Jane Smiley, who was awarded the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel "A Thousand Acres," returns to the farm for her latest novel "Some Luck." This family saga is the first book in a trilogy titled "The Last Hundred Years."
The novel introduces Walter and Rosanna Langdon, a young married couple with an infant son, living on a small farm in Denby, Iowa in 1920. The story follows their family as it grows and changes over the course of three decades. Each of the thirty-four chapters in the book covers a single year. The result is a series of snapshots or brief episodes that illuminate Smiley's characters before the backdrop of twentieth-century history. Readers follow the Langdons through the Great Depression, to the European Theater in World War II, and to Washington, D.C. during the anti-Communist movement of the 1950s. Smiley presents characters travelling far, but remaining connected to their home in Iowa.
Jane Smiley will speak about "Some Luck" on Wednesday, October 8 at 7 pm at Library Headquarters.
--Jennifer A., Headquarters
If Ken Burns' documentary "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" leaves you eager for more information on this remarkable family, you are in luck. In addition to the companion book to the series by Geoffrey C. Ward, the library has many books about the lives of Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor.
"River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey" by Candice Millard is the edge-of-your-seat, riveting tale of Roosevelt's expedition to chart a tributary of the Amazon.
Local author Ann Leckie dominated the science fiction awards this year, winning multiple awards including the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for her first novel "Ancillary Justice."
This captivating book deserves the positive attention. It introduces readers to a strange world, but remains grounded in human motivations. The plot centers on the dilemma faced when conscience conflicts with obedience to authority.
The hero of the story is Breq, who was once a starship that had multiple human forms. Breq is now separated from her other bodies and pursues a solitary mission to uncover and correct an injustice.
Pop quiz music fans, what do the songs "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "Viva Las Vegas" have in common? It's the songwriter, Doc Pomus also known as Jerome Felder. The biopic "AKA Doc Pomus" has rough production values, but it's an inspirational gem. Pomus was born to immigrant parents. His father was a bitter, broken failure. The family was always in debt. Already at the low ebb of society, disaster struck young Jerome when he contracted polio. While poverty and a crippling illness could have meant a life of obscurity, Pomus was enthralled by the blues music he heard on the radio. Showing up at the blues clubs, sometimes as the only white and Jewish attendee, Pomus bluffed his way onto a stage one night. His brash, beefy voice impressed the musicians and he was invited back. He changed his name to Doc Pomus so his mother wouldn't know he was playing clubs.
Chris Bohjalian's latest, "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands" presents the harrowing story of Emily Shephard, a smart teenager obsessed with Emily Dickinson whose biggest problem is a growing concern about her parents' drinking until an accident at a nuclear power plant changes everything. When Emily learns that her father has been blamed for the nuclear meltdown, she runs away to avoid questions. Soon she is homeless, scrounging for shelter and food, and surprising herself with what she is willing to do to survive.
My time ran out for listening to the CD recording of "A Tale for the Time Being," fiction by Ruth Ozeki, and I had to return it. Other readers were waiting for it. Yet, I did not want to let loose of this story about the intertwining of a writer with an unknown, unknowable reader, and the realm of the written word they share. Yet, unlike the Japanese teenager's diary washed up on the Pacific shore of Canada, this novel endowed me with no ownership rights as its finder.
Michael Kahn reports that he began writing the Rachel Gold mystery series after his wife grew tired of him saying he could write a better mystery than the one he just read. She encouraged him to stop complaining and start writing. Since his first book was published in 1988, readers have enjoyed Kahn's clever plots and breezy style.
Kahn's latest book "Face Value" is the ninth novel featuring Rachel Gold, a St. Louis attorney with plenty of street smarts and quirky friends. The mystery involves the apparent suicide of a young lawyer. When a mailroom clerk with Asperger's Syndrome explains to Gold why he knows the death was actually a homicide, she agrees to investigate.