One of this country's most dangerous natural disasters was the site of Tupelo Mississippi in 1936 after a horrific tornado touched down and dragged away the majority of the city and left nothing but heartache in its wake. The story is not just about the destruction but of the city and victims themselves - those counted and those left uncounted. The poor African-Americans who most likely accounted for at least half of the deaths and injurys were left to fend for themselves. Two families, connected by a violent secret, two babies blown out of arms and out into the storm and the many lives that were touched that day. The tornado did not choose its victims based on the color of skin, how wealthy or how old but instead became the great equalizer in destruction and loss of life. In suffering and loss we are not really different at all. Keep the Kleenex handy and scan the skies with this one.
David Mamet is a native Chicagoan who is in love with his city and its checkered past. This is a quick peek back in time to a dangerous part of the city's past - 1920's Chicago was fast women, fast violence, fast exchange of money and fast getaways. Mike Hodge is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune who wants to be taken seriously as a writer. He and his cohort Parlow know the underbelly of the city and it's inhabitants better than the upper crust. Against her family's wishes, Mike falls hard for Annie Walsh who is unlucky enough to be murdered in front of him while standing in his apartment wearing his coat. Who killed Annie Walsh and why keeps him angry, and hungry for the truth and revenge. This is a story of passion, politics, corruption and justice in a city and time sadly lacking in those things. David Mamet portrays Mike as the hard shelled reporter with the gift of eloquence who is trying to make sense of the violence around him.
Sunny gets caught stealing a dictionary so to prevent her from a life of crime the judge orders her to volunteer all summer at the town library. Her hippie free-thinking parents have not prepared her for the interesting group at the library - Kit the reclusive librarian in charge of Sunny, Rusty the mysterious newcomer who spends his days researching the small town and hanging out with "the Four", a group of elderly statesmen who offer stories. Sunny soon finds herself happily entangled with the library's staff and patrons and starts up a close friendship with Kit and Rusty all the while trying to make sense of her upbringing and unusual family. Small town mysteries with big-hearted townspeople and a very diverse library adds up to one warm and fuzzy gem of a book.
Everyone knows the dangers the Donner party and others faced crossing the Sierras to reach better times in California but you haven't heard their story told like this. "The Hunger" is the best of two genres - compelling historical fiction and shaking to your boots horror. We know the rumors surrounding the ill fated trip but do we really know how scary it really was or what caused the cannibalism? How could these God fearing people do the unthinkable? Alma Katsu takes what we know and adds her own frightening take on the terrors that awaited these early pioneers who were not only ready for the rigors of such a trip but also unprepared for all the human emotions put into play - fear, jealousy, love, lust and worst of all - hope.
Johnny Merrimon lives deep in the swampy area known as the Hush that his family has owned for generations, given away for generations and now it is back in the family. There is a supernatural force there that has been blamed for the strange things that happen there and most people fear the coldness and unexplained shiver at the back of their neck. When it looks like Johnny might lose control of the Hush again he calls on his best childhood friend attorney Jack Cross for help. Mysterious, slightly creepy and always a good read - John Hart's latest story involving Johnny and Jack will not disappoint.
"The Bookworm" is jam packed with historical figures, a terrific mystery, gloomy cold war secrets and a talented chess player. It moves so quickly that it is easy to get lost in the fast pace moving from a hidden secret from WWII to present day. Fans of Steve Barry and Dan Brown will find themselves happily swept along and glad for the ride.
An insightful look at a girl who was raised by her survivalist evangelical father in a remote part of the woods of Idaho. Tara Westover has the wonderful ability to look back and tell the reader - this part is made up but I remember it clearly as fact and this part is what really happened. As a child she and her siblings roamed free around the mountain knowing that there were families out there who were not like her own, families that didn't stockpile ammunition and feared dairy products as the Devil's touch. Her mother became the midwife in the area against her own will and better judgement. Her self education saved her. It was only later that Tara realized how twisted her father's beliefs and fear of government were. The author's writing style is clear and flowing, pulling you willingly along down the twisted well of hate and dysfunction and then back out again to the glorious sunshine of her adulthood.
Lorena Hickok was everything to Eleanor Roosevelt but the world wasn't ready for that kind of love and devotion so outside of the White House theirs was a good friendship. This is an in-depth look at what their relationship with all the stumbling blocks might have been like. Lorena was kept down in her career as a talented reporter because she refused to report on the inner workings of the Roosevelt White House. She was indispensable to both Eleanor and Franklin and more importantly kept all the secrets of their unusual marriage secret. It is a look at a life so secret, so politically upsetting and private that we can't imagine it being allowed to remain a secret today. An intimate look at a love affair we knew nothing about forced to remain behind closed doors even after leaving the White House.
Horace is a young half indian with lofty dreams of becoming a championship boxer. His foster parents live on a ranch and have taken care of Horace since he was twelve. They treat him like a son and have shown him a good life knowing that to have him follow his dreams he must leave them. Horace becomes Hector and leaves for Tucson to train as a professional boxer all the while knowing that the Reeses support whatever he does and will take him back in with open arms. Horace is the most open, kind and generous guy - he is honorable in an unjust world and takes every punch that life throws at him with silent dignity. He is also harder on himself than any punch from the ring. Mr. and Mrs. Reese will do anything to help him sparing him the knowledge that they need his help to run the ranch now that they are unable to.
The author delivers a one/two punch that hits you in the heart and gut - a knockout of a story of family and unreachable dreams that should not be missed.
Sweet tea, long summer nights catching fireflies and everybody knowing everybody's business is what we think of small towns in the South but Glory, Alabama in the early 60's is not that kind of town. Racial and class discrimination rules everywhere but in Pete's world. He had grown up in Isaac's shadow even before his dad died and then Isaac became his best friend and the big brother he never had. Pete never saw color and he never thought he was better because his family had more. When Isaac disappears one night Pete's world is turned upside down and in his attempt to find Isaac he discovers the one person who can make it right. Dovey Pickett has grown up with only her reclusive family far back in the woods where no one ever goes. She meets Pete and suddenly she wants more.
As Pete and his family work to uncover what happened to Isaac he will learn to love and fight the hatred around him. This is a beautifully crafted story of good and evil but it is also a stunning portrait of the South. Pour yourself a tall glass of sweet tea, park yourself on a porch rocker and enjoy.
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