We are back!

Friends members and others who are interested in reading and discussing books are meeting, except as noted, in the Community Room at the Library on the second Tuesday of each month, 5:30 to 7:00pm. Discussion centers around the monthly selection and other books we have enjoyed. Upcoming books are as follows:

July 12, 2022
Picture of book cover for All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Dutch House by Ann Patchett
From Booklist: *Starred Review* “The Conroys kept the portraits of the stalwart VanHoebeeks, the wealthy builders of the so-called Dutch House, on display even as their own family fractured. A self-made real-estate magnate, Cyril bought the fully furnished mansion in a prosperous Philadelphia suburb to surprise his wife, catastrophically oblivious to her temperament and values. Cyril’s son Danny has scant impressions of his long-gone mother, but his older sister, Maeve, cherishes her memories. After their father fails, once again, to gauge the situation and remarries, the mysteriously motherless yet privileged siblings are abruptly banished from their stately home and left penniless. This inspires brainy, mordant, unconventional, and fiercely self-sufficient Maeve to redouble her devotion to her brother. Patchett (Commonwealth, 2016) is at her subtle yet shining finest in this gloriously incisive, often droll, quietly suspenseful drama of family, ambition, and home. As Maeve and Danny dwell in “”their own paradise of memory,”” their bond takes precedence over all else in their lives, including Danny’s marriage, while Maeve’s love life remains cloaked to Danny but heartbreakingly clear to readers. With echoes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and in sync with Alice McDermott, Patchett gracefully choreographs surprising revelations and reunions as her characters struggle with questions of heredity, altruism, forgiveness, social expectations, and the need to be one’s true self.”
August 9, 2022
Picture of book cover for This Tender LandThis Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
From Library Journal: *Starred Review* “Odie O’Banion remembers 1932, when he was 12 and had one of the great adventures of his life. During the Depression, Odie and his older brother, Albert, were the only white children at the Lincoln Indian Training School. The O’Banions were orphans, while the other children had been taken from their parents to have their native cultures and languages beaten out of them. Mrs. Brickman, “the Black Witch,” oversaw the abusive school, and after the tragic death of a protector, Odie and Albert fled, along with two other “vagabonds,” taking to the river to escape. There they find kindness and assistance in unexpected places. Krueger’s second coming-of-age story is not the sequel to Ordinary Grace; it’s his version of Huckleberry Finn or the Odyssey, as adolescents are forced to move toward adulthood. It’s a remarkable story of a search for home that also reveals the abusive treatment of Native American children in schools and the wanderings of people during the Depression. VERDICT Readers expecting an actual mystery from crime writer Krueger might be disappointed, but those who want to read about the mystery of life will discover what one of Odie’s companions observes. “You tell stories but they’re real. There are monsters and they eat the heart of children.””
September 13, 2022
Picture of book cover for Nothing More DangerousNothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens
From Library Journal: *Starred Review* “In 1976, Boady Sanden is 15 when African American bookkeeper Lida Poe goes missing from Jessup, MO. Lida worked at Ryke Manufacturing, the largest employer in Jessup. When she disappeared, so did a large sum of money. White teen Boady is more concerned with surviving his first year of high school. A trio of seniors, led by Jarvis Halcomb, plan to pick on the only black girl in school, but Boady trips them up. The Halcombs don’t forget, so when Boady befriends Thomas, the son of his new black neighbors, both boys become targets. In a summer of terror, a small group of men from the CORPS (Crusaders of Racial Purity and Strength), led by the Halcombs, set their sights on the families on Boady’s country road. VERDICT This powerful, unforgettable crime novel is a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace or Larry Watson’s Montana 1948. While Eskens’s books are not part of a series, his readers will recognize Boady as an adult character in two of his earlier books, including the award-winning The Life We Bury. This timely stand-alone is a must-read for followers of the best in crime fiction.”
October 11, 2022
Picture of book cover for The Seed KeeperThe Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
From Booklist: *Starred Review* “Orphaned at a young age, Rosalie Iron Wing has been at society’s margins all her life. While Rosalie was in foster care as a teen, her one friend got pregnant and was sent away. Now in early middle age, she is widowed. Grief and the need to remember her roots drive her to the family cabin, which has stood abandoned. There, she remembers the Dakota ways her father taught her, how to forage, hunt, and move quietly through snow and forest. Dakota writer Wilson’s depiction of Rosalie would be story enough, but her debut novel sweeps generations and also encompasses the War of 1862, when the Dakota were ultimately removed from their land in Minnesota. Through the voices of other women from past and present, Wilson deepens the reader’s understanding of what loss of language and culture has done to Indigenous people. In depicting the way Rosalie’s ancestor Marie Blackbird and other women sew seeds into their clothing as the war breaks out, Wilson shows these women’s relationship to and reverence for the land: a sharp contrast to “”a country that destroys its soil,”” using the methods of modern agriculture and its effects upon waterways. A thought-provoking and engaging read.”
November 8, 2022
Picture of book cover for Black CakeBlack Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
From Booklist: *Starred Review* “In her beautifully poignant debut novel, Wilkerson explores how secrets kept and stories left untold can “”matter even more than the things we do say.”” Eleanor Bennet’s final bequest, an audio recording and a homemade Caribbean black cake stowed in the freezer, puzzles her grieving children, Benny and Byron. The story that emerges upends everything the estranged brother and sister thought they knew about their family and themselves. In 1965, a young woman fleeing an arranged marriage and suspicion of murder disappears into the surf. Cutting all ties, she crosses oceans, reinvents herself, and makes heartbreaking choices to take control of her life and, she hopes, reunite with her first love. Wilkerson uses one Caribbean American family’s extraordinary tale to probe universal issues of identity and how the lives we live and the choices we make leave “”a trail of potential consequences”” that pass down through generations. She is a masterful storyteller. Black Cake’s complex plot unfolds in vignettes that alternate among different times, places, and viewpoints, evoking her children’s bewilderment as they absorb Eleanor’s account. Memorable, fully developed characters ground a story that spans decades and continents. Vivid symbolism and imagery enhance the narrative’s “”fable-like”” tone, as when Byron imagines her mother’s black cake recipe as an “”incantation calling up a line from her true past.””
December 13, 2022
Picture of book cover for SooleySooley by John Grisham
From Booklist: “It’s no secret that Grisham is a baseball fan, but it’s not as well known that he’s also an enthusiastic follower of college basketball. In his new novel, he tells the story of 17-year-old Samuel Sooleymon, a Sudanese boy who, like so many of his friends, dreams of playing basketball in the U.S. Unlike many of those friends, Sooley sees his dream come true, only to be hit by tragedy: a civil war brings devastation to his South Sudanese village, and Sooley finds himself, all the way on the other side of the world, fighting to be the best basketball player he can be so he can save his family. It’s an intensely moving story, told with the same eye for character and descriptive detail Grisham brings to his crime novels. His occasional forays into general fiction are usually interesting, but this one is considerably more than that. It’s skillfully written, with a deeply compelling central character and a story that is full of raw emotion and suspense. A film version seems almost obligatory, but don’t wait for that.”
January 10, 2023
Picture of book cover for The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Grissom’s unsentimental debut twists the conventions of the antebellum novel just enough to give readers an involving new perspective on what would otherwise be fairly stock material. Lavinia, an orphaned seven-year-old white indentured servant, arrives in 1791 to work in the kitchen house at Tall Oaks, a Tidewater, Va., tobacco plantation owned by Capt. James Pyke. Belle, the captain’s illegitimate half-white daughter who runs the kitchen house, shares narration duties, and the two distinctly different voices chronicle a troublesome 20 years: Lavinia becomes close to the slaves working the kitchen house, but she can’t fully fit in because of her race. At 17, she marries Marshall, the captain’s brutish son turned inept plantation master, and as Lavinia ingratiates herself into the family and the big house, racial tensions boil over into lynching, rape, arson, and murder. The plantation’s social order’s emphasis on violence, love, power, and corruption provides a trove of tension and grit, while the many nefarious doings will keep readers hooked to the twisted, yet hopeful, conclusion.”

Except as noted, annotations are supplied from the SELCO catalog

Please join us! New members welcome at any meeting.