Books

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Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (1948)

Eloquent, powerful and prescient, this novel of South Africa just before apartheid was formally instituted in the late 1940s is well worth reading or re-reading. The alternating stories of two father and son pairs--black minister Kumalo and his ne'er-do-well son, Absalom, and white landowner Jarvis and his status quo-challenging son, Arthur--strip away the self-justifying rhetoric of white power to reveal the staggering human price we pay when one group systematically exploits another. A page turner that has become a classic for a very good reason.

The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees

Welcome to the Demi-Monde.  In the year 2018, the Demi-Monde is the most sophisticated, complex and unpredictable computer simulation ever created.  Rees’ book is one of the most entertaining alternate reality/sci-fi books created in some time.  Rees populates the Demi-Monde, originally designed as a military training ground, with some of the worst villains from history.  We enter the Demi-Monde in search of a missing person, who is stuck in the simulation and cannot get out.  Once I started reading, I didn’t want to leave. 

Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry

This debut novel grabs you from the very first page, when journalist Troy Chance sees a small boy falling into the water from a passing ferry and impulsively dives in to rescue him.  The engrossing adventure that ensues includes interesting characters, a cross-border (US/Canada) police investigation, plenty of suspense, and a somewhat unpredictable outcome.

D.C. Dead by Stuart Woods

Woods' prose invokes "the voices," one saying "No one is that lucky or has that much libido," the other shouting "Shut up, I want to see what happens next!"  In spite of all that noise, this is a page-turner. Fun to read and very relaxing.  Check Our Catalog

Seance in Sepia by Michelle Black

Flynn Keirnan finds an odd 19th century photograph in a book bought at an estate sale.  She learns that it is a "spirit photograph" showing the victims and alleged murderer in the infamous Chicago "Free Love Murders" of 1875. The multilayered story is told in parallel tracks of the present day search for information and the events of 1875 as they unfold. Real life early feminist and advocate of Free Love, Victoria Woodhull, is called in to provide testimony for the accused, adding an interesting historical background to the story.

Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander

It is not easy to describe this one.  Our protagonist is a seemingly normal middle aged man who has just moved to a seemingly normal rural town.  Solomon Kugel has a lovely wife, and new son, and an elderly mother living with him in his newly purchased, sprawling farm house.  Apparently, he may also have Anne Frank living in his attic… Check Our Catalog

Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody

WWI widow Kate Shackleton has had some modest success locating missing soldiers in the years since the end of the war. Now an old friend from her days in the VAD has asked for her help.  Tabitha's father, the owner of a woolen mill, disappeared one day in 1916 and she refuses to believe he is dead and wants him at her upcoming wedding.  Kate uncovers much more than she, or Tabitha, ever bargained for in this mystery set amid the mills of England's Midlands.

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes

In this tale of love and fate, two stories become entwined.  After waking from a coma with little memory of her past,  Jennifer Stirling finds her life as prop in her businessman husband's life disconcerting and uncomfortable.  Eventually, she finds some letters that indicate she was having an affair and that "B" was very much in love with her. Forty years later reporter Ellie Haworth stumbles upon some of "B's" letters and endeavors to find out the fate of these lovers.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Is Heathcliff (1) a tortured romantic hero or (2) an evil vindictive villain?

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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