The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat

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This is a work of non-fiction that reads like a novel.

The “Nazi Olympics” of 1936 are remembered for the stunning victory of Jesse Owens.  But a group of young men from the state of Washington also made a splash.  After winning the national collegiate rowing championship — held in the Hudson at Poughkeepsie — a team of mostly rural rowers traveled to Berlin to take on the best in the world.

The book will introduce you to a host of characters you’ve probably never heard of.
Together, they would overcome incredible odds and make history.

 

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William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First (William Shakespeare’s Star Wars) by Ian Doescher

Shakespeare's the Phantom Menace

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Well this was certainly fun to read!  It’s the Star Wars story written in Shakespearean iambic pentameter.  Very cool.  I was able to fly right through this.  As a lover of Shakespeare, I found  this a very cool way to read the first story in the Star Wars saga. The illustrations are beautiful as well.  Just an all around fun book, and for sure I’ll keep going with this series.

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White Teeth by Zadie Smith

White Teeth

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Zadie Smith is recognized as one of England’s premiere fiction writers.  Her first book, published in 2000, made an enormous splash and vaulted her to instant prominence.

White Teeth features a complex weave of fascinating characters, from multiple ethnic and racial backgrounds, reflecting modern-day England.  The story centers on two friends — Archie, a redheaded English person married to an Afro-Caribbean woman, and Samad, a Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh.  Their adventures are simultaneously funny and moving.  The storyline is entertaining, but the novel’s spice comes from the mosaic of peoples, cultures, and customs living in the same neighborhood, and the tensions and relationships that ensue.

I rarely laugh out-loud at a book, but I did with this one.  Give it a try.

 

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The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair

The Girl in the Garden

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This is the first book by this author.  I read it over a weekend.  The story begins as a letter from Rahkee (a young Indian woman) to her fiance as she is leaving him to return to her ancestral home in India to deal with her past.  The bulk of the novel settles on Rakhee’s summer spent in India before her 11th birthday with her mother’s (Amma) mysterious family and away from her father, Aba. Most of the story is told through the voice of young Rakhee, an innocent girl exposed to a brand new life in India as she discovers a secret garden that holds dark secrets of her family’s past that will change her life forever during that summer.  It’s a quick read that was beautiful but also sad.

 

 

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Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep

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I took a long break from Stephen King, so when I heard that he was writing this book I was very excited.  The Shining was a great book, so I was intrigued as to how he would pick up the story of Danny Torrance all grown up.  This book did not disappoint me at all.  Dan struggles with a drinking problem just like his Dad did in The Shining.  As he struggles with that, he’s suppressed his “shine.”  His friend from the Overlook Hotel, Dick Hallorann, makes a return visit in this book, and he serves as the conduit between past and future.  Since Dick cannot be with Dan to face these new demons, a new character arrives on the scene that has the “shine” even stronger than his own.  The monsters in the story are appropriately creepy and scary.   I would recommend this sequel If you’re a King fan, and especially if you loved The Shining.

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Displacement by Lucy Knisley

Displacement

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Similar to Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast – but better!  Lucy Knisley’s graphic novel memoir of her Caribbean cruise also addresses the difficulties of aging, but is less depressing.  Lucy is a young “poor, single, obsessive freelancer” who gets the opportunity to accompany her grandparents on a trip.  Her “grands” are in their 90s, so her help will be invaluable.  This is also an opportunity for her to spend more time getting to know them better.  She has a copy of her grandfather’s writings about WWII, which are interspersed with the modern-day story.  Nothing seems to go well on this trip.  This is one of the best of the new adult graphic novels with both humor and sadness.  The illustration is lovely.  A great read!

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The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

The Forgetting Time

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Is reincarnation possible?  This wonderful new book explores what can possibly happen after we die and how far we would go to help our children and those we love.  This is a debut novel by  Sharon Guskin.

Janie Zimmerman became pregnant after a one-night stand.  Now her son Noah is four years old and highly intelligent.  He begins to experience bizarre behavior.  He becomes difficult, and is kicked out of school.  He is not crazy.  He does not like baths and is afraid of water.  He speaks of another mother whom he wants to go home to.  Dr. Jerome Anderson, a psychologist,  has been studying young children who seem to recall details from previous lives and is documenting this into a book.  Soon Noah, Janie, and Anderson  find themselves on a journey looking for answers — has Noah indeed been reincarnated?

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