Books

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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.

Stealing Rembrandts by Anthony Amore & Tom Mashberg

Art theft is one of the most profitable criminal activities in the world, and Rembrandts are often the most targeted pieces. Museum security expert, Anthony Amore, and investigative journalist, Tom Mashberg, look into the most notorious Rembrandt thefts of the last 100 years.  They offer a view of the criminals involved in art theft and those who live on the fringes of this world. We also catch a glimpse of Rembrandt’s genius, and why he has become one of the most sought after artists today.

Ratking by Michael Dibdin

Having enjoyed Zen on Masterpiece Mystery I went looking for the books the series is based on. This is the first of the Aurelio Zen mysteries, oddly enough shown as the third episode in the TV series. The book provides a much more detailed story with many more characters and an ending that doesn't work out quite as simply as on TV.

Nora Ephron, 1941-2012

Sadly, writer, screenwriter & director Ephron died yesterday--yet even just reading the obituaries made me laugh. Read, for example, her reprinted comments ruing the fact that she was "probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House whom the president did not make a pass at"....perhaps because of her unfortunate permanent wave, or because she was Jewish, or because "JFK somehow sensed that discretion was not my middle name.

Pure by Julianna Baggott

There are those inside the Dome, and then there is everyone else. Pressia wasn’t one of those lucky enough to make it into the Dome before the Detonations. Now, like her fellow survivors, she bears the scars of the Detonations, both with her physical deformities, and her mental strife. Now, Pressia is on the run, trying to escape from a militia, and this is when she discovers a Pure.  Patridge has escaped from the Dome and as a Pure, has already escaped the physical scars of the Detonation.  Now, the two are thrust together, trying to survive in a harsh new world.

The Fear Index by Robert Harris

Over a span of 24 hours, brilliant, yet eccentric, physicist Alex Hoffman suspects that he is losing his mind. He can’t remember sending ominous emails supposedly sent by him. People die. He is brutally assaulted. And Alex might be the cause of cataclysmic worldwide stock market crash that threatens global financial institutions. He’s invented a computer algorithm that begins to “think” for itself (and the fortunate few investors who have thrown their cash in Alex’s direction), starts to move the markets and doesn’t care what the collateral damage might be. Can it be stopped?

The Protector by David Morrell

A great story, especially one with this much action, requires suspension of the reader's disbelief. I realized how skilled Morrell is in accomplishing that effect, at least in this reader, when I turned to my wife and said, "Have you ever been reading a book that is so exciting that you realize you have been holding your breath?" This is not a new book, but it sure still packs a punch.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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