Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Nevermore: Graveyard Book, Alone, October Sky, Glass Houses, Little Fires Everywhere

Reported by Ambrea

We kicked Nevermore off with a review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which tells the story of an unusual boy who lives in an unusual place—the local cemetery.  After the murder of his entire family, Bod has spent much of his life being raised by the otherworldly denizens of the cemetery.  But when Bod wants to see the world of the living and learn there’s more to the life than the dead, he’ll discover that the graveyard he’s come to know and love may very well be the safest place to be.  Our reader said The Graveyard Book was really neat and interesting.  “It’s gruesome,” she admitted, “but somehow amusing.”  It’s a weird, but fun story that offers a classic story of good versus evil—and a wild ride.

Next, Nevermore checked out Alone  by Michael Korda, which carries the wordy subtitle Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk:  Defeat into Victory.  A stirring epic of remarkable proportions, Alone reconstructs the events that lead to the Battle of Dunkirk and its immediate aftermath.  Interwoven with Korda’s own family history, Alone is a thoroughly researched and well-written account of one of the most pivotal moments of World War II.  Our reader enjoyed Michael Korda’s book immensely, noting that the author writes incredibly well and offers a piece of beautifully crafted nonfiction.  He recommended it highly to his fellow history buffs.

October Sky (originally titled Rocket Boys) by Homer Hickam also proved to be popular at our Nevermore meeting.  In his wonderful memoir, Hickam tells the story of his adolescence in the small mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia—and his inspiration to build rockets when he first watched Sputnik travel across the sky.  Our reader said she and her husband really enjoyed reading their shared copy of October Sky.  She noted that Hickam was incredibly candid and introspective, providing a surprisingly detailed description of his hometown and a brutally honest portrayal of himself, his friends, and his family as they endured a time of great change and discovery.

Next, Nevermore looked at Glass Houses by the ever popular Louise Penny.  The thirteenth book in the Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series, Glass Houses is an intriguing mystery that the book jacket claims “shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience.  A court that supersedes all others.”  When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines during a bitter November day, Gamache is wary of the dark shadow it casts.  He waits and watches—and then a body is discovered.  Months later, in a courtroom in July, Gamache must reckon with his actions on that fateful day.  Our reader admitted that she’s a big fan of Louise Penny.  After reading the rest of Penny’s series, she was excited to pick up this latest mystery and she said she wasn’t disappointed!

Last, but certainly not least, Nevermore picked up Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.  In Shaker Heights, a picture-perfect suburb on the outskirts of Cleveland, Elena Richardson lives with her picture-perfect family.  But when Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl arrive, Elena’s idyllic bubble is quickly shattered.  When her distrust becomes an obsession, Elena will discover the dangers that lurk behind perfection.  Our reader said he enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere immensely.  It’s a fascinating novel that delves deep into family and neighborhood dynamics, and it takes a long hard look at the cost of perfection.  He pointed out that perfect was insidious, noting Elena makes things perfect, “like a steamroller makes a road flat.  It’s perfect, but it crushes things along the way.”  He highly recommended it to his fellow Nevermore members, and he soon passed it on to the next reader.

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