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This was one of my favorite books this past year. The Lincoln School in Minnesota, is a harsh institution that takes in kidnapped American Indian children that are torn from their families, supposedly to be educated. Odie Bannon, age 12, is one of the few that challenges their system. He and his brother Albert talk two other boys into running away with them. They take off into the woods, find a canoe, and take it down the Mississippi. The people they meet, and keeping one step ahead of the school's headmaster will keep you reading late into the night.
The history of The Pack Horse Libratians is a true one, established by Eleanor Roosevelt during the Great Depression. Single women were hired to deliver books and other reading materials on horseback to remote areas in the Appalachian Mountains. This well written story follows Cussy Mary Carter, the only blue-skinned people left in the area who faces her own challenges at every turn. She is hired as a Pack Horse librarian and dedicates herself to even the most remote and hostile families in rural Kentucky. This is a work of fiction, but parallels the history of this particular time.
The Barbizon Hotel was built in the late 1920's as a safe haven for women coming to NYC seeking a career. It is rich with stories women (many famous) coming to live their dream. Molly Brown, (the Titanic survivor and one of the first guests), Grace Kelly, Liza Minelli, Cybill Shepard are a few of the women that spent time here getting their start. Ford Modeling Agency housed their young models here. No place exsists like this, before The Barbizon, or since.
From the author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, this is the continuation of Clika's experience. Cilka is sent to Auschwitz in 1942, where she realizes that sleeping with the enemy is the only way to survive. After liberation, she is charged with having an intimate relationship with a SS officer and is sent to a Siberian Prison Camp where she becomes close to a female doctor, and finds herself tending to the ill at the camp, including a man names Ivan, who she falls in love with. I could not put this one down.
This is a short story collection debut that takes accounts of " normal Life" and then searches for inconsistencies, delights, and deceptions. She tackles the derangements of our times with clarity and brilliance. Ives touches on the mundane from porn to memes to errand running, " offering a kaleidoscope rather than a microscope through which to view our world".
Chris Whitaker's new book is a remarkable and absorbing read. This is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time to come. Cape Haven is small town America where everyone knows everyone else in this Montana town. It is a story about love and the lengths we will go to to keep our families safe. as well as a story about good and evil and how we fall somewhere in between the two. Highly recommended.
In 1918 Philidelphia, Pia Lange longs to escape the overcrowded slums only to be confronted very suddenly with the Spanish Flu. The devistation in the slums is fierce and immediate. To keep from starving, Pia ventures out to find food for her baby brother who is now motherless. Upon her return a few minutes later, she finds her infant brother gone. Pia ends up collapsing in the street while frantically searching for him, and is then sent to St. Vincents Oprhan Asylum. This is the first step in the long and arduous journey to find him.
Montauk on Long Island in 1938 is a humble fishing village that becomes a playground for the weathy NYC elite in the summer. A summer by the sea for a women torn between what she has in life vs what she wants. Beatrix Bordeaux is looking forward to reconnecting with her husband for the summer, yet instead, finds herself sequestered with high society women, who leave the nannies to care for their children at The Montauk Manor, which is a 200 room seaside hotel. Bea is lost and lonely until she befriends two locals who change her life.
This is the prequel to Pillars of the Earth that spans the decade from 997 CE to 1007 CE at the end of the Dark Ages, a time of Viking raids, devious clergy, and many murderous plots. I enjoyed this prequel almost as much as Pillars of the Earth. Follett is a masterful storyteller and has created vibrant characters that will leave you wishing that this 900 page book would not end. One of my favorites of the year.
This is a story og a working class family devastated by the effects of poverty, alcoholism, and abuse in Glasgow during the 1980's. The protagonist is a young boy named Shuggie and it is told through his eyes. This is a book you will not forget when it is finished. Winner of The Booker Prize for fiction.