We work in the library. We like to read. True. We do read. A lot! So… very short reviews that we hope will pique your interest. We’d love to have your short reviews to include next month. Just ask us!
THE SECRET SPEECH by Tom Rob Smith
Leo Demidov is a former KGB agent but is now a detective in a new, shaky department that investigates homicides. The problem is, if the State admits that homicides happen then the State and its citizens are imperfect and we can’t have that. Reading Child 44, the first book of this trilogy, will help you know the players in this book. Leo is an unlikely hero in an equally unlikely setting for a murder mystery. If you are a mystery fan who hasn’t worked the Soviet Union side of the mystery street you’re missing some really good stuff.
ARTEMIS FOWL THE GRAPHIC NOVEL Adapted by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin
I gave this graphic novel a try and am still not a fan. What it did for me is, now I want to read the book. The story is about Artemis Fowl trapping Holly, a city elf. Holly has fairy powers to heal and Artemis captures some of the fairy’s technology. I’m sure that the book will go into more details which will make the story more interesting (at least for me). Graphic novel lovers will find this graphic novel fun to read.
THE BOOKSELLER OF KABUL by Asne Seierstad
In 2000, an award-winning journalist went to live with a man who owned a book store in Kabul, Afghanistan, intending to write a book about daily life there. Sultan Khan spent three decades trying to bring books to town through various repressive regimes. His two wives, two mothers-in-law, multiple children, nieces and nephews occupy a four room apartment in a “middle-class” bombed out building with no hot water, 4 hours of electricity a night (sometimes), only floor cushions to sit, eat and sleep on. The treatment of women is chronicled in story after story of life in a burka, never being allowed out of the house alone, never being allowed to work even though trained as teachers, families choosing husbands who are complete strangers for their daughters, etc. The bookseller is an honorable and hard-working man who rules with an iron fist. In addition to the personal stories, the author covers some of the history of Afghanistan and its many rulers and allies. This book was published in 2002 to rave reviews. It would be interesting to revisit the family to see if anything has improved there since then. From what we hear and read in the news, it doesn’t seem like it. A fascinating read that might take you out of your comfort zone.
THE LAST TOWN ON EARTH by Thomas Mullen
This is a novel written about the 1918 flu epidemic that killed millions of people around the world. I was unaware of the epidemic and apparently it is not widely known. The novel tells the story of a town that quarantines itself from people coming in to avoid the flu. Very interesting and frightening. It did pique my curiosity so I also read another book, Flu, by Gina Kolata which explains the horror of this pandemic. Again very interesting and frightening!
THE GLASS RAINBOW by James Lee Burke
This is one of the best of the Dave Robicheaux novels. It would be best to read the others before it, but it stands alone in its excellence. Any audiobook read by Will Patton makes it even better.
TWENTYNINE PALMS by Deanne Stillman
This is the strangest true crime book I have ever read. It follows the events surrounding the murder of two teen girls near the Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, California. I struggled through the book, perhaps because of the Marine element. I may have felt I needed to suffer the way I did in boot camp. Imagine Edward Abbey writing a true crime book and you have a sense of the feel I got from reading this one. It’s sort of like tequila and grape soda. While not a huge Abbey fan, I admire his talent for the descriptions of the desert and his obvious love for it. I am a fan of true crime but this book struggles to present the story of the crimes and their impact on all concerned. If you are tempted to read this book, stock up on tequila and grape soda. You may need them.
SUPERMAN VERSUS THE KU KLUX KLAN by Rick Bowers
This is a short book and a quick read that chronicles the history of the KKK and the Superman character and how and why they both battled for the soul of America. The book was written for young adults and gives them a taste of mid-twentieth century American history. I enjoyed the book and I think it serves its purpose as an introduction to the topics. I would recommend it for fun and as a start for historical research.