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New Year, New Books | Jan 2020

Still considering a New Year’s resolution? How about supporting your local library? Remember, you can place a hold online and you will get an email when your book is available. So easy!

This month’s list is wide ranging. Hope you try a few of them

Non-Fiction Picks

We begin with First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas. I heard the author speak at The Charleston Library Society. This is an excellent profile of our first female Supreme Court justice, but additionally an eye-opening back of the house tour of the Supreme Court. Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares by Aarti Shahani is an account of the legal and personal battles of her immigrant family. Even hard work and diligence can be thwarted by our legal system. But she persisted. Don’t dismiss this next book, The Season: A Social History of the Debutante by Kristen Richardson. It is a socio-economic history lesson through the cultural lens of not just debutantes but the “sale” of young women by their fathers beginning in the 1500’s by way of the dowry. The last nonfiction entry is Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Suffice it to say that Ms. Andrews never led the life of Mary Poppins. An enlightening read.

Fiction Picks

The fiction list runs the gamut from dark to thrilling. Set in Malaysia, We, the Survivors by Tash Aw is a tale of one man’s struggle to endure the rapid social changes of this century while maintaining his hold on a simple working life. A giant geographical switch brings us to Maine and further stories of Olive Kitteridge in Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. You do not need to have read the first book named after the title character, though you may have seen the HBO series with Frances McDormand. Olive is forthrightly honest and surprisingly empathetic in this short story collection. The 2019 National Book Award winner was Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. Superb characterizations and blistering story of how memories differ.

Kevin Wilson pens a fantastical story with serious themes of parental love, true friendship and loyalty in Nothing to See Here. In a completely different setting, government upheaval in Tehran in the 1950’s upends the life and love of two young people. Only later will they discover the interventions of adults in their destiny in The Stationery Store by Marjan Kamali.

For far lighter fare, try The Last Houseguest by Megan Miranda- deceit and class warfare on a summer island. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes is a sweet story of Evvie and her stuttering attempts to right her life with a satisfying but not too pat ending.

For a spy thriller with an African American woman in the lead role, American Spy from Lauren Wilkinson is a gripping read and based on true events in Burkina Faso. A blazing fast read is City of Windows by Robert Pobi. Here Pobi introduces a new character, Lucas Page and I can’t wait for his next adventure.

I am already a few books into the list for February and it looks promising!

Cheers to books!


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