Friday, May 23, 2014



FICTION: (In no particular order)

1.  The Round House – Louise Erdrich
            A winner of the National Book Award, this story set on a present-day Indian reservation is as good and painful a story as I've found in a long time. I think it is the best of all I've read of her books. 

2.  The Testament of Mary - Colm Toibin
             Jesus's mother, Mary, reflects on the events surrounding the crucifixion of her son, who she knows is not the son of God.

3.   Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
             A book of twists and turns that will keep you glued to your seat until you've read the last page.

4.    Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
              1972's amazing book of discovery - personal, historical, and geographical.  It is a lovely, lovely read.

5.     The Good Lord Bird - James McBride
              Has Old John Brown ever been so deliciously portrayed?  You'll laugh, cry, gasp, and re-read.  

NON-FICTION: (In no particular order)

1.      The Man in the Sharkskin Suit - Lucette Lagnado
               What happens to an Egyptian Jewish family when the nation of Israel is born.

2.       1940: FDR, Wilkie, Lindbergh, Hitler - the Election Amid the Storm - Susan Dunn.
                I was too little to know this when it was happening, but reading it was a real eye-opener and, surprisingly, a very interesting book for those of us (moi!) who are not political or a historian.

3.       Blood and Thunder - Epic Story of Kit Carson - Hampton Sides
                Kit Carson's role in the conquest of the Navajo during and after the civil war.  But more than that, it's the conquest of the whole west - extending way out here to California -- in places I've walked all of my life.

4.       Crossing Cairo - Ruth Sohn
                 Review from my blog:  I heard her talk about this book at a book fair and knew that I had to read it.  What I appreciated is her ability to see events, people, culture, and locations through the eyes of an expat, a mother, a rabbi, a female and a scholar -- and still have every last word be interesting!  Most importantly, I think, is that it has set me to thinking about how I interpret news from the middle east, especially that which comes via TV. 

5.       Deadly Indifference - Michael Brown
                Under-Secretary of Homeland Security (under Bush) lucidly explains (and not with excuses) what turned out to be a very inadequate federal response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and a good description of just what FEMA is and isn't.

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