This fabulous selection of letters provides a glimpse of a wide range of personalities who changed history as well as the personal side of both famous and not-so-famous people. There are letters by presidents, businessmen, school children, criminals, musicians, artists, and soldiers from the 1340 BC to modern times.
William Alexander loves the French language, the music and landscape of France, French food, French history, French politics; in fact he loves everything about France. At the advanced age of 57 he decides to overcome his horrible memories of Madame D., his high school French teacher, and attempts to become fluent in French over the period of thirteen months.
I felt as though I read this book from a distance. I watched this heartfelt story play out from across the broad and dusty farmlands of Saskatchewan and through the dense Canadian wilderness. Early on, this story casts a spell. 83 year-old Etta sets off on a cross-country walk with the mere goal of seeing the ocean. She leaves behind her husband Otto to bide his time until she returns, if in fact she remembers to return. The novel unfolds the couple's history, binding them through letters, sent and unsent.
This is a lovely telling of the author’s meeting, relationship, and marriage to her husband, Miles, an Army Apache pilot, and the first years following his death as she finally starts to reclaim her own life. Her writing is clear, honest, and to-the-point, but always deeply felt.
John Green's first novel is a treasure. Set in an Alabama boarding school, the story's main character is Miles, a junior from Florida in his first year at Culver Creek. In Florida, Miles did not have any friends and looks to reinvent himself at Culver Creek.
For what seems to be forever, earthlings have looked up towards the stars and only imagined what travel to another planet might be like. Such a possibility comes to life in author Andy Weir's debut novel, "The Martian". NASA has successfully sent two crews to Mars, and America's space program has the world's attention. However, during the subsequent mission of Ares 3, a series of unfortunate events results in a lone astronaut being left behind. Though presumed dead, it is soon discovered that a very alive Mark Watley is stranded on the u
Niko Pappas, the successful owner of Super-Gyros, has decided to open a second restaurant in Galveston, TX. He leaves his two eldest sons in California to run the original store and moves the rest of his large Greek family to Galveston, TX. The transition from California to Texas is anything but easy for this tight-knit family.
Jonathan Carroll’s work is often described as magic realism, but I think Neil Gaiman said it best by stating that reading Carroll is “as if John Updike were to write a Philip K Dick novel.”
Carroll’s book packs in a lot of different stories and details, often mixed together. The very pages of the book are thin; the smoky images at the head of each chapter visible through the following pages.
Dr. Patricia McConnell is an applied animal behaviorist and dog trainer with more than twenty years experience. The Other End of the Leash is a fantastic read for dog owners or those interested in animal-human interaction. Dr. McConnell very practically illustrates the differences between primate and canid behavior and mannerisms, and explains why many things we as humans do can be difficult or impossible for dogs to understand.
Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, was born to gifted and well-to-do parents. Her mother was a singer and her father was a well-known preacher who marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement. Life wasn’t a piece of cake. Aretha’s mother left the family when she was young leaving the father as a single parent. Her father showcased her childhood talent by waking her up in the middle of the night to play piano and sing for his party guests.
Wandering Son is a masterfully handled manga about two fifth grade friends, a boy and a girl, who wish they were a girl and a boy, respectively.Shuichi is naturally quiet and shy, and keeps his desire to be a girl private, restricted to only a few very close friends, including Takatsuki, who wants to be a boy.The two struggle through their difficulties together, like when boys at school point out Takatsuki’s budding femininity.The friends encourage eac
Inspired by 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's famous painting, Tracy Chevalier creates a beautiful tale about Girl With a Pearl Earring. As a fan of both historical fiction and art, I fell in love with this book. In Chevalier's imagination, 16 year old Griet comes to live with the Vermeer family in Delft, Holland to serve as a maid in their home.
"The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez tells the touching stories impacting the lives of a group of immigrant families sharing space in a Newark, Delaware apartment building. The immigrants have come together from various countries around the globe such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Each of them face common and individual challenges related to assimilation into their adopted American homeland. Central to Henriquez's story are teenagers Maribel Rivera and Mayor Toro w
The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, is a familiar figure to those of us addicted to those documentaries about space that pop up on PBS and the History Channel. Tyson is an affable figure on TV, and proves to be the same in print. This book is a collection of articles that he wrote for “Natural History” magazine. They present complex topics in a clear, conversational manner, infused with humor. Thought-provoking and entertaining.
A fascinating introduction to the history and design of tree forms used to explain knowledge in a visual way, this book is filled with historical and modern tree designs. From hand-lettered medieval trees showing the relationship of Biblical characters to modern computer-generated trees of Twitter feeds, there are 200 wonderful examples of all sorts of tree styles. There is something for everyone—square representations of states by area in 1939, the X-Men family tree, or icicle trees used by statisticians.
Diego Rivera was twice the size and age of Frida Kahlo when they married in August of 1929 but they seemed destined to be together. Rivera was a famous Mexican muralist who used the fresco method of painting on wet plaster. Kahlo was known for her self-portraits showing her suffering due to internal injuries resulting from a bus accident and for her depictions and deep love of animals. As a child, she contracted polio. She had always been sickly. Reef has written a book about one of the most interesting artist couples in history.
Jenna Metcalf's mother has been gone for 10 years. Alice Metcalf disappeared after an incident at the New England Elephant Sanctuary, where she worked as a naturalist and expert in elephant behavior. Her daughter, now a precocious thirteen year old, feels abandoned and is passionate to learn what happened to her mother. In "Leaving Time", the most recent novel from Jodi Picoult, Jenna enlists the help of a once celebrated psychic and the heavy drinking detective assigned to her mother's unsolved case ten years ago.
You could say the Quinn Family is dysfunctional… A week before Christmas father Kelley , an innkeeper, finds out his second wife Mitzi has been sleeping with the inn’s hired Santa. Eldest son Patrick, a highly successful hedge fund investor, is being investigated for fraud. Son Kevin, who has been secretly sleeping with the inn’s housekeeper, just found out he is going to be a father. Daughter Ava, who has pinned all her hopes on getting a diamond this year for Christmas, finds out her boyfriend has left to spend the holiday with his mother in New York.
A 15-year-old girl in a red dress flees through the woods pursued by a dark shape. The housewife who sees her and calls the police is later found dead and the girl vanishes. For over 30 years no one knows what happened to Nola.
Janet Leigh was best known for her portrayal of Marion Crane in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller, Psycho and her eleven-year marriage to Tony Curtis. She starred in mostly low-budget films throughout her film career which spanned from 1947-1999. Hollywood film moguls were attracted to her natural beauty. She endured the unwanted attention of Howard Hughes.
Randall Munroe earned a degree in physics at Christopher Newport University (VA) and went on to work on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia before quitting to become a cartoonist (xkcd.com: “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”). He employs humorous stick figure sketches to help provide scientific answers to absurd hypotheticals submitted to him through his website.
Drawing Autism showcases the artistic talents of individuals with autism spectrum disorder while giving perspective on how these artists relate to the world around them. Temple Grandin has written the forward which is a perfect introduction and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Author Jill Mullin, a behavior analyst with a clinical background in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), divided the selected works into themes. Her goal was to provide an overview of the autism spectrum while celebrating the individuality of each person. Artists selected for the b
The one year anniversary of Olivia’s mother’s death is drawing near. Her mother’s dying wish was very explicit, her ashes were to be scattered in two specific locations in Huntley, Georgia, a town neither Olivia nor her sister had ever heard of. Looking for a way to escape her increasingly chaotic personal life, Olivia decides now is the perfect time to go Huntley and find out why this place was so special to their mother. What she finds makes her wonder if she ever really knew her mother at all. Huntley is gone…well actually it now sits at the bottom of a man-made lake.
Marie-Laure LeBlanc lives a quiet life with her Father, Daniel LeBlanc, at Number 4 rue Vauborel in Paris, France. Daniel is a locksmith for the Natural Museum of History in Paris before the German occupation of France during WWII. Marie-Laure becomes totally blind by the age of six. Her Father fashions a miniature replica of their neighborhood from wood so that she may memorize and better navigate her surroundings while he is busy working at the museum.
If your country needed your help would you give up your career, your comfortable home and endanger your relationships for an unknown job in a location that didn’t appear on any map? Could you handle never speaking of your job to your spouse, or knowing where and why they had to leave for weeks? Could you work on just one small job over and over for years, not knowing what came before or would come after?
This book reminded me a bit of watching West Wing. We don’t realize how the White House is buzzing 24/7. Kantor takes us inside for an eye-opening expose of life in America’s most famous mansion. Michelle and Barack Obama managed to adapt to a very dramatic change in their lifestyle with grace and maturity. But it wasn’t all rosy.
This is an adult graphic novel about a fictional domestic relationship between Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins. Much license is taken here, as Danzig and Rollins are most definitely not in a domestic relationship, but their real life personalities come through in the fictional character’s day to day lives. This gives it a niche audience. But if you are at all familiar with the real life characters, you will be well rewarded with plenty of laughs.
Ove is a 59 year old grump with very strong ideas of what competence and a job well done mean; he also knows when someone isn’t capable of either. His wife has passed away within the last year and now he no longer can find a reason to continue. His reluctant, growing relationship with his new neighbors, however, keeps interfering with his plans and expanding his world. (“Considering how they are constantly preventing him from dying, these neighbors of his are certainly not shy when it comes to driving a man to the brink of madness and suicide. That’s for sure.” 160)
Rainbow Rowell has effectively cemented herself into my list of favorite, must-read authors. Her characters are so authentic and likable that reading this book is like spending time visiting with old friends. The premise of this novel involves 3 characters working at an Omaha newspaper in the midst of Y2K. Lincoln is a shy, 28 year old going through a rough patch in life. He is living at home with his mother and doesn't know what he wants to do with his life.
"Unbroken" is the story of an undaunted human spirit presented by author Laura Hillenbrand; who chronicles the extraordinary life of Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini. When faced with supposed insurmountable obstacles, Louie proves to be a survivor and an example of the power one person can have over his own destiny.
The Beekeeper’s Ball brings us back to the beautiful Bella Vista, the apple orchard we last visited in Susan Wiggs’ novel The Apple Orchard. The dramatic story of newly united sisters Tess and Isabel, along with their grandfather, Magnus, continues to unfold.
If you like pouring over old atlases or scrolling though Google maps, you will probably like this book. The author is a geographer, not a travel guide, and this comes through in the tone of the book as well as subjects covered.
The connection of what makes each of these places so strange is human intervention, either through physical occupation or mapmaking. The book’s first entry is about Sandy Island, which was neither sandy nor an island. But it was on maps for centuries.
Those of us of a certain age grew up to the strains of comma comma down dooby doo down down, comma comma, down dooby doo down down, breaking up is hard to do. That is Neil Sedaka’s signature song, Breaking up is Hard to do. It was released in 1962. Podolsky tells the story of Neil’s early days in Brooklyn. He started his musical training at the prestigious Juilliard School at the tender age of seven.
The Humans is a book I could reread once a year. This is a bold statement, I know, especially since the premise is an alien assassin has been sent to Earth to kill a mathematician and erase all evidence of a potentially dangerous theorem. The story and our narrator, the alien acclimating to human life, become much more. I appreciate a narrator that confides in the reader and becomes a fully developed voice in your mind’s ear. Matt Haig’s alien fills that role beautifully.
Action-packed, interesting characters, and a well-thought out plot make Pierce Brown's debut novel a winner. Darrow is the main character in this sci-fi thriller. He is a hell digger and a "red", the lowest-class human. He, and other reds, live beneath the surface of Mars where they work in the mines to prepare the surface of the planet for human habitation. What Darrow and the other reds don't know is that the surface of Mars is suitable for life. In fact, humans have been living on the surface of Mars for over a hundred years.