November 10, 2008 by Reader's Connection
Known for “African American Christian romance that will surprise readers” Jacquelin Thomas now re-imagines the Biblical story of Jezebel as a compelling modern drama. It follows the exploits of manipulative Georgia beauty Jessie Belle who weds a trusting and prosperous pastor, Traynor Devereaux, as a ticket out of town. Traynor doesn’t realize that his cunning new bride isn’t just dreaming of a new life, but running from an old one-and an unsalvageable reputation that could destroy both their futures.–Publisher’s Description
In his first two family memoirs,Rick Bragg . . . ignored his late father, who left the family when Bragg was six, except as the person who had made his mother poor and miserable. He dismissed his father as “a mean drunk and a tragic figure.” But at the age of 40, Bragg finds himself in love and married to a woman with a 10-year-old son, who thinks he “hung the moon.” For him to be a father, he needs to learn who that shadowy figure really was. For the first time he asks his father’s family about the past, from the Alabama mountains where his father’s people were born to the mill town where they married, drank, and fought. Brilliantly written and deeply moving, this is one of the great American memoirs, the equal of McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes.–Steve Bridge, Irvington Library
Told by a master storyteller who, according to critic Russell Nye, “combined adventure, action, violence, crisis, conflict, sentimentalism, and sex in an extremely shrewd mixture,” “Riders of the Purple Sage” is a classic of the Western genre. It is the story of Lassiter, a gunslinging avenger in black, who shows up in a remote Utah town just in time to save the young and beautiful rancher Jane Withersteen from having to marry a Mormon elder against her will. Lassiter is on his own quest . . . –powells.com
Fifteen year-old Olympia Biddleford is destined to live a life of privilege and prestige in Boston society. Everything changed in 1899. While staying her parents’ summer home on the New Hampshire coast, Olympia falls in love. Unfortunately, the man of her dreams is the married friend of her father. Dr. John Haskell loves Olympia in return and the two begin a secret affair. Olympia is wise beyond her years, but her maturity isn’t enough to prepare for the repercussions of her actions. The great scandal that rocks the Biddleford family is the subject of Fortune’s Rocks.–Amy Coffin, writing at The BookHaven.net.
In 1916, pretty 15-year-old Ginevra Perry is the spectacularly self-absorbed daughter of wealthy Lake Forest, IL, parents. After a series of scandalous romances that culminate in a shocking broken engagement to some hapless soul, she meets Princeton sophomore F. Scott Fitzgerald. They begin an intense, mostly epistolary romance that, for Ginevra, flames out by summer. Alas, Fitzgerald, already in the throes of messy public alcoholism, never quite recovers from this first all-consuming love. He embarks on a decades-long quest to immortalize Ginevra over and over again . . . Library Journal
Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s shorter works. Originally printed in publications as diverse as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Atlantic Monthly, what these superb stories share is Vonnegut’s audacious sense of humor and extraordinary range of creative vision.–Publisher’s Comment
Jones explores an oft-neglected chapter of American history, the world of blacks who owned blacks in the antebellum South. His fictional examination of this unusual phenomenon starts with the dying 31-year-old Henry Townsend, a former slave-now master of 33 slaves of his own and more than 50 acres of land . . . As a slave in his youth, Henry makes himself indispensable to his master, William Robbins. Even after Henry’s parents purchase the family’s freedom, Henry retains his allegiance to Robbins, who patronizes him when he sets up shop as a shoemaker and helps him buy his first slaves and his plantation. Jones’s thorough knowledge of the legal and social intricacies of slaveholding allows him to paint a complex, often startling picture of life in the region.–Publisher’s Weekly
At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2nd, Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman, by Nuala O’Faolain, will be discussed at Central Library.
Nuala O’Faolain is the rare Irish female writer who’s man enough to pour out in public her own story of family misery and the demon drink. Breaking ranks with her sister Irish authors and their taste for delicate literary memoirs, she churned out the blisteringly candid ”Are You Somebody: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman” and earned entry into an exclusive club: the official (and mostly male) chroniclers of Irish pain and rebirth, from James Joyce to Frank McCourt.–Deborah Mason, The New York Times
After actor Alda (Never Have Your Dog Stuffed) recovered from a nearly fatal intestinal obstruction, he decided to live as if he’d been given a second life. To make his new life as meaningful as possible, he wanted to remember those rare moments when a special stillness had come over him, the kind that hits you when you hear something that goes to the core of who you think you are. These were moments when he’d had some understanding about the meaning of his life, his reason for living—the central questions that Alda grapples with, as he looks back over his life.–Publisher’s Weekly
Before Garrison Keillor and Spalding Gray there was Jean Shepherd: a master monologist and writer who spun the materials of his all-American childhood into immensely resonant–and utterly hilarious–works of comic art. In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash represents one of the peaks of his achievement, a compound of irony, affection, and perfect detail that speaks across generations . . . Shepherd’s wildly witty reunion with his Indiana hometown disproves the adage “You can never go back.” –Random House/Doubleday website
Natalie Coleman has always done whatever she needed to do to survive-even stealing another woman’s husband or trading her favors for money. But now Natalie finally feels her life getting back on track. However when Natalie is rejected by the man she loves, she returns to the home she ran from years ago. There, with her grandmother’s help, she confronts the painful events of her past, finding comfort in the faith of those around her. As old wounds heal, Natalie realizes God has led her home to show her that with love and prayer, every sinner can be saved, every life redeemed.–Publisher’s Description
Critic Van Wyck Brooks said that the Magnificent Ambersons is perhaps Tarkington’s best novel. It is a typical story of an American family and town—the great family that locally ruled the roost and vanished virtually in a day as the town spread and darkened into a city.
The novel helped to inspire Tom Torluemke’s new mural in the Indianapolis Special Collections Room at Central Library.
Empire Falls and Straight Man into best sellers, Russo’s latest tale unravels the tangled skein of love, regret, hope, and longing that wraps itself around friends and family in a small upstate New York town. Russo’s multigenerational tale follows the fortunes of two families, especially the careers of the respective sons . . . a winning story of the strange ways that parents and children, lovers and friends connect and thrive.–Library Journal
Walls’s parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn’t conventionalize either of them . . . With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom’s great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they’d “pick up a little Spanish without even studying.” . . . While Walls’s father’s version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn’t so dear when he stole the kids’ hard-earned savings to go on a bender.–Publisher’s Weekly
At the Lawrence Library on Tuesday, Demember 16th at 10:15 a.m., there will be a discussion of Gregg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations, One School at a Time.
In 1993, Greg Mortenson became very ill when climbing Mt. K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, in the Himalayas. As he recovered for seven weeks in the small Pakistani village of Korphe, he was so touched by their kindness . . . he vowed to return to build their first school. This led to the founding of the Central Asia Institute, which has built 55 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson tells . . . everything he went through to achieve his goal of bringing education to a place rampant with Anti-Americanism.–abcnews.go.com