Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nevermore: Black River, Good Girl, Dept. Q, and Much, Much More!

Reported by Jeanne

Black River by S.M. Hulse is one of those books you shouldn’t judge by the cover, according to our Nevermore reader.  It looks like a Western and is set in Montana, but it’s more about family and relationships.  The story revolves around Wes Carver, a corrections officer, who returns to his old home town after twenty years to scatter his wife’s ashes.  They left after Wes was tortured in a hostage situation which left him unable to play his beloved fiddle.  Now the inmate responsible is up for parole, and Wes may testify.  He’s also dealing with his estranged stepson.  Our reader encouraged others to give the book a try.

Mary Kubica won raves for her first book, The Good Girl, so Nevermore readers were anxious to try her second.  In Pretty Baby, a woman impulsively takes in a disheveled teenage mother with a sickly baby.  Her husband and daughter are shocked and dismayed, especially as they know nothing about this girl.  Soon parts of the young mother’s past begin to surface, and the tensions rise. Our reader said it was just as good as the first book, very suspenseful, and with no wasted pages.

We have several readers who are fans of Jussi Adler-Olson’s  Department Q mysteries, so they were eagerly awaiting the latest entry in the series.  In The Hanging Girl, Detective Carl Morck and the other cold case investigators are drawn into a seventeen year old case in which a teenage girl was found hanging in a tree on the island of Bornholm.  At the time, it was ruled the result of a hit and run, but the Bornholm detective always insisted it was murder.  Now the detective has brought the matter to a head, and the cold case investigators are off to Bornholm to try to uncover the truth.  Our reviewer said that there were a lot of characters in those 500 pages but she still enjoyed it.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr made another appearance at Nevermore.  While most of our readers have enjoyed it, some thought it was over-rated.  One didn’t like the way that the author moved around in time, going forward and then back.  Several people noted that seems to be a trend in books nowadays; some didn’t like it, some didn’t mind or thought it was effective. The story begins with the childhoods of Marie-Laure, a French girl who goes blind at the age of six, and Werner, a German boy who is pressed into the Hitler Youth.  Their lives converge during the War.  As noted, the story moves back and forth in time, from childhood to the War to present day.

My Bookstore, edited by Ronald Rice, is a collection of essays by published authors about their favorite bookstores.  The essays vary from humorous to enthusiastic, and the bookstores themselves sound wonderful. Actually, it’s not the stores so much as the people who own the stores and who are able to connect readers with books. Contributors include Wendell Berry, Fannie Flagg, Lee Smith, and John Grisham.  Our reviewer thought it was a fun book to dip into.

One of our readers recommended Lincoln’s Funeral Train by Robert Reed as being both an important and fascinating book.  It recounts the 1700 mile journal taken by the train on its way to Lincoln’s grave site.  Some seven million people witnessed at least part of the journey as the train went through 440 towns.  It was a pivotal event in our history, and certainly worthy of a book on the topic. Vintage photos and copies of documents enhance the text.

Another reader who had seen The Theory of Everything decided to read the book on which the movie was based.  Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking is an autobiography, detailing the courtship, marriage, and divorce of Jane and Stephen Hawking.  Stephen was diagnosed with ALS before their marriage and before he gained international fame for his work in psychics. Our reviewer thought it was a well done, interesting book about two extraordinary people.

Finally, another fascinating woman was discussed:  Elizabeth Custer.  After her husband George’s death, she devoted the rest of her life to burnishing his reputation.  She wrote books, did the lecture circuit, and published numerous articles about her adored Autie. The subject came up because a member was reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s The Last Stand:  Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, which covers both sides of the battle, giving thorough coverage to both the Native Americans and to the soldiers. The various personalities are also discussed.  Our reader though it might be a bit too comprehensive at times, but was enjoying it.

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