Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nevermore: Eleanor Oliphant, Lost City, Shadow Man, Lost City of the Monkey God, Inferno

To start, Nevermore dived into Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, a debut novel by Gail Honeyman.  Eleanor Oliphant is not your average heroine.  Serious, socially awkward, and painfully odd, Eleanor tries to avoid any kind of social interaction or hiccup that might disturb her carefully orchestrated life.  That is, until she meets Raymond, the IT guy from her office, and subsequently saves Sammy, an elderly gentleman who took a spill on the sidewalk.  Now, Eleanor has to wonder if her isolated life has been worth it—and if opening her heart to someone else might be a risk worth taking.  Our reader called Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine an intensely emotional and incredibly moving novel.  “[I found it] so beautiful how her friendships help her survive” the worst parts of her life, she said.  She highly recommended Honeyman’s debut, saying it was well worth reading.

Next, Nevermore checked out The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston.  In 2012, Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a quest to rediscover this incredible, lost city.  Called the “White City” by the conquistadors and legendary among indigenous people, the Lost City of the Monkey God held an undiscovered trove of treasures and history.  Using LIDAR to help them chart a course, Preston and the rest of the team set off into the Honduran rain forest.  They were astonished by the discoveries they made and the dangers they faced—and brought home.  Our reader loved The Lost City of the Monkey God.  She said it offered an astonishing depth of knowledge on the history of the region, as well as detailed some of the more extreme dangers the scientific team faced.  It was truthful of the hardships and it shed light on the various plights, pitfalls, and problems with which archaeologists deal.

In Shadow Man, Detective Ben Wade has returned to Rancho Santa Elena in search of a quieter life.  Filled with peaceful streets, quaint communities, and excellent schools, Rancho Santa Elena is the perfect place for Ben to take a break and rebuild his crumbling marriage—until a daring serial killer arrives on the scene.  Now, Ben and forensic specialist Natasha Betencourt must stay one step ahead of a killer, before he chooses his next victim.  Thrilling and thought provoking, Shadow Man is a fascinating detective story on how personal secrets can quickly wreak havoc and destroy lives.  Our reader gave high praise for Alan Drew’s novel, saying he enjoyed it immensely; however, he also noted he’s ready for a change of pace:  “[I’ve come] to realize…I’ve read too many mystery books in a row.”  He’s ready for his next book to be of a scientific variety.

Nevermore jumped back in time with Jane Austen’s classic, Persuasion.  Published in 1818, Persuasion tells the story of Anne Elliot.  When she was only nineteen, Anne fell in love with Captain Wentworth; however, with neither fortune nor title to his name, she was forced to break her engagement with him and warned never to see him again.  Seven years later, Anne reconnects with beloved captain—now, a wealthy and accomplished Navy man—and she begins to wonder if second chances really do happen, or if she’s pinning too many hopes on a fond memory.  Our reader admitted she enjoyed reading Persuasion more than she expected.  She thought it was a sweet, romantic story that offered an unexpectedly astute view on class, wealth, and privilege.  It was a nice change of pace for our reader, even if she wondered how women could possibly be content with being entertained and wooed all the time.  “It seems [very] boring,” she noted.

Last, Nevermore jumped into Inferno:  A Doctor’s Ebola Story by Dr. Steven Hatch.  Hatch, an infectious disease specialist, fired worked in Liberia during 2013 at a hospital in Monrovia.  Within six months, several physicians were dead and Ebola was quickly growing into an international crisis.  Hatch also helped create the Ebola Treatment Unit with the International Medical Corps, trying to stop the spread of this horrific disease—and temper the xenophobic politics that stemmed from this crisis.  Inferno is an uncompromising look at Liberia’s violent history and the virus that nearly destroyed it.  Our reader called Hatch’s book “absolutely fascinating.  [It was] very informative and very well written.”  She added that it was very interesting to see how the history of Liberia factored into the spread of the Ebola epidemic and how doctors were able to track the virus, going into such great detail as to hypothesize on the victim of the very first Ebola infection.

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