Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Nevermore: Bookshop of Yesterdays, Fourth Monkey, Breathing Lessons, Outsider, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Reported by Kristin

With a group full of book lovers, it’s no surprise that the first title mentioned was The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson.  Miranda Brooks fondly remembers her Uncle Billy and his Los Angeles bookstore while she was growing up, but lost touch with him after he and Miranda’s mother have a falling-out.  Sixteen years later, Miranda learns that Uncle Billy has died and has left her his bookstore, and the clues left within.  Miranda spends a summer deciphering clues and following a mysterious scavenger hunt, as well as discovering more about her family.  Our reader found this story quite interesting, although rather predictable.

Next up was The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker.  The first book featuring Detective Sam Parker, this installment features a killer who has frightened Chicago residents for over five years.  Playing off the idea of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” the fourth monkey here is “do no evil.”  Our reader said that she read the entire book in one day and simply “could not put the darn thing down.”

Another reader picked up an older novel by Anne Tyler, Breathing Lessons.  The story centers around Maggie and Ira Moran, a long married couple who spend a road trip reflecting upon their lives.  Married just after high school, Maggie and Ira have had more than their share of differences, joys, and heartaches.  Enthusiastically recommending this book as funny and relatable, our reader also noted that the book was so much better than the movie of the same name.

Turning to non-fiction, the next book club member shared her pleasurable experience in reading The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue, by New York Times bestselling author Frederick Forsyth.  Known for his suspense novels full of spies, arms dealers, and drug cartels, Forsyth has finally written the story of his own life.  A pilot in the Royal Air Force as a young man, Forsyth then turned to journalism as a Reuters correspondent, later working for the BBC.  With life adventures taking him across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and more, our reader found Forsyth to be a fascinating character.

Blending history with imagination, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird was up next, a story of an African queen who was brought to the New World in slavery, and her descendants.  The granddaughter, Cathy Williams, was born into slavery but seized her chance to fight during the Civil War by dressing as a man and joining the Buffalo Soldiers.  Based on the life of Cathay Williams who enlisted in the United States army as “William Cathay,” this novel was regarded as an interesting read.

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