Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Nevermore: Worst Hard Time, Frog with Self-Cleaning Feet, Tell Me Everything You Don't Remember, Codename Villanelle

Reported by Lauren
            Natural disasters, international spies, and funny animals are just a few of things our Nevermore members discussed at the last meeting. 

            One reader shared her review of The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan, a study of what has been called “the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land.” This nonfiction book describes the perils of living in the High Plains during the Great Depression while dust storms decimated crops causing residents to starve.  These stoic, hard-working farmers refused to abandon their homesteads, surviving on little to nothing.  Our reader declared it was so much worse than she had ever imagined or been taught. She strongly encouraged everyone read to it, as the threat of natural disasters brought on by climate change due to technological advances is still timely. 

Our next reviewer shared The Frog with Self-Cleaning Feet by Michael Bright. Another nonfiction work, this book highlights fun facts about various animals in the wild, including what they eat, how they camouflage and defend themselves from predators, and even how they bathe and use medicinal plants and herbs to heal themselves. Our reader remarked, “Humans are so boring! We only know how to use our two hands, while these fantastic animals are so creative.” She wished she could read and discuss it with a friend, as she caught herself laughing out loud and saying, “This is unbelievable!” She highly recommended we all check it out.

Two of our members had read Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember: The Stroke That Changed My Life Forever by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee. Ironically neither of them could remember the full title! Author Christine had a stroke at just 33 years old. Her doctor recommended that she keep a diary or journal to help rebuild her memory. This memoir is the result. One reader loved the book, saying that it was really like being inside the mind of stroke victim. The writer jumps around in time, repeats things, and doesn’t always remember details. She found this realistic and endearing; however our other reader disagreed. She didn’t like the time jumps and memory lapses, and found the whole thing repetitive and unnecessary in some places. It was tough for her to even finish. We were all amused to see how two people could interpret the same book so differently.

On a fictional note, one reader is currently engrossed in Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings, the first in the series of novels on which the award-winning BBC America mystery series Killing Eve is based. Villanelle is a Russian orphan turned assassin; Eve is a British Intelligence Agent assigned to track down a killer (Villanelle). The cat-and-mouse game between the two women is extremely interesting so far – our reader promised to keep us posted! She also took the sequel, Killing Eve: No Tomorrow.

To wrap up our meeting, we discussed one of the latest titles in the self-help genre, Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. Hollis is a successful blogger, author, motivational speaker, and mom. In this novel, she presents strategies other like-minded women can use to reach their own goals and find success, whatever that looks like to them. Her main point is to stop apologizing for your dreams, and do whatever you need to do to reach your goals. Through funny anecdotes and various lists, she advises women to stop allowing others’ doubts to keep you from living your best life. While our reviewer didn’t find any of the information new or ground-breaking, it was a nice reminder to be yourself and stay the course, even when daily life seems overwhelming. Three out of five stars!

The Nevermore Book Club meets every Tuesday at 11:00 am in the Frances Kegley Meeting Room at Bristol Public Library.  New members welcome!

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