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PucksFool: In the past two days I devoured Angeline Boulley's Firekeeper's Daughter. Thanks... just ordered a copy (signed... gotta' OCD thing for signed books). Trying to support writers and musicians by buying a lot of books and albums (off their websites, when possible) during the pandemic. I'll make a couple of suggestions backattacha from my readings this past month or so. In no particular order..."Save Me From Dangerous Men" by S.A. Lelchuk is a little bit Kinsey Millhone, a little bit more Jack Reacher. The main character, Nikki Griffin, is the owner of a bookstore by day (lots of literary references) and a private investigator/vigilante by night. She has anger and impulse control issues that stem from a tragedy in her past which is revealed through her backstory. If you like the Reacher/Millhone/Warshawski series, you'd probably like this as well. A second book in the series, "One Got Away" will be published on April 13. Not that it matters but Lelchuk is a man."In Zanesville" by Jo Ann Beard explores the coming of age of a fourteen-year-old girl, Jo, her dysfunctional family, her up and down relationship with her best friend, Felicia, and all the trials and tribulations of growing up in the Midwest in the 1970s -- smoking, drinking, cliques, isolation, romance. Funny, sad, well written. Beard is best known for "The Boys of My Youth" and has a new collection of writings that's just been released called "Festival Days". "The Paris Library" by Janet Skeslien Charles is based on the true story of the American Library in Paris during WWII, when the Nazis march into the city. One of the novel's main characters, Odile, lived in Paris and worked at the American Library during the war. She moved to Montana with her husband after the war and that's where she meets another central character, Lily, a lonely teenager who is a lot like Odile. Anyone who enjoys the Kopp sisters novels will probably enjoy this one as well."How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House" by Cherie Jones is set in Barbados and explores wealth disparity, class, and race, and is powerful, well written novel of violence and trauma with a hint of hopefulness. "Mrs. Caliban" by Rachel Ingalls must be the genesis for the Guillermo del Toro film, "The Shape of Water." Never heard of the book before, not sure where I found it, either. Anyway, John Updike cleverly described the book as "deft and austere in its prose, so drolly casual in its fantasy" and I'll leave it at that... can't write any better than Updike."Home Is Not a Country" by Safia Elhillo is an interesting exploration of family, place, loneliness, friendship, home, solitude, love, and loss. An unusual narrative in free verse, clever and well-written, interesting and affective... though perhaps slightly over-hyped."Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo Ishiguro offers us a dystopian future that examines love, loss, belonging, religion, discrimination, and asks the reader to consider what it means to be human. Needless to say, the writing is precise and the storyline is compelling although, perhaps, a little too predictable. Fine, fine writing, although not perfect. But then who am I to nitpick a Nobel prize-winning author."A Children's Bible" by Lydia Millet explores a wide range of interesting topics: coming of age, religion, climate change, families, alcohol and drugs, sexuality, societal breakdown, entropy, and social classes, among others. Eve, who appears to be a 14- or 15-year-old teenager, is the narrator of the novel, set on the east coast shoreline, somewhere near the Appalachian Trail. Her parents and their friends from their college days have rented a house for the summer in what seems to be their last get-together. In time, the parents and the children shift roles. The parents become hard drinking, promiscuous, drug users and the children responsible caregivers. The novel features a book that Eve's nine-year-old brother is gifted, A Children's Bible, and several of the stories in the Bible, much to the characters astonishment and dismay, unfold in the their lives. If you know the George and Martha books by James Marshall, they're mentioned here too, although they do not relate to the story's themes... or do they?
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