Library Column–November 17, 2005

Plenty of good reading at the library—especially with the arrival of many new books! However, here are some good reads amongst the books that have been here for a few months.

The Lake, the River & the Other Lake by Steve Amick. A bittersweet book about a small resort town in Michigan, complete with clashes between visitors and locals, a great crop of eccentrics, a secret war against jet-skis and the sudden demise of the world’s only glow-in-the-dark lighthouse. An excellent, entertaining read with some depth and flavor.

Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America: My Story by Michelle Kennedy. A young mother’s true story of making mistakes, ending up living in a car with three children, and pulling her life back together again. Gripping and scary: many of us are only a few paychecks away from the streets.

The Fire Baby by Jim Kelly. A complex, subtle, suspenseful mystery with three intertwined stories, set in the Fen country in England. The main character is a journalist (so is the author) and his pursuit of what seem like normal stories pull him into a series of terrifying murders.

The Ambassador’s Son by Homer Hickam. A delightful WW II novel, set in the Solomon Islands and populated by a rich cast of characters. The fictional characters are supplemented by three "real" people: John F. Kennedy, Nixon and Michener. The book includes some great action sequences but I thought the best part was the character development and the moral dilemmas.

A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schiff. A readable history/biography of Franklin’s role in extracting enough money from France to finance the American Revolution. The book is filled with fascinating stories of odd incidents, eccentric characters, disastrous personality conflicts, spies, lies, and messes. And just why did France, an old fashioned police state ruled by an old fashioned king, support a revolution? And support that revolution to the edge of France’s bankruptcy? A good, but somewhat long read.

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. Highly recommended novel exploring human relationships through a double lens: fairy tales and lightning strike survivors. The narrator is a librarian, but not a typical librarian—real librarians like people!

Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill. Sequel to The Coroner’s Lunch continues the saga of Laos under a new communist government (1970’s) with interesting clashes between past and future, official atheism and traditional shamanism, quirky Dr. Siri and the powers that be. I thought it was a very entertaining continuation with a successful deepening of both the characters and the background.

I would like to thank everyone who has donated recent paperbacks for our paperback collection. We have many recent popular books in the collection and you don’t need a library card to check them out. Even better, there are no due dates, so you can enjoy them for as long as you want without a guilty conscience. I’d also like to thank all of the generous people who have brought in DVDs for our new collection. More DVDs are very welcome!

Upcoming event: December 1st, 6:30 PM, Thursday, Warren Elementary School Auditorium, Parenting Workshop with Louise Dietzel, M.S., "Respectful Discipline And Limit-Setting:  Teaching Self-Control While Avoiding Punishment and Power Struggles."

See you at the library.

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