Books

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The Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly

In the summer of her 13th year, during the Watergate hearings of 1972, Riddle Camperdown stumbles upon the aftermath of a crime.  A discovery she chooses to keep from her politician father "Camp" and her caustic, retired movie star mother Greer.  In due time Riddle becomes involved with the family of a teenager who has seemingly disappeared and discovers several more familial secrets.

The Lost Diaries of Iris Weed by Janice Law

“Lars” Larson is a middle-aged college English professor with a wife and daughter—and a wandering eye for pretty coeds. Iris Weed is one of those coeds, whose apparent romantic disinterest in Lars inspires him to obsess about her to the point of stalking and spying on her to find out who her boyfriend is. Things come to a head one night during an argument in Lars’ car, leading Iris to storm off and leave one of her diaries behind. The next morning, she turns up brutally murdered in a parking lot.

Confessions of the World’s Best Father by Dave Engledow

I chose this because I thought, “Aha, someone’s finally written my story!” Then I discovered it was by and about--horrors-- A Pretender to the Throne! A hilarious pictorial parody of a clueless (but outrageously clever) father and his adorable daughter. I laughed so hard that I, well, a washing machine was involved. Check Our Catalog

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Picture this: a multinational corporation specializing in internet-related services and products has been devouring all competitors for years. 90% of the the world’s searches go through this company. Without competitors this will only increase. Control the flow of information and you control everything including what anyone sees and knows. The company can bury information. It can ruin any person. No one can rise up against it because it controls all the information and access to it. What happens when the company controls all searches and has full access to all data about every person?

The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner

Reno is an artist living in NYC in the 70’s. She loves speed, especially fast motorcycles and downhill skiing. Always an outsider, she flirts on the fringes of several fascinating scenes, develops a long-term relationship with an older, more established artist/son of an Italian Motorcompany magnate, and finds herself mixed up with the Red Brigades, the radical movement that threw Italy into chaos in the late 1970s. Kushner has crafted a very tangible protagonist - I felt like I really knew her and can empathize with the challenges she faces. There are no tidy answers at the end.

Death and the Olive Grove by Marco Vichi

Little girls keep showing up dead--with bite marks on their bellies--in 1960s-era Florence, and world-weary 50-something Inspector Bordelli is tasked with finding their killer.

Dam Busters by James Holland.

The subtitle of this book (The true story of the inventors and airmen who led the devastating raid to smash the German dams in 1943) only begins to scratch the surface of this thoroughly researched, fast-paced story. It opens with the genesis of an idea and doesn't end until a post-raid analysis of the success and fates of its participants. In a 10-week span, Squadron 617 was created, special low-flying Lancaster aircraft were manufactured, 9,000 pound bouncing cylindrical bombs were designed to skip across reservoirs into hydroelectric dams, and flight crews were trained.

All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu

It is very clear why so many awards have been bestowed upon this writer. This beautiful, heartbreaking novel is two love stories starring the same character, continents apart. Alternating between war-torn Uganda during the revolutions in the 1970s and the American Midwest which was undergoing its own cultural revolutions at the same time, “Isaac” is a lover, a student, and a truly remarkable man. This haunting work evokes a strong sense of place in both worlds. There is bound to be something familiar and something new for every reader of this work.

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd

Do you like thick (809 p.) inter-generational family stories full of historical details and drama? Read on - this novel is for you. In his research the author discovered fantastic historical street maps, drawings, paintings and models of the city of Paris in the Carnavalet Museum in the Marais and photographs from the Museum of Montmarte. He made use of these details to create an intimacy between the reader and this most beautiful and romantic of all European cities. We see Paris through the eyes of the noble family, the deCygnes and the revolutionists Le Sourds.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

A group of vaguely unpleasant rich people on a vacation to Mallorca: adulterer Jim, food writer Franny, teen daughter Sylvia and adult son Bobby are joined by Bobby's 10 years older girlfriend Carmen, Franny's best friend Charles, and his husband Lawrence on a two-week vacation where secrets are exposed and relationships are changed forever. A quick, enjoyable read; I wanted to know how things would turn out, even though the characters are relentlessly spoiled and unlikable. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts are all part of the book's appeal.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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