Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Nevermore Favorites for 2020

Since this is the end of 2020--pause for cheers-- we decided to list some of the books that delighted our Nevermore members during this dismal year.

Elizabeth Berg is a favorite author for many in Nevermore, and this year her book Confession Club came up a number of times.  It is a feel-good story set in a small Missouri town.  A group of women gathers each week to share stories about their lives and to support one another. Some of the characters were already familiar to those who had read the other books Berg had set in the same town (Night of Miracles and The Story of Arthur Truluv) but you don’t need to have read those to enjoy this one.      


Our next book was a nonfiction offering, Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Retelling by Mo Rocca in which he pays tribute to people, things, and concepts which he feels have not received their due. It is beautifully written, well researched, and often funny.  Rocca is a compassionate author who treats all the subjects with respect.  There is a great deal of background for each entry which covers a wide variety of people and subjects, including Audrey Hepburn, disco, Thomas Paine, Prussia, Sammy Davis, Jr., and dragons.  The section on Billy Carter was a favorite of one Nevermore reader. He was interviewed after he was sober and reflected on his behavior during his brother’s presidential years. Another was quite taken by the history of the station wagon.  All agreed that this was definitely a must read!    


An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helen Tursten made the list again this year!  It was quite a sensation in 2019 and made a return this year as people looked for some escapism.  Translated from the original Swedish, this slim book of stories tells about Maud, an 88 year old who has arranged her life as she wants and intends to keep it that way, including her rent-free apartment which she inherited.  Maud will do whatever needs doing to keep things the way she likes, and that may include murder.  One reader said she loved Maud because she knows how to solve problems.


Other authors who made an impression this year:


Noah Gordon for his historical series Cole, which included The Physician, Shaman, and Matters of Choice aka Choices.  The books follow the Cole family of physicians who have The Gift, a sixth sense which tells them of impending death.  The saga begins in the Dark Ages and concludes in the modern era.


Erik Larson for his fascinating non-fiction, including his most recent book, The Splendid and the Vile which looks at Winston Churchill and his family during the Blitz.  Some of his other titles which came up during the year were Dead Wake (about the sinking of the Lusitania), Thunderstruck (about Marconi, mass communication, and a murder), and Devil in the White City (about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and a serial killer).


John Scalzi is a science fiction/fantasy author who caught the fancy of several Nevermore members, first through his collection of short fiction A Very Scalzi Christmas and then through his series which started with Old Man’s War. While not usually slapstick, Scalzi’s work employs humor to good effect which surprised one reader who didn’t know that science fiction could be funny.

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