Book Lovers

white roses with red letters spelling out title
The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This is a story about an orphan with a knack for picking out flowers for others- and for pushing away those trying to get close to her. Victoria Jones has been through the foster care system (and then some) but she receives her best chance at being part of a family with Elizabeth. But Victoria can't let a good thing last, especially when it comes to Elizabeth's sister, who lives on a neighboring flower farm. Years later, Victoria turns 18 and begins life on her own, working at a flower shop and finds herself running into people from her past. This story touches strongly on themes of family, love, and abandonment, and is, not surprisingly, a tear-jerker towards the end. Written in the everyday speech of a surly but surprisingly reflective teen, this is a great read.

Oct 17, 2012
Andy
The Absent One
Jussi Adler-Olsen

Carl Morck and his assistant Assad receive a mysterious file in Department Q.  A brother and sister were killed 30 years ago, a confession was made but was he the only killer.  The suspects are life-long boarding school friends, some very prominent in Danish society, but the key to solving the crime is to find Kimmie, who has seemingly vanished from sight.

Oct 9, 2012
Susan
Home
Toni Morrison

Frank Money has to take a trip. His younger sister, Cee, is not doing well and he has to travel from Seattle down to Atlanta, Georgia to help her get out of an awful situation. Being a veteran of the Korean War doesn’t offer Frank any solace as he has plenty of time to think along the way and plenty of time to ruminate on the losses he endured there and acts of violence he committed (even though he is trying to calm it in his relationship with Lilly). Being African-American in the 1950s isn’t great for a traveler, either, though he is able to make do with some friendly folks along the way. When Frank finally reaches Cee, she is in a bad way and the only thing he can do is bring her to the healing women in rural Lodis (which he had escaped by signing up for the Army). Along Frank’s journey, he finds many definitions of the word “home,” but none seemingly as strong or as eventually forgiving as the one that resides in his hometown. This story, by the Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison, is a quiet, ruminative novel and the audio is wonderfully read by the author. Highly recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Sep 21, 2012
Andy
Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
Daniel Smith

Many memoirs on mental illness can be real downers.  Or they may wind up being overly saccharine.  Monkey Mind is neither.  It is quite funny, but it is also quite dark.  Daniel Smith shares his story of living with extreme anxiety; the bad, but also the good.  Included in these pages is a personal story, but also a lot of wisdom and helpful tips in dealing with this disorder.  Chronic anxiety is a debilitating and terrible disease.  This book provides some comfort for a very uncomfortable condition.

Sep 21, 2012
Andrea
The Viper
Hakan Ostlundh

A gruesome double murder has taken place and the Visby police department is on the case.  Can they find the suspected killer or is he/she another victim?

 

 

Sep 21, 2012
Susan
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Ben Fountain

Billy Lynn and the rest of the Bravo Squad are on a two week Victory Tour throughout the U.S. following a harrowing Iraq War battle that happened to be filmed by a TV crew. Billy’s squad is full of young men on leave who use bathroom humor, sexual attraction, and drink in an attempt to put the bad situation that is the Iraq War behind them. The real story here is the reaction the troops receive and the disconnect they feel  between themselves and the American civilians (most of whom adore them). And Hollywood wants to make a movie out of the battle or at least Bravo’s movie representative wants to make it happen (least of all to get his career back on track). Bravo’s biggest fan is none other than the Cowboy’s owner, Norm Ogletree, who has his own designs on how the movie will play out. Billy is also drawn to deal with strong familial ties and a love interest as the story progresses. This book will have you laughing to tears one minute and on the verge of them the next with its mix of humor and pathos. Check it out!

Sep 15, 2012
Andy
Midnight in Peking
Paul French

It may read like fiction but Midnight in Peking is all true.  This is the story of finding justice for the daughter of a former British consul whose murdered and mutilated body was found abandon in the seedier area of the city.  Paul French does a great job of delving into the life of foreigners living in Peking during the first half of the 20th century.  Using the backdrop of the Japanese invasion of China and the turmoil and violence that surrounded this period of Chinese history,  as it moved toward communism, French exposes corruption, incompetence and the general distrust existing among the Chinese and all others. 

 

 

 

 

Sep 12, 2012
Marilyn
The Time Keeper
Mitch Albom

Dor has always been fascinated by counting, especially of time.  His obsession of knowing about time leads to his punishment.  He is never to grow old and hear everyone's comments about time.  To become free he must find two people to help with their own fears about time.

Sep 6, 2012
Susan
Ashes to Dust
Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Over 30 years has passed since a valcano erupted and covered most of an Icelandic town.  Thora Gudmondsdottir has been hired by Markus Magnusson to prevent the archaeological dig of his house until after he retrieves a box from the basement.  Three corpses are also found in the basement and now Thora is trying to prove Markus' innocence.

Sep 4, 2012
Susan
Unholy Night
Seth Grahame-Smith

This re-telling of the story of Jesus' birth by the author of such historical re-writings as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is one great adventure story. Balthazar is the great thief of Judea, known throughout the land as the Antioch Ghost. He and two other thieves escape a beheading at the hands of the Romans and King Herod of Judea, only to happen upon the little town of Bethlehem and you know who. Balthazar wants to go one way and let Mary, Joseph, and the baby go another, but something inside him tells him to stick with them and protect them from the vicious Roman onslaught and evil Herod. As one would expect with a resume like Grahame-Smith's, there are several cringe-inducing scenes, but this story also has a lot of heart and should be credited for its worthwhile depictions of faith and family. The dialogue is even written in today's lingo, so it makes it fun to follow. A recommended read or listen (we have it on CD, too).

Aug 24, 2012
Andy

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