Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Nevermore: Wellness, Baby's Bones, Mary's Monster, Reading Brian, Immigration, Macbeth

Reported by Kristin

Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Life Longer by Barbara Ehrenreich proved to be a very popular discussion book for Nevermore this week, as readers recognized the author’s thesis that a person can live the most healthful life, and yet sooner or later, will still die.  Ehrenreich takes the humorous view as she tells stories of health nuts dying young, but emphasizes that the important thing is to enjoy today.  This led to an excellent conversation of all the positive health practices that we can do simply because they make us feel good.

The first in a new series by Rebecca Alexander, A Baby’s Bones is a page turning mystery that ties together stories both modern and ancient.  When both adult and baby bones are found in a well, archaeologist Sage Westfield must unravel the clues to tell the stories of those long, or not-so-long, dead.  Our reader found this an entertaining novel with interesting characters.

Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and how Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge was most enthusiastically recommended by our Nevermore reader.  A non-traditional biography, this volume was written in free verse and beautifully illustrated with black and white watercolors by the author.  Our reader said that she read it in one sitting and found it absolutely fascinating.  After hearing the hearty endorsement “I love this book!” another reader gladly picked it up to read in the coming week.

Another Nevermore member found herself very drawn in by Reader Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf.  The author has long been a scholar of how we process what we read and how reading actually changes the pathways within the human brain.  Our reader stressed how important actual physical books and parent-child laptime are for developing minds.  Wolf does advocate for digital reading as well, within a comprehensive learning process.

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú moved our next reader deeply.  This very timely 2018 work of non-fiction about immigration, law enforcement, and humanity is drawn from the real life experiences Cantú had as a Border Patrol agent in the El Paso–Juárez area.  Dealing with gang violence, unexplained disappearances, and poverty stricken people, Cantú has written an eye-opening book about the desperation of people who just want to protect their families.

Finally, our last reader returned to fiction with Macbeth by Jo Nesbo.  A Nordic noir retelling of Shakespeare’s play, this is a clever story with striking characters in a modern day world.  As with many classic stories, good must battle evil, and this time does so in the midst of a drug war.  Reviews have been mixed, but our reader found the writing excellent, with many twists and turns.

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