Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Nevermore: Theroux, Berg, Allende, Gundry, Jonasson, Owens, Sullivan, Cornwell

Reported by Laura

            On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey is written by legendary travel writer, Paul Theroux. Mr. Theroux drove the entire length of the US-Mexican border interviewing the locals and giving a behind the scenes look at the difference on each side. At some locations, the US side was better; in others, the Mexican side, though Mexico exhibited a lot of pure poverty. The author expresses the opinion that NAFTA basically turned the Mexican side of the border into a supply of cheap labor. Many of the Mexicans feel that they don’t fear death because life has cured them of their fears. The reviewer really enjoyed this book and definitely recommends it.

            Elizabeth Berg has been a popular author lately. Open House tells the story of Samantha, the mother of an eleven year-old son, whose husband has left her. In order to survive, she takes in a variety of boarders who all affect her life in different ways. She finds herself open to love, but realizes she has to find herself before she can love someone else. This book is recommended.

            Isabelle Allende’s latest, A Long Petal of the Sea references the shape of Chile. In 1939, Victor Dalmau, a young doctor, and his sister-in-law, a pianist, are forced out of Barcelona and into exile in Chile due to the Spanish Civil War. This historical novel spans four generations and our reviewer found it to be a beautiful book by an author she loves.

            The Longevity Paradox by Steven R. Gundry has also been reviewed in the past to varying degrees of liking or loathing. This week’s reviewer finds his never-ending lists of food to eat or not eat a bit exhausting, but does feel that the author is on track when it comes to keeping bacterial flora at a healthy level within the gut. She feels there is a lot of good health advice included in the book.

            The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson tells the story of Allan Karlson, an old man who is sitting in his room at the nursing home dreading his 100th birthday party. He makes the decision to climb out the window in his slippers and disappear. The book covers not only his adventures after his escape, but his eventful, interesting life, as well.  As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that he has played a minor role in some of the momentous events of the 20th century. Our reviewer says that this was a fantastic book that she greatly enjoyed.

            Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a well-loved book that is still on the best seller’s list. It is both a coming of age story as well as a crime novel. Kya grows up in a shack in the marshlands of North Carolina. Known to the community only as The Marsh Girl, she has still managed to survive and make a life for herself. However, when a local murder occurs, she is the first person to become a suspect. Our reviewer absolutely loved this book. It made her happy, it made her cry, and it helped her to remember her own childhood. She found it lovely, moving, and well-written.

            Set in Italy during WWll, Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan is a novel based on a true story. Pino Lella is a 17 year-old boy who helped Jews escape over the Alps into Northern Italy. This book tells a lot about the Nazis and is suspenseful as well as a love story. The author was able to meet Mr. Lella and an interview is included in the back of the book. The reviewer found the story fascinating and extremely moving.

            Our last review was for The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell. The title refers to an actual research institute that tests the decomposition of corpses. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of VA, is called to investigate the murder of an 11 year-old girl in Black Mountain, NC. Working on a similar case in Virginia, Scarpetta turns to The Body Farm for help in solving the cases. The reviewer loved this book and found it very interesting.

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