Kathleen Z.

Liesl and Po

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Lauren Oliver
Liesl and Po

This fun and timeless story has great characters, some who are likeable and some who are not.  Liesl is locked in an attic by her stepmother after her

father has died.   Po comes from the Other Side quite unexpectedly to befriend her.  Will, an alchemist’s apprentice, comes into the story and the

three are brought together after Will accidently delivers a box with the most powerful magic in the world to the wrong place.   The adventure they

experience is full of magic, fantasy and human emotion.   This is written for children ages 8-12, but adults will enjoy this.  Check our catalog.

Kathleen Z., Administration

Remarkable Creatures

Sunday, October 28, 2012
Tracy Chevalier
Remarkable Creatures

This well-written piece of fiction is based on actual history and written by the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring,     The setting is early 19th century (1800s) in Lyme England.  The main characters, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, were some of the many who were based on real people.  In an era when women were not allowed to be full participants in their culture especially in academic circles, Mary and Elizabeth become kindred spirits discovering fossils and identifying them at a time before Darwin took his voyage when people were just beginning to question the age of the world.   Despite the struggles and setbacks due to the sexism and class division at the time, Mary’s fossil finds were crucial to the advancement of early paleontology.  Check our catalog

Kathleen Zaenger, Director

 

Bossypants

Thursday, August 23, 2012
Tina Fey

          Tina Fey’s humor is in every paragraph of this book.  She is self-deprecating and very funny about it.   Because there is a hefty dose of sarcasm in her humor, I had to listen to this in smaller doses than I listen to most books.  The story includes her childhood as well as her career at Second City in   Chicago which led to her television career on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock”.   Mostly, Tina is very appreciative of all who helped her along the way and has a brilliantly humorous way to express it.      Check our Catalog.

Kathleen Zaenger, Director

 

March

Monday, June 18, 2012
Geraldine Brooks
March

Historical fiction based on the character of the absent father, Mr. March, in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women who went off to the Civil War as a Union Chaplain leaving his family behind in very lean times.  The story alternates between the war and his earlier life.  After he ends up in a Washington hospital gravely ill, the narration switches to his wife, Marmee, and her perspective.   The cruelty, violence  and racism of soldiers on both sides challenges March’s idealistic beliefs.  Ultimately he becomes disillusioned and his experiences change his marriage and his outlook.  Brooks used the journals and diaries of Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father, and many other Civil War documents to give credibility and depth to this well-written piece of fiction.   Check our Catalog

Kathleen Z.

 

Half Broke Horses

Friday, April 13, 2012
Jeannette Walls

Written by the author of The Glass Castle, this is billed as a “True Life Novel” because it is based on the life of the author’s grandmother, Lily Casey Smith.  Walls blends fact with fiction to create an intriguing story about a remarkable woman who grew up in West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in the early part of the 20th century when that part of the country was remote and still mostly unsettled.  At age 15 she rode her horse alone on a 28 day trip to take a teaching job.   Her indomitable spirit helped her survive challenges by creatively using her wits, e.g. during the Great Depression she had a modest business bootlegging liquor to cowboys in the remote west.  Over many years she married twice, had two children, earned a college degree, took flying lessons and treated life as an adventure.  Great story. Check our catalog.

Kathleen Zaenger, Director

 

World and Town

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Gish Jen

I loved the characters in this story.  After the deaths of both her husband and her best friend, Hatty Kong has retired to a small Vermont town where she once lived.  She is seeking solace and the chance to build a new life. Her new neighbors are Cambodian refugees. They, too, are seeking solace away from the violence of gangs in the big city and the violent memories from Cambodia.  Hatty grew up in China, the daughter of an American missionary mother and a Chinese father.  As a teenager, she was sent alone to the U.S. to escape the Japanese occupation of China.  There is grief and tragedy, but the story is not sentimental.  In fact, humor helps temper the conflicts on many levels that take on the personal issues of grief, aging, loneliness, death, guilt, regret and the societal issues of immigration, religious fanaticism, small town pettiness and  economic challenges.  Jen handles the complexity of these with great skill. Check our catalog!

Kathleen Zaenger, Administration

Lazarus Project

Monday, October 31, 2011
Aleksandar Hemon
Lazarus Project

Award-winning Bosnian-American Author weaves a tale that alternates between a story in 1908 and current time, both about immigrants in America.  In 1908 a Jewish immigrant, Lazarus Averbuch, is killed by the Chicago Police chief who believes Lazarus was an anarchist even though there was no direct evidence.  100 years later, a Bosnian immigrant writer decides to write a book about the incident.  The research journey meshes past and present with great skill. Check our catalog

Kathleen Z., Director

 

 

Let the Great World Spin

Monday, October 31, 2011
Colum McCann
Let the Great World Spin

On an August day in 1974 New York City when a tight rope walker walks a line between the newly constructed Twin Towers of the World Trade Center that he illegally installed, the stories of the lives of several unrelated people are woven together.   In the reflections on their lives, beauty and hope begin to overshadow the tragedy and hardship in their stories.  Although this is story was a little slow to take off it is great writing with characters that are worth caring about. Check our catalog

Kathleen Z., Director

The Swan Thieves

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Elizabeth Kostova

A beautifully written story about Andrew Marlow, a psychiatrist who is also and an amateur painter. He takes the case of a painter, Robert Oliver, who had attempted to slash a painting in the National Gallery of Art and afterward has refused to talk at all. In Marlow’s quest to get to the heart of Oliver’s behavior, he discovers a series of letters from and to Beatrice de Clerval, a fictional artist from the impressionist era in France who abruptly stopped painting at the age of 29. Her story and Marlow’s discoveries about himself and the mystery of Oliver’s behavior make this one hard to put down.

Kathleen Z., Director
 

Revolution (YA Book on CD)

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Jennifer Donnelly

The novel written with a teen adult protagonist will also appeal to adults. Andi Alpers is failing her classes in her last year at a prestigious private school in Brooklyn, NY. She is angry at her father for leaving, anxious for her mother who is not coping well and deeply saddened by the death of her younger brother. She accompanies her father, a famous scientist, to Paris for winter break to work on her graduation thesis. There she discovers the diary of Alexandrine Paradis who lived two centuries earlier during the French Revolution. Alexandrine’s words tell a story that transcends time and, at one point, become terrifyingly real.

Kathleen Z., Director
 
 

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