|I was born in Petoskey. It has always been my
home, my place and my love. . .whether I was physically here or not.
Great grandparents arrived in Petoskey in the 1870s and opened a
department store selling groceries, clothing, wagons and farm
implements. My father began his clothing business in Petoskey in 1929,
and our family continued in retailing, which we all adored. My husband
Bill and I migrated home in 1979 and through great good luck I was
able to begin my life as a bookseller in 1991 when our children
departed for college. . .combining love of books with an old family
Bill and I listened to this book on audio and the miles flew by. The
Camel Club is back with the great addition of Annabelle Conroy
(introduced in The Collectors). Oliver Stone, the leader of
the mysterious Camel Club, keeps a vigilant watch over our leaders in
Washington, D.C. That the club's activities have earned some powerful
enemies becomes quite clear as one by one, men from Stone's shadowy
past are turning up dead. The Camel Club must identify and stop this
killer as well as protect Annabelle from the casino king, Jerry Bagger,
from whom she swindled forty million dollars. What fun, what a cast!
Because I've always been intrigued by old black and white pictures of cozily wrapped patients lying on sunny winter porches in beautiful mountain areas, I grabbed Andrea Barrett's book the minute it arrived. I soon learned the terribly reality of tuberculosis sanatorium care in 1916 before the advent of antibiotics. At Tamarack Lake the focus is on the sick. Wealthy tubercular patients live in private cure cottages; charity patients, mainly immigrants, fill the large sanatorium on the hill. Patients are advised to heal the mind and the body..."no talking, no smoking, no laughing, no singing, no reading and no writing." The mostly European immigrants have few material goods but a common generosity of spirit, welcoming Leo Marburg into the fold, despite his personal oddities - in particular an inclination to keep his own counsel. To provide stimulation, an enterprising patient initiates a weekly discussion group. When his well-meaning efforts lead instead to a tragic accident and a terrible betrayal, the war comes home, bringing with it a surge of anti-immigrant prejudice and vigilante sentiment. This novel abounds with memorable, yet disparate characters and is set in a period of great progress in science and medicine. As one reviewer wrote, "[Barrett] is a magician at blending the excitement of science with brilliant storytelling."
Just the ticket for the beach, dock or a sleepless night. Hunting Unicorns is a very, very funny and razor sharp look at the British aristocracy in decline. Bella Pollen introduces us to the owners of Bevan estate: the Earl and Countess….charming, lovable and possibly “round the bend”; Daniel their eldest son…clever, but hopelessly alcoholic; and Rory…the younger brother, mired in the tidying up of the family’s well intentioned schemes to keep the dilapidated mansion from literally crashing down around them.
Enter Maggie, an opinionated American journalist more accustomed to reporting from war zones is sent to research a documentary on the decline of England’s upper crust. This is a delightful romantic comedy that explores loyalty, family and having the courage to risk everything in the pursuit of what really counts.
Winner of the British Costa Award (formerly Whitbread) The Tenderness of Wolves sweeps the reader forward in this suspenseful and exhilarating thriller set in 1867 in Canada. The story opens with a dead body and a missing son. When the main character, Mrs. Ross, discovers the body of a local trapper Laurent Jammet, and her son becomes the prime suspect, it falls to her to find the killer. Over the next few days, we learn about several of the people who live in the settlement, and those who travel to and from it. We learn that this is not the first untimely death or accident that the inhabitants have experienced: some years ago, two young girls out picking berries went missing and never returned. Doc Wade, the local physician, was found drowned in Dove River and now Francis, Mrs. Ross' son has vanished, yet his father seems distant and unconcerned. As the Costa Award committee wrote, "We felt enveloped by the snowy landscape and gripped by the beautiful writing and effortless storytelling. It is a story of love, suspense and beauty. We couldn't put it down."
What a great concept. What an entertaining book. Bennie Ford is stuck at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on the way to his daughter's wedding, and begins to write an irrate letter to American Airlines. The flight is continually delayed and the letter expands into a hilarious and poignant memoir of his life; growing up in New Orleans with his crazy mother Miss Willa, and his father Henryk Gniech; his marriage and its failures; his love for his daughter; and his riotously funny descriptions of those around him in the airport. Jonathan Miles is the cocktails columnist for The New York Times.
How would you like to be a well-known restaurant critic who must don a variety of disguises and adopt different personas in order to give a fair restaurant review? When Ruth assumed the job as the food critic for the New York Times she realized that she needed to transform herself into a variety of characters as most restaurateurs were familiar with her face from her years as a food critic in California. Reichl transforms herself into Molly Hollis, a retired high school teacher from Michigan, and is ignored, mishandled and condescended to by the high powered staff at Le Cirque. Whenever her identity is discovered, Reichl creates a new disguise and persona. Happy hysteria follows. Her previous books, Comfort Me with Apples and the hilarious Tender at the Bone, are not to be missed.
Set over a period of 24 hours, Run is the story of the motherless Doyle family. Since their mother's death, Tip, Teddy and Sullivan Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive and ambitious father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard cares about is keeping all his children safe. As Janet Maslin in her September 2007 review of Run said, "Ms. Patchett creates a genuinely rich landscape of human possibility, and gives her readers much to contemplate when genetics, privilege, opportunity and nurture come into play." I love everything written by Ann Patchett. . .and this book is no exception.
This is the most entertaining and delicious book about the political scene of the decade. If you love history, this is for you. For most of his adult life, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. dutifully recorded his experiences and opinions in journals that, until now, have never been seen. With wit and humanity, these entries offer an intimate history of postwar America, from Schlesinger's days on the Adlai Stevenson campaign team to his years in JFK and RFK's inner circle through to the election of George W. Bush. They contain his candid reminiscences about many of the most important events of our time -- The Bay of Pigs, the assassinations of the 60's, Vietnam, Watergate, the fall of the Soviet Union, Bush v. Gore. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was a renowned American historian, winning the Pulitzer twice and the National Book Award. In 1998 he was awarded the prestigious National Humanities Medal.
Get cozy with this wonderful historic epic. I looked forward to getting back to it each evening. Set in the 1820’s of Manhattan, Hosack’s Folly brings to life New York’s struggles with the Yellow Fever epidemic, scheming politicians, ordinary and often poor citizens and the heroic Dr. Hosack. Hosack, who founded Bellevue Hospital, Columbia Medical School and the first Botanical Garden in New York, attended Alexander Hamilton during the fatal duel with Aaron Burr and led the fight for Yellow Fever prevention. A vibrant tapestry of a time and a place during the Gilded Age.
I can't believe that this is the fifth in the Maisie Dobbs series! For all of you who have not read any of the Maisie Dobbs books, lucky you! What a treat you have in store. Set in England right after WWI, this series is rich in period detail and filled with memorable characters. In her latest, the psychologist/detective is called upon by an old friend to clear the way for a land purchase in Kent. Maisie goes to Kent during the hop-picking season and finds that there is indeed something sinister afoot. Mysterious fires erupt in the village with alarming regularity, and a series of petty crimes suggests a darker criminal element at work.
This is for all of us who revel in learning more about the talented and memorable artists of the 20th Century. Imagine having Gypsy Rose Lee, Carson McCullers, W.H. Auden and Jane and Paul Bowles all living under the same roof in Brooklyn in the early 40’s. What a party…fueled by youth, talent and the shared urgency to take action as artists in the months before America entered the war. Called February House because many of its inhabitants were born in that month, the house and their time together was a great influence on their work. Carson McCuller’s two masterpieces, The Member of the Wedding and Ballad of the Lovesick Café were born in Brooklyn. Gypsy worked on her G-String mysteries by day and partied at night. While Auden was composing some of his most important works, he presided over the house accounts, collecting rent, assigning housework and cooking and dispensing advice on romance. Gloria Whelan wrote to us and said that she thought the book engrossing, well researched and best of all. . .so much fun!
I loved this memoir/chronicle of the true story of Elinore Pruitt Stewart who set out to prove that a woman could, indeed, run a ranch in Wyoming at the turn of the century. She is a joy and her book is a gem. The print is larger than in many books and makes this a grand gift for an older person.
I have been a fan of Leon’s Comissario Guido Brunetti for quite a while. Leon uses the relatively small and crime-free canvas of Venice for riffs about Italian life, beautiful food, and best of all…the kind of ingrown business and political corruption that seems to lurk just below the surface. On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is murdered on the Camp San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are tourists who had been browsing the dead man’s wares (fake designer goods) before his death. The dead man had been working as a “vu cumpra” one of the many African immigrants, without work permits who trade outside of shop hours.
Warned by his superior to let the case drop, Brunetti becomes only more determined to unearth the truth. Brunetti’s lovely wife, Paola, their growing family and Brunetti’s quirky staff play larger roles than in previous books making this a wonderful mystery.
If you are a fan of mysteries with more than a touch of conspiracy and populated by well-drawn characters, you are in for a treat. For the first time in decades, it's snowing in Rome, and in the Pantheon a body is found naked lying in a da Vinci's Vitruvian Man position. This book is packed with memorable characters, intrique, action and twisted plots. Loved it!
Gardner Botsford's passing in the fall of 2004 was marked by a wonderful obituary in the New Yorker. The obituary writer mentioned that when Mr. Botsford was greeted with "how are you" the reply was always "never better". Fascinated by this darling fellow, I called the publishers and got a copy of his memoir published in 2003. Gardner Botsford's life, while not one of ease, was memorable. "Whether he's scrambling up a cliff at Omaha Beach, noting the 'pansies and cornflowers' between Harpo Marx's toes, or considering William Shawn's offer to succeed him at the New Yorker, Gardner Botsford's vigorous and charming High American prose never flags. If we cannot all live such an interesting life, at least we have the pleasure of reading one."
Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb whose family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom. Soon after Lillian makes her way to America she learns that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive. Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater to Seattle's Jazz District and up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail toward Siberia. Told with sharp wit and an amazing cast of characters, Lillian's journey will be with you for a long, long time.
Wendell Berry‘s, Andy Catlett, is a small gem…….with the kind of writing that slows you down so that each word and sentence is read and appreciated. A few days after Christmas, in 1943, Andy sets out to visit both sets of grandparents. The Feltner grandparents in Port William and the Catletts out on the Bird’s Branch Road. He had been before but this time it was different. He was traveling by bus alone. To him a rite of passage. He looks forward to his grand adventure and a little spoiling from both sets of grandparents and assorted aunts, cousins and old friends. 1943 is a pivotal time when the old ways are in retreat, modern life is crowding everything in its path and as Andy relates his story from many years later we hear the voices again of his neighbors, friends and family. A small book…..only 140 pages but I treasure it.
This is the book I would suggest for those who love Italy. A memoir written only for Kinta's family, the book chronicles 70 years of Italian history and the Beevor family (British ex-pats of sorts) through WWI up to the 1960's -- including the evolution of the Italian wine business. Great characters and a fine memoir.
This work of fiction from Peace Corps volunteers makes one think less of our own little part of the world and much more about the huge and varied world that we've not experienced.
This is a wonderful collection of ten short stories from the author of The Madonnas of Leningrad. Dean worked as an actor in New York before becoming a writer and teacher at the University of Miami, and many of these stories are about actors. In the title story, a woman writes to her former husband years after the death of their only child and their breakup, to apologize for blaming him for the fatal car accident. In another story, a couple's lives are changed by a foiled apartment break-in. "The Bodhisttava" describes the feelings of a woman who runs into her former psychotherapist who had stopped seeing her when it appeared that she had fallen in love with him. Authentic voices, describing encounters with the vagaries of life. . .
This is Franklin's second book featuring the learned doctor from Salerno, Adelia Aguilar (Mistress of the Art of Death was her first). Set in the second half of the 12th century we find that Rosamund Clifford, the mistress of Henry II, has died an agonizing death by poison, and the King's estranged queen Eleanor of Aquitaine is the prime suspect. In order to prevent civil war, Adelia is summoned by the King to determine the truth. Historical novel this may be, but it is also a gripping crime thriller with unforgettable personalities.
Two enormously interesting and likeable characters are the main characters of this mystery set in Berlin in the 1920's. Esther, a scarred ex-Romanov servant who works as a secretary for nightclub owner "Prince" Nick Protrovskov and the very decent Police Inspector Schmidt. Berliners are suffering from hyper-inflation, shame arising from their defeat in World War I and are about to begin a love affair with Hitler. There is a hectic, Cabaret-esque mood to the town and Jews are just beginning to realize that they may be the scapegoats for the dismal situation in Germany. Two questions drive the plot: Did one of the Czar's daughters survive the massacres of the royal family at Ekaterinburg? And who is the hulking murderer slaughtering women in the German capital? I loved this mystery and feel that Franklin paints a vivid picture of Germany and its people during a time of aggressive nationalism.
A quirky cast of character from the Department of Peculiar Crimes investigate the murder of a controversial artist who is found drowned at the scene of her art installation. The only witness describes a suspect dressed as a highwayman riding a black stallion. The New York Times said of the main characters, "They're old, they're cranky and their chaotic work habits inevitably lead to disaster. But life always seems livelier whenever Arthur Bryant and John May are on the case."
Haven’t you ever wondered what a ghost writer’s job is like…and who would take such a job? Well, Jennie Erdal has given us a vastly entertaining story of her days as a ghost writer for a foreign language publisher in a trendy London publishing house. She refers to her employer as “Tiger”. He is wealthy, extravagant, bejeweled and high strung. Extravagant in his tastes, Tiger decides that he wants to add authorship to his accomplishments, and Erdal becomes his gifted and loyal ghostwriter. This is a mind-blowing story. Not only does it reveal a kooky, opulent and audacious world, it’s also an exquisitely composed confession that calls into question everything readers passionate about literary creativity hold dear. The book caused a scandal in London where Tiger (Naim Attalah) is well known. Ghosting is penetrating, very, very funny and just a huge treat.
I love history and historical fiction (accurate historical fiction). This is it! Each chapter sets the stage by beginning with a newspaper headline or article or a diary entry. As you read of Adair's trip to reunite her family, you are solidly placed in the events of the Civil War.