Reported by Kristin
Nevermore began with another look into the local region with Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia by Steven Stoll. From the early European settlers to the industrialization that razed mountaintops and eventually left miners out of work, Appalachia has been a hard-fought place with beauty and resources coveted by many. Our reader found this to be a very scholarly work with many notes and bibliographic resources. The perspective Stoll provides in order to look back at those earliest settlers lives was found to be invaluable.
Mary Coin by Marisa Silver is a novel based around the famous photograph Migrant Mother taken by Dorothea Lange in 1936. Silver has taken the concept of that photograph and re-imagined that mother’s story. Within the bounds of poverty and motherhood, the character Mary Coin has a heartbreaking story. The fictional photographer Vera Dare has a part in her tale, as well as a professor of cultural history as he explores the secrets in Mary’s life decades later. Our reader was touched by this book and recommended it to others.
New Boy by Tracy Chevalier takes a Shakespearean tragedy, Othello, and brings it new life with racist undertones in a suburban Washington school in the 1970s. Describing the middle school drama of four 11-year-olds, romance and betrayal is the name of the game. Our reader noted that the book shows how all the different personalities affect each other, and that sophisticated maneuvers on the part of unsophisticated characters can really derail someone’s life.
The same reader turned to non-fiction with the Blooding: The True Story of the Narborough Village Murders by Joseph Wambaugh. First published in 1989, Wambaugh’s tale describes the first time DNA was used successfully to solve a murder. Teenager Lynda Mann was brutally attacked and killed near the English village of Narborough. A lengthy manhunt ensued, with DNA identification being used to ultimately catch the killer.
Another reader ventured into a children’s book with an attitude: The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. The story has a stereotypical premise: beautiful Princess Elizabeth is going to marry Prince Ronald. Unfortunately, a dragon smashes her castle, burns up her clothing, and carries away the Prince. Being a resourceful young Princess, she makes a new outfit out of a paper bag and sets off to rescue the Prince. Being quite the clever Princess, Elizabeth outwits the dragon and neatly puts Ronald in his place as well. Our reader was charmed by the text and illustrations of this classic picture book.