The Genre Reading Group met Dec 29th for a Salon Discussion of good, favorite, and recently read books!
Our next meeting will be Tuesday January 26th at 6:30 p.m. to talk about Pulitzer Prize winners, either fiction or nonfiction. I have pulled a selection from the last 20 years of winners and a complete list is available at the Reference Desk. You still have time so make plans to join us!
All review information pulled from Amazon.
Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays by Joel Waldfogel
Lively and informed, Scroogenomics illustrates how our consumer spending generates vast amounts of economic waste--to the shocking tune of eighty-five billion dollars each winter. Economist Joel Waldfogel provides solid explanations to show us why it's time to stop the madness and think twice before buying gifts for the holidays.
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt and and Stephen Dubner
Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is—good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky.
(Related Discussion: Ayn Rand, author of the novels Anthem, Atlas Shrugged, and The Fountainhead. A new biography about her is out, Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller)
A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi (not available in the library system)
The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. With the murderer on the loose, the police desperately look for any clues to lead to his identity. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist in a nearby hospital is also in a desperate search to find the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings's devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya's parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope. When these two situations converge, they set off an alarming chain of events. In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder.
(Related Discussion: possible read-a-like for The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold -- On her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon is lured into a makeshift underground den in a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer--the man she knew as her neighbor, Mr. Harvey. Sebold's haunting and heartbreaking debut novel unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case. In theaters this coming Friday!)
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.
(Related Discussion: Another very true-to-life biographical historical fiction novel is Loving Frank by Nancy Horan -- Horan's ambitious first novel is a fictionalization of the life of Mamah Borthwick Cheney, best known as the woman who wrecked Frank Lloyd Wright's first marriage.)
The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King by James Patterson
James Patterson and Martin Dugard dig through stacks of evidence--X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues, and stories told through the ages--to arrive at their own account of King Tut's life and death. The result is an exhilarating true crime tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal that casts fresh light on the oldest mystery of all.
Larson's page-turner juxtaposes scientific intrigue with a notorious murder in London at the turn of the 20th century. It alternates the story of Marconi's quest for the first wireless transatlantic communication amid scientific jealousies and controversies with the tale of a mild-mannered murderer caught as a result of the invention.
(Related Discussion: Larson has another great book which uses the same method of juxtaposing an historical event with a murder that took place during the same time -- Devil in the White City: Not long after Jack the Ripper haunted the ill-lit streets of 1888 London, H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) dispatched somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, in the churning new metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred during (and exploited) the city's finest moment, the World's Fair of 1893. Larson's breathtaking new history is a novelistic yet wholly factual account of the fair and the mass murderer who lurked within it. )
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Waters reflects on the collapse of the British class system after WWII in a stunning haunted house tale whose ghosts are as horrifying as any in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Excellent audiobook!
(Related Discussion: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters -- In Victorian London, the orphaned Sue Trinder is raised by Mrs. Sucksby, den mother to a family of thieves, or "fingersmiths." To repay Mrs. Sucksby's kindness, Sue gets involved in a scam but soon regrets it.)
(Related Discussion: Feed by M.T. Anderson, also an excellent audiobook -- This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people's brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly entertainment--even on trips to Mars and the moon--and by constant customized murmurs in their brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy.)
School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
In this remarkable debut, Bauermeister creates a captivating world where the pleasures and particulars of sophisticated food come to mean much more than simple epicurean indulgence.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Shutter Island is off Massachusetts's coast, an army facility turned hospital for the criminally insane. When a beautiful-and certifiably crazy-patient escapes, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule, are called in to investigate. Embroiled in uncertainties and mystery, the two soon learn there's much more at stake than simply finding one missing woman.
You may be wondering how we manage to talk about so many books in one meeting and we'd love to show you! Read any Pulitzer Prize-winning book and make plans to join us on Tuesday, January 26th at 6:30p.m. Light refreshments served. For more information, contact Holley at 2-5/445-1117 or firstname.lastname@example.org