Booklovers has continued to meet despite my lack of reporting!
My apologies. I’m certain some of you are on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what we have been reading. Here are our books for April, May, and June.
Peggy usually starts us off with a variety of genres: A Sunlit Weapon by Jacqueline Winspear, 17th book in a series featuring Maisie Dobbs as a private investigator with an emphasis on using psychology to resolve cases. The series starts just after WWI. This book is set in 1942.
The Locksmith’s Daughter and The Chocolate Maker’s Wife by Karen Brooks: This author takes an event or character from English literature and creates the backstory for that character. Peggy has read several by this author and enjoys them.
Give Unto Others by Donna Leon: What can I say—Donna Leon, Venice, Commissario Guido Brunetti. Since this is the 31st book in the series, the author must be doing something right.
Memory’s Legion: The Complete Expanse Story Collection by James S. A. Corey: This book of short stories ties up some of the story lines from the eight-volume series.
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill: Fantasy set in 1950s America. All women turn into dragons. Society must revamp itself to account for this transformation. Peggy enjoyed it.
French Braid by Anne Tyler: Enjoyable.
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel: Related to Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel but can be read separately.
Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland. Sounds interesting.
Brad started with The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck: This sounds interesting. I may read it myself.
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside by Nick Offerman. Brad enjoyed it, but felt it was a little uneven.
Stone of Fire: ARKANE Thriller Book 1 by J. F. Penn.
Alternities by Michael P. Kube-McDowell: Political thriller meets alternate reality sci-fi.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer: Satirical comedy about turning 50. Brad did not enjoy it until the last chapter which was very good.
The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944–1945 by Ian Kershaw: Explores why Germany kept fighting at the end of WWII even though they knew they were losing.
Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of WWII by John W. Dower: End of the war in the Pacific and changes influenced by American occupation.
Hitler’s American Gamble: Pearl Harbor and Germany’s March to Global War by Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman: Going back to the beginning of America’s involvement in WWII, this book examines what happened from December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, to December 11, 1941, when Germany declared war against the U.S.
Sharon introduced us to two books by authors she knows. Austin Natural and Historic: An Introductory Guide to Austin History, Natural History, Points of Interest, and More by Curran F. Douglass: This was published in 2001 so it might need updating. It does look interesting.
Whiteout: Recollections on a family of privilege by Hugh Merrill: The author is a well-known printmaker and forerunner in the social practice art movement. This is a memoir focusing on his formative years where he grew up in a high-profile, politically connected, wealthy white family in the deep Jim Crow South.
Susan was able to come for the first time in a while. She brought us some thought-provoking books.
All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler by Rebecca Donner: This is the story of the author’s great great aunt Mildred Harnack. She was married to a German man, and they lived in Berlin in the early 1930’s. Mildred taught American literature at university. Fired due to her anti-Hitler views, she then started teaching at night school. She organized resistance to Hitler for several years before being caught by the authorities. Sounds interesting.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee: Made into a series shown on PBS, this book won a Pulitzer Prize. Well worth a read.
Rodney brought us some books to work our brains as usual. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815–1848 by Daniel Walker Howe: This is part of the Oxford History of the U.S. and covers the transfer of leadership from the Founding Fathers to the new generation.
Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World by Scott Reynolds Nelson: Published just a few months before Russia invaded Ukraine, this book discusses the grain trade and how it affects world power. Ukraine is a huge exporter of wheat, so this is very topical.
Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America by Kerby A. Miller: This covers the time period of about 1840-1890: Why the Irish were leaving Ireland.
Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan: Letters and Memoirs from Colonial and Revolutionary America, 1675–1815 by Kerby A. Miller, Arnold Schrier, Bruce D. Boling, David N. Doyle: What the Irish did when they got to America.
David read science fiction this quarter. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov: Asimov advocated that science fiction could be applied to any literary genre. In this book, it is applied to a murder mystery set in the distant future. The detective must work with a robot to solve the mystery.
The Saints of Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton: This is the third and final volume of The Salvation Trilogy. Recommended by David.
And a new book by Robert A. Heinlein — sort of. Someone was going through Heinlein’s papers and found a manuscript. It had been dismissed earlier as just an outline, but it was an entire novel. So, it has been published as The Pursuit of the Pankera. It is designated a parallel novel. The first third is the same as The Number of the Beast. Then the stories diverge. David thinks The Pankera is better than the original novel.
Coleen read several books. All but one was also read by David. Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh: Ngaio Marsh was from New Zealand. For a while she lived in England. I’ve read two of her books now — one set in New Zealand, one set in England. Marsh is considered one of the Golden Age writers with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margery Allingham. This is the only one that David also didn’t read.
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe: The main character is in high school. Her mother always used her as a pawn in her con schemes. Now she’s being held hostage in a bank robbery and must use all her tricks to escape (and make sure everyone else is rescued, too). Very fast paced and kept me interested.
The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson: Two First Nations kids are in foster care (set in Canada). One draws a picture on the wall in the attic. They both walk through to another world. Reminds me of Narnia. They must help the friends they meet in this other world. Pretty good.
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus: Five high school kids are sent to detention. Only one of them has been there before. When detention is over, only four students emerge. Of course, the authorities decide one of them has killed the fifth. So, they must figure it out for themselves. I found it a good read.
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Sue Barnes: A 17-year-old high school student in New England receives a notification that a very wealthy man from Texas has died and left her most of his fortune. In order to inherit, she must live in the mansion for a year — along with the rest of the disinherited family. There are puzzles and riddles to solve, but who can she trust? Very entertaining.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix: A girl has been raised by her mother in the country. When she turns 18, she goes to London to find her father. Adventures ensue. Rather fanciful but fun.
Other fun facts. Barb D. was visiting from Virginia in May. She stopped by to catch up with us. Our big window usually showcases birds, squirrels, and bunnies. Today we had a deer visit!