Library Column – November 30, 2006

Still waiting for some real snow fall, but my reading has been lively at least! Stop in and look for a book to help you make it through the holidays, we have cookbooks, party planning books, decorating books and lots and lots of great escapist reading.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker by Joanne Sundell. This book is just plain confusing. First it is a romance, but it is also a western and, of course a historical novel. However, the main character is a woman doctor, but not only is she a woman doctor, she is a Russian Jewish woman doctor. So the book is in a genre of its own, totally unique. Light and amusing, but also dealing with anti-semitism, prejudice against foreigners and Jews, poverty, death and suffering.

Winter’s Child by Margaret Maron. North Carolina and Virginia, murder among the working class and murder among the genteel class, along with a missing child and some puzzling questions about museum quality antiques. A nice mix.

Scam Proof Your Life: 377 Smart Ways to Protect You & Your Family From Ripoffs, Bogus Deals & Other Consumer Headaches by Sid Kirchheimer. One of those incredibly handy reference works, filled with useful information, addresses, phone numbers and strategies. Includes chapters on buying and maintaining cars, ditto for houses, also credit cards, medical care, getting into college, fighting identity theft and on and on.

A World Ignited: How Apostles of Ethnic, Religious, and Racial Hatred Torch the Globe by Martin and Susan J. Tolchin. An overview of violent conflicts worldwide, with a probing examination of the roots of trouble in various countries and cultures. Donated to the library by the authors, who spend summers here in Warren every year.

Eating Well Magazine: Where Good Taste Meets Good Health. Did you know that magazines can be checked out of the Warren Public Library? For two weeks? This recent addition to our library collection focuses on meals that are both nutritious and yummy. Give it a browse!

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. A lyrical novel, set in the Ozarks, about a sixteen year old girl whose father has disappeared. Threatened with the loss of the family home, Ree must find out what happened to her father and why. Bittersweet.

The Testament by John Grisham (audio CD, abridged). An elderly billionaire writes a last minute will, leaving all of his estate to an illegitimate daughter, a missionary in a remote area of Brazil. His other children, encouraged by a mob of lawyers, challenge the will. The story incorporates a strongly religious element in the life of two of the characters.

The Prince of the Marshes and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq by Rory Stewart. I haven’t actually read this book, but two people who have recommend it very highly. The author was deputy governor of two remote regions of Iraq, following the U.S. takeover, and the book is a frank account of his eleven months trying to accomplish an impossible job with the wrong tools.

Death of a Nationalist by Rebecca Pawel. A dark mystery, set in dark times, Madrid, Spain in 1939. First of an excellent series.

Cocaine Blues and Flying too High both by Kerry Greenwood. The first two mysteries featuring flapper sleuth Phryne Fisher are set in 1920s Australia. Lively, amusing and adventurous with a side serving of fashion commentary.

Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston. Elinor and Ted have been married for a few years and they want to have a baby—but things are not working out. This is the starting point for a funny, sad, bittersweet story where love and technology cross and fray.

Two for the Road: our Love Affair with American Food by Jane and Michael Stern. Darn funny book about two professional food writers who happen to be a)Jewish, b)married to each other, and c)lovers of good, old-fashioned, traditional American food. The book is filled with funny stories about their road trips combined with delighted praise for barbecue, sweet potato pie, steaks, fried chicken, pancakes and other culinary delights. Not for vegetarians.

See you at the library!

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