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Thanks to all the faculty and staff who contributed to this issue of Bookwatch. There are many great tles recommended that will make great leisure reading over Spring Break. Be sure to stop by the library to see the display of the items highlighted in this issue.

Western Reserve Academy

Reading Recommenda ons from the John D. Ong Library

Congratula ons to Sue Cameron the winner of the $20 gi card to the Learned Owl.

FACULTY AND STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: Chris Burner recommends: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (National Book Award winner) “Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.” (Amazon product description)

Beth Pethel recommends: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Euginides “Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.” (Amazon product description)

Matt Peterson recommends: Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture by Diane Senechal “Diana Senechal confronts a culture that has come to depend on instant updates and communication at the expense of solitude.” (Amazon product description)

Jill Evans recommends: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson “…an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart.” (Amazon product description)

Rich Hoffman recommends: Chasing Moonlight by Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising “This is the true story of Archie Graham, who was fictionalized by Ray Kinsella in Shoeless Joe and then in the movie, ‘Field of Dreams’.”

Bill Bugg recommends:


How to Live, or A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell “An amusing biography of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, in some respects, according to Bakewell, the first modern man, one who had the temerity (or the tastelessness, depending on one's perspective) to put his unexpurgated life in front of his readers with impunity and without shame.”

Judy Israelson recommends: Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell “After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, [16 year-old] Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother.” (Amazon product description)

Terrie Wesley recommends: Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

books Faculty and Staff Recommendations cont.: Lisabeth Robinson recommends:

“Determined to find out what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months earlier, Kay Scarpetta travels to the Georgia Prison for Women, where an inmate has information not only on Fielding, but also on a string of grisly killings.” (Amazon product description) Home Front by Kristen Hannah “Hannah explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.” (Amazon product description)

Midge Karam recommends:

Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes

Fool by Christopher Moore “Springtime is a great time to read Bella Tuscany--which begins “I love King Lear so thought Moore's telling of the tale from the with spring.” fool's point of view sounded cool. I was right - bawdy & irreverCultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden by Diane ent and full of Shakespearean language…” Ackerman and My Mother's House and Sido by Colette Lamb by Christopher Moore “The dream of flowers and mild days lies between the pages [in Moore’s Fool (above) led me to Moore's Lamb--a retelling of the these books]…” life of Jesus from the point of view of his best friend, Biff (!). Again, irreverent, bawdy and laugh-out-loud hilarious. MayJim Fraser recommends: be not the best choice for a biblical literalist, but anyone who beRed Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea by Morgan Callan Rogers lieves God has a sense of humor will LOVE it!” “When her mother disappears during a weekend trip, Florine Gilham's idyllic childhood is turned upside down… With Fannie Flagg's humor and Elizabeth Stroud's sense of place, this debut is an extraordinary snapshot of a bygone America through the eyes of an inspiring girl blazing her own path to womanhood.” (Amazon product description)

Sue Cameron recommends: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

And for pure escape: All 3 of the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies books* “I've always found Jane Austen a bit infusing her work with zombies ironically made it ‘come alive' for me!” *Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After

“Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol. This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American.” (Amazon product description)

Stephanie White recommends:

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

“Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.” (Amazon product description)

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb. “There was a time when running the mile in four minutes was believed to be beyond the limits of human foot speed, and in all of sport it was the elusive holy grail. In 1952, after suffering defeat at the Helsinki Olympics, three world-class runners each set out to break this barrier.” (Amazon product description) Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

“On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordi- Pat Smith recommends: nary odysseys of the Second World War.” (Amazon product description) State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

“ Paula Dean’s chocolate Pecan Bars and Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder are awesome.” A great spring break adventure read.


The Leopard by Jo Nesbø

Fic on Reviews

Norwegian’s award winning author’s latest installment in the Inspector Harry Hole series has raised the bar in this gripping novel. Hole has hit rock bottom after the resulting trauma from the capture of the murderous madman of the previous novThe Family Fang el, The Snowman. Vowing never to return to the active duty, by Kevin Wilson Harry is nevertheless drawn in by the recent murders of another apparent serial killer. A new police rival, a new love interest, and Caleb and Camille Fang the imminent death of his father bring several new facets to this are performance artists novel full of twists and turns—and the case is one you won’t who demanded that their children Annie and Buster act in the soon forget… bizarre and often scary pieces that they invented. Now adults, (Review by Jacque Miller) Child A and Child B have fled from their parents. Annie, a successful Hollywood actress drinks to dull the painful memories of My Name is Mary Sutter by Rebecca Skloot childhood, and Buster, a struggling novelist is a recluse and emotionally stunted. Circumstances bring Annie and Buster This is a compelling view on the Civil War from the female point back to live with their parents for a few months and during that of view. Mary Sutter, a successful midwife, lives with her mother time their parents go missing. Have they met with foul play or in Albany, New York, and desires to become a surgeon. She are Annie and Buster unwittingly part of their biggest perfor- tries to get accepted into the medical college in Albany and is mance yet? Told alternately in the present and childhood flash- turned away. She then tries to get an apprenticeship under a backs, The Family Fang is a performance not to be missed! local surgeon, who also turns her down. On the eve of the Civil (Review by Paula Campanelli) War, Mary leaves her home and family and heads to Washington to make her case to Dorothea The Broken Window and The Twelfth Card Dix, Superintendent of Army Nurses, who is looking for by Jeffery Deaver nurses to attend the wounded. However, since Mary is not a nurse, Dix turns her down. Determined to find her I just discovered the Lincoln Rhyme series which is place in the medical profession, she eventually ends up written by Jeffery Deaver. Rhyme is a forensic expert at the Union Hotel Hospital where she learns to become who is also a quadriplegic. Rhyme doesn’t let anya surgeon working alongside the only doctor tending to thing limit his abilities to solve a crime. There is a the wounded under grim and deplorable conditions. cast of engaging law enforcement characters who (Review by Melissa Slager) work as Rhyme’s eyes and ears on the street to help unravel the evidence and let justice be served. The A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber first book I read was The Broken Window which was a real cat-and-mouse thriller about a murderer who very easily Another book in the Blossom Street series (#8) finds Bethanne framed innocent men for his crimes. The story revealed how the Hamlin on a cross-country road trip with her daughter, Annie and killer found the information through data mining --- a form of ex-mother-in-law, Ruth. The trio is headed to Florida for Ruth’s computer science that analyzes data sets. Doesn’t sound like a 50 year high school reunion. Grant, Bethannne’s ex-husband, big deal until you realize that companies are buying and selling has decided that he wants a reconciliation. Bethanne believes your information AND the information that is revealed about your this road trip is the perfect opportunity to give her time to decide life to strangers is beyond disturbing. I enjoyed the twist and what she wants to do with her life. Can she make this important turns of the next novel, The Twelfth Card. A young girl has been decision with her daughter and ex-mother-in-law on the trip? targeted by a hit man, and Rhyme and his team are up against Read the book to discover how un-expected turns in the journey the clock as they try to figure out who wants her dead and change the direction of all three women’s lives. why. This story also has an interesting cold-case—one that (Review by Beth Blaustein) dates back 140 years. (Review by Holly Bunt)

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender Rose Edelstein comes from a family who display unusual gifts. Rose discovers at age nine she has the ability to “taste” feelings through the foods she eats. This is certainly a rare gift, but coping with the feelings becomes overwhelming to such a young girl. For instance, she feels her own crafty, fun mother is really depressed and unhappy. As Rosie grows into womanhood, she learns to deal with her unnatural ability. Rose holds secrets and painful moments private until the very end. This is a thought -provoking novel. (Review by Jane Spencer)

This is a very interesting view of life in present-day Bombay, India. The main characters are two women, Sera Dubash, an upper-middle class woman, and Bhima, her housekeeper. They become close friends despite their class differences yet are restricted socially because of India’s class prohibitions concerning fraternization among caste levels. They try to help each other through difficulties, but have to keep their friendship hidden. It’s interesting to see how the women hold on to their friendship and come to each other’s aid, working around the prohibitions and managing to cross the space between. (Review by Sue Donnelly)


Fiction Reviews continued: Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier The author of Cold Mountain stays in his beloved North Carolina setting as he chronicles the story of a man who faces many challenges and adventures as his life evolves during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a boy of 12, Will Cooper is sent into the wilderness as an indentured servant to run a trading post on the edge of the Cherokee nation. As his relationship with the Cherokee Indians evolves and deepens, he finds the family bonds he lost early in life, and this kinship will alter forever how he sees the world. The evolution of the relationship between the Cherokees and the U.S. government is the backdrop, but the personal story of Will and his eyewitness to history are unforgettable. (Review by Jacque Miller)

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James Pride and Prejudice comes to life in this new novel by P.D. James. It is a risk of the author to take on such a well known and loved book, but James follows closely to Jane Austin's lead. All the characters we love, Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgina, Wickham and more return in this murder mystery set at Darcy's estate, Pemberley. If you love Pride and Prejudice, you will not be disappointed by P.D. James and her take on these classic characters. (Review by Melissa Slager)

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield This captivating mystery takes place in Yorkshire, UK. A young woman is commissioned to research and write the biography of a wellknown elder British author. It gets complicated when Margaret visits the author at her home and begins to uncover that the Miss Vida Winter has a twin sister living with her at Angelfield that outsiders don’t know about. The twins are opposites in character and personality but are drawn to each other causing problems for their dysfunctional family as they grow up. Diaries are found, bones discovered and ghostly appearances make their way into the story along with some very unusual characters. The story is a very enjoyable read and once you get by the first chapter you won’t want to stop until you discover the hidden truths lurking in The Thirteenth Tale. (Review by Sue Donnelly)

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg The parade of Scandinavian authors continues with Lackberg and her engaging first novel, The Ice Princess. Erika Falck has returned to her home town to clear out her family home following the death of her parents when she is led to the body of her childhood best friend, who is presumed to have committed suicide. But, of course, that isn’t the case, and Erica finds herself trying to solve her murder as her “investigation” reaches far into the past. (Review by Jacque Miller)

Non-Fiction: Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World by Joel Salatin If you’re a devotee of Michael Pollan then you were introduced to Joel Salatin in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Salatin is a “grass farmer” in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley who raises cows, pigs, and chickens on pasture without the use of chemical fertilizers. He believes that the result is healthier animals, meat, eggs, community, and environment in addition to a reduction in waste sent to landfills as the biomass that the animals produce is used to fertilize the pasture. As a gentlewoman backyard chicken farmer myself, I agree with him. I don’t have a compost bin because our 7 hens eat all of our food waste and fertilize our lawn. The eggs are beautiful and taste wonderful. It really is nice to be able to say that at least for these eggs I know where my food comes from--that they truly are cage free and eat great scraps and lots of grass. This is a great companion to the DVD “Truck Farm” that will be coming soon to Reserve. (Review by Paula Campanelli)

Birthright: The True Story that Inspired Kidnapped by A. Roger Ekirch In 18th century Ireland, a man named James Annesley declares that he is the rightful heir to the powerful house of Annesley, including claim to five aristocratic titles and the assets of one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Georgian Ireland. Claiming that his uncle sold him into servitude and sent him to America when he was a boy, he escaped after twelve years and returned to Ireland to claim his inheritance and challenge his uncle, the powerful Earl of Anglesea. Was he the true heir? Was he a fraud? The public became enthralled with this case that wound through the judiciary in Ireland and England and its tantalizing elements of betrayal and treachery. Ekirch has exhaustively researched historical documents including family correspondence and trial transcripts to bring to light the fascinating details that ultimately inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and other literary works. (Review by Jacque Miller)

Stone of Kings: In Search of the Lost Jade of the Maya by Gerard Helferich Helferich recounts various excavations of Mayan and other early civilization ruins in Central America and chronicles the exploits of the archeologists and others who have uncovered these ruins. The common element found in these discoveries has been the presence of jade—ranging from simple beads to elaborately carved jewelry, headdresses, belts, masks and more. Obviously jade was of great importance and value to these ancient peoples—but where did it come from? Helferich takes the reader on the journey to discover 4 the source of this valued commodity of the ancient world. (Review by Jacque Miller)

Spring 2012 Bookwatch  

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