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Books

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He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

If you like big, fat, thoroughly enjoyable 19th century novels, this is the book for you. Considered by some to be one of Trollope's masterpieces (he wrote something like 50 novels), "He Knew He Was Right" is a character study, a satire, and an exploration of patriarchal power and women's rights. The central plot involves a happy, loving marriage gradually destroyed by the husband's obsessive jealousy. Orbiting Mr. and Mrs. Trevelyan are a fascinating and amusing assortment of friends and family members whose lives and loves intersect.

Amped by Daniel H. Wilson

What starts out as a plan to help people with medical issues by giving them implants to help their problems, grows into something much more. Some peoples skills are so amplified that they seem superhuman. Wilson’s book starts with a Supreme Court decision banning ‘Amps’ from full rights as citizens. The results of which are catastrophic and threaten to start a new civil war. We follow the story of one special Amp and his struggle in this new America. An excellent, fast paced sci-fi thriller.

The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty

As in most books I've read about addicts, Mike Doughty's doesn't really wallow for long in how awful it must be but his is the only one I've ever read in which the author says: "If heroin still made me feel like I did the first time, and kept making me that way forever -- kept working -- I might've quite happily accepted a desolate, marginal life and death."  Although sobriety is surely the better choice, he's seems to have traded desolate and marginal for bitterness and self loathing.

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

Thinking this would be a light, fun, fluffy read, I brought this along on vacation. It was the perfect beach read, but it turned out to be much more than fluff. This fantastic novel changed gears each time I thought I had it figured out, and in the end I was left with a witty but deep-feeling novel about a loving, eccentric, slightly dysfunctional family. Like P. G. Wodehouse's more biting cousin, The Uninvited Guests is highly recommended.

The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith

Geiger is an ‘information retrieval’ specialist. He knows exactly how to get the information he wants, whatever means necessary. Geiger is not only good at his job, he is considered the best. The only information that continues to escape him is his own past. Geiger’s past and future collide when he is asked to get information from a twelve-year-old boy.  Mayhem ensues… Check Our Catalog

Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield

To truly chronicle NBC's heyday Warren Littlefield would have needed to add several more volumes to Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV. Which isn't to say it wasn't an interesting read it just seemed to leave so much out. It's understandable that so much emphasis is put on big hits Seinfeld, Friends and Will & Grace, especially when many of the main players in those shows participated in the book.

A Good House by Bonnie Burnard

This quiet yet compelling novel begins in 1949 and ends in 1997. It is the multigenerational story of Bill and Sylvia Chambers of Stonebrook, Ontario, and their extended family. These are ordinary people living ordinary lives full of imperfection, conflict, births, deaths, secrets, loyalty and love over the course of 50 years. The prose is simple but subtle and finely crafted, revealing the meaning and beauty of everyday lives.

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

Historian, novelist, essayist and political gadfly Gore Vidal died yesterday at 86. Especially lauded for his essays, he won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1993 for the collection United States: Essays 1952–1992.

The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield

Although the subtitle is “A Novel of Golf & the Game of Life” you don’t have to know, or play, or even like golf (I don’t) to thoroughly enjoy this wonderful book (I did.)  There was no way I would feel motivated to read a book "about golf." However as a reader who thinks Steven Pressfield is one of our great living thinkers and writers, I was more than ready to accept that this was more than a "sports book." This book is a meditation on what it means to be a man and a human.

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Kate Moore is an expat living in Luxembourg, trying to make a go of things. She has left her life and career in the States to follow her husband to Europe, where he is working in bank security. Moore is adapting to life in a new country, bringing the kids to school, learning a new language, when all of a sudden her secret past comes back to light.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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