Monday, December 28, 2009

Recommended Reads: The Hour I First Believed

Recommended Reads: The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is a masterful writer; if you've read his books I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone, you know that he sucks you in, and you feel like you are living alongside the characters. In this story, Lamb tells a fictional account of a teacher who has survived the Columbine shootings, and the after-effects on her and the people in her life. The parallel story is that of her husband's discovery of his family history. Difficult to describe without revealing the plot, this book will keep you up late turning the pages to find out what happens next.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recommended Reads: The Monuments Men

Recommended Reads: The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M Edsel (940.53 EDS)

During WWII, thousands of cultural artifacts were destroyed or stolen, and many remain missing today. Saving and preserving some of Europe's greatest masterpieces was the job of a few curators and archivists call the Monuments Men. Understanding that culture is connected to the success of warfare, these unique soldiers and citizens worked hard long after the Nazi defeat to recover the missing treasures. This exciting story reads like the latest thriller by Ken Follett but it is a true story of a little known episode of World War II.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Recommended Reads: Charming Billy

Recommended Reads: Charming Billy by Alice McDermott (FIC MCD)

This National Book Award winner is set in a tightly knit Irish Catholic Bronx neighborhood in the mid-twentieth century. The novel opens as Billy Lynch's friends and family gather at a small bar after his funeral to share their memories of Billy. The story then moves back and forth in time as various characters describe Billy's life from his return after WWII to his early death from alcoholism at age 47. The power of this novel lies in its lyrically descriptive language and realistic depiction of the struggles and sorrows of an Irish-American community. This is a quiet and contemplative novel recommended for readers who enjoy realistic fiction.