Reported by Kristin
Nevermore read a wide variety of books this week, beginning with The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber. The similarity of title to The Velveteen Rabbit is no coincidence: this is historical fiction based on the life of Margery Williams Bianco (who wrote The Velveteen Rabbit) and her daughter Pamela, a well-known child prodigy artist. Pamela had great talent, but also suffered greatly from severe depressions and other mental illness all her life. Our reader enjoyed the story of a family touched with talent but also with sadness.
Another reader had a great breakthrough—she finished a book that she had been reading off and on for about a year! The Mute Stones Speak: The Story of Archaeology in Italy by Paul MacKendrick may have been a long read, but well worth the time. The author writes with enthusiasm to draw in scholars and non-scholars alike. Our reader learned much about the search for antiquities in Italy, but was perhaps most impressed by the last ten pages, when it is revealed that the crypt of the first Saint Peter’s church was found.
Moving to yet another continent, Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen by James Suzman. While the book talks about how the bushmen of southern Africa have traditionally lived simple and happy lives, our reader was very impressed by the anthropological changes in people over time. Because of being able to cook meat—skulls, faces and teeth changed, so then they were able to physically develop and articulate speech. Our reader found “so many beautiful things” in this book.
Our Picnics in the Sun by Morag Joss took Nevermore to a novel set on the English moors where Howard and Deborah Morgan are eking out a living by keeping sheep and chickens, making pottery and weaving cloth. Then Howard has a stroke, and the world changes for both of them. Deborah opens a bed and breakfast but is surprised by two men who come to stay, opening up old secrets and tragedies. Our reader said that she enjoyed the book, but that it was quite sad.
Finally, another reader read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. A story about secrets and hidden undercurrents in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, most reviews have been positive. However, our reader found that she didn’t have the patience for the story and thought that all the characters were immature.