Reported by Ambrea
This week, Nevermore kicked things off with a book by Frank Delaney titled, simply, Ireland. On the eve of Halloween, Ronan O’Mara and his family spend three glorious evenings enthralled by the old Storyteller’s fables, falling in love with fascinating tales of foolish kings and magical folk and fabled saints. Although the Storyteller eventually leaves them, Ronan never forgets the beautiful stories he was told as a child—and, once grown, sets off on a years-long pursuit of the Storyteller who so enchanted him with the stories and history of Ireland. Our reader greatly enjoyed reading Delaney’s novel. While she’d read it on another occasion, she said she was glad to return. She loved the writing and she really, really enjoyed the Storyteller’s tales, saying his stories made Ireland an incredibly lovely book to read.
Next, Nevemore took a peak at Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Olive, a retired schoolteacher in Crosby, Maine, is at once intrigued and frustrated by the changes in her tiny town—perceptive of the needs of others, but ignorant to the desires of those closest to her. A complex saga that spans the breadth of human experience, Olive Kitteridge is novel that not only tells the story of its main heroine, it tells the story of a town and its people who are day-to-day faced with the tragedies and triumphs of life. Our reader was tickled with Strout’s novel, saying she absolutely loved it. “I really identified with [Olive] in a lot of ways,” she told her fellow readers. “She has this way of [enchanting you].” Overall, she really enjoyed Olive Kitteridge and she highly recommended it to the rest of Nevermore.
As part of the Big Read event on the Tennessee READS website, one of our Nevemore readers decided to look at This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. During a routine welcome speech by the principal of Opportunity High School, someone begins shooting—and, suddenly, things spiral out of control. Told from the perspectives of 4 students caught in the midst of unspeakable violence, This is Where It Ends is a harrowing account of terror and survival. Our reader said she didn’t really care for Nijkamp’s novel, because it’s very much geared toward younger readers, geared to appeal to readers who enjoy an adrenaline-packed storyline with very unlikely heroes. “If you’re fourteen years old, yeah, definitely download it,” she offered. “[But] it’s not really for older readers.”
Switching gears, Nevermore decided to take a long hard look at a former president with Bush by Jean Edward Smith. In what the cover calls a “critical yet fair biography,” Bush recounts the presidency of George W. Bush and his efforts to shape foreign policy—and many of the consequences that came with it. Highly detailed and thoroughly researched, Smith’s biography of the former president covers everything from Guantanamo, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, a number of financial crises, as well as political and economic decisions that reverberate in the government to this day. Although our reader was fascinated by Bush, she said she was infuriated by it too and, eventually, had to return it without finishing. It was, as she said, “too awful and frustrating” to read about the mistakes of the past.
Beloved Poison, a brand new novel E.S. Thomson, appeared at Nevemore and quickly garnered some rave reviews. Jem Flockhhart works at her father’s apothecary, an observer of the day-to-day events at the crumbling, ramshackle St. Saviour’s Infirmary, but rarely a participant in the complicated social web of doctors, nurses, patients, and cooks. However, when Jem stumbles across six tiny coffins—each filled with dried flowers and a bundle of moldering, bloody rags—she finds herself pitted against the secrets of St. Saviour’s, caught up in a mystery that spans her lifetime and opens old wounds with deadly consequences. Grim, haunting, tragic, Beloved Poison is a dark tale that twines through the murky depths of London and dives deep into the dark heart of the medical profession. Our reader was immediately enthusiastic about Beloved Poison, saying it was a fascinating book that piqued her interest from the first page and enchanted her with each subsequent chapter. She highly recommended it to her fellow readers, noting that, while it’s sometimes difficult to stomach, it’s a complex and richly detailed historical novel that’s well worth reading.