Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nevermore: Paris Architect, Karin Fossum, American Crucifixion, Detroit, and more!

 Reported by Meygan

This week’s Nevermore opened with Charles Belfoure’s The Paris Architect. This book takes place in Paris and puts us in the shoes of architect Lucien Bernard. Lucien is offered a lucrative amount of money to outwit the Gestapo by creating hiding places for Jews—hiding places so unique that they would be almost impossible to spot. Lucien is well aware that if he is caught then he will be tortured and killed by the Nazis. How does Lucien hide the Jews? Does he get caught? When the Nevermore reader was asked if whether or not she liked the book, she said it was depressing and she had to look over certain street names and descriptions because they were written in French. 

The next book, I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum was described as being a real thriller. When cops show up at Riktor’s door, he isn’t all that surprised to be arrested. What he is surprised about, however, is what he is being arrested for. Riktor didn’t commit the crime he is being blamed for, but how can he prove that without admitting another crime he has committed? The Nevermore reader highly recommends this book!

American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by Alex Beam tells the story of how Joseph Smith founded Mormonism and how he came across the Book of Mormon. According to the Nevermore reader, the book would be highly recommended for those wanting to know more about Joseph Smith but not to those wanting to read about Mormonism as a whole. 

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff has been a Nevermore sensation! Three of our Nevermore members highly recommend this book. The book is about Detroit and how it was once the richest city in the nation but is now deemed as the poorest. To quote what a Nevermore member’s son said about the novel, “Depressing as hell but fascinating!” Detroit: An American Autopsy discusses Detroit’s unemployment, illiteracy, foreclosure, and dropout rates. Did you know that a city the size of San Francisco and Manhattan could fit into the vacant lots of Detroit? Our Nevermore reader said the only downfall to the book is that while there are pictures of Detroit in the book, there are no pictures of the old and new buildings. But this is a book that our Nevermore reader cannot get out of her head. Detroit: An American Autopsy definitely sounds like a must read!

In Gaute Heivoll’s Before I Burn, readers are introduced to a small town in Norway that goes up in flames thanks to an arsonist. But among the chaos, the town has gathered for the christening of a young boy name Gaute Heivoll. Heivoll grew up hearing stories about the arsonist, inspiring him to retell the story as an adult. Because of this, the identity of the arsonist is revealed. Our Nevermore reader says the true value of this book is the psychological fix of the small town and how characters are interesting and varied. 

The next book discussed was Inheritance: How Our Genes Changes Our Lives and Our Lives Change Our Genes by Dr. Sharon Moalem. This book is full of information about the importance and inheritance of our genes and how something we do in everyday life such as eating right or exercising can turn off (not eliminate) a gene. The author then states that this gene can be turned on and off again. One Nevermore reader stated that the book would probably make a reader think of the environment in which to bring up a child. There is a study in the book where lab rats were taken away from their mother for several hours a day throughout x amount of weeks. Scientists discovered that the mice became incapable of sensing fear, such as not knowing not to be in the path of a cat. Scientists discovered that stress caused this gene to switch off. They also noticed that these mice passed on the gene several litters later, even though that particular group was never taken away from their mother. Anyone who loves science should definitely check out this book!

About two weeks ago, one of our Nevermore readers was reading Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan. This week, he decided to read Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House, a collection of short stories about different topics. The Nevermore reader stated that this book wasn’t as “science-fictioney” as The Sirens of Titan, and he preferred The Sirens of Titan over Welcome to the Monkey House

 The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell was very heavily discussed in Nevermore. This book tells how if a plague or catastrophic event was to happen then how the world could rebuild equipment and buildings. Several of our Nevermore readers didn’t care for the book, but a particular Nevermore reader stated that the book seemed to provide false suggestions and how if a meteor were to smash into Earth or is Yellowstone blew then this book wouldn’t help because it doesn’t meet basic needs such as how to obtain food, water, and shelter. I think we all can agree that is a catastrophe were to strike Earth then we would worry more about our basic needs being met more than how to look up building plans. A Nevermore reader stated that this book sounded like what to do after a catastrophe four generations later. 

The Life of the Automobile: The Complete History of the Motor Car by Steven Parissien discusses the history of the automobile, mainly focusing on cars since World War II. The Nevermore reader couldn’t get enough of this book! He said The Life of the Automobile: The Complete History of the Motor Car was a delightful read and is like taking a trip with the author as the driver. One of the Nevermore reader’s favorite parts was when the author wrote about how the government wanted to make the American cars tougher and provide more gas per mileage. Since the American companies couldn’t fix these problems overnight, the Japanese started making cars. To quote the Nevermore reader, “You will like this book if you like automobiles and who doesn’t like automobiles?”

The last novel discussed was The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose. Set in the year 1533 in Florence, Italy, the author introduces us to Rene le Flotentin who is pulled from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Rene is trained to combine fragrance and medicine, creating a formula that could possibly reincarnate the dead. The Nevermore reader said the book was “pretty good”, even though there were a lot of French words.

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