Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Nevermore: Lost Dogs, Florence of Arabia, Cold, Carter Family

Reported by Lauren
                This week, our Nevermore members shared a few fresh titles, but also gave their opinions on books we had discussed at former meetings that they had passed on to others. We can’t help but get a sense of satisfaction when we review a book so well that all the other members fight over who gets it next! Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Boldte Taylor, and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson have all been popular with our group. We loved hearing reviews of each title from different perspectives, and the recaps and differing opinions sparked a lot of lively conversations.

                One reader shared Where Lost Dogs Go by Susannah Charleson, a new memoir about Susannah and her dog Ace. According to Susannah, 1 in 6 dogs in the US go missing at some point. Many owners are devastated, and if the owners are invalids, not comfortable with using technology such as Facebook to locate their lost pets, or if they don’t have access to transportation, their pets may never be found. Ace, Susannah’s own rescue dog, has a talent for sniffing out lost pets and helping Susannah reunite them with their owners. The author also shares other life experiences, like caring for her mentally-ill mother, and how the techniques she uses to calm and care for her pets are also helpful in reaching her mother. Our reader said this was one of the best books she’d ever read, she “just couldn’t put it down.” Another member who loves dogs snagged this title for herself.

                Next, we discussed Florence of Arabia by Christopher Buckley, a satire recommended by one member to another. The current reader found the book witty and enjoyable, but it was taking her a while to finish because of the subject matter. Buckley uses his main character Florence to examine the role of women in the Middle East as well the role of the American government in attempting to police a society they can never fully understand. Buckley continually points out the ridiculous bureaucracy and red tape all government enterprises fall victim to, and manages to make Florence’s adventures both hilarious and dangerous. 

                Our next reviewer raved about Bill Streever’s novel Cold: Adventures in the World’s Coldest Places. Streever is a research biologist who spent a year living in Alaska and documenting his experiences there. Each chapter opens with a comparison of the temperatures of several big cities all over the country, and all convey various aspects of living in the frozen Alaskan climate. Polar bears, blizzards, melting glaciers, and global warming are all discussed. Our reader raved about this book, so much so that another member decided to give it a try.

                We closed out our meeting with a review of Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music by Mark Zwonitzer. All of our Nevermore members are very familiar with the Carter Family, as they originated from the Scott County region, and we have several museums in our area dedicated to celebrating their music. Our reader thoroughly enjoyed the book, though it was a little dense and packed with lots of complicated family ties. The Carters’ impact on country music is undeniable, originating from the Bristol Sessions, a two month-long effort to capture local Appalachian musicians on record. The Bristol Sessions have been called “The Big Bang of Country Music,” and have given Bristol braggin’ rights as the Birthplace of Country Music. Reading about the Carter Family’s influence on other famous musicians, such as Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Elvis Presley, was fascinating. While most are familiar with the love story of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, our reader enjoyed tracing their roots back to where it all began with A.P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter. Another member also grabbed this book to check out!

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