has covered every world conflict for the past twenty years, and has spent the last decade as the New York Times bureau chief in East Africa–the fulfillment of one of his life’s goal, which this book documents.  At nineteen, Gettleman fell in love, twice. On a do-it-yourself community service trip in college, he went to East Africa—a terrifying, exciting, dreamlike part of the world in the throes of change that imprinted itself on his imagination and on his heart.  But around that same time he also fell in love with a fellow Cornell student—the brightest, classiest, most principled woman he’d ever met. To say they were opposites was an understatement. She became a criminal lawyer in America; he hungered to return to Africa. For the next decade he would be torn between these two abiding passions.  This book is his coming-of-age story that deals with tortuous long-distance relationships, screwing up, forgiveness, parenthood, and happiness that explores the power of finding yourself in the most unexpected of places.   Critics are cheering that Gettleman brings the same passion and drive to this, his debut novel, as he does to his journalism, creating a book that is at once a love letter–to Africa, to journalism, and to life–and a fascinating glimpse into the very challenging world of international journalism.  Booklist gave it a starred review, calling it “[An] exciting, harrowing memoir …. there’s a thrilling immediacy and attention to detail in Gettleman’s writing that puts the reader right beside him…Gettleman’s memoir is an absolute must-read.”

The Girl Who Knew Too Much: Amanda Quick creates terrific historical romantic mysteries, and this mystery brings all the glamour and danger of the 1930’s to the page with her signature flair for detail and character.  When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool.  The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, which Irene, a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag, is desperate to discover.  But when Irene’s investigation threatens the famous actor, she finds herself teaming up with the Burning Cove Hotel’s owner, a once-famous magician who suffered a mysterious injury during his last performance.  Together, they realize the dreadful secrets behind the Burning Cove Hotel’s glitz and glamour–but will they live long enough to expose the truth?  Quick’s books are the perfect summer reads, and this stand alone novel is sure to keep you guessing right up until the final scene.  Library Journal loved this one, saying “This swiftly moving romance brims with surprising plot twists, delicious sensuality, and a delightfully classy 1930’s California setting. An adventurous romp that will have readers hungry for more.”

The Teeth of the Comb: I don’t think that Osama Alomar, a Syrian writer living in exile in Pittsburgh, PA, sees the world quite like most of us do.  And that is a gloriously wonderful thing, especially because he is so talented at bringing his world to life in these little parables, political allegories, and short stories, all of which feature personified animals (snakes, wolves, sheep), natural things (a swamp, a lake, a rainbow, trees), mankind’s creations (trucks, swords, zeroes) as characters. They aspire, they plot, they hope, they destroy, they fail, they love. These wonderful small stories animate new realities and make us see our reality anew.   This tiny book with big messages and grand tales is getting enormous, rave reviews from all corners–I am fairly sure some of the quoted reviews are longer than the stories!  But that just shows you what a breath of fresh air Alomar’s writing is.  Take, for example, Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review: “There are no wasted words in Alomar’s beautiful collection of very short fictions. Philosophical and subversive, these tiny parables deconstruct human failings with a keen insight. The title story, an anecdote about the uneven teeth of a comb, reveals a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of social stratification…By working together with C.J. Collins on the translation, the author succeeds in highlighting the inherent poetics of his prose….Alomar’s work swims in the aspects of the modern world that do not make sense upon closer inspection, like the correlations between poverty and capitalism. These brief narratives are not nihilistic; they convey a plea for progress and improvement. Alomar’s writing brims with hope, and this slim volume is full of compassion and depth.”

The Loyal Son: The War in Benjamin Franklin’s House: Ben Franklin is usually portrayed as the most lovable of America’s founding fathers. His wit, his charm, his inventiveness—even his grandfatherly appearance—are legendary. But this image obscures the scandals that dogged him throughout his life, as historian Daniel Mark Epstein’s new book explores.  When he was twenty-four, Franklin fathered a child with a woman who was not his wife. He adopted the boy, raised him, and educated him to be his aide. Ben and William became inseparable. After the famous kite-in-a-thunderstorm experiment, it was William who proved that the electrical charge in a lightning bolt travels from the ground up, not from the clouds down. On a diplomatic mission to London, it was William who charmed London society. He was invited to walk in the procession of the coronation of George III; Ben was not.  But the outbreak of the American Revolution caused a devastating split between father and son, who was, by then, royal governor of New Jersey. In 1776, the Continental Congress imprisoned William for treason. George Washington made efforts to win William’s release, while his father, to the world’s astonishment, appeared to have abandoned him to his fate.  Epstein gets under the skin of this well-known story to show the very personal effects of the American Revolution on one very famous family.  Historians and readers alike have always praised Epstein’s work, and this book earned a starred review from Kirkus, who hailed it “A gripping history of a family torn apart by political upheaval . . . Drawing on much unpublished correspondence as well as published works, the author constructs a fast-paced, vivid narrative with a host of characters whose appearance and personality he etches with deft concision. . . . A perceptive, gritty portrayal of the frenzy of war and a father and son caught at its tumultuous center.”

The Refrigerator MonologuesCatherynne Valente’s imagination is absolutely limitless, and she is a marvel at analyzing, dissecting, and re-conceiving pop-culture, media, and our human fascination with in.  This book presents a series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.  In an entirely new and original superhero universe, Valente subversively explores these ideas and themes in the superhero genre, treating them with the same love, gravity, and humor as she has analyzed fairy tales (and really, aren’t superhero tales pretty much the same thing in the modern age?).  With illustrations by Annie Wu, this is a wholly unique collection that showcases superheroes is a wholly novel way.  The Washington Post agrees, saying “In this novella, the superhero girlfriend gets to tell her own version of events in the afterlife. The women’s voices are strong: bitter and full of pain, yet steel-tipped in sarcasm and humor.”

 

Until next week, dear readers–Happy Reading!

And Happy Bloomsday!

Five Book Friday!

Happy Friday, dear readers.  And…happy summer?  It looks as if my grumpy post about wearing sweaters may have finally persuaded Mother Nature to cut us some slack.  So you can bet I’ll be whining about the heat very very shortly.

But, until then–and after then, and always–there are books.  Here are some of the new titles that leapt onto our shelves this week and are eager to make your acquaintance!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: Here’s a book that’s been getting stellar reviews and press coverage since it was first announced, and seems to be an ideal pick-me-up for your summer reading list.  Eleanor Oliphant struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.  But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.  Funny, breezy, and full of hope, heart, and humor, Gail Honeyman’s debut earned a starred review from Booklist, which said in its review “Walking in Eleanor’s practical black Velcro shoes is delightfully amusing, her prudish observations leavened with a privately puckish humor. But readers will also be drawn in by her tragic backstory, which slowly reveals how she came to be so entirely Eleanor. Witty, charming, and heartwarming, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is a remarkable debut about a singular woman. Readers will cheer Eleanor as she confronts her dark past and turns to a brighter future. Feel good without feeling smarmy.”

The Grantchester Mysteries: Sydney Chambers and the Persistence of Love: Some time back, Lady Pole wrote about her appreciation of the Grantchester series, and, because I take all her literary advice to heart immediately, I myself have become fond of the full-time priest, part-time detective Sidney Chambers–and I hope you will, too!  In this sixth installment, set in 1971, now Archdeacon Sidney Chambers is walking in the woods with his daughter Anna and their aging Labrador, Byron, when they stumble upon a body. Beside the dead man lies a basket of wild flowers, all poisonous. And so it is that Sidney is thrust into another murder investigation, entering a world of hippies, folk singers, and psychedelic plants, where love triangles and permissive behavior seem to hide something darker.  Sidney is kept on his toes in this series of clerical who-dun-its, along with his old friend, Detective Inspector Geordie Keating.   Between the disappearance of an historic religious text from a Cambridge college, and the later disappearance of Sidney’s nephew, and the burgeoning free love movement, which complicates a number of relationships in this deceptively quiet parish, this is a collection that series’ fans and newcomers alike will enjoy immensely.  The New York Times Review of Books agrees wholeheartedly, saying “Taken individually, each of these clerical whodunits poses a clever puzzle for armchair detectives. Viewed as a collective study of British life as it was lived when Elizabeth II first ascended the throne, these stories present a consistently charming and occasionally cutting commentary on ‘a postwar landscape full of industry, promise and concrete.”

The Answers: Catherine Lacey has already established a strong reputation for herself as a genre-bending author, and this book shows her challenging conventions–literary, grammatical, social–with relish, gusto, and style.  Her tale focuses on Mary Parsons, who is broke.  Like seriously broke.  Between an onslaught of medical bills and a mountain of credit card debt, she has been pushed to the brink. Hounded by bill collectors and still plagued by the painful and bizarre symptoms that doctors couldn’t diagnose, Mary seeks relief from a holistic treatment called Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia―PAKing, for short. Miraculously, it works. But PAKing is prohibitively expensive.  So Mary, like so many of her generation, decide to scour Criagslist for work.  And it is there that she finds a job…as Emotional Girlfriend in the “Girlfriend Experiment”―the brainchild of a wealthy and infamous actor, Kurt Sky, who is looking for a scientific solution for how to build and maintain the perfect romantic relationship, with himself as the constant. There’s a Maternal Girlfriend who folds his laundry, an Anger Girlfriend who fights with him, a Mundanity Girlfriend who just hangs around his loft, and a whole team of girlfriends to take care of Intimacy.  As Mary falls deeper and deeper into Kurt’s ego-driven universe, Catherine Lacey gives us a brilliant feminist analysis of modern-day romance, society, and an utterly unique story that Vogue called a “darkly funny, tartly feminist look at the tender state of our bodies and souls in the Information Age . . . [Lacey’s] work …captures the absurdity of a culture that persists in thinking that enlightenment is a matter of the right purchase, hashtag, or Google search.”

Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century:  Chuck Klosterman has written about, I think, nearly every subject in the human experience, from sports to politics to food to pop culture…and this last is the main topic of this latest collection of essays, culled from his writings in Esquire, Vanity Fair, GQ, and other media sources.  What’s even neater is that Klosterman presents many of these articles in their original form, featuring previously unpublished passages and digressions that didn’t make the final cut in other outlets. Subjects include Breaking Bad, Lou Reed, zombies, KISS, Jimmy Page, Stephen Malkmus, steroids, Mountain Dew, Chinese Democracy, The Beatles, Jonathan Franzen, Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Brown, the Cleveland Browns, and many more cultural figures and pop phenomena.  These are interesting times in which we live, friends, but Klosterman somehow manages to keep them interesting, engaging, and somehow just a little bit worthwhile.  Plus, the page-ends are black, giving this book a very exciting ninja quality that I’m sure you’ll appreciate.  Paste magazine wrote a terrific review of this book, saying, in part: “Klosterman is a master of the high-low…He injects a level of intellectual rigor into subjects that receive precious little…With X, Klosterman wallows in the trivial…but he’s not trivializing…proving that culture essays can teach us something about ourselves and the people around us…Each of his essays is a love letter to a moment.” 

American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World: I love this title, and the subject matter of David Baron’s book sounds just as lofty and exciting.  On a scorching July afternoon in 1878, at the dawn of the Gilded Age, the moon’s shadow descended on the American West, darkening skies from Montana Territory to Texas. This rare celestial event―a total solar eclipse―offered a priceless opportunity to solve some of the solar system’s most enduring riddles, and it prompted a clutch of enterprising scientists to brave the wild frontier in a grueling race to the Rocky Mountains.  This book details the fascinating, sometimes absurd, sometimes terribly poignant adventure, as eclipse-seekers around the country raced to become the Gilded Age’s Galileo–including Maria Mitchell, a female astronomer who faced down not only rough conditions, but the prejudices of her profession to be a part of the events.  Baron–a gifted and celebrated science writer–has had a lifelong fascination with eclipses, and that passion shines through in this bizarre and beautiful story that has drawn praise from critics, other writers, and readers alike.  Publisher’s Weekly gave the book a starred review, saying “Baron shares a timely tale of science and suspense in this story of rival Gilded Age astronomers contending with everything from cloudy skies to train robbers to overserve the historic total solar eclipse of July 29, 1878. . . . Baron skillfully builds tension, giving readers a vivid sense of the excitement, hard work, and high stakes in play. With the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. in 99 years set to occur in late August 2017, this engrossing story makes an entertaining and informative teaser.”

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

And a very happy June, beloved patrons!  If the longer days and the promise of some prolonged sunshine in our future isn’t enough to get your celebration sandals on, here are a few more reasons to celebrate in June.

June is Pride Month, and a lot of Libraries around the area are planning some nifty events.  Check out the Boston Public Library’s Calendar of Events, in particular, for some great offerings!  In addition, the BPL also created its first ever “We Are Pride” booklist for children, teens, and adults, which you can access here.

June 2 is National Doughnut Day, which actually has a historic origin!  American women serving with the Salvation  Army during the First World War made doughnuts to serve to the troops, and their ingenuity became a symbol, of the Salvation Army’s work on the front lines, as well as a meaningful part of women’s history.  So have a doughnut today, and have a read of this article from the Salvation Army.

June 10 is National Ballpoint Pen Day, which commemorates the filing of the patent for the ballpoint pen by brothers Laszlo and Gyorgy Biro.  The ballpoint pen transformed who could write, because it made ink and pens so much cheaper, but also how we write.  Check out this nifty article from The Atlantic for just how.

June 18 is Father’s Day, an American holiday established by a woman named  Grace Golden Clayton after the Monograph Mining Disaster, which killed 361 men and left around 1,000 children fatherless in December 1907.  So celebrate the parental figures in your life today (and everyday!)

June 22 is National Onion Rings Day.  So go do your patriotic duty and enjoy!

And, because no celebration is complete without a few books, here are some of the new titles that gallivanted onto our shelves this past week–enjoy!

There Your Heart Lies:  Mary Gordon’s newest book is a part historical fiction, and part contemporary coming-of-age–a trend that is becoming super-popular these days.  Marian cut herself off from her wealthy, conservative Irish Catholic family when she volunteered during the Spanish Civil War—an experience she has always kept to herself. Now in her nineties, she shares her Rhode Island cottage with her granddaughter Amelia, a young woman of good heart but only a vague notion of life’s purpose. Their daily existence is intertwined with Marian’s secret past: the blow to her youthful idealism when she witnessed the brutalities on both sides of Franco’s war and the romance that left her trapped in Spain in perilous circumstances for nearly a decade. When Marian is diagnosed with cancer, she finally speaks about what happened to her during those years, inspiring Amelia to make a trip of her own.  A story of female bonds, of romance, and of the real challenge of defining a life, this is a book for arm-chair adventurers, history buffs, and literary aficionados alike.  Kirkus Reviews particularly loved the “Shifting points in time and points of view reveal a young woman shaped by the zealotry that can emanate from family, faith, or war . . . An emotionally and historically rich work with a strong character portrait holding together its disparate parts.”

D’arc : a novel from the war with no name: I hadn’t actually realized that The War With No Name was a series, but now that I have, I am thrilled that I will have more tales to share with my cat, who thinks these are among the best books we have on offer.  In the aftermath of the War With No Name, the queen used a strange technology to uplift the surface animals, turning all the animals in our world into intelligent, highly evolved creatures who must learn to live alongside their sworn enemies—humans.  Far removed from this newly emerging civilization, a housecat turned war hero named Mort(e) lives a quiet life with the love he thought he had lost, a dog named Sheba. But before long, the chaos that they escaped comes crashing in around them, bent on resuming the destruction of the war.  No longer able to run away, Sheba and Mort(e) rush headlong into the conflict, ready to fight but unprepared for a world that seems hell-bent on tearing them apart.  Not quite a fable, and not quite a science fiction book, these create a whole new world that is similar in its emotions, and yet utterly alien, making for a reading experience like no other.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this story a starred review, and called it “Fantastic . . . Well-drawn characters and emotional heft are hallmarks of this unusual series about the power of myth, love, and redemption in a dangerous time.”  My cat said it was almost better than his nighttime tuna.  Almost.

The Scribe of Siena: Remember how I said fiction that crossed the past with the present was big right now?  Well, Melodie Winawer’s debut falls into that category, but is also a romance, a thriller, and a time-traveling adventure that make it something wholly and wonderfully unique.  When neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato’s life is disrupted by tragedy, she welcomesa trip to the Tuscan city of Siena . There, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.  After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice is suddenly transported to the year 1347 in a Siena menaced  by the Plague.  Beatrice meets Accorsi, and falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.  Fans of Outlander, this is a story for you–and for anyone looking to be transported to another world.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this one a starred review as well, saying “The vivid descriptions of the people, way of life, food, and other details of medieval Italy deepen the plot, making the book a truly immersive experience…Winawer has created a prodigious, vibrant tale of past and present that transports readers and fills in the historical gaps. This is a marvelous work of research and invention.”

Walking to Listen:  At age 23, Andrew Forsthoefel had just graduated from Middlebury College and was ready to begin his adult life, but he didn’t know how. So he decided to take a cross-country quest for guidance, one where everyone he met would be his guide. In the year that followed, he faced an Appalachian winter and a Mojave summer. He met beasts inside: fear, loneliness, doubt. But he also encountered incredible kindness from strangers. Thousands shared their stories with him, sometimes confiding their prejudices, too. Often he didn’t know how to respond. How to find unity in diversity? How to stay connected, even as fear works to tear us apart? He listened for answers to these questions, and to the existential questions every human must face, and began to find that the answer might be in listening itself.  Few of us have the resources or the time to do what Forsthoefel , but the lessons that he learned during his trek are ones that we can indeed apply to our everyday lives.  This work, first and foremost, is one of hope, and that’s something that we can all use a dose of right about now.  Booklist agrees, saying “[Forsthoefel’s] openness provides a window into the extraordinary lessons to be learned from ordinary people. This is a memorable and heartfelt exploration of what it takes to hike 4,000 miles across the country and how one young man learned to walk without fear into his future.”

The Flight: Dan Hampton: On the rainy morning of May 20, 1927, a little-known American pilot named Charles A. Lindbergh climbed into his single-engine monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, and prepared to take off from a small airfield on Long Island, New York. Despite his inexperience—the twenty-five-year-old Lindbergh had never before flown over open water—he was determined to win the $25,000 Orteig Prize promised since 1919 to the first pilot to fly nonstop between New York and Paris, a terrifying adventure that had already claimed six men’s lives. Ahead of him lay a 3,600-mile solo journey across the vast north Atlantic and into the unknown; his survival rested on his skill, courage, and an unassuming little aircraft with no front window. Acclaimed aviation historian Dan Hampton’s The Flight is a long-overdue, flyer’s-eye narrative of Lindbergh’s legendary journey.  Using Lindbergh’s own personal diary and writings, as well as family letters and untapped aviation archives, Hampton brings us into the cockpit with Lindbergh, and gives us a pilot-eye view of this remarkable feat of daring.  Kirkus Reviews loved the trip, and gave the book a starred review, calling it “Vivid. … Offer[s] a cockpit’s-eye view of the flight. This you-are-there perspective effectively evokes the tension, risk, and skill involved, from the moment Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field, crosses the coast of Newfoundland, and soars alone into the night above the roiling sea.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!