Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Nevermore: Douglass, Crichton, Theroux, Hooper, Harrow, Gibbons

Reported by Kristin

One Nevermore member was slowly enjoying a lovely edition of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Other Works. Douglass was found to be a very brilliant and clear thinker about the social aspects of slavery. Our reader described his admiration for a man born into slavery who taught himself so much and who influenced so many people.

Another reader had picked up the posthumously published Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton. With a cover looking much like the Jurassic Park saga that Crichton is so well known for, this story is set in 1876 in the Wild West, when it was still easy (and relatively unregulated) to excavate fossil sites. Our reader said that the novel was full of Native Americans, soldiers, forts, and even Wyatt Earp made an appearance, making it quite a fun read.

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey by Paul Theroux has been making the Nevermore rounds, and the current reader absolutely loved it. Theroux travels the globe to find the cultural richness rarely seen with the struggles of people searching for a better life. Our reader said that the author takes you down the desert roads and presents an excellent portrayal of the rough challenges faced by many south of our national border.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper was very highly recommended as it tells the story of eighty-three year old Etta who decides to walk across Canada to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. In doing so, she reminisces about the life she has led with her husband Otto, their childhood friends, and lost loves. Our reader emphasized that she absolutely loved, loved, loved it, and encouraged others to give it a try.

Entering a world of mystical possibilities, our next reader picked up The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. In the early 1900s, January Scaller is the adopted daughter of a rich man who collects curiosities from around the world. When she finds a book filled with secret doors, January is intrigued. This book was praised as excellent, but weird. It is highly recommended for those who like, well, weird books.

Finally, Divining Women by Kaye Gibbons, a novel set within the Spanish influenza epidemic, was enjoyed by our last reader. Mary Oliver is a young woman who comes to help her aunt Maureen during a difficult pregnancy. Maureen’s husband Troop is cold and strict, and Mary finds herself desperate to protect her aunt. Our Nevermore reader said that the underlying theme of the novel was how women can change their lives when they decide to take control.

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