Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for August 2018. The theme is What is It Good for? Absolutely Nothin':War
This year is the centenary of the Armistice that ended the war to end all wars. To quote Pete Seeger, "When will they ever learn?" But the topic is wide-ranging as usual; people can make of it what they will. Everyone is welcome to join the nomination process even if they'd rather lurk during the voting and discussion; if that is still a little too much commitment, please feel free to suggest titles without making a formal nomination.
The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT, July 7, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on August 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the July selection, Dandelion Wine, on July 15.
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation's history, two armies fought for two dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Shattered futures, forgotten innocence, and crippled beauty were also the casualties of war. The Killer Angels is unique, sweeping, unforgettable—a dramatic re-creation of the battleground for America's destiny.
One of Ours by Willa Cather [astrangerhere, bfisher, Dazrin] Gutenberg free | LibriVox free
One of Ours is Willa Cather's 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the making of an American soldier. Claude Wheeler, the sensitive but aspiring protagonist, has ready access to his family's fortune but refuses to settle for it. Alienated from his uncaring father and pious mother, and rejected by a wife whose only love is missionary work, Claude is an idealist without ideals to cling to. Only when his country enters the Great War does he find the meaning of his life.
Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park or The Secrets of Station X by Michael Smith [Bookpossum, CRussel, Dazrin] Amazon US $7.99 | Amazon AU $8.55 | Amazon CA $9.99 | Kobo US $10.59 | Kobo AU $12.31
A melting pot of Oxbridge dons, maverick oddballs and more regular citizens worked night and day at Station X, as Bletchley Park was known, to derive intelligence information from German coded messages. Bear in mind that an Enigma machine had a possible 159 million million million different settings and the magnitude of the challenge becomes apparent. That they succeeded, despite military scepticism, supplying information that led to the sinking of the Bismarck, Montgomery's victory in North Africa and the D-Day landings, is testament to an indomitable spirit that wrenched British intelligence into the modern age, as the Second World War segued into the Cold War. Michael Smith constructs his absorbing narrative around the reminiscences of those who worked and played at Bletchley Park, and their stories add a very human colour to their cerebral activity. The code breakers of Station X did not win the war but they undoubtedly shortened it, and the lives saved on both sides stand as their greatest achievement.
After steaming out of New York City on December 1, 1917, laden with a staggering three thousand tons of TNT and other explosives, the munitions ship Mont-Blanc fought its way up the Atlantic coast, through waters prowled by enemy U-boats. As it approached the lively port city of Halifax, Mont-Blanc's deadly cargo erupted with the force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT—the most powerful explosion ever visited on a human population, save for HIroshima and Nagasaki. Mont-Blanc was vaporized in one fifteenth of a second; a shockwave leveled the surrounding city. Next came a thirty-five-foot tsunami. Most astounding of all, however, were the incredible tales of survival and heroism that soon emerged from the rubble.
This is the unforgettable story told in John U. Bacon's The Great Halifax Explosion: a ticktock account of fateful decisions that led to doom, the human faces of the blast's 11,000 casualties, and the equally moving individual stories of those who lived and selflessly threw themselves into urgent rescue work that saved thousands.
The shocking scale of the disaster stunned the world, dominating global headlines even amid the calamity of the First World War. Hours after the blast, Boston sent trains and ships filled with doctors, medicine, and money. The explosion would revolutionize pediatric medicine; transform U.S.-Canadian relations; and provide physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who studied the Halifax explosion closely when developing the atomic bomb, with history's only real-world case study demonstrating the lethal power of a weapon of mass destruction.
Mesmerizing and inspiring, Bacon's deeply-researched narrative brings to life the tragedy, bravery, and surprising afterlife of one of the most dramatic events of modern times.
And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Alan Riding [issybird, Bookpossum, Bookworm_Girl] Amazon US $9.99 | Kobo UK £5.63 | Kobo AU $9.89 | OverDrive
In the weeks after the Germans captured Paris, theaters, opera houses, and nightclubs reopened to occupiers and French citizens alike, and they remained open for the duration of the war. Alan Riding introduces a pageant of twentieth-century artists who lived and worked under the Nazis and explores the decisions each made about whether to stay or flee, collaborate or resist.We see Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf singing before French and German audiences; Picasso painting and occasionally selling his work from his Left Bank apartment; and Marcel Carne and Henri-Georges Clouzot, among others, directing movies in Paris studios (more than two hundred were produced during this time). We see that pro-Fascist writers such as Louis-Ferdinand Celine and Robert Brasillach flourished, but also that Camus's The Stranger was published and Sartre's play No Exit was first performed-ten days before the Normandy landings.Based on exhaustive research and extensive interviews, And the Show Went On sheds a clarifying light on a protean and problematic era in twentieth-century European cultural history.
Goodbye Sarajevo: A True Story of Courage, Love and Survival by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield [Bookworm_Girl, gmw, bfisher] Amazon US $8.95 | Amazon UK £6.71 | Amazon CA $9.02 | Amazon AU $8.58 | Kobo, Overdrive, Scribd
May, 1992. Hana is twelve years old when she is put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the besieged city of Sarajevo. Her twenty-one-year-old sister, Atka, staying behind to look after their five younger siblings, is there to say goodbye. Thinking that they will be apart for only a few weeks, they make a promise to each other to be brave.
But as the Bosnian war escalates and months go by without contact, their promise to each other becomes deeply significant. Hana is forced to cope as a refugee in Croatia, far away from home and family, while Atka battles for survival in a city where snipers, mortar attacks and desperate food shortages are a part of everyday life. Their mother, working for a humanitarian aid organisation, is unable to reach them and their father retreats inside himself, shocked at what is happening to his city. In Sarajevo, death lurks in every corner and shakes the foundation of their existence. But when Atka finds work as a translator in an old, smoky radio station, and then with a photojournalist from New Zealand, life takes an unexpected turn, and the remarkable events that follow change her life, and those of her family, forever.
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed writing, technology, government, and organized religion—as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war—and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth Club of California's Gold Medal.
The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis by Elizabeth Letts [Catlady, Bookworm_Girl, gmw] Amazon US $13.99 | Amazon UK £8.99 | Amazon CA $13.99 | Amazon AU $9.99 | Kobo U.S. $13.99 | Kobo UK £11.03 | Kobo CA $13.99 | Kobo Au $9.99 | Overdrive, Scribd, Axis360, RB Digital
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II
In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.
With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.
Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.
A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.
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Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for July 2018. The theme is Some Like ItHot:Summer.
I love summer! I'm looking forward to lots and lots of nominations this month for my summer reading list. Everyone is welcome to join the nomination process even if they'd rather lurk during the voting and discussion; if that is still a little too much commitment, please feel free to suggest titles without making a formal nomination.
The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT, June 7, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on July 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the June selection, The Three Musketeers, on June 15.
Before Barry Bonds, before Reggie Jackson, before Hank Aaron, baseball's stars had one undeniable trait in common: they were all white. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke that barrier, striking a crucial blow for racial equality and changing the world of sports forever. I Never Had It Made is Robinson's own candid, hard-hitting account of what it took to become the first black man in history to play in the major leagues.
I Never Had It Made recalls Robinson's early years and influences: his time at UCLA, where he became the school's first four-letter athlete; his army stint during World War II, when he challenged Jim Crow laws and narrowly escaped court martial; his years of frustration, on and off the field, with the Negro Leagues; and finally that fateful day when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers proposed what became known as the "Noble Experiment"—Robinson would step up to bat to integrate and revolutionize baseball.
More than a baseball story, I Never Had It Made also reveals the highs and lows of Robinson's life after baseball. He recounts his political aspirations and civil rights activism; his friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, William Buckley, Jr., and Nelson Rockefeller; and his troubled relationship with his son, Jackie, Jr.
Originally published the year Robinson died, I Never Had It Made endures as an inspiring story of a man whose heroism extended well beyond the playing field.
The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden [Bookpossum, bfisher, Bookworm_Girl] Kobo: $US9.89, $C12.09, £6.47, $A2.99 | Amazon US $8.99
Soon after the end of the terrible Great War, Mrs. Grey brings her five young children to the French countryside for the summer in hopes of instilling in them a sense of history and humility. But when she is struck down by a sudden illness and hospitalized, the siblings are left to fend for themselves at the lovely, bullet-scarred hotel Les Oeillets, under the suspicious, watchful eyes of its owner, Mademoiselle Zizi.
The young ones find a willing guide, companion, and protector in charming Englishman Eliot, a longtime resident at Les Oeillets and Mlle. Zizi’s apparent paramour. But as these warm days of freedom, discovery, and adolescent adventure unfold, Eliot’s interest becomes more and more focused on the eldest of the Grey children, sixteen-year-old daughter Joss. The older man’s obsession with the innocent, alluring, heartbreakingly beautiful woman-child soon threatens to overstep all bounds of propriety. And as Eliot’s fascination increases, so does the jealousy of his disrespected lover, adding fuel to a dangerously smoldering fire that could erupt into unexpected violence at any moment.
Told from the point of view of Cecil, Joss’s sharp-eyed younger sister, The Greengage Summer is a beautiful, poignant, darkly tinged coming-of-age story rich in the sights, smells, and sounds of France’s breathtaking Champagne country. It remains one of the crowning literary achievements of Rumer Godden, acclaimed author of beloved classics Black Narcissus, The River, and In This House of Brede.
In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.
Tove Jansson, whose Moomintroll comic strip and books brought her international acclaim, lived for much of her life on an island like the one described in The Summer Book, and the work can be enjoyed as her closely observed journal of the sounds, sights, and feel of a summer spent in intimate contact with the natural world.
The summer of '28 was a vintage season for a growing boy. A summer of green apple trees, mowed lawns, and new sneakers. Of half-burnt firecrackers, of gathering dandelions, of Grandma's belly-busting dinner. It was a summer of sorrows and marvels and gold-fuzzed bees. A magical, timeless summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding—remembered forever by the incomparable Ray Bradbury.
Writing her first novel during World War I, West examines the relationship between three women and a soldier suffering from shell-shock. This novel of an enclosed world invaded by public events also embodies in its characters the shifts in England's class structures at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The book's events take place almost exclusively during the summer months, and there are some beautiful descriptions of the weather and countryside.
When one long, hot summer, young Leo is staying with a school-friend at Brandham Hall, he begins to act as a messenger between Ted, the farmer, and Marian, the beautiful young woman up at the hall. He becomes drawn deeper and deeper into their dangerous game of deceit and desire, until his role brings him to a shocking and premature revelation. The haunting story of a young boy's awakening into the secrets of the adult world, The Go-Between is also an unforgettable evocation of the boundaries of Edwardian society.
Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.
On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’ s incomplete grasp of adult motives–together with her precocious literary gifts–brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.
1902-1911 An age of innocence and hope. Before the storm clouds roll over Europe. As Paul Craddock recovers from his Boer War injuries, he starts to plan a new life. As soon as he is able he invests all he has in a remote but beautiful estate in Devon, determined to make something wonderful of the place and to be at the heart of what is most real and most important. Then he meets Grace, beautiful and passionate, and mistress of the land he has so quickly grown to love. Equals in spirit and honour, their attraction to each other is undeniable, but she too has ambitions - and they may not be compatible with his. As Paul gains knowledge, contentment and stature in Shallowford it is at the price of heartbreak and bittersweet lessons learned.
The Amazon description:
[q_index]A great read for fans of PBS’s Poldark and Downton Abbey—first in the saga of a man returning from battle to an estate in the pre-WWI English countryside.
After serving his country in the Boer War, injured Lieutenant Paul Craddock returns to England to resume civilian life. But things have changed since he joined the Imperial Yeomanry three years ago. His father has died, leaving Paul as heir to a scrap metal business he has no intention of continuing. Instead, he purchases an auctioned-off thirteen-hundred-acre estate in a secluded corner of Devon. Neglected and overgrown, Shallowford becomes the symbol of all that Paul has lost—and a reminder of the gentle place his homeland once was. And here, on this sprawling stretch of land, he will be changed by his love for two women: fiercely independent Grace Lovell, and lovely, demure Claire Derwent.
Set in the English countryside in the first part of the previous century—from the long “Edwardian afternoon” following the death of Queen Victoria, to the gathering storm of World War I—Long Summer Day is the story of a man, his family, and a people struggling to adapt to life in a new world.
As the 1938 hurricane approaches Rhode Island, another storm brews in this New York Times bestseller from the author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant and Along the Infinite Sea.
Lily Dane has returned to Seaview, Rhode Island, where her family has summered for generations. It’s an escape not only from New York’s social scene but from a heartbreak that still haunts her. Here, among the seaside community that has embraced her since childhood, she finds comfort in the familiar rituals of summer.
But this summer is different. Budgie and Nick Greenwald—Lily’s former best friend and former fiancé—have arrived, too, and Seaview’s elite are abuzz. Under Budgie’s glamorous influence, Lily is seduced into a complicated web of renewed friendship and dangerous longing.
As a cataclysmic hurricane churns north through the Atlantic, and uneasy secrets slowly reveal themselves, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional storm that will change their worlds forever...
A tail-end baby boomer, William McInnes recalls summer holidays that seemed to go on forever, when he and his mates would walk down to fish in the bay, a time when the Aussie battler stood as the local Labor candidate and watched out for his mates, and a time when the whole family would rush into the lounge room to watch a new commercial on TV.
He writes about his father—a strong character who talks to the furniture, dances with William’s mother in the kitchen, and spends his free time fixing up the house and doing the best for his family. In William’s writing you can hear his father speaking, listen to his mother singing, and his sisters and brothers talking in the yard.
This is a book about people who aren’t famous but should be. It’s about cane toads and families, love and hope and fear, laughter, death and life. Most of all, it is a realistic, down-to-earth book by a man who had a great time growing up. His warmth and humour come through on every page.
Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for June 2018. The theme is I'll be There for You: Best Friends.
The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT, May 7, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on June 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the May selection, The Radium Girls, on May 15.
Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Now, for the first time, they are available in electronic book format, so a whole new generation of readers can be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime.
Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O’Brian’s portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly.
This brilliant historical novel marked the début of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists ever, the author of what Alan Judd, writing in the Sunday Times, has described as ‘the most significant extended story since Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time’.
It's not the first in his Spenser series, but it is one of the best (you can read this series in any order, though the developing relationships are fun to follow chronologically). The friendship I am nominating this for is that between Spenser and Hawk, an African-American solider of fortune and unquestionably the greatest badass ever created in crime novels (IMHO).
In this story a letter tells Spenser that Susan (his long time partner) is in trouble and Hawk is in jail, and from there it’s a foregone conclusion on all hell breaking loose. The bonds between the three are never stronger, the story has never been more intense and the action has never been so defined. It’s a masterfully written book that could easily stand alone, not as minimalist as later Spensers or as hard-boiled as earlier ones, transitional both in terms of his style and the way the characters develop.
My Brilliant Friend by Elana Ferrante [astrangerhere, Catlady, latepaul] Amazon US $6.00 | Kobo US $8.69
Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence.
Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists.
Absolute Friends by John Le Carré [pablo, gmw, Bookpossum] Amazon US $7.99 | Amazon UK £5.99
Absolute Friends is a superbly paced novel spanning fifty-six years, a theatrical masterstroke of tragi-comic writing, and a savage fable of our times, almost of our hours.
The friends of the title are Ted Mundy, British soldier’s son born in 1947 in a shining new independent Pakistan, and Sasha, a refugee son of an East German Lutheran pastor and his wife who have sought sanctuary in the West.
The two men meet first as students in riot-torn West Berlin of the late Sixties, again in the grimy looking-glass of Cold War espionage and, most terribly, in today’s unipolar world of terror, counter-terror and the war of lies.
Absolute Friends presents us with magical writing, characters to delight, and a spellbinding story that enchants even as it challenges.
This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.
Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
Everyone remembers the smell of their grandmother's house.
Everyone remembers the stories their grandmother told them.
But does everyone remember their grandmother flirting with policemen? Driving illegally?
Breaking into a zoo in the middle of the night? Firing a paintball gun from a balcony in her dressing gown?
Seven-year-old Elsa does.
Some might call Elsa's granny 'eccentric', or even 'crazy'. Elsa calls her a superhero. And granny's stories, of knights and princesses and dragons and castles, are her superpower. Because, as Elsa is starting to learn, heroes and villains don't always exist in imaginary kingdoms; they could live just down the hallway.
As Christmas draws near, even the best superhero grandmothers may have one or two things they'd like to apologise for. And, in the process, Elsa can have some breath-taking adventures of her own . . .
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery [Dazrin, CRussel, bfisher] MR Library | Public domain
Everyone's favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.
The best description I've found is from GrannyGrump's post in the MobileRead thread linked above:
“The Little White Bird” is a novel for adult readers, ranging in tone from fantasy and whimsy to social comedy with dark, aggressive undertones.
This book is a series of short episodes, including accounts of the narrator's day-to-day activities in contemporary London, as well as fanciful tales set in Kensington Gardens and elsewhere; with the two main characters being the first-person narrator Captain W—— (“Barrie thinly disguised”), and the boy David (based on George Llewelyn Davies, one of several children of the Davies family who provided inspiration for many characters in Barrie's writings). The main theme of the book is an exploration of the emotional relationship of the narrator, a childless Victorian-era retired soldier and London bachelor, with a young boy born to a working-class married couple in his neighbourhood.
Many places emphasise that the middle chapters of this book were extracted to be published as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, but for me those chapters are less of a draw than the developing relationship between the narrator and the young couple. The early chapters and the final, in particular, I found quite touching.
A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.
Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.
Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett [Bookworm_Girl, bfisher, orlok] Overdrive, Scribd | Amazon US
What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honor for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In Truth & Beauty, her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, Ann Patchett shines a fresh, revealing light on the world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together.
Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.
Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson [Catlady, JSWolf, Bookworm_Girl] Public domain
The classic true story of a lovable Scottish dog whose loyalty knew no bounds
Each day, the cannon of Edinburgh Castle blasts a shot across town. It never fails to surprise Bobby, the silver-haired Skye terrier of Greyfriars Kirkyard, who fires back with a flurry of indignant yips. He always quiets down, though, because he knows it means it’s one o’clock—and one o’clock is when it’s time to eat. Bobby’s master, the shepherd Auld Jock, feeds the dog well, and Bobby repays him with limitless devotion. Everyone in Edinburgh knows that Bobby is a fine dog, but they have no idea just how loyal he really is.
When Jock dies, Bobby refuses to abandon his master, standing guard over his grave through wind and sleet and snow. No matter what obstacles stand in his way, Bobby remains steadfast—inspiring a city, a country, and the world.
A timeless tale of the special relationship between a man and his dog, Greyfriars Bobby has inspired generations of readers and was adapted into the Disney film of the same name.