Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nevermore: Sotomayor, Schlink, Mental Health, McCall Smith, & Suspense

Reported by Ambrea

This week, Nevermore returned with another look at Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World.  Published in 2014, My Beloved World is an intimate and insightful look into the life of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic woman to become a Supreme Court Justice.  Our reader was very impressed with Sotomayor’s memoir, calling it a “lovely, lovely [book].”  Although she enjoyed My Beloved World immensely, our reader noted that she would have preferred reading a print copy of the book instead of the Kindle edition.  She noticed the Kindle lacked pictures and translations, which she found detracted from the overall book; however, she said she still loved reading it and it only improved her appreciation for Sotomayor’s work.  “I liked [Sotomayor] before, and I like her even more now,” she told her fellow readers.

Next, Nevermore looked at The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink, a fascinatingly complex story of love and lust and obsession that begins with a simple portrait.  The story features an artist, the woman whose portrait he painted, her husband, and the young lawyer who becomes entangled in their lives.  Together, they tell the story of a moment—and a portrait—that changed all of their lives.  Our reader admitted that Schlink’s novel wasn’t his usual fare, saying it was “very different, but very good.”  He noted it had great character development and a rich, poignant story that appealed to him.  He highly recommended it to his fellow readers.

Nevermore also explored No One Cares about Crazy People:  The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America.  Written by Ron Powers, No One Cares about Crazy People is simultaneously an examination of the history of mental healthcare and a candid memoir on his sons’ respective struggles with mental illness.  Powers offers an intimate portrayal of his sons, Dean and Kevin, as they confronted their twin diagnoses of schizophrenia.  Our reader said she was fascinated by No One Cares about Crazy People, noting it incorporated both solid statistics on mental healthcare and personal anecdotes on the toll mental illness takes.  As the cover notes, Powers’ book is “a blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs...a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood.”  Our reader said it was very good, and she hoped to hear more from Powers in the future.

Next, Nevermore decided to share an enthralling psychological thriller:  The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney.  In The Girl Before, Emma stumbles across One Folgate Street in pursuit for a new apartment and falls in love.  Minimalist and seemingly safe, One Folgate Street feels like a perfect fit for Emma who is still reeling from a traumatic break-in; however, she quickly discovers the enigmatic architect has a strange set of rules—and change her forever.  Jane, like Emma, finds One Folgate Street in her search for a fresh start and she’s immediately drawn to the house and its creator.  But as Jane settles into her new abode, she will discover terrible secrets about One Folgate Street and the girl who lived there before.  Our reader picked up The Girl Before on a whim and found an incredibly fascinating page-turner in the process.  She said, “The book made you think…and [it] also fools you.”  With its unexpected conclusion and thrilling, suspenseful story, The Girl Before is an excellent book for fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.

Like The Girl Before, A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George draws readers in with a suspenseful story and buried secrets.  In George’s novel, Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers are investigating the suicide of William Goldacre—and a poisoning in Cambridge.  In their pursuit to find links between this unexpected suicide and equally grisly murder, Lynley and Havers find that behind the peaceful façade of country life is a terrifyingly dark world of desire, deceit, and desperation.  Our reader said she absolutely adores Elizabeth George and, likewise, she enjoyed this latest psychological thriller by such an accomplished mystery writer.  Although she wasn’t fond of the conclusion, she noted that the story kept her on her toes.  Complex and thoughtful, A Banquet of Consequences proved to be a thrilling adventure for our reader.

Rounding out our reading at Nevermore, one of our members shared My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith.  In his most recent standalone novel, McCall Smith tells the story of Paul Stewart, a writer who exchanges his stressful city life for the idyllic countryside of Montalcino, Italy.  When Paul arrives in Italy, he thinks this will be his chance to finish his long overdue book; however, after he arrives, he discovers no rental cars are available and he has no way of reaching his destination!  Until a stranger offers him an unexpected alternative:  a bulldozer.  Amusing and sweet, My Italian Bulldozer was a witty, light-hearted novel with wonderful characters and hilariously unpredictable adventures.  Our reader said she enjoyed reading My Italian Bulldozer.  It was lovely, light reading that hit just the right note and brightened her day, and she highly recommended it to anyone looking for an easy, uplifting book.

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