Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nevermore: Lost Roses, Witchfinder, Things in Jars, Red Coat, Read My Pins, Arguing with Zombies, Mountain Empire Memories

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore began with a flurry of book pages and notes from e-readers. First up was Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. A generation before Caroline, the heroine of the earlier bestselling novel Lilac Girls, Caroline’s mother Eliza Ferriday proved herself an adventuresome young woman travelling through eastern Europe into Russia with Romanov cousin Sofya Streshnayva in 1914. Our reader said that the phenomenal descriptions made her feel as if she were right there amid the splendor of the pre-Russian revolution excesses, all while the common people were starving outside. This historical novel portrays the great and brutal inequalities which fomented the rebellion to come.

Our next reader was happy to have picked up a 50 cent book from the Bristol Public Library gift shop: The Witchfinder by Loren Estleman. Twelfth in the Amos Walker Private Investigator series, this outing takes the Detroit detective on a fact finding mission fueled by revenge. Jay Furlong is dying and he wants to know who destroyed his relationship with a young woman architect eight years ago. Our reader is only part way through, but is getting full value and enjoyment from her bargain book.

Next up in fiction was The Red Coat by Dolley Carlson. Set in Boston during the years surrounding the Second World War, this novel reveals the joy and the pain felt by both high society and working class families. A donated red coat is passed from mother to daughter. Our reader found this to be a sweet little book, and enjoyed it very much.

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd was quite a jarring departure from other fiction discussed, but one that fascinated our readers. In Victorian London Bridie Devine is a most unusual creature, a female detective set with the task of finding a kidnapped young girl. The girl isn’t just anyone, she’s a secret daughter of someone quite famous, and she may have slightly more than natural powers. Our reader predicts that this will turn into a #1 bestseller.

Turning to non-fiction, another reader enjoyed Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box by Madeleine Albright, which tells so much more of the former Secretary of State’s life than just her fashion accessories. Our Nevermore member found it to be a quick read, especially since she skimmed over the details of the pins that Albright was so famous for wearing.

The next book was non-fiction as well, even strangely titled—Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future by Paul Krugman. This Nobel Prize winner has decades of experience in the national arena and explains that the “zombies” are misunderstandings that just won’t die and are continually recirculated as gospel truths. Kruger draws together many of the issues that he has covered in his popular New York Times column in this uniquely named volume.

Finally, another reader picked up and enjoyed a newly published work on local history, Mountain Empire Memories: A Photographic History of the Early Years by the staff of the Bristol Herald Courier. Putting together photos from the Museum of the Middle Appalachians, the William King Museum of Art, the Bristol Historical Association, and the Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism, this coffee-table book is a really interesting browsing book. Our reader noted that if you are from this area of southwest Virginia or northeast Tennessee, this book will take you on a walk down memory lane as you recognize places from past decades.

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