Books

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Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

Lily Hayes' exciting semester abroad in Buenos Aires becomes a little TOO exciting when her roommate Katy is brutally murdered and Lily is the prime suspect. "Inspired by" the Amanda Knox story (American student accused of murdering her roommate in Italy in 2007), this richly imagined novel switches perspectives throughout, from Lily to Katy to the mysterious boy next door to Lily's parents and sister who have flown to Argentina and hired a defense attorney to the local prosecuting attorney.

Foreign Gods by Okey Ndibe

Ike (pronounced Ee-kay) lives in New York City and is tired of scraping by on the meager money he earns as a cabdriver. He knows of a store that sells foreign artifacts to rich people for outrageous sums of money and nourishes a dream to return to his home village in Nigeria and steal the statue of Ngene, an ancient war god, to fund his future. He hasn’t visited his family since he left and has struggled to stay in touch, especially since his father died. One of his childhood friends has come across some great wealth, while a childhood love has fallen on hard times.

Elephant Company by Vicki Constantine Croke

The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save lives in World War II.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Sci-Fi dystopian fiction meets missionary tale. Peter once was lost, a drunk and a thief headed for an early death. Then he fell in love with a devout nurse and the two of them started a new life spreading the good word. The novel opens as Peter is just about to head millions of miles away from home to the next chapter in his life. A multinational corporation (and even that description seems too small, given their inter-planetary reach) has recruited him to work on a planet they are active upon.

Falling to Earth by Kate Southwood

I admit it, I cried at the end of this outstanding debut novel. Inspired by the historic Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925 (which swept across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana and killed 695 people), it is set in a small farming community that has been home to the Graves family for four generations. By a freak turn of luck, the entire Graves family is the only family in town that suffers no loss of life or property during the deadly 45-minute windstorm.

Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough

The story of an extraordinary family, a vanished way of life, and the unique child who became Theodore Roosevelt

Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky

What a fun little diversion! Marie is 30, recently released from jail, and in love with a toddler. She is only slightly more mature than her new charge and thinks it perfectly fine to bath together while she enjoys some stolen whiskey. That’s not the only thing she steals in this quick celebration of good things happening to bad people. It’s refreshing how good you can feel routing for her as she makes one bad decision after another. Like watching a french-language train-wreck, in black and white. This book took no time to read and was a blast. Every dream of ditching it all?

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) is the quintessential English gentleman. Sardonic, decorous, urbane, and endearingly opinionated. He has settled into a widower’s life when his brother’s death ignites an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper in their quiet village. A shared interest in literature and the loss of spouses creates something more than friendship. But the Edgecombe St. Mary’s inhabitants are scandalized by the harsh clash between culture and tradition. Hilarity, tentative romance and gentle wisdom ensue. A wondrous tale.

The Best American Travel Writing, 2014 edited by Paul Theroux

Need a break but don’t have the time or the money to get away? This is the perfect escape for you - two dozen tales that span the globe. Arranged alphabetically by author’s last name, I thought at first that this would be a very strange way to organize things, but it ended up working fabulously well. There was one piece that didn’t work very well for me, but it was short, and followed by a piece that completely redeemed the volume.

Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman

Pushing 90, shaky on his pins, and irascible as ever (not in an endearing way), retired Memphis cop Baruch "Buck" Shatz discovers that the Nazi who tortured him and got away after the war is still alive. Not only that, he may be sitting on a stash of gold stolen from the German Reich. Whether he suffers from a God complex or is just a thorough misanthrope, Buck is the funniest detective I've run into in a long time, and his refusal to concede to old age kept me laughing all the way through. This book was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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