Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Nevermore: Life at the Bottom, Notes on a Foreign Country, St. Louie Drag, Confederados, Best Day Ever, Flashforward

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore kicked off with Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple.  A prolific author, British psychiatrist Dalrymple examined patients in a slum hospital and drew conclusions that their ailments were perhaps caused by having no direction and responsibility for their own lives.  Our reader highly recommended the book, while noting that Dalrymple was not afraid to call out people and urge them to take charge of their own lives.

Next, Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen was called insightful.  Journalist Hansen chose to move from New York City to Istanbul, Turkey in order to explore the Middle East.  Our reader noted that the United States involvement in the rest of the world is widespread with the government’s desire to stabilize or de-stabilize other governments.

Turning to fiction, another reader enjoyed St. Louie Slow Drag, a mystery by Jo Allison.  The series (which begins with The Good Old Summertime) is set in 1910 St. Louis, where Julia Nye works for the city police as a typist.  Suddenly she finds herself amid music and murder when she goes to a ragtime club in an African-American neighborhood.  Our reader said that once she got to the middle part, she almost couldn’t put it down.

The Confederados: Old South Immigrants in Brazil, edited by Cyrus B. Dawsey and James M. Dawsey is a collection of essays by respected scholars which cover the experiences of southern Confederates who left the United States after the Civil War and relocated to South America.  Many went to Brazil, and their descendants live there today.  Our reader was impressed by the narrative sections which told stories in the exiles’ own words.

Next up, Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda shows the dark side of a marriage as a couple spends what is supposed to be a relaxing day out at their lake house.  Tension builds as the day goes on, and Mia begins to wonder exactly what Paul has planned for her.  Our reader said that this novel is about how perception varies, depending on who you are.  Also worthy of admiration, noted the Nevermore member, was that the book was written by a young female author who was able to clearly express the male point of view.

Lastly, Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer portrays what might happen if all of humanity was exposed to a brief glimpse of the future, but then had to resume their everyday lives.  With the foresight of a very different future, people began making choices that they might otherwise not have made.  Our reader found this to be a very satisfying audiobook, as the miles slipped away.

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