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The Capitol Book Newsletter

Thursday, March 10, 2011

 

 

Mark Childress! 

 

mug_mark_childress.jpg

 

 

Please join us THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 12 FROM 4 – 6 PM

 

Mark will be signing copies of his critically acclaimed SEVENTH novel

Georgia Bottoms, in which…

 

Our heroine Georgia Bottoms, the beautiful, well-to-do devoutly Baptist

Southern Belle of Six Points, Alabama,

who turns out not to be so well-to-do after all

(the family fortune having long since disappeared),

turns to a new profession, which resembles a very old profession,

in that Georgia takes six well-heeled lovers

(six because she feels the need to have Mondays off),

one of whom is the preacher, who suddenly feels the need to confess the affair. Publicly. In church.

 

Here’s a little excerpt from the Publishers Weekly review:

Childress is sassy magnolia lit's Truman Capote - sharply observant, unrelentingly honest,

 and downright hilarious -and his Georgia peach is the freshest bad girl to rise from the South since Scarlett O'Hara.

 

 

Can’t come? Reserve your signed copies by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

 

The Capitol Book Newsletter

Thursday, August 14, 2008

 

Today's Contents

1. Level of literary discourse rises

2. Blog

3. Two Alabama Books

 

 

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Exeunt

A few of you have asked, and the answer is yes, our newspaper column has been discontinued. We almost made 10 years, we published about 250 columns, and almost 175,000 words, and the newspaper folks thought that was about enough, or at least it was all they were going to pay for. We'll miss it, but it turns out that here in the 21st century there are other ways to reach folks, including.......

 

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Our blog

A blog is like this newsletter, except it does not arrive in your email inbox along with all the email you'd just as soon not get. You only get a blog if you subscribe to the blog, which if you can't figure out how to do it, ask a kid. Or do this: go to our blog (http://capitolbook.blogspot.com/), and once there you can click on the "Posts" button over there on the right where it says "Subscribe to Capitol Book's Blog." Then you'll get a few choices, then you'll probably get confused, then you should call a kid. But it's worth the trouble....you'll find all sorts of blogs on subjects that interest you, and you can subscribe to as many of them as you like, all free. Then every day you can check your blogs, knowing that everything you get is something you asked to get....NO SPAM. It's very cool.

 

 

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A couple of old favorites

Here are two books we always sell as many of as we can get, and now we've gotten a few more..........you can order directly from this email, or you can visit our Sale Books page (where there are lots more books to choose from), or you can just call us or email us if you want either of these.

 

 

Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks: A Guide to the State’s

Ancient Life and Landscapes

by Jim Lacefield

 

Alabama geology. Endlessly fascinating, and not too easy to find these days. In fact, we have only 9 copies on hand,

and don’t expect any more until the new edition is published, and author Jim Lacefield is not promising

that event any time soon. So get one now! Excellent for school science projects! $26.95 paperback, limited supply.

http://shopsite.ipower.com/ss8.3/shopsite-images/en-US/buttons/defaults/Add_To_Cart.gif  http://shopsite.ipower.com/ss8.3/shopsite-images/en-US/buttons/defaults/View_Cart.gif

   

 

 

Frank Stitt's Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions

from Highlands Bar and Grill

By Frank Stitt

 

His Southern peers find the cooking of Frank Stitt--chef and owner of Highlands Bar & Grill and Chez

Fonfon--rustic and homey yet sophisticated in method. Now, Alabama's favorite son has written a

long-awaited cookbook that features over 150 of his enticing, Provencal-influenced Southern recipes.

Was $40, now $19.95

  http://shopsite.ipower.com/ss8.3/shopsite-images/en-US/buttons/defaults/Add_To_Cart.gif  http://shopsite.ipower.com/ss8.3/shopsite-images/en-US/buttons/defaults/View_Cart.gif

 

 

 

The Capitol Book Newsletter

Thursday, February 14, 2008

 

 

A whole slew of SALE BOOKS arrived yesterday!

Better than candy or flowers for Valentine's Day!

Also a nice treat for your own self!

 

Here's what we got:

 

All Aunt Hagar's Children: Stories

By Edward P. Jones

In fourteen sweeping and sublime stories, five of which have been published in "The New Yorker," the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Known World" shows that his grasp of the human condition is firmer than ever.  Hardcover, was $25.95, now $8.99.

 

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

By Susannah Clarke

The entrancing international bestseller and TIME #1 Book of the Year.  Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Clarke's magisterial novel--the story of the rise of two very different magicians--weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of 19th-century England.  Cheryl loved this one.  Hardcover was $27.95, now $8.99.

 

Let Me Finish

By Roger Angell

Intimate, funny, and moving portraits form this book's centerpiece as Angell remembers his eccentric relatives, his childhood love of baseball in the time of Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio, and his vivid colleagues during his long career as a "New Yorker" writer and editor.  Angell is one of those people who can write about all the rich, famous, important people he has known and still sound like a regular guy.  Wonderful book.  Hardcover, was $25, now $7.99.

 

La Belle Saison: Living Off the Land in Rural France

By Patricia Atkinson

You may not want to move to France and start up a vineyard, but you will want to read about it  Hardcover, was $24.95, Now $7.99.

 

The Spellman Files

By Lisa Lutz

Critics loved this one, first of a series.  Meet Izzy Spellman, a 28-year-old private eye working for her family’s investigative business--a family that puts the fun in dysfunctional--in this irresistible, laugh-out-loud debut novel.  Hardcover, was $25, now $7.99.

 

 

The Splendid Table

By Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Just when you thought you knew the best Italy, along comes Lynne Rossetto Kasper to introduce you to Emilia-Romagna, a fertile wedge between Milan, Venice, and Florence, as gastronomically important as any land in the world. The lush homeland of balsamic vinegar, Prosciutto di Parma, tortellini, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this is a region venerated by Italy's food cognoscenti. Have you listened to Lynne’s wonderful cooking show of the same name on NPR?  Hardcover, was $37.50, now $15.99.

 

 

The King of Lies

By John Hart

A literary thriller that is as suspenseful as it is poignant, a riveting murder mystery layered beneath the southern drawl of a humble North Carolina lawyer. When Work Pickens finds his father murdered, the investigation pushes a repressed family history to the surface and he sees his own carefully constructed facade begin to crack.  Hardcover, was $22.95, now $7.99.

 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

By C.S.Lewis

What begins as a simple game of hide-and-seek quickly turns into the adventure of a lifetime when Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy walk through the wardrobe and into the land of Narnia. There they find a cold, snow-covered land frozen into eternal winter by the evil White Witch. All who challenge her rule are turned into stone. Narnia, once filled with all manner of talking Beasts, Dwarfs, Giants, and Fauns is now a dark, joyless wasteland. The children can only hope that Aslan, the Great Lion, will return to Narnia and restore beauty and peace to the land. But will the power of Aslan be enough to conquer the dark magic of the White Witch?  This one is our permanent “Best of” list,  Hardcover, was $16.99, now $6.99.

 

Abundance, a Novel of Marie Antoinette

By Sena Jeter Naslund

Once again, Alabama writer, Sena Naslund sheds new light on an important moment of historical change and made that time as real to us as the one we are living now. Exquisitely detailed, beautifully written, heartbreaking and powerful, "Abundance" is  impossible to put down.  Hardcover, was $26.95, now $8.99.

 

The Trojan War: A New History

By Barry Strauss

Based on the latest archeological research and written by a leading expert on ancient military history, the true story of the most famous battle in history is every bit as compelling as Homer's epic account, and confirms many of its details.  Hardcover, was $26, now $7.99.

 

Have Mercy on Us All

By Fred Vargas

This was the first of the best selling French writer’s Chief Inspector Adamsberg Mysteries to be translated into English, and now we are hooked.  More!  More!  Paper, was $14, now $6.99.

 

S'Mores: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion

By Lisa Adams

Thinks there’s only one way to make the classic campfire treat?  Wrong!  How about with raspberries and figs?  Why not substitute chocolate chip cookies for the graham cracker?  Fruit for the chocolate?  Pound cake? Croissants?  All easy, yummy confections.  Hardcover, was $16.95, now $7.99.

 

Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World by David Denby

At the age of forty-eight, writer and film critic David Denby returned to Columbia University and re-enrolled in two core courses in Western civilization to confront the literary and philosophical masterpieces -- the "great books" -- that are now at the heart of the culture wars. In "Great Books," he leads us on a glorious tour, a rediscovery and celebration of such authors as Homer and Boccaccio, Locke and Nietzsche. Conrad and Woolf. The resulting personal odyssey is an engaging blend of self-discovery, cultural commentary, reporting, criticism, and autobiography -- an inspiration for anyone in love with the written word.  Paper, was $16, now $5.99.

 

Still Life

By Louise Penny

Here’s what a few of her peers said about Louise Penny;’s first book:

"Louise Penny's "Still Life" is a gem of a debut novel---clever, charming, with perceptively realized characters, a setting to die for, and the enormously appealing Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. I can't wait for the next installment."---Deborah Crombie,
"An excellent, subtle plot full of understanding of the deeper places in human nature, and many wise observations that will enrich the reader long after the pages are closed."---Anne Perry
"A cast of fascinating and beautifully sketched characters, deep insight into human motives and relationships . . . Georges Simenon kept Maigret going for over a hundred books. It will be a delight for all of us who love detective fiction if Louise Penny can stay around long enough to do the same for Gamache."---Reginald Hill

""Still Life" is a masterpiece of a traditional drawing room mystery.... Louise Penny is a storytelling artist." ---Julia Spencer-Fleming

"What a joy it is to discover a detective like Armand Gamache, strong, calm and charismatic and at work on a good mystery in a believable setting."---Peter Lovesey,

…Oh, and we thought it was great!  Hardcover, was $22.95, now $7.99.

 

The City of Falling Angels

By John Berendt

Berendt captures Venice-a city of masks, a city of riddles, where the narrow, meandering passageways form a giant maze, confounding all who have not grown up wandering into its depths. Venice, a city steeped in a thousand years of history, art and architecture, teeters in precarious balance between endurance and decay.   Hardcover, was $25.95, now $8.99.

 

Creole Thrift: Premium Southern Living Without Spending a Mint

By Angele Parlange

Southern tradition blends with modern whimsy in this first offering from famed New Orleans designer Angele Parlange-and the result is this extraordinary home decor book. Known for her fresh designs and unexpected blends of the opulent and the offbeat, Parlange brings her particular brand of "Creole thrift"-the art of making beautiful, quality decorations out of heritage pieces without spending a mint-straight to the budget-conscious reader.  Hardcover, was $29.95, now $11.99.

 

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind

By Ann B. Ross

This was the very first book in the now long-running series of books about a woman whose life is abruptly turned upside down.  Very Southern, very funny, very charming.  Paper, was $13.95, now $6.99.

 

Death Comes for the Fat Man

By Reginald Hill

This is number 22 in the best mystery series ever written, featuring his popular Yorkshire policemen Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe.  Hardcover, was $24.95, now $7.99.

 

Soup of the Day: 150 Sustaining Recipes for Soup and Accompaniments to Make a Meal by Lydie Marshall

Who doesn't love a fragrant, steaming bowl of soup when cold winds howl outside?

Now the beloved cooking teacher in France and America, serves up something for everyone: 140 mouthwatering recipes for soups and accompanying salads, breads, and desserts to make a meal. Lydie offers a wide range of her favorite soup recipes, from classics like New England Clam Chowder and Onion Soup to new favorites like Red Lentil Soup with Curry or Fava Bean Soup with Mint and Feta Cheese. Make a meal of Lydie's Tuscan Ribollita (the twice-cooked Tuscan bean soup), Chicory Salad with Bacon, Croutons, Poached Eggs, and a loaf of Poilane bread, finished with Vanilla Cream with Prunes Soaked in Brandy. All the recipes are here in Soup of the Day -- clear, accessible, delicious. Hardcover, was $25.95, now $9.99.

 

The Grave Tattoo

By Val McDermid

Suspense master McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the "H.M.S. Bounty". After torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, long discarded old wives' tales takes on a chilling new plausibility. For centuries, Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian returned home, told his story to old friend William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem--a poem that remained hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harboring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, feels compelled to discover once and for all whether the manuscript ever existed-- but as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. Against the dramatic backdrop of England's Lake District a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions.  Literature, history, and a spellbinding mystery, all bound up together.  Hardcover, was $24.95, now $7.99.

 

Golden Treasures of Troy

By Herve Duchene

A German businessman-turned-archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) had a lifelong dream: to find the world of Homer--the mythical cities of Troy, Ithaca, and Mycenae--and search for its long-hidden riches. Now, this fascinating volume reveals the complete story of how this passionate amateur, guided only by the Homeric texts, unearthed legendary sites and artifacts.  Full color art throughout.  Paper, was $12.95, now $5.99.

 

The Modern Townhouse: The Latest in Urban and Suburban Designs

By James Grayson Trulove

A townhouse is a residence that many find combines the best amenities of a single-family home and a condominium. By definition, a townhouse is a home that is attached to adjacent houses, which sits upon land that you own.  THE MODERN TOWNHOUSE will look at three types of town house projects that are increasingly popular in urban areas and close-in suburbia: 1) Renovation of existing town houses. 2) Vacant lots, primarily in the inner cities, but also in close-in suburban neighborhoods. This activity is in response to the increasing demand for urban housing where high land prices mandate multifamily housing solutions.  3) New, one-off townhouses that are found primarily in wealthier neighborhoods where the high land cost can be recovered with a single, luxury town home.  Includes floor plans, exteriors and interiors.  Hardcover, was $35, now $11.99.

 

 

Fossils:  Evidence of vanished Worlds

By Yvette Gayrard-Valy

A historical look at how the discoveries of fossils throughout time have impacted the world. Complete with color photos and interesting details of various discoveries, fossils, and extinct species with original historical documents.  Paper, was $12.95, now $5.99.

 

A Fountain Filled With Blood

To Darkness and to Death

Out of the Deep I Cry

All Mortal Flesh

All four by Julia Spencer-Fleming

You could say that Julia Spencer Fleming is one of out favorite writers; you could say that she is one of our best-selling writers, you could say we can’t recommend her highly enough, and you could say we can’t wait until the next one comes out in June.  You would be correct in every case.  All in hardcover, were $23.95, $22.95, now $7.99.

 

The Tenderness of Wolves

By Stef Penney

The year is 1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory, when a man is brutally murdered. A local woman, stumbles upon the crime scene and sees the tracks leading from the dead man's cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. It is Mrs. Ross's knock on the door of the largest house in Caulfield that launches the investigation. Within hours she will regret that knock with a mother's love -- for soon she makes another discovery: her seventeen-year-old son has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect.  In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation, and humor into an exhilarating thriller; a panoramic historical romance and a gripping murder mystery.  Hardcover, was $25, now $7.99.

 

Four Seasons in Rome

By Anthiny Doerr

Anthony Doerr won the Rome Prize, a prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and with it a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. He learned of the award the day he and his wife returned from the hospital with newborn twins. This book describes Doerr's varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats -- the chroniclers of Rome who came before him -- and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus. He and his family are embraced by the butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighborhood, whose clamor of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself. This intimate and revelatory book is a celebration of Rome, a wondrous look at new parenthood, and a fascinating story of a writer's craft -- the process by which he transforms what he sees and experiences into sentences. Hardcover, was $24, now $7.99.

 

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France

By Kristin Espinasse

This one is based on the popular blog (french-word-a-day.com) and newsletter with thousands of subscribers -- a heart-winning collection from an American woman raising two very French children with her French husband in Provence, carrying on a lifelong love affair with the language.   With an approach that is as charming as it is practical, Espinasse shares her story through the everyday French words and phrases that never make it to American classrooms.  Steeped in French culture but experienced through American eyes, it will delight armchair travelers and Francophiles everywhere. Hardcover, was $18, now $6.99.

 

The Rainaldi Quartet

By Paul Adam

"From the first stirring theme to the last fading chord, mystery fans and music lovers alike will be captivated by British author Adam' s excellent contemporary thriller. ... Adam has constructed this tale with all the care and craftsmanship that Stradivari put into his instruments, filling it to the brim with deliciously caustic commentary on Italian city life and fascinating historical detail." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)  Hardcover, was $23.95, now $7.99.

 

Southern Crossword

Complied by Al Dixon

52b challenging crossword puzzles, 1500 clues and answers.  “The North isn’t a place, it’s just a direction out of the South.”—Roy Blount, Jr.  Paper, was $12, now $4.99.

 

 

How Did I Get to Be 40 & Other Atrocities

Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations

I'm Too Young to Be Seventy and Other Delusions

All three by Judith Viorst

The beloved bestselling author has tackled the ins and outs of each decade of a woman’s life with her usual wry good humor.  Though Viorst acknowledges she is definitely not a good sport about the fact that she is mortal, her poems are full of the pleasures of life right now, helping us come to terms with the passage of time, encouraging us to keep trying to fix the world, and inviting us to consider "drinking wine, making love, laughing hard, caring hard, and learning a new trick or two as part of our job description."  Hardcover, were $16 and $17, now $4.99.

 

The Book of Air and Shadows

By Michael Gruber

“In this ingenious literary thriller , the lives of two men are changed forever by William Shakespeare and the letters of Richard Bracegirdle, a 16th-century English spy and soldier. Jake Mishkin, a Manhattan intellectual property attorney and a bit of a rake, goes on the run from Russian gangsters. Albert Crosetti, an aspiring filmmaker working for an antiquarian bookstore, finds that life is more exciting than movies perhaps too exciting. Together, they travel to England in search of a previously unknown Shakespeare manuscript. The suspense created around the double-crosses and triple-crosses works because of the close connection readers forge with Crosetti in particular. The mysterious murder of a Shakespearean scholar, shootouts in the streets of Queens and an unlikely romance all combine to make for a gripping, satisfying read.”-Publishers Weekly (starred review) Hardcover, was $24.95, now $7.99.

 

Baker Towers

By Jennifer Haigh

Baker Towers is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America's industrial past and the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. This is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary new voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill.  Hardcover, was $24.95, now $7.99.

 

First Drop

By Zoe Sharp

Dubbed today’s best action heroine by Lee Child, British Army veteran Charlie Fox, now a bodyguard-for-hire, only has to baby-sit the gawky 15-year-old son of a rich computer programmer. The last thing she or anyone expects is that the kid’s father and entourage will disappear.  We took Lee Child’s advice, read it, and now we recommend you do the same.  Hardcover, was $23.95, now $6.99.

 

The Sins of the Brother

By Mike Stewart

It's been six months since Tom McInnes opted out of the billable-hours marathon at a tony Mobile, Alabama, law firm. His private practice isn't exactly flourishing, but his spirits are - at least compared with how they fared when he was under the thumb of Higgins & Thompson's senior partners. Then Tom's peaceful, if unprofitable, semi-retirement is shattered by a phone call summoning him home after his younger ne'er-do-well brother, Hall, has been murdered.  The was the first in the excellent Alabama-set mystery series.  Hardcover, was $23.95, now $7.99.

 

Art: A New History

By Paul Johnson

The suthor turns his great gifts as a world historian to a subject that has enthralled him all his life: the history of art. This narrative account, from the earliest cave paintings up to the present day, has new things to say about almost every period of art. He is a passionate lover of beauty who finds creativity in many places. With 300 colour illustrations, this book is vivid, evocative and immensely readable.  Hardcover, was $39.95, now $14.99.

 

 

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The Capitol Book Newsletter

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

 

Your Favorite Reads!

 

First of all - yes, a few of you received this huge report, or at least a link to it, in your inbox yesterday. That's because you have asked to receive an email copy of our bi-weekly newspaper column in addition to this regular newsletter. Sorry for the duplication. On the other hand, if you had no idea you could get the newspaper column by email, and wish to, now you know, and all you need do to subscribe to the newspaper column is CLICK HERE, and let us know.

 

And second of all, this is a huge report. If you print it out, it'll take about 30 pages. If you want to refer to it in the future, it will be on our website. Just CLICK HERE to find it.

 

And third of all, THANK YOU to everybody who took the time, and spent the effort, to report. This whole thing started out back in 2000 as a way for us to get out of writing one newspaper column a year. This year, for the first time, we received enough reports to fill every one of our 2008 columns! Amazing.

 

 

So, here it is...........

 

Do they have to be from this year? If not, here goes:
I read McCarthy’s “The Road” and enjoyed its nihilistic sparseness. Still, I believe “All the Pretty Horses” and “Blood Meridian” are both better.
David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” has been out for a few years, but I finally got around to reading it. It is like nothing I’ve ever read, and though loose ends might not be tied up at the end, it’s an enthralling read, part sci-fi, part thriller, all weird in a good way.
I also enjoyed Logan Ward’s “See You in a Hundred Years.” Nice little tale about how living the simple life ain’t that simple.
-Monte Burke

New York City, NY

 

How entertaining could it be to read about someone's angst-ridden divorce? That's what I thought "Eat, Pray, Love" was going to be about, and I didn't believe my friend Melissa when she said she couldn't wait for every hour of sit-down with this book.

Melissa was right, though. "Eat, Pray, Love" is so much more than a chronicle of author Liz Gilbert's relationship woes. It's a rare glimpse into the emotional and spiritual growth of a brilliant, quirky, funny 30-something women. Following her messy divorce, Liz blocks out a year to learn how to really eat, pray and love. She eats her way through Italy, prays and meditates endlessly in an Indian ashram, and falls in love with the most unexpected of men in the most unexpected of places. Through it all, she ruminates on the history and culture of her surroundings, as well as the strange and wonderful people she meets. Her writing is deceptively easy to read, considering the breadth of information and wisdom it conveys.  

P.S. For those of us who love to write, Gilbert's website includes some interesting thoughts on writing. You can read these, and more about "Eat, Pray, Love" at

http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/writing.htm.

- Melanie LeMay

 

 

 

I am particularly interested in historical literature or novels whose settings incorporate exotic cultures.  For this reason my favorite reads of 2007 are The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseni, The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirezvani, Mozart’s Sister by Rita Charbonnier, The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  Other favorites of this year include Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Dreaming Water by Gail Tsukiyama, The Ha-Ha by Dave King, The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, Sister Mine by Tawni O’Dell, A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates, The End of the Alphabet by C. S. Richardson, and Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo.   

The Inheritance of Loss describes a life away from modernity.  An orphaned girl lives with her retired grandfather and his cook in the Himalayas, and they experience conflict with the insurgents.  I like how instead of perceiving political upheavals only through viewing the news, readers get a first hand view of how an average person’s every day life is affected.  Another good book juxtaposing undeveloped areas with our technological society and revolutionaries with the uninvolved is Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan.  The kidnapping of a tour group in Myanmar is narrated by the tour guide who, strangely enough, died before the tour even began.  I read this in December of last year, or I would have included it in my list.   

A Thousand Splendid Suns gives readers a glimpse of two women’s lives, married to the same abusive man, in Afghanistan.  Again, the struggles take on a more personal meaning when perceived from an individual’s point of view instead of hearing about it through documentaries.   

In The Blood of Flowers, we get a beautiful portrait of the daily life of Ancient Persia.  A strong female narrator, although she remains nameless, personifies the unjust treatment of women in this time and place, and gives us background information on the making of Persian rugs. 

Mozart’s Sister tells the story of Nan, the equally talented sister of Mozart whose skill was used by her father to fund Mozart’s music tours.  Instead of being allowed to tour alongside Mozart, she was forbidden by her father to compose or play any instrument except the piano, and that only for teaching, which brought in the necessary funds for Mozart’s travel.  The Other Boleyn Girl brings us the point of view of Anne Boleyn’s sister, who was ordered by her family to seduce the king and who even bore the king children, until her sister Anne took over to persuade the king to marry her in order to further their family’s status.  It is so interesting to read about these remote time periods and historical characters.   

The Book Thief is about a girl who finds a way to bring books to her family and neighbors and manages to distract them by reading to them while they often gathered in basements during bomb raids during World War II.  The girl and her adopted parents illustrate their humanity when they attempt to hide a Jewish man to save him from the Nazis.  The point of view of poorer Germans during the Holocaust is unique because during this time of war they were victims, too, but that is rarely considered.  Another unique element is that the narrator is Death.  A strange concept, but very well done.   

I just realized that all the favorites I portrayed here have females as main characters who were persecuted in some way.  I guess that is because I am inspired by reading about the strength and goodness of women who are capable of overcoming any adversity.   

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to write about some of my favorite books.  When I read this report last year, I started a list of every book I’ve read this year.  It has been very helpful.  I’ve read 55 books so far this year!  If this is published and someone who knows me is reading this and wondering what to get me for Christmas, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate to Capitol Book! 

-Stephanie Chance

 

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:  Such marvelous writing and different way of telling a sad, yet wondrous, tale.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: It has depth and substance and is informative and entertaining.

Without Fail by Lee Child:  My favorite suspense author. So far, in my opinion, Lee Child has yet to deliver anything less than a riveting book.

War By Other Means by David Crouse:  I picked this book because the author is from Auburn and I could hardly put it down.  Fast-paced thriller.

My Cat Spit McGee by Willie Morris: Just a fast, enjoyable read for anyone who has known and loved a cat (and maybe even for those that haven’t).

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert: A smooth story about the early 1900’s in Hawaii and a child with leprosy and her triumph over adversity.

The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates: This book has a magnetic effect from page one.

Saints at the River by Ron Rash: Environment vs. emotion and, for me, as I read this story I kept asking myself whose side I would be on, and just when I thought my mind was made up, the other side made a very good point.

-Joyce Franz

 

 

I should have taken your warning to heart.  You know, the one about never reading a book with the picture of a dog on its cover.  Well, the photo of the golden retriever on the cover of the book was so appealing that I read Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote, anyway.  Of course, it does have a sad ending, but the journey there is joyous most of the way.  It's a lovely book.  To offset the sadness, I read Sonny Brewer's Cormac: The Tale of a Dog Gone Missing.  I heartily recommend both.

-June Zimmerman

 

 

Hi, Cheryl, Thomas or Eleanor....don’t know who does this

The hard part is always remembering what I read.
Clearly, the best read of the year for me for A Thousand Splendid Suns.  I really enjoyed The Tipping Point.  I’m glad I read American Prometheus and Animals in Translation.  

-Phyllis Kennedy

 

 

My favorite read n 2007 was Eat, Pray, Love.

You don’t have to have your life completely fall apart like the authors did to appreciate and greatly benefit from this book.   There are so many wise, sage and helpful nuggets in it which stick with the reader long after they’ve finished it. The world we live in today is difficult and chaotic in certain ways, and her wisdom cuts right through a lot of it and can truly   be beneficial to all who read it. Plus it’s highly entertaining and humorous at the same time.

And it is NOT a self-help book which I run from.

-Amy Nachman

San Francisco, CA

 

Fiction--  The Cunning Man, by Robertson Davies; Magic Time, by  Doug Marlette, Huntingdon College's Stallworth Lecturer for academic year 2006-2007;              Grievances, by Mark Ethridge, published by Montgomery's own New South Books
Non-fiction  --  The King's English:  Adventures of an Independent Bookseller, by Betsy Burton

-Cam West

 

The yearly challenge is to narrow down to my favorite book in the past
twelve months. There were so many good reads this year that it was hard to
choose, but I would have to say that the book with the most lasting impact
was The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. It's murder mystery,
social commentary, and love story in one thought-provoking package. A
classic "what if" tale that turns history on its head, it nevertheless is
rooted in current political realities and is a damning look at all
religious fundamentalism. I can't stop thinking about it! Other favorites
this year include Eat, Pray, Love; Run by Ann Patchett; Bridge of Sighs by
Richard Russo; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Ines of My Soul by Isabelle Allende
(wonderful); and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
-Alice Hart Wertheim

Atlanta, GA

 

Whoops, I almost forgot ...
Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician by Daniel Wallace. Is the magic real or not? You'll never know until the breathtaking final page. Henry's giddy journey through a life lived on the confusing border of what is either delusion or illusion reads like a cross between James Thurber and Ray Bradbury--wicked fun.
The Night Country by Stewart O'Nan. The ghosts of three teenagers killed in a car wreck haunt their survivors on the one-year anniversary of their deaths (Halloween, naturally). O'Nan reveals the truth behind the accident with painstaking perfection; the final moments are stunning--one of the best endings I've read in years.
Happy holidays, guys!
-Jim Gilbert

 

Thanks for asking about my favorite (and least favorite) books this year.  Since mid-May I've read 61 books I've read and listened to 19 audiobooks.  Of those 80, here's my response:

Favorite books of 2007 (in no particular order):  

Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson) - young adult

Talk Talk (T.C. Boyle) - fiction

Everyman (Philip Roth) - fiction

Then We Came to the End (Joshua Ferris) - fiction

Five Roundabouts to Heaven (John Bingham) - fiction

Imperial Life in the Emerald City (Rajiv Chandrasekaran) - non-fiction

The Worst Hard Time (Timothy Egan) - non-fiction

Favorite audiobooks of 2007:

Beowulf (Seamus Heaney) - he read his translation magnificently

Restless (William Boyd) - interesting story, well read

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Philip Pullman) - he was exactly the right reader for his work

Least Favorite (I didn't even finish them): 

The Piano Turner (Daniel Mason)

The Sunday Philosophy Club (Alexander McCall Smith)

An Innocent Man (John Grisham)

The Testament (John Grisham)(audio book)

-Jean Tucker

 

My favorite book of '07 was Wrapped in Rain. Everyone I recommended it to loved it!!!  -Julie Shashy

 

I sent you about a billion for last year’s book roundup and certainly read some good books in 2007.  I read A Thousand Splendid Suns last week- good, but not the surprise that The Kite Runner was.  However, the one I JUST finished has to go on the list.  Run, by Ann Patchett, takes place over the course of two days and tells the story of families broken and remade.  Quite wonderful. 

BTW – the Beatles book I bought from you for my daughter was a huge hit!  Apparently she’d been wanting that exact book (I had no idea) and this particular one had Ringo (her favorite) on the cover.  Thanks for helping me (unwittingly) give a nearly perfect gift. 

-Diane L. Christy

 

 

Dear Tom, Cheryl and Eleanor,
My favorite read in 2007 was The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny 
Brewer. This novel is based on the life of Henry Stuart, a retired, 
rather eccentric professor,  who in the 1920s was diagnosed with 
tuberculosis. He was told by his doctor that his condition was 
terminal, but that his quality of life during what remained of his 
life would be enhanced if he moved to warmer climates.
As a result, Stuart decided -- sight unseen -- to move to Fairhope. 
Through the mail, he contracted with a business agent in Fairhope to 
purchase 10-acres of land in Montrose. And, then, he begins his journey.
I hate to reveal much more than this because the book is so rich and 
full of surprises. It is a beautifully written account about a man's 
journey, his philosophy of death, his love of literature -- 
especially anything written by Tolstoy -- and what he thinks will 
become his final project before he dies.
This book is well worth the read, and if will most likely inspire 
readers to dust off one of their old Tolstoy novels, or -- better yet 
-- purchase the new translation of War and Peace.

-Cathy Gassenheimer

 

 

My favorite was ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan.  I've also read SATURDAY and ON CHESIL BEACH by McEwan and enjoyed both of them, but ATONEMENT, in my opinion, is really a masterpiece--gorgeous writing, captivating characters, and an intriguing plot. 

-Betty Burgess

Auburn, Alabama

 

 

My favorite book was WOLF OF THE DEEP by Stephen Fox.  The personal story of Raphael Semmes, a transplanted Mobile resident, and his exciting, dramatic years as captain of the ship Alabama during the Civil War was a story of a time and place that I previously had little interest. 

It was a stay-awake all night book! 

-Dot Moore

 

 

These were my favorite reads for 2007:
Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe.  This book is a cross between "The DaVinci Code" and "National Treasure."  In it, the hero is an archeobibliologist who is forced to help a criminal discover clues to an ancient secret hidden in illuminations in the Gutenberg bible (hence the name).  The secret the hero of the story finds threatens the very foundation of Christianity.  This book is both thrilling (I couldn't put it down!) and interesting.  The secret societies and other historical events in the book actually happened.  This book was published by Nelson and is Christian fiction but I do warn that it is a thriller and not for the timid.
The Oath by Frank Peretti.  I had been intending to read this book for a long time and just recently got around to it during the Christmas holidays.  This story is another Christian thriller like Illuminated.  However, unlike Illuminated, Peretti's experience as a story-teller shines through.  I felt Peretti did a better job of character development than Bronleewe.  As the story developed, I felt like I knew the characters and I was anxious to see how they faired.  In The Oath, a town is ruled with an iron fist by the descendant of one of its founding fathers.  Anyone who crosses him or breaks "the oath" mysteriously disappears.  The title refers to an oath taken by the founding fathers not to reveal a shocking secret having to do with the founding of the town.  It also refers to an oath not to reveal the reason by the mysterious disappearances.  This was another book I couldn't put down.  In my opinion, Peretti is just as good a storyteller as Stephen King. 
I read another novel by Peretti in 2007, MonsterPeretti's novels typically deal with good vs. evil in more of a spiritual sense.  Monster was more of a cross between "King Kong" and "Frankenstein" in the sense that the monster was a result of man's tinkering around where he shouldn't be.  Another book that was hard to put down and, like the other two, I highly recommend it.

-Susan Tudor
Montgomery, AL

 

 

Cheryl and Thomas -
Here is my list:
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart - Just a
tremendous book, combining travel, adventure, and
sociology.  Very informative.  I have given copies to
all my friends who are deploying to Afghanistan.


Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by
Thomas Ricks - Good book that captured the initial
stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, both the
failures (not enough ground forces) and the great
heroism of our soldiers.  I went back and read it
again this year after the surge and it was interesting
to compare Iraq in 2003-2004 to now.

The Foreigner's Gift:  The Americans, the Arabs, and
the Iraqis in Iraq by Fouad Ajami - Best book I read
all year!  Great story and insight from a leading Arab
scholar.
  For anyone who wants to understand the
religious (and therefore political) landscape in Iraq,
this is an absolute must.

The Creek War of 1813 and 1814 by H. S. Halbert, T. H.
Ball, and Frank L. Owsley - I actually took this book
on our trip to Mexico intending to browse it, but
ended up reading it completely.  Halbert and Ball
actually wrote this book in 1895, but Owsley has done
a tremendous job in adding later notes.  I was
astounded by Halbert and Ball's insight into the
origins of this war, especially considering it was
written in 1895.

Pickett's History of Alabama: And Incidentally of
Georgia and Mississippi from the Earliest Period by
Albert J. Pickett - I have read this book once a year
since college graduation in 1991.  Written in 1852, it
is a great companion book to Alabama: The History of a
Deep South State by William Warren Rogers.  Together,
they are an informative and entertaining compendium of
Alabama history. 

Manhunt:  The 12 Day Search for Lincoln's Killer by
James L. Swanson - For those who are interested in
history, conspiracies, or just want to get an idea
what our country was like in the immediate post-mortem
period of the Confederacy.  Also, if you're familiar
with Washington, DC, it will give you some perspective
on how much the Capitol Region has changed in the 143
years since the assassination.

America Alone by Mark Steyn - Steyn writes about how
population and immigration patterns in the Third World
will change Europe and America into the next century.

Hope this helps.  I tried to keep it a 'best' list.
-David

 

Dear Tom and Cheryl,

This is such a great thing that you do. I only wish there was the time to read all of the books that are on the list you put together. 

Some of these are first reads and some are re-visits during 2007:

GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson. This amazing meditation stopped me in my tracks. It will be re-read many times.

DISGRACE by J.M Coetzee. A disturbing book in the best sense. Stark and lyrical at the same time.

ON BEAUTY by Zadie Smith. Terrific and smart. She writes of a literate and honest family.

DISTRICT AND CIRLCE by Seamus Heaney. The great Irish poet continues to startle and enhance my life.

INTO THE WILD by Jonathan Krakauer. A re-visit of a harrowingly true story.

MOY SAND AND GRAVEL by another great poet, Paul Muldoon.

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY by Jean-Dominique Bauby. A memoir by the editor of Elle who had a massive stroke and suffered a "locked-in syndrome." The fight to keep communicating.

THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN by Simon Winchester. How the OED came to be. A great read.

SHAKESPEARE'S ENGLISH KINGS by Peter Saccio. I have read this a few times but was pleased to re-visit it while we did THE WARS OF THE ROSES at ASF this past season. 

Thanks and my very best to you in this New Year.

-Greg Thornton

 

 

Cheryl, Tom, a short list of a few of my favorites for '07:

Masters of the Air by Donald Miller - A superb WWII account of Eighth Air Force .... extremely well written and researched ... a real page turner.

Soldier's Heart by Elizabeth Samet - Very interesting view of teaching literature at West Point and the relationship to war and other military issues.

SOG by John Plaster - Excellent book that details special operations in Vietnam

Einstein by Walter Issacson - Terrific bio. Interesting life! Tough to get the mind around some of the physics but fun trying.

Lone Survivor by Marcus Lattrell - Great read about a true American Hero!

The Doolittle Raid by Carroll Glines - Very enlightening account of the infamous raid on Tokyo.

The Rescue of BAT 21 by Darrel Whitcomb - First class account of one of the more heroic search and rescue efforts in Vietnam.

The Rescue of Streetcar 304 by Kenny Fields - Very well told story of the shootdown, escape and evasion, and rescue of a Navy Fighter Pilot. 

Happy New Year - Keep smiling.

-Joe Panza

 

 

I recently picked up a couple of copies of “Things I Want My Daughters to Know:  A Small Book About the Big Issues in Life” by Alexandra Stoddard for Christmas gifts for my girls.  It’s a very good read that really makes you stop and think about what’s really important.

I also re-read “The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories” by William Bennett.  As the grandmother of 10, I need all the examples and help I can get in working with them.

“Manhunt: The 12-day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer” by James Swanson was interesting and reminded me of facts long forgotten in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth.

“Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham started off a little slow but by the time it was over, I was involved with the players and cheering for them to win.

-Sandra Porter

 

 

Children (including those of the 60s) have a real treat in Puff the Magic Dragon, which includes a terrific CD with a beautifully illustrated book. My 4 yr. old granddaughter was transfixed by the book & the CD, & older members of the family joined her in singing along but also talking above her enthusiasm about the songs, the 60s, & the “settings” for many Peter, Paul & Mary creations that characterized our generation and entrance us still.

-Mary Morgan

 

 

I spent an afternoon visiting with old friends of Capitol Book and News in August.  We were all celebrating George Browning’s birthday.  George has lived a very interesting life and it is one of his contemporaries that introduce to you here.  Patrick Leigh Fermor is a little older than George and like George he is still around to grace us with wonderful stories.  Fermor was knighted by the Queen a couple of years ago at the age of 92. At the age of 18 in 1933 Fermor began a hike across Europe.  Expelled from school and not finding his dream as a writer as easy to come by in London he struck out.  Catching a steamer from London to Rotterdam he sets off down the Rhine, through Germany to the Danube and own to Constantinople.  He is on the journey of a lifetime and the reader is privileged to share this adventure shortly before the world he writes about comes crumbling down. Hamburg, Munich, Vienna and Prague are as vivid, and real to your senses as they were to Fermor.  If I had a life to live over, I would want to live his life and so would you.  His story is A Time for Gifts.  This book is best read on a boat lost on the Danube.  Part history, part travel memoir and all an absolute thrill.  I followed A Time of Gifts with its sequel, Between the Woods and the Water, both books should be read with a map of Europe at your side. Oh, and dust off your passport.

 

The Everyman’s Library edition of History of My Life by Giacomo Casanova was exceptional.  The eleven volumes have been abridged and serve the modern reader well.  What you may think of Casanova should be placed in a brown bag and put out on the edge of the street with the trash.  Here is a sensational history of the workings of European society.  Casanova was indeed a lover but he was also much more.  Diplomat, priest, flim flam man, politician, gambler, investor, prisoner, escape artist, tutor, father, and lover, Giacomo was not more scandalous than most young and talented men in Italy.  The difference is he dared to write about his loves.  That was the scandal and fame came in the form of the most miraculous escape from the Leads next to the Doge’s Palace in Venice.  Do yourself a favor and read this memoir.  It’s no more scandalous than any Republican or Democrat’s behavior in Washington these days and the politics are just as exciting in 18th century Europe if not more. And remember, Giacomo was a contemporary of Ben Franklin’s. Best read on Eurostar Italia train #9490 between Venice and Milan.

 

Lieut. Henry Timberlake’s Memoirs 1756-1765 by Henry Timberlake is a detailed account of one American-British officer’s time spent among the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina and Tennessee.  Timberlake’s account of offering himself up as a hostage/diplomat and inspector of the Over the Hill Cherokee tribes v during a time when the tribes were suing for peace with the British colonials during the French and Indian War.  Much better reading than the UN inspectors accounts of Iraq and their search for Weapons of Mass Destruction.  This book is out of print so Capitol Book want have it on their shelves.

 

Lost Son by M. Allen Cunningham is this novelist second book and one of my favorite novels for 2007.  A fictional memoir of Rainer Maria Rilke, this novel could certainly pass as a memoir save for the first person narrative.  The conversations between Cunningham’s Rilke and Auguste Rodin is worth the price of this one, but please don’t try to read this on the Delta flight 58 from Seattle to Atlanta.  There is not enough room to get comfortable in coach.

 

Boone A Biography by  Robert Morgan breathes new life into the dusty relic of myth we call Daniel Boone.  Here is a satisfying biography that gives us the real man.  Boone preferred words to bullets and his gift for gab saves his and many others scalps.  Morgan’s bio is just the perfect follow up to Richard Rhodes biography of John James Audubon, John James Audubon The Making of an American.  Two great adventures in a wilderness lost to us.  Read Boone with a Fess Parker Pinot Noir and forget the coon skinned cap, Boone never wore one.

 

And the best novel I have read in years, Any Human Heart by William Boyd is lush and timeless this novel smacks of a young Somerset Maugham.  You can drink this one now or let it age and it will still be full bodied.  This is the story of Logan Mountstuart beginning in Montevideo, Uruguay, then to Oxford in the 1920’s and on into the world.  Mountstuart is everywhere you would want to be with the charm and accent every woman would want in a man, but not everyone becomes wise and reserved in their later years.  This novel is as good as Of Human Bondage and will leave you wanting more.  The first 5 chapters will read well with a Guinness while the rest of book is best capped off with scotch. Here’s to 2008.

-Steven Wallace

Lawrenceville, GA

 

 

Here are a few from my list in no particular order.

Sufficient Grace by Darnell Arnoult--A good Southern story of the lives of two families and the effect Gracie's illness has on their lives.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

On Agate Hill by Lee Smith--Lee Smith is at her best when she uses the diary of her main character to reveal herself. 

The Innocent Man by John Grisham--Shocking nonfiction--reminded me of In Cold Blood

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee --I have loved any tidbit of information about Miss Lee for about 40 years since I read To Kill a Mockingbird.

Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani--Enjoyed the series and catching up with Ave Maria.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter--Heartbreaking about the choices we make and their consequences.  My daughter recommended this after her book club read it.

Alabama Moon by Watt Key--Loved this little book and Moon Blake.  What a character he is.

The Bean Trees and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver--Good books and I learned a lot about nature.  Interesting connections between the characters and their particular love of nature.

Death in Equality by Lucinda Ebersole

Letter from Point Clear by Dennis McFarland

Since I have my first grandchild, Stella and I have also enjoyed selections from

Read to Me Grandma

Collected Nursery Rhymes

So Big

Merry Christmas, Mouse

Stella and I have found many seasonal books to enjoy except for Thanksgiving.  Someone needs to write some Thanksgiving books for all ages.

Thanks,

-Lou Fuller

South Pittsburg, Tennessee

 

My favorite reads of 2007 included both the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson. All of them were outstanding reads. One of my favorite authors is Homer Hickam and I loved The Coalwood Way , a continuation of his brilliant The Rocket Boys. Covering the same period as Rocket Boys, it covers other humorous and moving stories of Homer's high school days in the West Virginia coal mining town of Coalwood. Highly recommended. His newest book, The Far Reaches, continues the story of Josh Thurlow and his crew and how they join the invasion of Tarawa during World War II. Another very well written and enjoyable book was Jeff Shaara's The Glorious Cause, the story of George Washington and the American Revolution. A truly enjoyable look at history. I also enjoyed David Baldacci's Hour Game and Split Second, which introduce us to the wonderful detective duo of former secret service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. They featured suspenseful plots and wisecracking humor. Of course any mention of wisecracking detectives leads me to another of my favorite authors, Robert B. Parker and his Spenser series. In 2007 I read his Walking Shadow and Hundred Dollar Baby, as well as his outstanding western novel Appaloosa. Another of my favorite authors, Clive Cussler, returned to his winning Dirk Pitt character with the exciting Treasure of Khan. The Missing Ring by Keith Dunnavant was the very well told story of how Bear Bryant's 1966 Alabama team was unfairly denied the national championship due mostly to matters more political than sporting. A very interesting read about Kenny Stabler and his fellow team mates, as well as the great coach. And last but not least, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. A marvelous ending to a truly outstanding series. 

-John Brown

 

Because they are the most recent reads, and I remember them and can put
my hands on them on the bookshelf...
in no particular order:

The Seasons of Rome, by Paul Hofmann
Read this one on the plane to Rome; great way to enjoy the rhythms and
nuances of the Eternal City in preparation for landing.

The Genius in the Design: Bernini, Borromini and the Rivalry That
Transformed Rome, by Jake Morrissey
A terrific way to get a dose of architectural history in context with
the power and politics that have shaped Rome since the beginning, so its
fun even if you're not interested in architecture. A true life
thriller.


A Valley in Italy, The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria, by Lisa St
Aubin de Teran
I had read and enjoyed Palladian Days by Sally Gable and this one
really ups the ante on the crazy, wacky lovable characters, and they're
not only the Italians !  This family adventure is a delight, and I would
be jealous if I weren't so spoiled by the comforts of indoor plumbing.

The City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt
Another page turner, and a delightful look behind the crumbling, shored
up facades of that fabled city, Venice. Not only full of richly drawn
characters who are actually real people, it has wonderful descriptions
of life outside the tourist routes that cross the many and venerable
bridges of this city in a lagoon. Go figure.

Are you detecting a theme here?

The Lost Painting, by Jonathan Harr
What can I say? Yet another fantastic book that brings real people and
places to vivid light and life. What passion and intrigue! Let's head
off to track down all the Caravaggio's we can find.

Satyr Square, A Year, A Life in Rome, by Leonard Barkan
A little more complex to follow, but an interesting and honest
exploration of finding oneself in finding a new place. I did seek out the
Square in order to see the stair, and discovered some other gems in the
city that I had heard about before but not yet found.

Michael Graves: Images of a Grand Tour, by Brian M. Ambroziak
A picture book, full of glorious drawings and paintings and sketches by
a noted architect, American Academy in Rome Fellow, and a former
Professor of mine in college.  This has been a very inspirational tome.

Roman Builders: A Study in Architectural Process, by Rabun Taylor
Fascinating and detailed account, well illustrated, showing the
development of Roman building form and process. OK, OK, so it’s another
book about architecture, and Roman at that.  But one cannot discuss the
buildings a culture creates without discussing something about the
culture.

Ditto for

The Pantheon: Design, Meaning and Progeny, by William L. McDonald
Great story of a great building.


The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, by Giorgio Bassani
I had always wanted to read this book (and see the film), and a trip to
the Gardens at Ninfa, which inspired the author, finally caused me to
achieve that goal; the movie is next on my list, or somewhere on my
list.

I've started a couple of cheezy prep school-private school novels,
Prep, Academy X, The Upper Class, but they didn't hold my interest long
enough to finish, and summer was coming to a close.
I also started The World Is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, but I haven't yet
gotten into the rhythms of his writing; I will probably start again
sometime soon.

The Big House, by George Howe Colt, allowed me to luxuriate in the
fantasy of a rambling shingled summer house, as I sat in the living room
of my mother's charming wee cottage on Nantucket, and read by the pale
green light of a too brief summer stay.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Rosenbaum House, by Barbara K. Broach, Donald
Lambert and Milton Bagby
Thoughtful and articulate and loving account of the restoration of a
Wright treasure in Florence (there's the connection to the theme, see
!?) Alabama.  Well researched and thorough, it is a compact and engaging
discussion, as well as another really interesting glimpse into the life
and times of the PEOPLE who built the house, nit just the structure.
You can never have the architecture without the story of those who
built it, what the times were like, and what legacy they hoped to leave.
Rome. Florence. Venice. Cape Cod. Montgomery.

I am pleased to say that almost all (but not quite) of these books were
purchased (at some point in time) at CAPITOL BOOK & NEWS COMPANY.
Enough. There were some other texts, too.  Stop, Scott.  Leave these
poor people alone.
Grazie mille
-Scott Finn

 

 

 

DISTRICT AND CIRCLE by Seamus Heaney. The great Irish poet continues to startle and enhance my life.

-Greg Thornton

 

 

My book club reads a lot of different kinds of books and sometimes I can't remember when exactly that I read them but here goes my closest guess as to my favorites for 2007: first I believe One Thousand White Women: the journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus was probably the most favorite. It is an historical fiction but we all kept questioning whether it really happened or not Fergus had just enough facts mixed in to keep you believing this was actual history plus the story was wonderful you laughed, you cried, and you were angry all the emotional roller coaster.
Second not a book club selection but A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hoseini another one that was a ride on the roller coaster. It is set in the present in Afghanistan the story involves the life of a young girl growing up being the product of an unwed mother and father from different classes and the struggles that it took to survive.
The rest are The Saddlemaker's Wife by Earlene Fowler a love story mystery.
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar another foreign class system story.
Between Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson hilarious!
The Chili Queen by Sandra Dallas a western mystery quite a surprise ending.
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult just sad but you didn't want to see either side win.
Downtown : the journal of James Aloysius Holcombe Jr. by Ferrol Sams interesting history of a Georgia town’s people.
And finally three Clare Ferguson mysteries by Julia Spencer-Fleming All Mortal Flesh, Out of the Deep I Cry, and In the Bleak Midwinter I just love the characters of Clare and Russ the priest and the local police chief.
-Lois Keel

 

 

Hi, I sure spent a lot of time with my nose in the books last year. But I have to say that my favorites were Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, Memoirs of a Geisha which is old and everybody's read but I just read it and loved it. 

Also, read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan which is somewhat reminiscent of Memoirs but reads quite quickly (because you cannot put it down once you get started). 

I did discover a new author Allison Winn Scotch who wrote The Department of Lost and Found. A very promising novel about a young girl diagnosed with breast cancer and the effects of chemo in regards to her life, both personal and professional. 

Also, I read The Historian .....which folks either love or hate.  I loved it. A friend suggested it to me.  Along with Good in Bed which has some personal meaning to me. 

I recently finished Skipper's Revenge, The Five Love Languages, The Handmaid and The Carpenter, and The Devil Wears Prada, and The Eyre Affair.   

I was really disappointed with Shopaholic and Baby but then I never really cared for any of these but read them because they are so quick.

Hope you all had a great year reading!!!! 

My book pile is getting taller and taller already. And this year I will brave the Lord of the Rings trilogy which I have never read.

Take care....

Sit down with a good book....

-Rachel Nanzer

 

 

I forgot to mention that The Garden of the Finzi-Continis was
thoroughly engaging, beautiful and sad.  It is one that haunted me for
quite a while, and I seemed to see the world in sepia tones for a day or
two, and felt anxious about the state of the world and the fragile
beauty of the things we have created in the world around us.
Also read The Secret Life of Bees.
Delightful, cathartic, funny and happy sad.  It was one of those books
that just came at the right time into my hands, and I cried a good long
cleansing cry for the loss of my own mother.

-Scott Finn

 

Here is my list and thanks for publishing your list. Each one was my favorite while I was reading it.

Servants of the Map-Andrea Barrett

The Whole World Over-Julia Glass

The Road- Cormac McCarthy

The Creation- E. O. Wilson

Naturalist- E. O. Wilson

The Children of Men- P. D. James

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time-Mark Haddon

The Ruins-Scott Smith

Everyman-Philip Roth

The Emperor’s Children-Claire Messud

Suite Francaise-Irene Nemirovsky

The Kite Runner-Khaled Hosseini

March-Geraldine Brooks

The Girls-Lori Lansens

Hannable Rising-Thomas Harris

Middlesex-Jeffrey Eugenides

Big Bad Love-Larry Brown

Good Scent from a Strange Mountain-Robert Olen Butler

The Bear Bryant Funeral Train-Brad Vice

Gus Openshaw’s Whale-Killing Journal-Keith Thomson

Brunelleschi’s Dome-Ross King

Coming of Age at the Y- William Cobb

The Sportswriter-Richard Ford

Underworld-Dan Delillo

-Randy Shoults

 

I recently finished Mary Morris' THE RIVER QUEEN that proves once again she is one of the finest memoirists writing these days. Like her NOTHING TO DECLARE of a few years ago, QUEEN is a fantastic story, telling about her journey with couple of interesting midwestern good old boys on a small boat down the Mississippi River.

I am currently reading an outstanding history and autobiography, REVOLUTION OF HOPE, by Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico. For a part-time Mexican resident it is a worthwhile story. For anyone else, it should be an eyeopener about the recent history, the culture and history of this country. A man whose grandfather migrated to Mexico where he farmed land and raised cattle, Fox is opposed to a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He writes openly and with great feeling about his election, the first exercise of a democracy in the country where a single party had ruled for nearly a century.

Sena Jeter Naslund's ABUNDANCE tells the colorful, dramatic, and explosive tragedy of Marie Antoinette. It's a wonderful historical novel filled vibrant characters

-Wayne Greenhaw

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 

 

Anything by Ron Rash!! You can tell this guy was a poet first; his
language is so great. Of course, the fact that he is from the same area
of NC as I am helps too! THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT, ONE FOOT IN EDEN,
SAINTS AT THE RIVER

Agate Hill by Lee Smith - A really unique Civil War epistolary novel
If you're looking for laughs, Carl Hiaasen's NATURE GIRL or SKINNY DIP
will keep you in stitches.
One book that I loaned out that got rave reviews (one lady even had me
order 3 for her to give as Christmas gifts!) was BEING DEAD IS NO
EXCUSE by Gayden Metcalfe. And it has great recipes!!
THE LAND OF MANGO SUNSETS by Dorothea Benton Frank was enjoyable. She
is one of those authors who makes me look forward to her next novel.
Katherine Valentine's series - A MIRACLE FOR ST. CECELIA'S, A GATHERING
OF ANGELS, GRACE WILL LEAD ME HOME -
are kind of a Jan Karon/Thomas Kincaid style but have their own merit.
You get involved with the people of the town as in the Karon novels but
these are set in a New England community.
WINTER BIRDS by Jamie Langston Turner. Another author that deals with
people's lives in a small Southern town. While not as related as
Karon's or Valentine's, the story is well thought out and written.
Sharyn McCrumb returns to NASCAR with ONCE AROUND THE TRACK. I have
always enjoyed her Appalachian Ballad novels but was surprised how much
I enjoyed ST. DALE.
-Susan Graben
Decatur, AL

 

Thank you for the opportunity to recommend two terrific books from 2007. 

As a resident of the Gulf Coast, I was interested in the literature and art generated during rebuilding from the Katrina tragedy. I expected works of defiance, hope, mysticism, humor, irony, and great permeating sadness. I did not think I'd find all of these in one stunning work until I picked up James Lee Burke's "The Tin Roof Blowdown." I think it's the most haunting work Mr. Burke has produced, and that's saying something. I'm glad he waited 2 years to write it because it is so affecting that I could not have read it immediately after the hurricane. As with all tragedies, we have to get our sea legs under us before we can look it in the eye, and that takes time, but he tells his story without flinching.

My other recommendation is Ron McLarty's "The Memory of Running."  I picked it up in the marked-down display, read the first page, and was captured by Smithy Ide's trek across the continent.  His transformations on the trip, physical and mental, are beautiful to witness.

Thanks so much, hope you all have a wonderful year.

-Pat Mayer

Mobile, Alabama

 

 

It was hard to narrow it down, but I have read two books in 2007 that I really loved and would highly recommend.

The Queen of Bedlam, by Robert McCammon, was a wonderful follow up to his last book, Speaks The Nightbird.  The Queen Of Bedlam was so hard to put down, full of colorful characters, and drenched in history and mystery.  I look forward to reading more about Matthew Corbett and his further adventures.

Rhett Butler's People, by Donald McCaig, ended up being quite a surprising read.  I usually don't like it when authors "mess with the classics", but this book is indeed an exception.  The story of Rhett Butler's childhood and all of the things he did that were not mentioned in Gone With The Wind made for fascinating reading, I truly loved the book, and have been recommending it to all of my friends.

-Laura W.

Temple, GA

 

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, which did so much to create the world we live in, I've been thinking about how it is going to be commemorated. Historians still debate what caused it. Rather than a historical tome, I would recommend the trilogy of novels by the British author, Pat Barker: Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road.
-Elaine Fuller

 

 

Dear Thomas,
One of my favorite books was "Loving Frank," a novel about the affair that Frank Lloyd Wright had with a married client. I had developed a liking for FLW's architecture only after watching my friend, Barbara Broach, work to restore the only FLW house in the state, the Rosenbaum house in Florence. His architecture had never really appealed to me until I went into that house, particularly after it was restored. It is so perfectly sited on its lot that you feel safe, like a fox in her den. The novel, which Barbara Broach says is factually accurate, revealed a much warmer, more human man than I had thought Frank Lloyd Wright to be. Not to say that he wasn't a bit obsessive-compulsive!
A book I hated was "What Happened Before He Shot Her," by one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth George. As those who follow her books about Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Barbara Havers of Scotland Yard know, Lynley's pregnant wife was gunned down in the book before this one. Thus the title of this one. It begins in the housing projects of London with a very sad situation, and although it was very depressing, I kept thinking that George was just setting a scene for part of the book, and that my old friends Tommy and Barb would soon make an appearance. Not so. It continues and ends in the hopeless environment of the projects, which sound as bad, if not worse, than the ones in America's major metropolitan cities. Not what we have come to expect from Elizabeth George, and I was disappointed. Not that I won't buy her next book, however!
(If I think of others, I'll send them along. It's amazing how hard it is to remember what you read last January! I just read "Loving Frank" at the end of November or first of December, so I can remember it.)
Til later,
-Sunshine Huff

 

Hello and Happy New Year!
In 2007 our book group at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church read Lenten Lands by Douglas Gresham, a memoir of Gresham's growing up years with C.S.Lewis and Joy Davidman, his step father and mother. We also read The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan, the true story of a woman who kept poverty at bay by winning contests. In the Fall we read Boo Who by Rene Gutteridge, a zany funny book with a serious side. This book is reminiscent of a Frank Capra comedy! As our public library sponsored a one read event in October, we followed the library lead and read the great To Kill a Mockingbird. We finished the year with Eat, Pray, Love a very, very popular book that our group enjoyed a great deal. Future reads are Pride and Prejudice, another great classic, Things Seen and Unseen by Nora Gallagher, a year in the life of Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, and Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fanny Flagg.
The Friends of the Library in Columbus sponsored a visit by young adult author Chris Crutcher in November. He appeared at my school and was a great success.  His most recent work is Deadline. 
I am currently reading Bookmarked to Die by Jo Deleske and Paula Deen's It Ain't All About the Cookin'! Very different  books, but both enjoyable.  I can' wait to read Julia Spencer-Fleming's next book I Shall Not Want which is due in the Summer. I continue to recommend Margaret Coel's mysteries, set among the Arapaho people. The most recent, The Girl with Braided Hair, was very affecting.
Thanks for keeping us all informed about the best in reading materials! Keep up the good work and have a great 2008!
-Sonya Boyd
Columbus, Georgia

 

 

Thanks for providing "Favorite Reads."  I always enjoy seeing what others are reading.

This was a good year for good books.  Let me mention several that I particularly enjoyed.

TWELVE MIGHTY ORPHANS by Jim Dent - An inspiring and interesting David-Goliath story about a football team of misfits.  Verne Lundquist of CBS Sports says, "This just might be the best sports book ever written."

THEY MARCHED INTO SUNLIGHT by David Maraniss - Written several years ago, this book paints a picture of the incredible events in the U.S. and Vietnam in the year 1967.  It is well-written by a first class historian.

MONEYBALL by Michael Lewis - Non-fiction book about the incredible and largely unknown changes that have occurred in major-league baseball.

NINETEEN MINUTES by Jodi Picoult - A tragic event happens in a small town.  This is one of Picoult's best.  I read it just around the time of the Virginia Tech tragedy.  That made it all the more pertinent.

AMERICA ALONE by Mark Steyn - A well-written, disturbing, challenging non-fiction book about the rapidly changing problems that face our world. 

-Don Bouldin

 

 

I always enjoy your column in the Montgomery Advertiser.  Unfortunately I have never visited your shop; it's off my beaten path, but I still read your column every Sunday.   

In today's column you asked readers to e-mail favorite and least favorite reads of 2007.  Here are mine. 

Favorite Read:  The Religion by Tim Willocks.  The frontspiece of the dust jacket lays it right out.  This book sweeps you away and sucks the breath right out of you.  An historical novel about the seige of Malta in 1565, and the heroic stand by the Knights of St. John the Baptist, The Religion is riveting - there is no other word.  The language is beautiful without being flowery; precise without being terse.  It will actually send you to the dictionary occasionally - in my opinion that's an asset for a book!   The protagonist of the novel, a soldier of fortune, is an adventurer and an arms dealer by trade, who agrees to help a French countess find her 10 year old son, whom she has never seen, and whose name she doesn't know, in the midst of the most spectacular siege in military history.    

This British physician author, Tim Willocks, is new to me but The Religion is the first book of a Trilogy, and I will find, buy, read, and treasure the remaining two when they are published.  For any student of history, this book absolutely will blow you away. 

-Cecil McElvaine

 

 

Best reads of 2007

            There is an ephemeral pleasure to be felt when looking back over a list of books read during the year and enjoying those books anew. A similar sensation occurs when reviewing a list of movies watched or birds observed. Perhaps we feel an ability to conceive time in a different fashion through this activity, or perhaps it is just satisfying to remember books that have entertained, enlightened or sustained us over the past 12 months.

            Surely though, it is more than this. It is an accomplishment, a building up of emotions and sensations and memories that adds up to something substantial, even though it is not measurable in any conventional sense. The memory of a good book, and all that it evokes, is one of the great pleasures in life.

 

            Here are some brief notes on the books I enjoyed in 2007:

 

“Arthur and George” by Julian Barnes -- A historical-fiction mystery (is that a category?) about the relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edaljy, a lawyer of Pakistani descent in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries in Scotland.

            George is accused of a heinous crime, and is able to enlist the help of Arthur. Both men have emotional difficulties and family problems. Barnes uses an artful technique with which to unfold the tale.

 

Smonk” by Tom Franklin – Franklin is a rising star in southern literature and continues to show strong writing skills in this short novel. He is able to describe some of the most grotesque and horrifying scenes while keeping a sense of sympathy for humanity and a certain sentimentality.

To attempt further description of this book would overtax my limited abilities. Read it and everything else written by Tom Franklin.

 

“We Were the Mulvaneys” by Joyce Carol Oates – Oates is one of our greatest living writers and this book is one of her best, according to many critics. After a young girl is victimized in a despicable act, her family slowly disintegrates in a most excruciating fashion.

Oates unfolds the story with gentleness and great descriptive skill and lightens it with humor and some pleasant family moments.

 

“How to Read a Poem…and Start a Poetry Circle” by Molly Peacock – Peacock provides a useful method to start enjoying poetry again, something I have not really done for many years. She provides three criteria to easily examine a poem’s worth. The examples she includes illustrate how to extract all the power and beauty when reading a poem.

 

“On Writing” by Stephen King – King describes his process and provides a short “writing biography” in this fairly short book. His process is much more workman-like and less fantastic than I had previously thought. He also describes the experience of being struck by a vehicle while on one of his daily walks and how it nearly killed him.

 

“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabon – This turned out, quite unexpectedly, to be my favorite book of the year. It is large is size and scope and tells an epic tale that includes Hitler’s persecution of the Jews before and during World War II, the rise and glory days of comic books and the effects of war on the individual. Chabon also covers the world of escape artists and magicians (illusionists), family life, love, sex, horror, art and the Empire State Building.

It is a 600-plus page rollicking good read that moves with great speed through moments of elation and utter heartbreak and just about everything in between.

 

“The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” by Michael Chabon – This is an alternative history mystery (what is it with these hybrid categories for 2007?) in which Chabon again shows off his story telling genius. What if part of Alaska was Israel and Israel in the Middle East didn’t exist? Also, the Jews are required to turn this homeland back over to the United States and they ain’t real happy about it. Toss in a murder and a jaded cop and you got yourself a whopper of a story.

            Chess and chess history are featured prominently in this novel, and I didn’t get all of these references, since I never played. It is still a very good novel that I think will appeal to mystery lovers and just plain fiction lovers alike.

 

“The Fifth Woman” by Henning Mankell – If you are a mystery lover and are looking for something different, Mankell is your man. His novels are set in and around Sweden, and his hero, Kurt Wallender, is the antithesis of the Sam Spade type of crime solver.

            Wallender is a senior police investigator who spends a lot of time drinking coffee and making lists when he is not complaining about the weather. But when a murder is committed, he instantly becomes all business – relentless and brilliant. A series of bizarre murders has Wallender stumped until he is able to decipher the message conveyed by the method of the killings.

 

“The Dogs of Riga” by Henning MenkelWallender travels to Latvia to solve two murders and sees firsthand the misery of the people in this part of the recently-dissolved Soviet Union. He is appalled by the corruption of the police force and the quality of the coffee. Another murder ensues.

            Wallender has to resort to spy-like tactics to solve the murders, and quite surprisingly finds romance in the gray city of Riga.

 

 “1912” by James Chace – This is history in a very academic form – possibly a doctoral thesis made into a book. The year in question was a tumultuous one, with fears of communism and the rise of unions informing the presidential election. History buffs will enjoy it.

 

“A Death in the Family” by James Agee – The Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Agee posthumously for this novel, which feels heavily autobiographical. One of Agee’s greatest talents was the ability to describe the world through a child’s eyes.

            The stream-of-consciousness passages here are similar to those found in “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” They can be difficult to read sometimes, but they offer some of the most tender and sentimental moments of the book.

-Clark Bruner

 

 

My favorite read for 2007 was "Blackbird" and it's sequel "Stillwaters" by Jennifer LauckThe true and amazing story of a young girl and the incredible odds that she is able to overcome with a family that keeps falling apart.  An unbelievable testament to the human spirit.
-C. Robbins


 

I was born near the end of World War II, and as a child I was fascinated to hear my mother and aunt reminisce about victory gardens, rationing and coupons, knitting sweaters and socks for the troops, plane spotting, and rolling bandages.  Women's contributions to the war effort have always been an interest, and in 2007 two books were especially informative and appealing. (1) Our Mothers' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II, by Emily Yellin.  Inspired by her mother's WW II journal and letters written while a Red Cross volunteer in the Pacific, the author presents the wartime experiences of movie stars and average Janes, women of many ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds who served at home and overseas as members of the military or as everyday civilians. An excellent overview of what life was like for American women in the 1940s.  (2) No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A marvelous account of the indomitable Mrs. R.'s wartime life - her newspaper column, clashes with her husband over social policy, her wide travels in the USA and abroad, her close friends and those who thought she ought to be muzzled and/or incarcerated ... very readable and often fun. 

Two baseball biographies were on my list.  Jane Leavy's Sandy Koufax, A Lefty's Legacy made me marvel at Koufax's monumental talent and left me wondering what records he might have set had his arm and his career lasted another decade.  Terrific book!  I was not nearly so taken with Joseph Durso's DiMaggio: The Last American Knight, mostly because the subject was not as appealing. The Yankee Clipper comes across as arrogant and utterly self-centered - the opposite of Koufax. But perhaps I should, in all fairness, confess to a preference for the National League over the American.... 

The Tender Bar, J. R. Moehringer's autobiographical account of growing up among the denizens of a New York bar, abounds with some of the strangest, most memorable characters I've ever encountered, and I'm glad none of them was part of my own formative years. 

A friend introduced me to the thrillers of Iris Johansen late in the year, and both Countdown and Stalemate satisfied my liking for plot twists, snappy dialogue, and boffo finishes.

 -Lowell Berenguer

 

 

I have read several Elizabeth George books during 2007 and loved all of them. They are so British, have great plots and character development. I have also enjoyed reading Julia Fleming Spencer who has won several prestigious awards for her mysteries. I met Julia at the Montgomery Book Fair this past year. She is a new author for me and I have found her series about the female Episcopal priest and the small town police chief working together to solve murders to be very compelling reading.

-Char Freeman

 

Hey guys,
I'm sending along my vote for the best of 2007. I didn't do as well as I did last year; I only got in 85 books, but I was very pleased w/the offerings this year. It seemed like everyone had something new to offer, from a biography about the Crocodile Hunter to the last Harry Potter book to Lost in Austen (a choose your own adventure Austen book that I couldn't include because I haven't finished it yet!) to the reissue of Kathryn Tucker Windham's book about front porches. I think I'll remember 2007 as one of the best years for books in a long time. It was hard to find time to read them all and still harder to pick from the lot and choose the best. Still, I've made a go of it and here are my 10 picks for the best of 2007:

10) The Last Stand by Chris Claremont
I am a HUGE X-Men fan. The whole universe just captures my imagination. The movies have been a major source of entertainment and can always make me feel better on a down day. They are thrilling, exciting, and action-packed. This book is the novelization of the last X-Men movie. I know, why would you read it if you can just watch it? Because Claremont includes juicy little bits that you don’t get in the movie. Like how deep Logan’s feelings for Jean really go. Nope. Won’t tell you. You’ll have to check it out on your own.
The book is even more exciting than the movie and provides valuable insights that aren’t available in the motion picture. It really makes me think that there will be another movie, which is a great source of comfort for me.
Claremont does a brilliant job and I hope he takes on the next one.
It gets A+ **** Energizingly Brilliant

9) Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg
I love the TV show Monk. It's always so funny and Mr. Monk's OCD is just great. This is actually the first season Jonathan and I have watched it & we're now addicted. I was thrilled beyond words to learn that there was a mystery series out there based on the characters. And a little concerned. Let's face it, books based on television series and/or movies don't always live up to their expectations. So I read this book warily.
I needn't have worried. Goldberg is brilliant. He captures Monk perfectly. And the other characters, too. The plot? Monk tries to solve the murder of a firehouse dog and ends up involved in trying to solve another murder. It was a great whodunit and a true jewel for fans of the show.
By the way, for those who loved Diagnosis Murder, Goldberg also wrote a series of mysteries about that show. I'm definitely gonna check them out.
It gets A+ **** Hilariously Brilliant

8) I'm Proud of You by Tim Madigan
I readily admit to being a Mister Rogers fan. When I've had a bad day, it's nice to turn on the television and see that Mr. Rogers is still sharing the same message of unconditional love. I have wondered, of course, if he was as nice in real life as he was on television. And apparently, he was. This is the story of Madigan's 'unlikely' friendship with Fred Rogers, host of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which began when he was interviewing the television star. Madigan copies letters written by Rogers to demonstrate the growth of their friendship. It is a heart-warming book and will easily inspire tears (keep the tissues handy), especially the tale of Madigan's reunion with his brother through cancer. It's well-written, clear, and charming.
It gets **** A+ Joyfully Brilliant

7) My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite writers; she has a talent for tackling controversial topics and making you think about your position. This one is no exception. Picoult tells the story of a 13 year old who was conceived to be a genetic match for her sister who is dying of leukemia. It tells the stories of the many times that she goes to bat for her sister, placing her own body at risk, at her parents' request to save her sister. Until the day she doesn't want to do it anymore. It's skillfully and eloquently done. I have thought of this topic many times and I had never considered what it would mean to be the child who was only born to help a sibling. What if the sibling had never needed help? Picoult tackles these aspects with care and concern. While I haven't changed my mind about genetic matches, I now can appreciate the other side better. And isn't that the mark of a truly great writer?
**** A+ Achingly Brilliant

6) A Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult
As previously stated, Picoult is one of my favorite writers. The writing is clean and fresh, sharp and clear. The situations, however, are muddy, confusing, and worthy of debate. This novel focuses on Nathaniel, a child who was molested and his mother, the Prosecutor, who can't stand what the "justice" system will do to the little guy. As a social worker, I have ranted and raved many times about how helpless children are before our system; there is no one to speak for them, no one to protect them. The predators are protected securely by the system. I agree fully with Picoult's view of the system. It fails. Many many times. Too often. And if you've ever seen the system fail a kid, you know the frustration. So the mother extracts her own justice. And fails. I have to tell you, it was eye-opening to me. I've thought (quite happily) about the kind of justice I would extract from someone who hurt my nephews. This, however, got me to thinking. Is justice really best for the kids? Did Nathaniel benefit from what his mother did? The questions are many and this book sparked some wonderful debates around the office. Picoult is passionate about her subject and her talent shines through.
**** A+ Profoundly Brilliant

5) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This was a surprising treasure I lucked up on at my public library. What bibliophile could resist such a title? It was a foreign concept as well, the tale of a German girl during World War II. Not a topic I had given much thought, although I had thought much and read much about Jewish Germans during that time. So what must it have been like? A leader run amuck and dragging his country with him. Although many agreed with him, not all did and life for them was a constant gamble. In this tale, told in mesmerizing fashion by Death himself, the characters shine brightly and tales of bravery and humanity (even by Hitler's staunchest followers) are an everyday occurrence. Zusak has true talent and I look forward to reading much more of his works.
It gets **** A+ Vividly Brilliant

4) A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
This is a book recommended to me by my dear husband about a year ago. It took me this long to get to it. And, now that I've read it, I'm very sorry I didn't get to it sooner. This is the memoir of a girl growing up in a small town in Indiana. For those of us who grew up in small towns, it will re-affirm our belief that children can only grow up successfully in a town with fewer than 3,000 people. For those of you who grew up in big cities, it will encourage you (good things really can come out of small places) and inspire jealousy (after all, you missed the joy of knowing everyone and all their business). It is full of the hilarious stories that are inherent in any tales about small towns- the neighbor who terrified you, the family with too many kids, the 'cat lady.' It also has the stories that tug at the heart strings: the child caught in the spotlight because everyone knows what her brother did, the knowledge of social classes, and the desire of parents to give their children all they can. The writing is crisp and Kimmel manages all this without seeming heavy-handed.
It gets **** A+ Sparklingly Brilliant

3) Across the Miles: Tales of Correspondence by L.M. Montgomery
I adore Ms. Montgomery. Have ever since I was 12 and got Anne of Green Gables for Christmas. Her writing is extraordinary and is fresh even in 2007. I read all the novels I could get my grubby little paws on, but wanted still more. How wonderful to discover a collection of short stories written by her and compiled by Rae Wilmhurst (a true heroine for locating the jewels).
While there are several collections, this is the best of the group. Ms. Montgomery had a reputation for recycling story lines, but you see none of that in this collection. Each story is a brand new treasure. They are stories revolving around letters and journals; everything from love letters to lost notes. They are heart-warming and satisfying. Even for fans who eschew the short story collections, this collection should be examined closely. I loved it!
It gets **** A+ Wonderfully Brilliant

2) Steve & Me by Terri Irwin
I didn't really think much about the Crocodile Hunter. I mean, beyond the fact that my nephews love him and the kitties like to watch his show. That is, I didn't really think about him until his untimely death and then I heard a kid make a remark that one of his dreams would never come true now. He is a brilliant kid, interested in wildlife, who wanted to grow up, move to Australia and work with Steve Irwin. It struck me, then, that the Crocodile Hunter meant an awful lot to people and my interest was piqued. I started watching the show and even his movie. I became a Crocodile Hunter fan late.
When I saw this book, I just had to pick it up. Mostly, I was curious, but I wasn't holding my breath that it would be a brilliant read. Just a good one. I can't say why. I just didn't. I'm very glad to say that I was wrong.
Steve & Me is written by Terri Irwin, a grieving widow raising two small children. A major feat, I'm sure. It is unflinching as it looks at her grief and sparkling as she talks about the man that she loves. She does not make him out to be a saint, but shows us his flaws. And it makes us respect him more because he wasn't perfect.
It's a fast read and well worth the time.
It gets **** A+ Authentically Brilliant

And finally... My vote for book of the year goes to....

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I have waited for this book for so very long. Ever since I read the first one, really. How does it all end? Does Harry survive? Can the Wizarding World ever be truly safe from Moldy Voldy? (Gotta love Peeves!) The release, however, was bittersweet. After all, it’s the end of a phenomenon. Very likely the last time we will see children standing in line at midnight to pick up a book. But I can imagine Mrs. Rowling’s joy at being done with Harry, having brought him all the way to the end. It is something to celebrate.
The final installment in the Harry Potter series is, in my humble opinion, the best of the lot. This follows Harry on his search for the Horcruxes and the Wizarding World’s descent into the dark days. I had feared that we would be left with unanswered questions and a lack of resolution (remember Snicket’s The End?), but none of that is true. There is resolution and the whole series is wrapped up lovingly. It is the most exciting of the series and I was thrilled from the first page to the last. There were no flaws and I could not have asked for more.
I will include a warning: I’ve heard people saying that they’ll start with this one and go back and read the first books later. Don’t. You’ll miss the joy of discovering Harry, Hermione, and Ron along the way and the pay-off won’t be there for you. Trust me on this one. You’ll want to wait. It is well worth it.
It gets A+ **** Magically Brilliant

-Amanda Cullum

Valley, AL

 

 

 

My favorite read of 2007 was Water for Elephants--hands down.  What an interesting, unusual, and tightly woven tale, with layers and layers of emotion, drama, mystery, and intrigue lightened by a love story and by contrasting perspectives of the main character's life.  The books I enjoy most are those through which I learn something new, and this book was packed full of information disguised as fiction.  When I first read the back cover, I thought:  why would I want to learn about circuses in the time of the Great Depression?  After the first paragraph, I couldn't put it down.  What a great read! 

The other books I remember most from last year were Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky, and four by Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper, The Pact, Plain Truth, and Songs of the Humpback Whale, in order of preference beginning with the one I enjoyed most.  Picoult takes a scholarly approach to her writing and research, which I enjoy immensely, but her language is delicate and nuanced. After reading a few of her novels, I could see the formula by which she completed the work, but that only bothered me a little bit.  I still want to read more from her.  Suite Francaise is the first two novels of what Nemirovsky planned to be a series of five on the topic of the German occupation of France.  A Russian Jew who fled the Bolsheviks and lived in France, she was respected for her writing before WWII began but her life was cut short at Auschwitz, to which she and her husband were deported.  Her manuscripts, preserved by her daughters, surfaced six decades later.  I found the first book, Storm in June, to be the most engrossing and haunting, with images I still remember vividly. I could only imagine the circumstances under which she wrote the second book, Dolce--the deep fear, the scars that continual worry carved on her.  I was so deeply saddened by the experience of reading Suite Francaise that I can't say I "enjoyed" it, but I will remember it. 
-Su Ofe

 

 

Lagging behind my wife's, here is my list of 2007 reads, in the approximate order that I read them:

 

1. 40 EXAMPLES by Ansel Adams -- As my interest in photography continued to develop (pun intended) early in the year, I decided to study up.  Adams was a perfectionist, and the detail he provides in these essays is remarkable.

 

2. PICTURE TAKER: PHOTOGRAPHS BY KEN ELKINS -- A career's worth of great work from one of Alabama's own.  Not a book to "read" but to drink in with the eyes.

 

3. EUDORA WELTY: PHOTOGRAPHS and COUNTRY CHURCHYARDS, both by Eudora Welty -- This was my year to rediscover Welty's genius after a brief encounter in college.  Again, these are "picture books" but full of depth nonetheless.  Unlike the work of Walker Evans, Welty's images of the South are captured with the affection of a native.

 

4. PHOTOPORTRAITS by Henri Cartier-Bresson -- I pored over several books by the legendary French photographer, but this is the one I find most impressive, for its visual elegance. 

 

5. ENCOUNTERS by Kathryn Tucker Windham -- Short essays and photos from a living Alabama legend and member of the Alabama Academy of Honor (nominated by no less than Harper Lee).  Thanks to Capitol Books for hosting her speaking engagement at Huntingdon College in December!  Hearing her discuss these compelling photographs was a true Christmas gift.

 

6. 1/2 PRICE LIVING: SECRETS TO LIVING WELL ON ONE INCOME by Ellie Kay -- A bit skimpy, but I enjoy Kay's financial wisdom and Christian perspective anyway.

 

7. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. Rowling -- Rowling pulls off the final chapter of this years-long balancing act with a lot of finesse.  Dark stuff, full of imagination.

 

8. THE END (A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS) by Lemony Snicket -- I didn't think there were any surprises left after 13 books, but WOW, what a clever ending!  It blindsided me.  My interpretation:  the Snicket character in the book is not the man we've thought he was.  My wife, on the other hand, says I misread the ending...  But I think not!

 

9. A REDBIRD CHRISTMAS by Fannie Flagg -- My first time reading another Alabamian. Generally entertaining and heartwarming.

 

10. DOLLY: MY LIFE AND OTHER UNFINISHED BUSINESS by Dolly Parton -- The music history and childhood remembrances are fascinating.  I could have done without some of the pseudospiritual fluff. 

 

11. MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE by Lee Goldberg -- One of the best of the year, surprisingly.  Goldberg takes a lovable TV character and brings him to life with pinpoint accuracy. A page-turner in the very best sense of the word.

 

12. A CURTAIN OF GREEN AND OTHER STORES by Eudora Welty -- My favorite of the year, perhaps the whole decade.  Welty proves herself head and shoulders above most other writers with now-classic stories like "The Whistle" and "A Worn Path." Her figures of speech are startling in their imagery, her sentences seem constructed with surgical precision. Otherworldly in its masterful use of language.

 

13. MR. MONK GOES TO HAWAII by Lee Goldberg -- Lighter fare after Welty. Somewhat more predictable than MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE, but Goldberg's pacing and characterizations are spot-on.

 

14. JUST AN ORDINARY DAY by Shirley Jackson -- For some reason, it took me a year and a half to finish this book, even though it is an average-length collection of weirdly interesting short stories. A deal with the devil, death by chocolate, and ghostly children inhabit the pages of this mixed bag from the author of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and "The Lottery."

 

Jonathan Cullum

LaFayette, Alabama 

 

 

Here are some books I really enjoyed in 2007 apart from the bestsellers already on people's radar:

"Suddenly They Heard Footsteps: Storytelling for the Twenty-First Century" by Dan Yashinsky, a professional storyteller who lives in Canada, is a great book that combines experiences Yashinsky has had as a storyteller, his insight on why storytelling is important and how to be a good teller and a collection of stories.  It has great stories about telling stories, along with great stories.

"Only You Can Save Mankind" by Terry Pratchett is one of his "young adult" books from the early 1990s, although I don't think it was published here until somewhat more recently. The book is about Johnny Maxwell, a British boy who gets sucked into a computer game where some of the characters no longer want to fight, and it has a lot to say about war both in the game and real worlds. The humor and the crackerjack writing will appeal to adults (even those like me who don't play computer games), and it's a must-read for any kid or adult who enjoys computer games. The two Johnny Maxwell sequels are a lot of fun, too.

I have just recently discovered Jane Austen (How did I manage to put off devouring these books off as long as I have?) and cannot believe what a "modern" voice this author of the early 1800s had. And the books are so funny. I've found that I particularly enjoy them as audiobooks.  "Mansfield Park" as read by Johanna Ward was fabulous. I particularly enjoyed her portrayals of Mrs. Norris and Mr Rushworth. "Masterpiece" on PBS is doing all six books this year, so it is a particularly good time to be reading them.
-Madelyn Dinnerstein
Pittsburgh, PA, USA

 

 

Usually I prefer fiction but, in 2007, I found two very interesting nonfiction books.  After watching both The King of Scotland and Hotel Rwanda, I read The Bone Woman:  A Forensic Anthropologist’s Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo by Clea Koff.  It sounds gruesome and some parts of the book give more detail than I wanted.  The book, however, gives a good description of a forensic anthropologist’s work and how her team’s discoveries brought those guilty of genocide to justice.  I liked the first half of the book better because it explained a lot of the questions I had about the political situation and genocide in Rwanda, which were not answered in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

The second nonfiction book I liked was The Colony by John Tayman, which deals with the establishment of the leprosy colony on Molokai Island, Hawaii in 1866 and covers the next 103 years.  It is a comprehensive look at the disease of leprosy, its treatment and why government entities decided it was best to isolate leprosy patients from their families and communities.  This information is revealed through the personal stories of the patients, their families and the people who treated them and puts a very human face on this once very mysterious illness.

On the fiction side, I liked the following:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  It’s about a circus and has thrills, chills, a love story and, of course, an elephant!

The Girls by Lori Lansens.  Rose and Ruby Darlen are the oldest, surviving conjoined twins and they are writing their life story.  They write individually and in very different styles and their interpretations of life events are often very different.  It’s a fascinating look at how they see their family and community and how they feel about each other. Although it sounds like a nonfiction book, it is fiction.

This is probably cheating because I read this book two years ago but I loved The Twelve Little Cakes by Dominika Dery.  Ms. Dery, who was born in 1975 in what was then Czechoslovakia, writes a mostly warm and fuzzy childhood memoir of growing up in a Communist country in an unconventional, very non-Communist family.  She writes about a close family, their experiences and how they managed to get through difficult times with a sense of humor.

-Jean Smyth

 

 

Maurice Manning’s Bucolics, a book of poetry that poses the age old man/god in a pastoral setting with a laborer constantly haranguing someone he calls “Boss” was my number one favorite poetry read of 2007. Many poets write wonderful and memorable poems, but Mannings’ book is unique – it’s a poet’s book, as well as one that will touch the heart of anyone who has ever wondered – who made us? why are we here?  is anyone listening? For fiction, hands down I have to say Ian McEwan’s Atonement was one of those books in the league with Ahab’s Wife or Sound and the Fury, a true ground-breaker.  This book had languished in my house for at least a year before I picked it up in December. To swim in the ocean of such powerfully well-made fiction is exhilarating, and I really didn’t want to come up for air. This is a book that changed my life as a writer.

 

-Jeanie Thompson

Executive Director

Alabama Writers’’ Forum

 

Easily: Stephen Colbert's "I Am America (and So Can You)" I never would have bought it for myself, but I got it as a gift and it is hilarious!
-Foster Dickson

 

-More than likely many of your customers have read these first two books and perhaps had the opportunity to see the author at Huntingdon. Two of my favorites were Magic Time and The Bridge both by Doug Marlette who has sadly left this life. Magic Time is the story of Mississsippi's Freedom Summer of 1964 told in flashbacks between that summer and current time in New York City and the South. The main character deals with how that summer affected his life and how he resolves it. 

Pat Conroy said that The Bridge is the finest novel to come out of the South since Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel! It centers on the past as well - the Great Textile Strike of 1934 and life in the mills and their villages. Its main character has to deal with his career, the tear in his marital relationship, returning home to his extended family and their eccentricities and the truth that is uncovered that helps to settle his questions and his life. This book caused a huge controversy in Hillsborough,NC, where Marlette was living at the time. Not only is the book excellent but the events that followed its publishing are equally interesting if you take the time to research it.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See is a fascinating book about women in a remote province of 19th century China. It tells the story of how women communicated, survived and reflected on their lives. Secret language, foot-binding, arranged marriage, motherhood  are all shared in this book.

The Distance from the Heart of Things by Ashley Warlick is a beautifully written novel about the South. It's about family and the strong bond that exists as this lead character becomes a woman.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was such a good read! After going through a divorce and severe depression a woman journeys to Italy, India and Indonesia in search of "everything". Pleasure in Italy, devotion in India and balance in Indonesia. It is heartbreaking, humorous, intense and uplifting. I loved it!

 Elizabeth Baucom, Greenville, SC

 

 

I am lucky to have creative folks in my life and in 2007 three of them had new books.

 

In April I introduced my friend Tom Kimmel for his reading at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery. We met the day before the event and he gave me a copy of his first poetry book, The Sweetest and the Meanest. Tom is a master songwriter and performer so I expected to be wowed by his poetry and was not disappointed. Tom’s poems are versatile: insightful, spiritual, funny and always lyrical. I loved Tom’s book and heartily recommend it.

 

Another friend who is a poet, Barbara Wiedeman, published her book, The Half Life of Love, later in the year. Lots of Barbara’s poems are set in the American southwest and her images and emotions transported me back to my own desert adventures many years ago. Barbara is a powerful poet and her work describes landscapes exterior and interior in ways that makes a mental, emotional and spiritual impression.

 

Lee Smith swears that her latest novel, On Agate Hill, is her last because creating the characters require so much emotional investment. Certainly, the characters of her new book are full, commanding, endearing, and sometimes even frightening.  Although for reasons most readers of these comments will know, I am forever in love with Ivy Rowe, Molly certainly deserves a place in my heart.  Lee remains concerned On Agate Hill is too dark. But anyone who is even a little versed in the tale’s time period—Reconstruction—knows that those days were tough, and it took tough characters to survive them. Molly, Jacky, BJ, Simon are tough, alive, and present to an amazing degree. Hanging out around a dinner table at the Sunset Grill in Nashville one evening, Tom House and I got into an intense discussion concerning a character’s actions. Finally other folks at the table asked—WHO are ya’ll talking about? Like I said, these characters feel real.

 

And since I am writing about folks that I do even pretend to be objective about, I heartily recommend Tim Henderson’s book, A Glorious Defeat, and not just because I am a fan & he is my hubby! He’ll probably get mad at me for writing this, but I really think it is his best writing so far. In entertaining, lyrical prose, Tim explains the events and situations that brought the United States and Mexico to war. Tim’s analysis of the evolution and social perspectives of Mexican and American societies, focusing on the differences in their histories, and their philosophies, gives the reader insight into both sides’ proudest moments and most grievous mistakes. After the events leading to war, Tim explains certain key issues concerning the way the war was waged. It was amazing to me, after reading the book, that I never knew before the huge influence the war had on both countries, including the civil war and even issues continuing into our present time.

-Karren Pell

 

 

Cheryl and Thomas,

Your book list is always one of the highlights of my year.  I've read some
really wonderful books in 2007.  I'm terrible at describing books so will
not even try because I don't want to discourage anyone.  The following are
truly exceptional books - I was sorry when each of them ended. 

Body and Soul by Frank Conroy
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Queen of the Underworld by Gail Godwin
A Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

-Lee Eaton

 

I am enjoying Galt Neiderhoffer's "A Taxonomy of
Barnacles" very much.  I read horrible reviews of the
book (which is what made me decide to read it for
myself), but I'm finding it witty.  The author, who
was pretty widely panned for this book, drew me in
immediately with descriptions of the six Barnacle
sisters, their crazy penthouse apartment (complete
with indoor zoo!) and their lives, each of which is
utterly different.

Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild" is at the top of my
2007 list.  I loved the kid and hated his careless
disregard for his life.  Although I didn't think
McCandless was completely arrogant or the least bit
suicidal, I found Krakauer's story about his own
hiking adventure to be explanatory and moving, in the
context of the book.  Krakauer said that he suffered
from "hubris, perhaps, and an appalling innocence,
certainly; but [he] wasn't suicidal."  He went on to
say that at his age, death was an abstract concept.
Several 10th grade M.A. students read this book for
extra credit last semester (thank you for the
suggestion, Capitol Book) and enjoyed it; one intrepid
student pointed out that as McCandless shed his
belongings during his cross-country trek, he also left
behind the guitar on which his mother played lullabies
for him.  That, and the part where McCandless' parents
visited the bus where McCandless spent his last days,
broke my squishy mom heart.  I can't wait to see the
movie at the Capri.

-Stephanie Hill

 

 

And just for the fun of it, here’s Cheryl’s list of all her 2007 reads:

 

 

 

CHERYL'S 2007 READS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TITLE

AUTHOR

RATING

SETTING

GENRE

1

Blind Submission

Ginsberg, Debra

***

US/San Francisco

Fiction

2

Burning

Johnson, Diane

**

US/Los Angeles

Fiction

3

Three Men in a Boat

Jerome, Jerome K.

***

England

Memoir

4

A Fatal Grace

Penny, Louise

****

Canada/Quebec

Mystery

5

Warm Springs

Shreve, Susan Richards

*****

US/Georgia

Memoir

6

The Overlook

Connelly, Michael

****

US/California

Mystery

7

The Last Chinese  Chef

Mones, Nicole

****

China

Fiction

8

Pleasures and Landscapes

Bedford, Sybille

**

Europe

Travel

9

Prisoner of Memory

Hamilton, Denise

***

US/Los Angeles

Mystery

10

Dark Fire

Sansom, C.J.

***

England

Mystery

11

The Woods

Coben, Harlan

****

US/New Jersey

Mystery

12

Mr. Sebastian & the Negro Magician

Wallace, Daniel

****

US/Alabama

Fiction

13

Somebody is going to die…

Metcalfe, Gayden

***

US/Mississippi

Humor

14

Letter from Point Clear

McFarland, Dennis

*****

US/Alabama

Fiction

15

The New Yorkers

Schine, Cathleen

****

US/NYC

Fiction

16

All-of-a-Kind Family

Taylor, Sidney

***

US/NYC

YA

17

Thistle & Twigg

Saums. Mary

***

US/Alabama

Mystery

18

Mistress of the Art of Death

Franklin, Ariana

***

England

Mystery

19

The Dead Father's Club

Haig, Matt

***

England

Fiction

20

Crimes of New York

Willis, Clint

***

US/NYC

Nonfiction

21

The Late Bloomer's Revolution

Cohen, Amy

***

US/NYC

Memoir

22

The Secret of Lost Things

Hay, Sheridan

**

US/NYC

Fiction

23

Garden Spells

Allen, Sarah Addison

**

US/NC

Fiction

24

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Selznick, Brian

****

France

YA

25

Death Comes for the Fat Man

Hill, Reginald

*****

England

Mystery

26

Mediterranean Summer

Shalleck, David

***

Italy

Travel

27

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Hosseini, Khaled

*****

Afghanistan

Fiction

28

The Discomfort Zone

Franzen, Jonathan

***

US/St. Louis

Memoir

29

Free Food for Millionaires

Lee, Min Jin

****

US/NYC

Fiction

30

The Eyre Affair

Fforde, Jasper

*****

England

Fiction

31

What the Dead Know

Lippman, Laura

*****

US/Baltimore

Mystery

32

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Kingsolver, Barbara

*****

US/Virginia

Food

33

Lost in a Good Book

Fforde, Jasper

*****

England

Fiction

34

The Dud Avocado

Dundy, Elaine

***

France

Fiction

35

Officer Down

Schwegel, Theresa

****

US/Chicago

Mystery

36

The Well of Lost Plots

Fforde, Jasper

*****

England

Fiction

37

Probable Cause

Schwegel, Theresa

***

US/Chicago

Mystery

38

Here If You Need Me

Braestrup, Kate

****

US/Maine

Memoir

39

The Janissary Tree

Goodwin, Jason

****

Turkey

Mystery

40

Lying Low

Johnson, Diane

***

US/California

Fiction

41

The Tenderness of Wolves

Penney, Stef

*****

Canada

Fiction

42

Heartsick

Cain, Chelsea

****

US/Portland,OR

Mystery

43

Something Rotten

Fforde, Jasper

****

England

Fiction

44

A Student of Living Things

Shreve, Susan Richards

****

US/Wash, D.C.

Fiction

45

Our Former Lives in Art

Davis, Jennifer S.

***

US/Alabama

Fiction

46

Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand

Vargas, Fred

*****

France/Canada

Mystery

47

Bridge of Sighs

Russo, Richard

****

US/NY/Venice

Fiction

48

A Valley in Italy

St.Aubin de Teran, Lisa

***

Italy

Memoir

49

Stalin's Ghost

Smith, Martin Cruz

****

Russia

Fiction

50

Death at the Old Hotel

Lehane, Con

***

US/NYC

Mystery

51

The Grave Tattoo

McDermid, Val

****

England

Mystery

52

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Rowling, J.K.

*****

England

YA

53

The Pirate's Daughter

Cezair-Thompson, Margaret

****

Jamaica

Fiction

54

Bangkok Haunts

Burdett, John

****

Thailand

Mystery

55

Within Tuscany

Spender, Matthew

***

Italy

Travel

56

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels

Fforde, Jasper

*****

England

Fiction

57

No Time for Goodbye

Barclay, Linwood

***

US/Connecticut

Mystery

58

The Used World

Kimmel, Haven

****

US/Indiana

Fiction

59

The Tenth Muse

Jones, Judith

***

US/NYC

Food

60

Down River

Hart, John

****

US/NC

Mystery

61

Little Heathens

Kalish, Mildred Armstrong

***

US/Iowa

Memoir

62

The Holiday Season

Knight, Michael

*****

US/Alabama

Fiction

63

Ratking

Dibdin, Michael

****

Italy

Mystery

64

A Nail Through the Heart

Hallinan, Timothy

****

Thailand

Mystery

65

Three Junes

Glass, Julia

*****

Scotland,NYC

Fiction

66

Trail of Crumbs

Sunee, Kim

****

France

Memoir

67

Death in the Garden

Ironside, Elizabeth

*****

England

Mystery

68

The Wee Free Men

Pratchett,  Terry

***

England

YA

69

Away

Bloom, Amy

****

Russia, U.S.

Fiction

70

The Wrong Kind of Blood

Hughes, Declan

****

Ireland

Mystery

71

Let Me Finish

Angell, Roger

****

US/NY/Maine

Memoir

72

The Various Haunts of Men

Hill, Susan

*****

England

Mystery

73

But Enough About Me

Dunn, Jancee

****

US/NYC

Memoir

74

Persian Nights

Johnson, Diane

*****

Iran

Fiction

75

Death in the Truffle Wood

Magnan, Pierre

***

France

Mystery

76

Baltimore Blues

Lippman, Laura

***

US/Baltimore

Mystery

77

The Pure in Heart

Hill, Susan

*****

England

Mystery

78

Taken

Bloor, Edward

***

Us/Florida

YA

79

The Accomplice

Ironside, Elizabeth

*****

England

Mystery

80

Hons and Rebels

Mitford, Jessica

*****

England

Memoir

81

Unaccustomed Earth

Lahiri, Jhumpa

*****

US/Mass

Fiction

82

Friend of the Devil

Robinson, Peter

****

England

Mystery

83

An Incomplete Revenge

Winspear, Jacqueline

****

England

Mystery

84

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Kinney, Jeff

***

USA

YA

85

The Namesake

Lahiri, Jhumpa

*****

US/Mass/NY

Fiction

86

My Family and Other Animals

Durrell, Gerald

***

Corfu

Memoir

87

The Hard Way

Child, Lee

****

NYC/England

Mystery

88

Killing Floor

Child, Lee

****

US/Georgia

Mystery

89

Bad Luck and Trouble

Child, Lee

****

US/California

Mystery

90

One False Move

Coben, Harlan

***

US/NYC

Mystery

91

First Drop

Sharp, Zoe

****

Us/Florida

Mystery

92

Second Shot

Sharp, Zoe

****

Us/NH

Mystery

93

Frost at Christmas

Wingfield, R.D.

****

England

Mystery

94

The Seasons of Rome

Hofmann, Paul

**

Rome

Travel

95

Born Standing Up

Martin, Steve

*****

US/California

Memoir

96

Let Us Eat Cake

Boortsin, Sharon

**

US/California

Food

97

Last Night at the Lobster

O'Nan, Stewart

****

US/New England

Fiction

98

Beautiful Lies

Unger, Lisa

***

US/NYC

Mystery

99

The Man Who Turned into Himself

Ambrose, David

***

US/New England

Fiction

100

The Cruelest Month

Penny, Louise

****

Canada

Mystery

 

 

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