Books

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Reading Around the World

Thomas Crane Public Library: your gateway to amazing stories from around the globe!

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen

When the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1936 Ty Cobb was the first inductee. Baseball royalty. By far the most thrilling player of his era many argue that he was the greatest to play the game. He was also one of its most controversial. Noted for fights both on and off the field, an aggressive style (he attempted to “create a mental hazard” for the opposition), he was a fierce and fiery competitor. And after his death in 1961 something strange happened to his reputation: he became a virulent racist, who hated women and children, and was in turn hated by his peers.

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

One morning, Sophie Dupont finds a hastily written goodbye note from her wealthy, playboy lover, Wesley.  When his brother Stephen arrives, he realizes that Sophie has been left not only heartbroken but also pregnant.  Captain Stephen Overtree proposes marriage to Sophie 'in name only' to preserve her honor and give legitimacy to his brother's child.  Just as they begin to fall in love, he is called back to the battlefront.  Wesley returns soon after, determined to win Sophie back, and she must choose between the two brothers.

Understanding Orlando

In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, FL, killing 49 and injuring 53. When violence like this happens, many people sit in front of their TVs or computers, asking themselves, “What can I do to help?”

The Huffington Post has several suggestions on how to help Orlando shooting victims and their families. They include:

In Trouble Again by Redmond O’Hanlon

How can you not love a book whose last chapter chapter begins, “In the morning we ate more piranhas”, right below a marvelously detailed pen-and-ink drawing of a Bird-eating spider eating a . . . bird. In this great travel book, subtitled, A Journey Between the Orinoco and the Amazon, O’Hanlon recreates the 19th century Englishman’s dogged exploration of a place where no person with any sense (but a lot of adventure) should visit.

Beachcombing For a Shipwrecked God by Joe Coomer

Young and newly widowed archaeologist Charlotte leaves home with no forwarding address, fleeing the oppressive attentions of her grieving in-laws. She washes up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she rents a room on a houseboat with two other oddballs: elderly and a bit odd Grace, widowed a few years previously after a long and happy marriage, and 17-year-old Chloe, who has basically run away from home. This motley threesome becomes a family of sorts, caring for each other through Charlotte’s mourning process, Chloe’s unplanned pregnancy, and Grace’s sudden stroke.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

It’s the last day of civilization, and famed actor Arthur Leander dies of a heart attack. This sets in motion the events of the story, with several characters and timelines weaving in and out, painting an elegiac ode to the survival of art in this brave new world. The author considers this book literary fiction, rather than sci-fi/fantasy, and her care with the book's ideas and characters make this statement ring true.

The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

Alexander von Humboldt was one of the last polymaths. He died at a time when scientific disciplines were hardening into tightly fenced and more specialized fields. Largely forgotten in the English-speaking world, at one time he was the most famous scientist of his age. His portrait was placed in the Great Exhibition in London and hung in palaces as remote as that of the King of Siam in Bangkok.

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

I enjoyed listening to the women’s perspective of the Space Race and early days of NASA. This is the entertaining story of the wives of the heroes of the Mercury missions through the Apollo moon walks. These mostly military wives were transformed overnight into American celebrities. Pressured to conform to an ideal of “perfect American housewife,” these very human women had to deal with stresses of intense media attention - two families even went so far as to build their dream homes with no front windows.

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

The story of seven lives intersecting on a rainy, cold November day in 1999 in Seattle. The setting is the street demonstrations outside World Trade Organization meetings - the year the protests were huge, had amazing solidarity across diverse organizations, shut down the city, and elicited an overwhelming police response, including the National Guard. This debut novel tackles themes both personal and global, from father/son relationships, race relations, nonviolent principles and conflict, and first world / third world confrontations. Raw language fuels intense moments of action.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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