|I still remember the poem by Shel Silverstein, “Ickle Me, Tickle Me, Pickle Me, Too, which I had to memorize in fourth grade and now, recite to my children. I did move up in the literary world and love classics, such as Steinbeck, Woolf and Shakespeare. I love non-fiction. Especially one’s dealing with history and our dead presidents. Trying to get over my obsession with dead presidents and dead authors, I am now jumping back into the fiction world. I’ll let you know how it goes…|
In "Killers of the Flower Moon", David Grann recounts the tragic tale of the Osage Indian Nations decimation and deceit at the hands of their government appointed guardians. Motivated by money, morally corrupt and masterfully manipulative, the true role of these benevolent benefactors, perpetrators of mass murder, is still a mystery today. Granns detailed, yet deeply disturbing detective work, back to the birth of the FBI and the rise of J. Edgar Hoover, unveils an unimaginable injustice overlooked for 85 years. Let’s not allow this atrocious act against the Osage to slip back into obscurity ever again.
Gertie is determined to win back the love of her mother by becoming the GREATEST fifth grader in the history of Carroll elementary school. She has two best friends, she has resuscitated a frog and she has talent. Everything is on track for Gertie’s Leap to Greatness! Until the new girl, Mary Sue Spivey shows up. Mary Sue is prettier, smarter and lives with two parents. She is a seat stealer and knows a movie star, Jessica Walsh, too. Mary Sue is determined to put Gertie back in her place and become the GREATEST fifth grader ever known. And, she does. Will Gertie overcome her desire to win the coveted title of GREATEST fifth grader and please her family or will she shove the seat-stealing Mary Sue into a closet and take the lead? This is a great read for girls struggling through the drama of fourth/fifth grade. I loved it!
Take a depressed hockey town, a bunch of boys fighting their way to the junior national championships game and a bellowing board of directors determined to win at all costs and you have Fredrik Backman’s latest novel, Beartown. This heart wrenching tale of love, loyalty and loss explores the universal struggles and sacrifices friends and families make each day just to carry on in life, regardless of the repercussions. An about face from his previous work, Backman’s insightful prose is thought-provoking, powerful and positively packs a punch you won’t ever forget! I loved every minute of it.
A masterful manipulation of the classic tragedy of Clytemnestra, queen of Mycenae, Colm Toibin’s House of Names is retelling the story of the House of Atreus and her husband, King Agamemnon. Bursting with rage at the betrayal at the hands of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra orchestrates a murderous plot to avenge the death of daughter Iphigenia, slaughtered in sacrifice to supplicate the gods. Upon his victorious return, an unknowing Agamemnon finds himself ensnared in a trap, facing a kingdom full of deceitful families, ready for vengeance and demanding justice for all the ills suffered since his sojourn to fight the Trojan War. I adored Toibin’s beautifully written adaptation of The Orestia by Aeschylus and his prose is promised to please all lovers of the classics.
A mostly over-medicated manic mess, Marlena is the quirky, cool chick that Cat copies unquestioningly since her move to mind numbing Northern Michigan. Cat is determined to turn over a new leaf, leaving her good girl ways downstate in Detroit. Together, the girls dare each other into a desperate game of living dangerously until a drugged-out Marlena inexplicably drowns. Can Cat overcome her impulsive, immature instincts and move past the memories made with Marlena or will she find herself following in the same, fateful footsteps as her never-forgotten friend?
Partake on a positively puzzling adventure with twins Tess and Theo and friend Jaime as they try to solve the Old York Cipher, hoping to save their home, the mysterious Morningstarr apartment house along the way. Set in Manhattan, York by Laura Ruby is an alternate history epic sure to please curious middle readers with its quizzical cast of characters. Can this clever trio traverse the thrilling twists and turns thrown at them thereby solving the cipher or is this centuries-old quest a wild goose chase for all participants?
Determined to reap the benefits of Manifest Destiny, the Donner Party was destined for despair and death from the very start of their westward journey. A combination of indecision, infighting amongst families and a lack of leadership contribute to their tragic downfall at Truckee Lake. In “The Best Land Under Heaven,” author Michael Wallis recreates the Donner Party’s ill-fated attempt to cross the Sierra Nevada mountain range during the violent winter season of 1846, their imminent starvation, reduced to catastrophic cannibalism to survive. The result is a cautionary tale infamously staining the chase of the American Dream forevermore.
Find out how a once charismatic, civil rights leader and small-town minister from Indiana slowly dissolves into a persuasive, pill-popping, paranoid prophet of God amongst the jungles of Guyana in Jeff Guinn’s The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple. In dark, disturbing and often desperate details, Guinn exposes Jim Jones’s journey from a beloved “Father” of his congregation to a controversial crusader determined to destroy his constituents. With catastrophic results; a mass suicide by cyanide and over 900 dead. In Guinn’s tragic account of the Peoples Temple, he leaves the reader questioning, how far are you willing to go to start a revolution?
Lip. Dip. Paint. Three little actions with devastating consequences for The Radium Girls, a select group of glamorous girls employed as watch dial painters during the early 20th century. This is the tragic, true account of young women, promised wealth and prominence as an employee of the Radium Luminous Materials Corporation, yet delivered unexplained pain and suffering, betrayal and injustice. Determined to seek retribution for their impending death sentences, these gutsy gals fight for their families and for future safety standards for all. The sacrifices made by these brave women are awe-inspiring and unimaginably awful at the same time and will haunt my thoughts indefinitely.
Imprisoned by maniacal Maven, King of Norta and suffering under the weight of his Silent Stone, a lightning-less Mare Barrow has lost all hope for her future. With Maven holding her puppet strings tight, a raging Mare dances against the Red rebellion, forsaking her newblood comrades and Cal, causing allegiances to crack and chaos to reign. Will the little lightening girl escape the clutches of King Maven and rise to fight again? Or, will Mare lose her heart to Cal and a country destined for division and death? The King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard is the final installment in The Red Queen series and it’s fantastic! Oooops, just in...there is going to be a FOURTH book....
Viewed by most of mankind as a depraved, despotic dictator, Saddam Hussein, a master manipulator, manages to confound the twelve American soldiers sent in secrecy to guard him during his captivity and his final days on earth. Will Bardenwerper tackles the difficult topic of a terror-inducing Hussein in The Prisoner in His Palace, a narrative likely to wreak havoc on your senses by questioning the man himself, the myth and his eventual demise. An incredibly intense read, I was horrified to find myself in tears over Hussein’s last moments with his Super Twelve, something I would never have expected for this monster.
Erika Johansen has created an incredibly intense, intriguing and completely captivating conclusion for her Tearling trilogy, sure to please all awaiting Queen Kelsea’s fate. Rash, reckless and filled with rage, Kelsea has surrendered to the Red Queen while unwittingly unleashing the Orphan, a threat so evil, both soon find themselves fighting together for their own survival. Will Kelsea unravel the mystery of her magical sapphires and save the Tear kingdom from ultimate destruction? Or, is she destined for an early demise thereby sealing The Fate of the Tearling? So worth the wait!
A hermit has been haunting the woods of North Pond, Maine, hidden out-of-sight, secluded from society, forced to forage and steal for his survival. One day in 1986, Christopher Knight decides to drop-out of life, ditches his vehicle and disappears. Without a trace. Knight descends into a daily life or death struggle, determined to remain isolated, for nearly three decades. Is Knight a homeless hermit, happy to have little to his name, while silently suffering from schizoid personality disorder? Or, is he a fraud? Find out in this fascinating account of The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel.
In "No One Cares About Crazy People," Ron Powers explores the insidious treatment of the mentally ill throughout history and the social injustice perpetrated against their desperate families. Stigmatized by societies indifference towards the insane, Powers personal account of son Kevin’s slow descent into schizophrenia showcases the incredibly painful process faced while fighting for faster medical treatment. Based on the misunderstanding that schizophrenia can be cured with medication and the choice to cut government funding by misinformed legislators, institutions were closed, forcing the unstable into the streets and, inevitably, on the road to prison, punishment and certain death. Powers account is unfathomable as his oldest son Dean also descends into the dark recesses of the mentally ill. A painful, powerful book, "No One Cares About Crazy People" is sure to impact the way we see the insane, not as monsters determined to destroy society as we know it, but, as victims of government cutbacks and medical bureaucracy, continually faced with an overall attitude of unworthiness by all who witness their downfall.
Based on the tragic, yet true, tale of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanages and Georgia Tann, the despicable director responsible for countless crimes against families too poor to protect their progeny, “Before We Were Yours,” by Lisa Wingate is heart wrenching until the very last page. Wrangled from their river boat with her siblings one desperate night in 1939, young Rill is forced to face her family’s fate at Tann’s horrendous hands. Fast forward to present day and Avery, Senator Stafford’s privileged daughter, who stumbles upon nonagenarian May Crandall, and, a possible scandal ready to rip her family’s political career apart. Will Avery tear through her hidden history and restore May’s rightful place, healing hearts along the way, or, will she sit by and silence the secrets threatening to spill out?
Think The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson meets 1930’s Depression-era Detroit in Tom Stanton’s latest tale of the Tigers. In the midst of celebrating the success of winning the pennant, Detroiter’s are slowly realizing the terror lurking behind the city scenes. A secretive, destructive Klan-like group known as the Black Legion. Vicious and vengeful, the Legion is terrorizing the victorious city with murder, floggings and fire bombs, led by baseball-loving Dayton Dean, a man determined to clean out the unwanted and unworthy.
Stanton recreates a true-tale full of Lions, Tigers and Red Wings, the state of Detroit’s citizens during the depression and political scandal, too. Get a first peek at the future voice of the Tigers, Ernie Harwell as well as historical figures, including Joe Louis, Ty Cobb, Ronald Reagan and J. Edgar Hoover. Stanton has hit a home run with his eighth book! I highly recommend to all non-fiction…and, fiction fans.
Fredrik Backman, author of “A Man Called Ove" and "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry," has done it again. List loving Britt-Marie has an overwhelming fear of dying undetected by all. Enter the soccer-loving town of Borg, home of the dirty, downtrodden and defeated. Throughout this woman’s quirky, captivating quest to become somebody, Backman creates an eclectic cast of characters guaranteed to let everyone know “Britt-Marie Was Here.” Laugh out loud funny, I adored this book!
Meet middle-child, Abbie Wu, a middle-schooler muddled in the messy middles. Unlike her super popular brother, Peter or her super cute little sister Clara, Abbie hasn't found her place in Poindexter middle school. And, it's making her mental! A super fun little tale about the troubles tormenting all students moving from the comfort of elementary school to the horrible, hideous middle school. Will Abbie figure out how to avoid impending doom and feel like a less frazzled fifth grader? Or, will she continue to get mucked up in the middles?
Take an over-medicated, moody, middle-aged mother of four, add a month of experimental microdosing with LSD and it makes for A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman. This mesmerizing memoir of mental exploration tackles the taboo topic of drug use in our society, the frightening rise of prescription pills and the devastating addictions developing during the War on Drugs. A rollicking ride through the realm of self-realization, Waldman’s creative quest for sanity is painfully honest, hysterically funny and deeply human. I loved it!
Imagine something so terrifying, one glimpse and a person is impulsively driven to commit deadly violence, to oneself and others? Suddenly forced into a world of darkness, covered windows and blindfolds, Malorie must survive for the sake of her unborn child. Finding herself amongst a group of survivors, led by the knowledgeable Tom, Malorie soon learns the threat may not only be outside, but, living inside their house. While switching between the past and present, Josh Malerman's debut novel is a thriller from start to finish. Flash forward to five years later, with the hopes of finding survivors, Malorie is desperate to make a twenty-mile journey downriver, blindfolded with the four-year old's, boy and girl. Will their wits and trained ears guide them to salvation or will they encounter the horrific threat that has annihilated most of mankind? Super creepy!
Set during the Dust Bowl, amidst the Great Depression, a dedicated group of basketball beauties, the Cardinals of Oklahoma Presbyterian College, are determined to challenge societal strictures and Babe Didrickson on their quest for the National Championship title. Faced with much criticism, judged less feminine for participating in a competitive sport rather than lady-like acceptable activities, the Cardinals overcome poverty, performing to their potential recognized by Coach Babb, and capture the heart of a Nation. This is the true tale of trailblazing women overcoming the overwhelming odds against them sure to inspire the athlete in all of us. A great, informative read like The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
While listening to the tale of Bernadette Fox, an overwhelmed, under medicated mother of Bee and wife to overworked, uninvolved husband, Elgin, the reader breaks into song…so fun! A quirky, yet compelling story of family life and the unexpected twists and turns involved with everyday occurrences. Bernadette is frustrated with the misunderstandings, misinterpretations and mixed-up messages being delivered by local Seattleites to her concerned husband. After an intervention gone awry, Bernadette has gone missing, without a trace. Full of witty feuds with school board mommies, neighbors and fellow freakishly intelligentsia, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a great summer listen. And, read!
A curmudgeon, a curious cat and a quirky cast of supporting characters make for a delightful summer read in "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. Meet Ove, a dark, disinterested in life leftover, desperate to find the peace he lacks. Lucky for Ove, his new neighbors don't know how to back up a U-haul trailer. Or, how to control their chatty, chaotic children. Give it a few chapters to unravel the storyline and you'll fall hook, line and sinker into this tale. I laughed, I cried...and, once finished, I cried some more. Definitely a must-read for all of us wishing we could say EXACTLY what we mean, at least once in a lifetime!
This is a thought provoking look at life after war, when America suffers an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP), a weapon that may actually already exist. In this post-apocalyptic novel, John Matherson hopes to save his family and his small North Carolina town from the chaos left behind. Forced back into the Dark Ages, Matherson is desperate to restore order and civility, while fighting obstacles on all levels. Imagine no technology, little transportation and a limited amount of resources. How long until the medicine is gone? Or, the food supply? What happens to all the medicated people when their drug no longer exists? This book made me take a close look at my friends and family and wonder…how long would they survive? I was terrified by this novel.
Upon their sixteenth birthday, triplets Arsinoe, Katharine and Mirabella are destined to be queen. Each trained in deadly talents, each determined to win the throne, its sister against sister, in Kendare Blake's dark fantasy, leaving two destroyed while one will capture the crown. Will Arsinoe, Katharine and Mirabella fight for their destiny and sister's untimely death or will they recall their early upbringing together and turn their destructive talents elsewhere?
With a monarchy in ruins, a queen descending into madness and unseen threats to the throne, twins Carys and Andreus find themselves facing a Trial of Succession to determine who shall rule Eden. While monsters run amuck in the mountains, the twins, who’ve hidden each others secrets from all outsiders, have little time to question the Council of Elders and their complicit plan to head the Hall of Virtues. Carys and Andreus are forced to fight each other through a series of tests to determine who will rule the throne. Will Carys and Andreus’s bond be broken beyond repair by a Trial of Succession or will they persevere and continue to protect each other through the peril and pandemonium?
Kidnapped and closeted, eventually carousing across the countryside, Patty Hearst caused a media sensation throughout the 1970's with her radical rebirth as a criminal in the Symbionese Liberation Army. In an era of insanity, Hearst captures the heart of a nation with her plight, pleading for a pardon from prosecution--and, two presidents. Author Jeffrey Toobin recreates the events and actions of Hearst during her 19 months as "Tania", a gun-toting urban guerrilla. Was she a victim of circumstance, a brain-washed, betrayed heiress or did she embrace the excitement away from her everyday existence? Take an eye-opening ride through history to see how clearly the Hearst family re-wrote the only acceptable ending of Tania's tale. A happily-ever-after one.
Determined to beat the odds, nine working-class boys from the University of Washington’s rowing team overcome a depressive beginning to defeat the world at Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Underdogs from day one, fighting poverty and privilege along the way, this crew shocks all with their unbelievable come-from-behind effort to become gold medalists. Filled with details of a post-Depression and a pre-WWII era, this is the inspiring tale of a team winning the hearts of a nation while achieving their lifelong dream. Read by Edward Herrmann, The Boys in the Boat is a must-listen for all non-fiction fans.
Whether you were the leader of the clique, the token messenger for the queen or left out completely, high school ends eventually and, most likely, you continue to outgrow those labels placed upon you during those difficult years. Then, you become a parent, a job of delivering all of your knowledge to your little one with the hopes of avoiding the same pitfalls you experienced growing up. However, the years dull the memories and we tend to forget how difficult adolescence was or block it out of our heads completely. It is a big deal to our girls and we need to learn how to listen without making light of the situations which are devastating to them. At that age, they were devastating to us, too.This book gives you the tools to help your daughter cope, survive and eventually thrive through these emotional years. I wish it was around when I was growing up!
Arrogance is often thought of as a good quality to have when going into battle. If George Armstrong Custer could offer advice posthumously, I think he would disagree. The battle at the Little Bighorn proves you need to take a step back and digest all of the information coming your way, no matter how famous you think you are. Like the great Sitting Bull. Excellent read, very informative and a great narrative on a piece of American history. I highly recommend The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick for all those history lovers and adventure seekers wishing to make their mark on America's history.
Christine wakes every morning in a state of panic. Due to a horrible accident, she has no memory and relies on daily notes from her husband, Ben, to understand her life. Until Dr. Nash, a neuropsychologist, begins to call. Little by little, Christine pieces together her lost memories until she is dangerously close to discovering her past. This is a psychological thrill ride that, at times, leaves you uneasy, queasy and afraid of the next twisted turn. I couldn’t put it down!
Absorb 52 fabulous findings by awe-inspiring athletes, politicians and overall amazing people in "The Playbook" by Kwame Alexander. Full of motivational moments with Michael Jordan, Michelle Obama and Muhammed Ali, to name a few, these are lessons learned while on the road to success that will last a lifetime. With wisdom and wit, Alexander has compiled a list of winning ways guaranteed to guide in this game of life.
With a chance to see “Shangri-La,” in Dutch New Guinea, 24 American servicemen and women climb aboard the Gremlin Special, a transport plane, in hopes of forgetting the tragedies of WWII. While enroute to this fabled paradise, the plane crashes into a mountainous jungle, leaving only three survivors. WAC Corporal Margaret Hastings, Lieutenant John McCollum and Corporal Kenneth Decker soon find themselves in a desperate battle for survival. And, a difficult choice. Do they stay with the wreckage or venture into the territory where man-eating headhunters are rumored to live? This true life adventure story is full of incredible heroism, personal sacrifice and determination. I loved every page!
Born with a cleft palate, a certain death sentence in 1851, John Henry defied the odds, thanks to his determined and consumptive mother, Alice Jane Holliday. Upon his diagnosis of tuberculosis at the age of 21, John Henry abandons plans to join the family dental practice. He heads out for the dry Western air in hopes of prolonging his fate. However, there is much more lurking in the air out West; gambling, liquor, cheap women and gun fighting. Better known as Doc Holliday, the famous gun slinging gambler, John Henry will continue to tempt fate and cheat death for another fifteen years. After all, when dealt a death sentence, why not risk it all?
Teddy Roosevelt brought conservationism to the minds of the American public. The Bitterroot Mountain Range fire of 1910 almost destroyed this movement and the National Forest Service in two horrific days. Teddy's boy scouts, a scathing reference to the forest rangers, were challenged across three states with over 300 millions acres consumed by The Big Burn. Timothy Egan's account of the greatest force assembled to fight a wildfire in our history is fast paced and informative. Teddy Roosevelt triumphs and conservationism continues to gain momentum. Imagine what our country would be like today without our national parks? Thanks, Teddy.
Investigator Harry Hole is on the hunt for a serial killer. Women are turning up dead around Oslo, leaving Harry obsessively searching for clues. With each murder, a mysterious snowman is left behind, taunting the frustrated investigator. Is Harry on the right track in finding this maniacal killer or does he need to start looking in his own backyard? This is an intense thriller that is guaranteed to keep you up at night, especially during the dark winter months. I couldn’t sleep until I finished it! And, my kids are no longer allowed to build snowmen. Super scary!
Peter Geye describes an incredible tale of life on the Great Lakes and lives regretted with his debut novel, Safe from the Sea. Lake Superior describes itself. Imagine a father-son estrangement, a major tragedy on the water and terminal illness. Patriarch Olaf Torr has a secret he’s been holding since the terrible night the Ragnarol caught fire. With a quick call, his son, Noah, is headed to a father he has had little contact with since the ship went down. Although son, Noah, doesn’t realize it, he is soon returned to his roots, learns past experiences he chose to forget and begins anew. A dark novel with an incredibly happy, though disturbing, ending that captured me from the prologue.
This fast paced narrative tells the story of Eric Galt, prisoner #416J, otherwise known as James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. A non-descript, forgettable man obsessed with becoming someone, Ray weasels in and out of society with ease, taking down the most memorable man of the civil rights movement in his path. As the most intense manhunt ever carried out by the FBI is underway, Ray continues to blend and scurry for cover, leaving a trail throughout the United States, Canada and England. Fascinating, full of descriptive detail, this is a sad portrayal of the mighty taken down by the meek.