Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Nevermore: Valley of the Kings, After Coal, 100 Year Old Man, and More!

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore went straight into weighty subjects this week, with our first reader reporting upon Valley of the Kings: Exploring the Tombs of the Pharaohs by John Romer.  Filled with glittery gold and other unique artifacts discovered in Egyptian royal tombs, this volume is well organized and thorough.  Jammed full of facts, our reader said that in fact it was a little dense, and it was a little like “shoveling snow that has been soaked in rain water for twenty years” just to get through it.

After that was After Coal: Stories of Survival in Appalachia and Wales by Tom Hansell.  Many comparisons have been drawn between Appalachia and parts of the British Isles as they have a geologic similarity.  Coal mining helped to build the economies of both regions, and the depletion of easily mined resources has brought hardship to both as well.  Our reader was fascinated by the parallel timelines experienced on both sides of the Atlantic.

The same reader found some humor in a work of fiction:  The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.  Allan Karlsson is reluctantly living in a nursing home even though he is in good health and feels perfectly able to live on his own.  Faced with his upcoming 100th birthday party, Allan decides to skip out, through the window, that is.  Our reader chuckled at Allan’s history as a side figure in some of the most important pieces of history during his lifespan as he connected in some small way with Stalin, Churchill, Mao, and other world leaders.

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty brought a smile to another reader’s face.  A trio of sisters, Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, are busy living their lives in Australia.  The thirty-three year old women deal with love and family, individually as well as within their special triplet bond.  Our reader found it light, funny, and worth reading.

Another reader enjoyed Freefall, a debut novel by Jessica Barry.  When Allison is presumed dead from a small aircraft crash in the Rocky Mountains, her mother Maggie just can’t believe that it could be true.  Our book club member commented that the story was fast moving and intriguing, and right in your face from the very beginning all the way to a huge twist at the end.  However, another reader dissented, saying that she found the book rather formulaic and was not surprised by the ending, and even found herself disappointed that she had wasted the time to read the entire book.

Returning to non-fiction, another reader picked up Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember: The Stroke That Changed My Life by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee.  At age thirty-three, Lee experienced confusing symptoms which culminated in the diagnosis of a stroke.  During her recovery, she went through many changes in her marriage, having a child, and learning to work in the corporate world again without the benefit of a filter for her thoughts.  Our reader enjoyed her straightforwardness and sympathized with the difficulties Lee faced.

Finally, another reader attempted to read the fourth in the private eye Cormoran Strike series:  Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling.)  However, our reader managed to get through about ten pages (of 656) and decided that “what this woman needs is a good editor.”  She decided to return the book for the benefit of another more patient library patron.

Ambrea will return tomorrow with her review of The Return of the King.

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