Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nevermore: Elderly Lady, Medicine Men, Threat, Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Her One Mistake, Where the Crawdads Sing

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore began with laughter, as one reviewer reported on An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten as absolutely delightful.  Tursten is a well-known Swedish mystery author, but took the challenge to create a new character for a Christmas short-story anthology.  Thus, 88-year-old Maud was created.  Maud is indeed up to no good, and our reader commented that this set of tales shows that when you get older, you don’t have to get dumber.

Another reader picked up Medicine Men: Extreme Appalachian Doctoring by Carolyn Jourdan, a collection of doctors’ stories in the southern Appalachians.  Miracle cures and old wives tales abound and the dialect is preserved in print.  Jourdan lives near Sevierville, so her writing has the flavor of this region.  While our reader very much enjoyed the book, she found most of the stories rather unbelievable.

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew McCabe was next discussed around the table.  McCabe served as Deputy Director of the FBI for two years as well as being named Acting Director for a short time in 2017.  The volume deals with how the FBI is organized and McCabe’s career, only delving into more recent political maneuverings in the last 50 pages or so.  Our reader highly recommended this as she perceived McCabe to be a very intelligent man with a well-written book.

Another book club member enjoyed a recent New York Times Bestseller, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer.  Pointing out that Native American culture did not end at Wounded Knee in 1890, but was forced to forge a new identity amidst the overwhelming non-Native, mostly European, influences in the United States.  Treuer argues that these struggles caused Native Americans to build stronger communities as they sought to preserve their language and traditions.  Our reader found the book very touching and descriptive of how Native Americans have fitted into mainstream life as well as maintaining their own tribal identities.

A psychological thriller made its way into the book club discussion with Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks.  Charlotte has taken her children along with Alice, her friend Harriet’s daughter, to the school fair for a day of fun.  But when Alice disappears, the tragedy breaks apart the women’s friendship.  Our reader said that there were plenty of twists and turns, and that she almost had the plot figured out, but not exactly.  This is one book that will keep readers reading late into the night.

Finally, another reader very much enjoyed another recent bestseller, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.  On the North Carolina coast, Barkley Cove is a small town full of natural beauty.  When young Kya Clark is abandoned by her parents and grows up in the salt marshes, she becomes a bit feared for her eccentricities.  When a young man is murdered, Kya, the “Marsh Girl,” is immediately suspected.  Owens’ literary debut and huge success has been hailed as beautiful and moving.  Our reader claimed that she was surprised by the ending, but overall loved the book.

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