The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War that Saved My Life

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.

Newbery Honor book in 2016

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said “Really beautiful book! A tragic, but ultimately triumphant, story. Ada is a great heroine!”

Cathy rated it ★★★★ and said, “I adore this book both for the story it tells and the stories it doesn’t. The story it tells of crippled Ada, her abusive mother, and her and her brother’s redemption by semi-reclusive Susan during a harrowing war is wonderfully told. The stories hinted at could have been quickly outlined, but were given just enough form to leave me asking, ‘What made her mother into this cruel monster?’ ‘What happened between Susan and her family?’ ‘Will they be able to survive the dangers and hard times ahead?’ I’m enjoying flushing out these other stories in my mind. And in truth, they are other stories. Spelling out the details would only have detracted from Ada’s tale, and Ada’s tale needs no help. It can stand on it’s own, as can she.”

Miranda rated it ★★★★ and said, “When I think about WWII, I think about concentration camps, Pearl Harbor, and the Holocaust. This book brought light to another part of the war, and specifically to a young brother and sister living on the edge of society. I felt much for Ada and her brother and all of the issues they faced. It was interesting to see how the author portrayed their emotional baggage and the ways that it affected them and how they coped. I can see how this can be a great read for older tweens, but I don’t think that younger kids will be able to pick up on all of the subtleties and exactly what they were going through.”

Lorna rated it ★★★★ and said, “4 1/2 stars. I loved the 1st person narrative and the way it brought out Ada’s vulnerability and fragileness, yet her courage and determination shine through. It was a high interest story and the chapters just melted into one another as I wanted to just keep going with it. The ending was a tad over the top with sentimentality but it was uplifting and poignant.”

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

The Library Book Club meeting for this book will be Thursday, November 16, 2017, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

Book club reading copies will be available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2015

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Lorna rated it ★★★★★ and said, “Yes. Finally. I’ve been waiting for a book like this. Everything was so good – the writing, characters, the story, the sense of time and place – it was all good. The author’s approach is both scientific yet poetic. The book moves at the pace of a thriller yet I wanted to take my time reading it because each paragraph is so beautiful.”

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said, “This really was a good book, and one that stays with you after you’ve read it. It is a bit slow, in spite of the very short chapters, but its a very lyrical kind of slowness that allows you a chance to really get to know the characters and their world. All the characters were very well drawn, with no stereotypes to be found – not an easy thing to do when writing about the Nazis. This does have some definite teen cross-over appeal, since the two main characters are both older teens, but there are some harsh moments and some real heartbreaks. Its hard to even try and describe the writing style, which is literary without being difficult to read. Again, “lyrical” is the word that seems to fit, even when the author is telling us about some horrible things. The going back and forth between the characters and in time was very well done and not at all confusing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and Highly Recommend it. And, hey, he’s an Idaho author!”

Cathy rated it ★★★★★ and said, “Lyrical, gripping, haunting, and absolutely, stunningly beautiful.”

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi

A Break With Charity: A Story About the Salem Witch Trials

by Ann Rinaldi

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held October 20, 2016, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

Susanna desperately wants to join the circle of girls who meet every week at the parsonage. What she doesn’t realize is that the girls are about to set off a torrent of false accusations leading to the imprisonment and execution of countless innocent people. Susanna faces a painful choice. Should she keep quiet and let the witch-hunt panic continue, or should she “break charity” with the group–and risk having her own family members named as witches?

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Miranda rated it ★★★★★.

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

by Timothy Egan

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held September 15, 2016, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan’s critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, Egan does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, “the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect” (New York Times).

In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature.

Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith

Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith

Letters from Yellowstone

by Diane Smith
In the spring of 1898, A. E. (Alexandria) Bartram—a spirited young woman with a love for botany—is invited to join a field study in Yellowstone National Park. The study’s leader, a mild-mannered professor from Montana, assumes she is a man, and is less than pleased to discover the truth. Once the scientists overcome the shock of having a woman on their team, they forge ahead on a summer of adventure, forming an enlightening web of relationships as they move from Mammoth Hot Springs to a camp high in the backcountry. But as they make their way collecting amid Yellowstone’s beauty the group is splintered by differing views on science, nature, and economics. In the tradition of A. S. Byatt’s Angels and Insects and Andrea Barrett’s Ship Fever, this delightful novel captures an ever-fascinating era and one woman’s attempt to take charge of her life.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

The Visitant by Kathleen O’Neal Gear & W. Michael Gear

The Visitant by Kathleen O’Neal Gear & W. Michael Gear

The Visitant

by Kathleen O'Neal Gear & W. Michael Gear

At the Dawn of the Age of the Katsinas…

A woman runs away in search of a Spirit Helper and never returns…

An ancient village is swept into a shattering crime beyond reason, beyond belief…

An old man must learn to walk the dark labyrinth of a murderer’s mind to find him before he can strike again…

A young war chief must enter the mesmerizing word of the insane if he to save everything and everyone he loves…

And, a scant moment ahead in geologic time, world-renowned Canadian physical anthropologist Dr. Maureen Coles finds herself excavating a mass grave in New Mexico filled with the brutalized bodies of women and children.

From the internationally bestselling authors of People of the Masks comes a novel of terrifying power about madness and murder eight hundred years ago.

book 1 of the Anasazi Mysteries series

Gloryland by Shelton Johnson

Gloryland by Shelton Johnson

Gloryland

Shelton Johnson

Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of black and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave—but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Exiled for his own survival as a teenager, Elijah walks west to the Nebraska plains—and, like other rootless young African-American men of that era, joins up with the U.S. cavalry.

The trajectory of Elijah’s army career parallels the nation’s imperial adventures in the late 19th century: subduing Native Americans in the West, quelling rebellion in the Philippines. Haunted by the terrors endured by black Americans and by his part in persecuting other people of color, Elijah is sustained only by visions, memories, prayers, and his questing spirit—which ultimately finds a home when his troop is posted to the newly created Yosemite National Park in 1903. Here, living with little beyond mountain light, running water, campfires, and stars, he becomes a man who owns himself completely, while knowing he’s left pieces of himself scattered along his life’s path like pebbles on a creek bed.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★★.

The Disorder of Longing by Natasha Bauman

The Disorder of Longing by Natasha Bauman

The Disorder of Longing

by Natasha Bauman

When her husband arrives home carrying a crate of colorful orchids, Ada Caswell Pryce thinks he is bringing her a gift, a peace offering during an unhappy time in their marriage; little does she know how much these strange looking flowers are going to change her life.

By Boston standards of the 1890s, Ada is not a good wife. Strong-willed and beautiful, she longs for the days at university when she was free to be herself. Her husband Edward is intent on curbing her wild behavior, but she thwarts him at every turn—she drinks wine with the housekeepers, gives feminist books to her maid, and sneaks out for midnight horseback rides along the Charles River.

To treat Ada’s “hysteria,” Edward restricts her daily activities and her relationships, then carefully choreographs her sexuality. Unable to bear another day of her stultifying and demeaning existence, Ada secretly plots ways to leave. Ultimately, it is her husband’s all-consuming passion for collecting rare orchids that provides Ada with a daring opportunity for escape.

Once free, Ada’s lust for adventure takes her through the dangerous slums of New York, across the high seas of the Atlantic, and finally deep into the lush jungles of Brazil.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

The Ghosts of Heaven

by Marcus Sedgwick

A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.

Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet’s obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book’s final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick’s gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession.

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