For the scientists at Little Cam, a top-secret research compound hidden deep within the Amazon rainforest, immortality is no longer an ambition but a reality. With the creation of Pia seventeen years ago, the scientists achieved their dream after more than a hundred years of experimentation. Hidden away from the world at Little Cam, Pia has always considered her life to be perfect and absolute. But one night curiosity takes over, and she dares to venture outside the facility through a newly created opening in the fence. Once on the other side, Pia is so transfixed by the freedom of the jungle that she fails to notice a native boy, Eio, and runs right into him. Soon, Pia is discovering a new community of people, a different way of life and emotions that she never knew existed. The tropical forest and its native Ai’oan inhabitants along with handsome Eio all call to Pia in a way the compound never has. As the story progresses, the history and happenings at the research facility become strikingly more disturbing, and shocking secrets about Pia’s creation are revealed. When every ounce of her morality and humanity are questioned, Pia is torn between the life she is expected to live and the one that speaks to her heart.
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Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches by Lisa Broadie Cook, is about a boy trying his very best to get his homework turned in and all the unfortunate things that happen to those assignments. Any child or adult who has had a homework assignment will be routing for poor Martin and his homework problems.
Read this with your favorite school age child. Have fun!
Check the WRL catalog for Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches.
Baby Pie by Tom MacRae is a book you cannot judge by it’s cover! At first I was curious as to how the author would be able to tell the tale of 3 trolls wanting to make baby pie and searching for a baby to put in it. It sounded a little gross to me but as I kept reading, I kept assuring myself, there was no way any author would write a picture book where the baby actually gets cooked! Of course Tom MacRae kept the baby safe and the trolls were in for such a surprise when they finally found the baby!
I plan to read this book to school age children, they will be able to be a little scared and then laugh at what happened to the trolls at the end of the story.
Check the WRL catalog for Baby Pie.
Amid the anger, confusion, and chaos that reigned in the days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, a white priest provided unforeseen direction for a group of young black men. With riots breaking out across the country, Father John Brooks set out to recruit black students to the College of the Holy Cross, an all-male Irish Catholic institution in Worcester, Massachusetts. A theology professor at the time, Brooks had previously been involved in progressive recruitment efforts that yielded little results. He decided the time for discussion and planning was over.
With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Holy Cross typically admitted two black students per year and had eight black students in April 1968. Wanting to bolster that number as soon as possible, Brooks persuaded the president of Holy Cross to authorize Brooks to offer scholarships on the spot to qualified black students, bypassing the lengthy admissions process. As a result, 20 black students entered Holy Cross in the fall of 1968 while Brooks assumed a new role as vice president for academic affairs and dean. Brooks became president of Holy Cross in 1970.
Brady focuses on five of those students and their relationships with Father Brooks and each other. The author draws in readers immediately by recounting where those figures were when King was killed and how that affected them. Brady deftly weaves the common threads of their stories through that event and their experiences on campus. On top of the experiences of adjusting to college life any incoming student has to make and issues associated with discrimination and racism, the specter of the Vietnam War and draft procedures loomed large for these young men.
Solidarity was important for these students even as they dealt with individual issues. Clarence Thomas found himself on a Catholic campus months after he left the seminary, which created problems at home. Ted Wells lost his desire to play football because he felt it detracted too much from his studies. Eddie Jenkins, later drafted by the Miami Dolphins, lost the majority of his first varsity football season after a hepatitis outbreak decimated the team. Basketball player Stan Grayson’s career came to an abrupt end when he suffered a knee injury. Ed Jones struggled as a math major before finding his calling as a writer and switching to English. Through it all, the students learned to lean on Father Brooks and each other.
Long before embarking on successful and influential careers, these men had to navigate campus life at Holy Cross. The formation of a Black Student Union was a key step, and shortly thereafter the BSU lobbied for and was granted a black corridor among student housing. Thomas was the lone dissenter on the issue of a black corridor, although some BSU members avoided the vote. Despite his dissension, Thomas decided to live in the black corridor in a sign of solidarity and later viewed the corridor as a de facto fraternity.
That solidarity was most evident in late 1969 when all but three or four of the 68 black students (41 enrolled in 1969) threatened to drop out of Holy Cross because of what they deemed racist disciplinary action after a protest on campus that included black and white students. After a long few days of campus meetings in which Father Brooks advocated for the BSU position, the president of Holy Cross gave amnesty to all the students disciplined, and all the black students remained in school.
Although Father Brooks did not always agree with the viewpoints of the black students and as president could not grant all their demands, he always had understanding and compassion for how they felt. Through Father Brooks and the students he recruited to Holy Cross, Brady captures not only the events of tumultuous times, but also the breadth and depth of the emotions associated with them.
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Ferragosto: a major Italian holiday, celebrated August 15, that involves an elaborate meal. The majority of the population goes out of town for a few days. (Americans, think “Thanksgiving weekend”)
Pranzo: lunch or dinner
Youth, beauty, materialism, and other facets of contemporary culture permeate the cinema landscape today. Mid-August Lunch (2008), a gem of a movie, is the antithesis of these themes and should not be missed. The storyline is gentle, uncomplicated but rich, and leaves the viewer with considerable substance on which to ponder long after the film is over.
The movie begins with Gianni, a middle-aged man who lives with and cares for his elderly mother in her small apartment in Rome. Gianni inadvertently finds himself providing respite care for three additional elderly women, whose families have gone away on holiday to celebrate Ferragosto. Initially displeased with their disposition, after being dismissed to the care of a complete stranger, the women and Gianni try to make the best of this rather awkward situation. Liberated from the confines of their prescribed roles within their families, the women’s more youthful, true personalities begin to emerge as the afternoon evolves. Later that evening, one of the women confides to Gianni, “We live on memories. Without memories what would you do?” The following day the women and Gianni prepare their own Pranzo di Ferragosto celebration meal, creating new memories for each of these new friends.
Mid-August Lunch is a directorial debut for Italian actor and screenwriter Gianni Di Gregorio who also plays the central character of this film. The calculated simplicity of this story and the cinematography, which features close-ups of the actors, images of the delicious meals prepared, and quintessential scenes of Rome work together to create a rich story. The viewer readily connects with the characters, seeing the individual within each of the women, as well as the caring and generous Gianni. Foreign language film viewers who oppose subtitles should not dismiss this movie. The dialogue is not complex and moves at a comfortable pace; the viewer quickly forgets she is reading subtitles. Charming scenes of the story unfold during the final credits… do not shut the DVD player off too quickly. I urge you to see Mid-August Lunch, and, if you are like me, you will tell your friends and family to do the same.
Check the WRL catalog for Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di Ferragosto)
Virginia can proudly claim a number of records in United States history — having the first permanent English settlement, the birthplace of eight U.S. Presidents, and the oldest Executive Mansion still occupied by a state governor.
This year marks the bicentennial of Virginia’s Executive Mansion and the beautiful book First House, Two Centuries with Virginia’s First Families tells the interesting history of the mansion. Written by Mary Miley Theobald, the book is published by the Citizen’s Advisory Council for Interpreting and Furnishing the Executive Mansion and the Library of Virginia. It shows how the mansion combines being a historic site and a place for business and receptions, with being a home for the governors and their families.
The story of Virginia’s Executive Mansion actually begins in Williamsburg. During the Revolutionary War, both Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson lived in the former Royal Governor’s Palace. When the British landed in Portsmouth, the legislators decided that Richmond would be a safer location for the Capitol of Virginia. So in May 1780, Jefferson packed up what was left of the Palace’s furnishings and moved to Richmond.
For 32 years Virginia’s governors made due with a neglected house purchased by the state near the new Capitol Building. Finally in 1811 the monies were acquired to build a new house for the governor. The house was completed two years later. Governor James Barbour of Orange County, his wife Lucy, and their three children were the first family to live in the Executive Mansion.
Author Mary Theobald chronicles the house’s story as each governor moves in and adapts and decorates the house to their own needs. The well-used house has endured two fires — the first one during the burning of Richmond in the Civil War and the second one in 1922 when the retiring governor’s 5-year-old son’s sparkler set a Christmas Tree on fire — and several renovations and an addition. The last major renovation of the house was under Governor James Gilmore III (1998-2002). The renovation returned the historic portion of the house to its 1830s appearance while improving mechanical and technology systems and strengthening the structure.
In addition to the chronological narrative, Theobald has chapters on the gardens, distinguished visitors, the First Families and their pets, Christmas, and the staff who work behind the scenes to make the mansion run smoothly.
The book is beautifully designed and has wonderful photos, prints, and engravings. There are also little sidebars of trivia and information that are fun to read, like the story of the painting given to the mansion by Nancy Langhorne Astor, the first female member of the House of Commons, as well as the stories of the mansion’s ghosts.
One of Virginia’s recent First Ladies called the Executive Mansion “a happy house” and that happiness certainly comes across in this book. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent, any Virginian will find this book fascinating because the story of the Executive Mansion is also the story of Virginia.
Check the WRL catalog for First House, Two Centuries with Virginia’s First Families
In the book Don’t Wake the Baby by Dawn Apperley, Lily-Lu is busy playing all through the day when every mishap she makes has the potential to wake the baby. There are s lot of CRASHES and SLASHES all the youngest listener’s will enjoy and of course, the repeating words Don’t wake the Baby! I plan to use this book often with our baby storytime crowd.
Check the WRL catalog for Don’t Wake the Baby.
Gran Cocina Latina (Great Latina Kitchen) is just that — big, rich, and fun to explore. In over 900 pages this new, award-winning cookbook by restaurateur and food historian Maricel Presilla brings together the diverse cooking traditions of Central and South America and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean.
Beautifully laid out, with a balance of recipes, background and equipment notes, and photos, cooks and armchair travelers alike will savor this comprehensive collection of recipes from a geographically and culturally “big” region.
Recipes are not arranged by country, but are grouped according to ingredient or type of food. Chapters introduce you to the layers of flavors that make up Latin America cooking. Here you can explore the variety of indigenous ingredients including chilies, squashes, corn, quinoa, beans, and potatoes that dominate the cuisine. You can also learn about the unique types of dishes that come from countries such as Argentina, Peru, Columbia, and Cuba such as empanadas, secos, tamals, ceviche, ollas (soups), moles, and dulce latino (sweets).
So get beyond the familiar Tex Mex tacos, refried beans, and salsa and journey through the complex flavors — but not complex cooking — of Latin America.
Check the WRL catalog for Gran Cocina Latina
This debut novel by Andrea Thalasinos attracted me for two reasons; it was about dogs and another culture that I didn’t know anything about. For me, An Echo Through the Snow was a win-win!
The story alternates between two settings and characters.
In present day Wisconsin, a struggling young woman named Rosalie, rescues a Siberian husky, which profoundly changes the course of her life. As she becomes more involved with dogs and the world of dog sled racing, her future looks brighter despite the odds against her.
Alternately, in 1929, a Siberian Chukchi woman, Jeaantaa, tries to
save her people’s Siberian huskies as the Russians force the Chukchi to give up their traditional lifestyle.
The story lines converge at the end, and I found both to be compelling. The book left me wanting to know more about some of the people in Rosalie’s world, as well as Jeaantaa’s people.
The author has rescued and raised Siberian huskies, and learned how to be a musher training dogs to run a dogsled team, so she knows her subject well. Her research on the little known Chukchi people and the history of the dog breed added to my enjoyment of the story.
Check the WRL catalog for An Echo Through the Snow
Patricia MacLachlan has such a beautiful way with her words. Her book Who Loves Me? is the very simple story of a little girl asking her cat, who loves me? The cat tells the little girl all of the ways her family loves her until they are both tired and they snuggle up together and fall asleep. This is a wonderful way to reassure any child as to who loves them, young children will love thinking of way each of their family members love them too.
Check the WRL catalog for Who Loves Me.
King City is more than a comic book, it’s a love letter to all of geekdom. Every drawing overflows with detail, containing little Easter eggs tucked into the background that make readers search each page before turning to the next one. A city setting is naturally dense, and artist/writer Brandon Graham doesn’t let any opportunity pass by to include a sly off-color pun, so everything from signs, graffiti, and character’s t-shirts are used as a canvas for amusement. This cacophony can be distracting, but it makes multiple re-reads an enjoyable requirement.
The story follows Joe, a ninja/spy/thief, who has recently returned to California after a few years away. During those years, he trained to become a Catmaster, and the main tool of his trade is a cat named Earthling whom he carries around in a bucket. But this is no ordinary cat; depending on the injection Joe gives it from a collection of syringes he carries around on his belt, the cat can transform into a variety of tools or weapons. Armed with his feline and his knowledge of the Way of the Cat, Joe travels the city.
Lest one think Joe is an anomaly in an otherwise normal population, we are introduced to a host of other misfits. Pete, Joe’s best friend, is a wrestling mask-wearing petty thief who falls in love with a water-breathing alien woman and embarks on a quest to free her from her captors. Anna, Joe’s ex-girlfriend, paints large and often intricate mustaches on billboard faces. And then there is Anna’s current boyfriend, Max, who is a veteran of the recent Xombie wars and is fighting the drug addiction he picked up in order to cope with his memories.
The artwork could be described as ska-punk manga and it is busy and sometimes manic. The plot twists over itself like a Moebius strip with no pretense of plausibility, so readers shouldn’t get caught up on the hows or whys of some situations while reading this book. Where Joe gets the syringes he needs to inject Earthling and who pays Anna to paint mustaches on billboards are questions that never get answered. There is sex and violence, but they play a secondary role to humor, taking the edge of seriousness off of both. Originally released as a serial, King City doesn’t really lend itself to that format. However, as a book, it is an engrossing experience, though definitely not a quick read. Recommended to readers of comics and humor.
Check the WRL catalog for King City.
Hush Little Polar Bear is a very sweet bedtime book that you will just have to sing.
The artwork is big and little ones will have no trouble following the little polar bear as he travels all over the world until it’s time to settle down and sleep soundly in bed.
This is a great book for a bedtime storytime, Jeff Mack is the author and illustrator and he’s created a beautiful book.
Check the WRL catalog for Hush Little Polar Bear.
A vicious intergalactic war rages on in this epic fantasy vs. sci-fi standoff. The inhabitants of Landfall, the largest planet in the galaxy, bear vestigial wings and are technologically advanced. They have forever been in conflict with the population of Wreath, Landfall’s moon, who have horns like sheep and a mastery of magic. Each side recruits other planets and races to join their side in the battle, constantly expanding the battlefield throughout the universe.
Alana was a Landfall soldier, sent to guard prisoners on the distant planet of Cleave. Marko was a foot solider for Wreath, but surrendered as a conscientious objector and was sent to Cleave. Within twelve hours of meeting each other, Alana and Marko flee together. Their union produces a daughter named Hazel, who serves as occasional narrator to the story, and has both wings and horns.
Treachery such as theirs can’t go unpunished, and soon both sides are tracking the new parents, who want nothing more than a peaceful place to raise their child. The fragility of the new life they have created strengthens their resolve to, somehow, survive. Landfall sends Prince Robot IV, a humanoid with a television set for a head, to bring them to justice while the Wreath military hires a freelance bounty hunter named The Will. For reasons yet unknown, the Wreath side wants Hazel brought back alive. Another bounty hunter, a former lover of The Will, is also sent by the Wreath forces to track down Alana and Marco. Prince Robot IV and The Will are soon at odds, with The Will swearing to destroy his blue-blooded nemesis.
The writing and the artwork for this series successfully contrast the tenderness and intimacy between the parents against the violence of the worlds around them. There are a lot of ideas introduced in this first volume, which can be tricky to maintain, but Brian K. Vaughan is an experienced writer and this volume is a promising beginning. Fiona Staples’s artwork is simple yet striking, and she manages to make several different, distinct alien worlds, bathing the images in contrasting teals and oranges and greens. Recommended for fantasy and science fiction readers, and anyone who enjoys an against-the-odds romance.
Check the WRL catalog for Saga.
If you’ve ever picked up a book by Mike Mignola, author of the Hellboy series, you will know what to expect: a Victorian gothic adventure set against crumbling ruins with elements of steampunk and the supernatural. This is the second book Mignola has co-authored with Christopher Golden. The first, Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, has also been released as a series of graphic novels that are definitely worth checking out. Both Joe Golem and Baltimore are billed as illustrated novels, which mean the images are less integral to the consumption of the story compared to graphic novels, but they enhance the atmosphere of the narrative.
In this alternative history, New York City is hit in 1925 by several cataclysmic earthquakes, flooding half of the city three stories deep. Wealthy residents who survived the tremors moved up to the higher part of town, called Uptown. The lower, waterlogged Downtown section is often referred to as the Drowning City. Those poorer residents who remain Downtown eke out a living as best they can, navigating the broken, fallen buildings and the canals created between them.
By necessity, residents of the Drowning City are self-reliant, and 14-year old Molly McHugh is certainly a product of her environment. A magician called Felix Orlov, who works under the stage name Orlov the Conjuror, employs her. Orlov is retired from the stage, but still accepts clients interested in his talents as a psychic medium. When a séance goes wrong, Orlov is abducted by strange human-like creatures wearing masks, leaving Molly terrified, but determined to free her friend.
Fleeing from one of the monsters, she runs into Joe Golem, an imposing man built like a boxer, with grey eyes and a stony countenance. Joe knows little of his past, but he and his partner, Simon Church, keep watch on the paranormal activity in the city and they do not like what they have been seeing lately. From here the story takes a decidedly Lovecraftian turn, and Molly has to figure out whom she can trust, and who can best help her free Orlov.
This novel is an enjoyable, quick read. Recommended for fantasy and horror readers, both adult and YA.
Check the WRL catalog for Joe Golem and the Drowning City.
Like all stories with the 3 bears this one starts out as the bears go for a walk and come home to find their house a mess but then decide to give Goldilocks a taste of her own medicine. The bears have a blast with a food fight, pillow fight and water battle. Goldilocks comes home to a very funny conclusion, poor Mr. Wolf.
Have fun reading this one to all you storytime friends, it’s a great read for all ages.
Check the WRL catalog for Beware of the Bears.
Sometimes it’s good to hit the reset button. Bram Stoker didn’t invent the vampire, but he carved the archetype: a creature of power, terror, and ruthlessness hidden under a veneer of charm. Vampires have been popular recently, both in fiction and movies, but the trend has been to smooth over their edges, making them suave, stylish, even glittery, in a way that doesn’t sit well with many fans of horror.
Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque decided to go back to basics. In Skinner Sweet they re-created the vampire, one who commands visceral fear, not existential angst, who is bloodthirsty, vicious, and brutal. And then they threw in a twist: their vampire would be uniquely American, born and bred in the Wild West. As such, he would not be like any of the vampires that had come before him. Unlike all the European vampires, Sweet is unaffected by exposure to the sun. As the character himself explains “Sometimes, when the blood hits someone new, from somewhere new, it makes something new. With a whole new bag of tricks.”
The first story begins in Nevada, during the construction of the Boulder Dam (now called the Hoover Dam). As the construction expands, so does the vice in nearby Las Vegas. Where there is vice and money, there is blood, and where there’s blood, there’s vampires. Sweet, living under the name Jim Smoke, is running a brothel called the Frontier. In life, Sweet was a murderer and a thief, with a knack for riling up pretty much anyone he interacts with. As a vampire, he’s even worse. When a man turns up drained of every drop of blood after dating one of Sweet’s girls, the law begins to take an interest. But do they have any idea who, or what, they are dealing with?
Pearl Jones, a vampire created by Sweet in Volume 1, is still struggling to come to terms with the consequences of her new life. Desperate to live as normally as possible, she shuns her vampire side, feeding on blood without killing. But she is forever tied to Sweet, and the people who want him dead have decided that she just might hold the key to getting rid of him for good. Pearl, along with her husband Henry, is also featured in a shorter second story in this volume. Although each of the stories has a conclusion, the reader is always somehow left feeling like none of the stories actually end. They are just pieces of a larger narrative that slowly builds with each vignette.
Snyder’s writing ratchets up the tension, and the angularity of Albuquerque’s drawings enhances the sharpness of the vampire’s bite. For the first volume, Snyder approached Stephen King with his idea for Skinner Sweet wanting a forward, but King was so enthused with the character he ended up guest writing the origin story himself, based on Snyder’s outline. If a stamp of approval from one of the biggest American horror writers wasn’t enough, American Vampire won the 2011 Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best New Series. Recommended for fans of horror and westerns.
Check the WRL catalog for American Vampire.
If you asked people what they think of when they hear the term “American mythos” many would undoubtedly call to mind Cowboys and Indians and other aspects of the Wild West, unaware of the vibrant and complex stories and traditions of Southern Folklore. Bayou is a beautifully-rendered Alice in Wonderland-style fairytale set in Mississippi during the Depression. It is a uniquely Southern world, filled with mud and Spanish moss, concurrently embracing and fighting against the legacy of slavery.
The story centers on Lee, a young black girl, who is friends with Lily, the white daughter of the woman who owns the farm where Lee and her father live. Lily is snatched and swallowed by a monster from the bayou, named Cotton-Eyed Joe, and Lee’s father makes a convenient suspect for the local law officers when she is reported missing by her mother. In an effort to get her friend back, and free her father before he gets lynched, Lee follows the monster into the brackish water, and finds herself in an alternate but parallel world. The inhabitants of this world are human-like, but their physical bodies have been replaced by various characters drawn from Southern myths. She meets Bayou, a swamp dweller who, despite his giant stature, is cowed into submission by the Bossman and his lackeys through their brutal enforcement of the law. Despite his fear, Bayou sees the need and determination of Lee to find her friend Lily and decides to help her, although not without trepidation.
Any story that starts with a lynching and exposes the varied responses of people to such brutality isn’t going to pull punches. But what is most chilling about its narrative is that Bayou doesn’t make the humans into caricatures. The people in the normal world are just that: normal. They are all believable products of their time and environments, and that is clearly reflected in the social interactions between the characters. Young and old, black and white, rich and poor, everyone seems to know who is in power and the potential consequences of any action that might upset the current balance. In the parallel world, characters are taken to their extreme with Jim Crows, Golliwogs, and Confederate officer hounds, but it’s the similarities rather than the differences between the two worlds that are most striking.
Bayou’s injections of race, religion, poverty, and the blues contribute to an important and uniquely Southern voice in fantasy and graphic novels. The storyline and imagery can be disturbing and unsettling, but these aspects give meaning and power to the book’s message. Both written and drawn by Jeremy Love, the use of color enhances the atmosphere, bathing the images in deep gold, dusky pink, and brownish-green. Recommended to readers of fantasy, graphic novels, and southern fiction.
Check the WRL catalog for Bayou
Petunia LOVES skunks and that’s what she wants, of course her parents say no and that’s when the adventure starts. Petunia tries to convince her parents how wonderful a pet skunk would be and tells them all the ways she will take care of it, but of course, they say no.
Petunia decides she can no longer live with such “mean” parents and runs away to live in the woods, she doesn’t get far before the wanted pet crosses her path and Petunia finds out why skunks do not make good pets. Petunia heads for home and decides she likes her stuffed pet skunk best but not before declaring real skunks are Awesomely Stinky!
This is a fun storytime book, I’ve used it for a mostly school aged crowd but will work for any age as long as they have some experience with Awesomely Stinky Skunks!
Check the WRL catalog for A Pet for Petunia.
I had mentioned to a friend that I hadn’t read any books by Nelson DeMille and she raved over his 1990 novel, The Gold Coast, saying it wasn’t a typical DeMille, but was the best he had written. DeMille has written several detective/espionage thrillers — and The Gold Coast doesn’t follow that type of plot. But being the best? I think that may depend on what you’re looking for in a novel.
John Sutter and his wife, Susan, are comfortable, and perhaps a bit bored, with their life on Long Island’s North Shore, an area “that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America.” They live in the guest house of a 55-room mansion owned by Susan’s parents. While wealthy, they aren’t in the strata of the wealthiest, like their new neighbor, mafia don Frank Bellarosa. But they have respectability, and Frank certainly doesn’t.
Frank does have a certain dangerous appeal, and Susan and John find themselves dining with their neighbor and gradually becoming seduced by the power and charisma of the mafia don.
As John becomes more disenchanted with his “normal” life and superficial friends, he also finds himself making reckless decisions which eventually lead him to representing Frank in criminal proceedings.
There were many parts of this novel that I enjoyed.
I liked the main character, John Sutter. John has a sarcastic wit, which surprisingly doesn’t get him in trouble as often as it should. He gets away with saying what’s on his mind with seemingly no personal regrets.
I enjoyed the exciting courtroom scene toward the end of the book where John has to find where Frank is being arraigned on murder charges. There is a great back-and-forth tension between John and the Attorney General.
My favorite part of the novel is the sense of place. DeMille does a good job describing the mansions on the Gold Coast. And not just the mansions in their former glory, with the recreated libraries and Roman temples, but the reality of the abandoned homes and neglected gardens. DeMille portrays the reactions of the neighbors when these expensive historic homes are sold off for tract housing or bought by foreign investors. It was a fascinating glimpse into an unbelievably wealthy world.
We read this as a recent selection for my book group. Reactions were mixed. Some liked the book for the same reasons I did, others said the plot dragged and they found the characters unlikeable.
DeMille wrote a sequel in 2008, which picks up John, Susan, and Frank’s son Anthony a decade later. We have both The Gold Coast and The Gate House in the library collection.
Check the WRL catalog for The Gold Coast
Check the WRL catalog for sequel, The Gate House
Eula is a square cat whose shape sometimes makes her life difficult. Her favorite round skirt won’t fit, getting up after a fall isn’t easy and mouse holes are impossible. Things get so bad Eula eventually loses her purr. Enter Patsy and Maude, two round cats, who try to help Eula feel round. Eula tries hoop earrings, eating doughnuts and skipping in circles and just when she starts to feel round she tips over. “Which as you know isn’t good for a square cat.” Pick up this book at the library and find out what Patsy and Maude do to become square cats just like Eula and how Eula realizes that being square has its advantages too.
Check the WRL catalog for Square Cat.