Books and Beyond
Have you ever thought about what the library at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay might look like? I hadn’t until I came across an article in The New York Times Book Review highlighting the collection. A Tumblr site dedicated to the library and its holdings gives an insider’s view of this 18,000-item collection available to detainees. Predictable favorites include Arabic-language fiction and books on religion. Less predictably there are copies of Danielle Steel, Captain America and Harry Potter that have also seen good use.
For more on the library, read the article here.
The Red House by Mark Haddon
Mark Haddon, world-famous author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, crafts a new novel about two families who join together for a week-long holiday in a Wales country house. Brother Richard and sister Angela are estranged, with issues about the care they each gave in the last years of their recently deceased mother’s life. The siblings each have spouses and children, distinct personalities who come on vacation with agendas and personal troubles of their own. Haddon narrates the novel from all eight characters' perspectives and skillfully embodies them all, from the adolescent and insecure girls to 8-year-old Benjy who is confused about the fluctuations of emotions in the adult world. Isolated in the countryside, the characters have time to ponder and experience the truths about themselves and their family in this lyrically-worded and memorable novel.
Can’t decide whether it’s a mystery or a good science fiction novel you would like to read? You can have both! Here are three books that combine elements of both mystery and science fiction/fantasy under their covers.
The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters.
Asteroid 2011GV1 is going to hit Earth in six months. It will devastate our planet, wipe out civilization, and there is nothing that can be done. People are walking away from their jobs, the economy is plunging, and society is breaking down. This first in a trilogy has Detective Hank Palace investigate a suspicious suicide in a city where many people are choosing death in advance of the asteroid. Winters’ hard-boiled detective novel deals with the value of life in these circumstances, the reasons to keep working (or not) when life is about to end, and the role for justice in the few months remaining for pre-apocalyptic America.
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon.
A mystery noir, written with a nod to the likes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, this novel is also an alternative history based in the Federal District of Sitka. Chabon considers a world where the Jews of the Holocaust have settled in a part of Alaska after World War II. With no Israel, this temporary refuge has been leased from the Alaskan Native tribes. Now sixty years have elapsed since the war and the lease is almost up. Within this climate of uncertainty Detective Meyer Landsman investigates a murder that has political and religious implications. Hasidic Jews are a Mafia-like presence, Yiddish is the primary language, and good delis are on every street corner.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.
First in a science fantasy series, Detective Thursday Next is assigned to a unit that specializes in literary crimes. Set in an alternative 1980s England, Next uses time travel as one tool in her current assignment: to find the kidnapped Jane Eyre and return her to her novel. As defender of the Prose Portal, the gateway between fiction and Thursday’s world, it is up to her to solve this crime before more characters are taken and even murdered. Full of wit and literary allusions.
“Perfume is like cocktails without the hangover, like chocolate without the calories, like an affair without tears, like a vacation from which you never have to come back.”
― Marian Bendeth
Let's explore the magic of perfume!
Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride by Alyssa Harad
Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume by Mandy Aftel
The Little Book of Perfumes: The Hundred Classics by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin
The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose
The Student Loan Scam is an investigative book about the lack of oversight and consumer protections in the student loan industry. Mr. Collinge, the author of this book, owed $35,000 in student loans - until he missed one payment. His debt then ballooned to over $100,000 due to fees and penalties. That's when he started investigating the student loan industry.
Student loans have become a lucrative business for the US government, banks, student loan servicing companies, debt collectors, Wall Street, colleges, and some college financial aid administrators. Here is one example: wages, tax returns, Social Security and Disability benefits can all be garnished, without a court order, to pay for student loans. A court order is necessary for garnishment with most forms of debt. The exception for student loans places them in a class with criminal debt, like unpaid child support and income taxes. The Student Loan Scam also gives practical advice for borrowers in the last chapter, making this book an important read for anyone taking out a student loan or co-signing for one.
Alan Collinge is the founder of StudentLoanJustice.org. He has appeared on 60 minutes, 20/20, The News Hour, and other news shows.
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
In 1911, a brutal murder takes place in a small town bordering an Ojibwe Indian reservation in North Dakota. Some innocent Indians are hanged for the murder by whites from the town of Pluto. The unsolved murder haunts both the white and indian inhabitants for generations. In a style similar to that of Barbara Kingsolver, Erdrich alternates the narrative between descendants of the whites and the Indians through the voices of Evelina Harp, Marn Wolde, and Judge Antone Bazil Coutts. Small bits and pieces of each individual story unravel to show the common threads of them all.
Spring and summer are upon us BUT you wouldn’t know it with all of the snow and cold temperatures that extended into May! It's great to finally be able to put away the snow boots and heavy coats and get ready for some summer camping. Here are some titles to help you get prepared for a summer of R.V. fun!
A Fork in the Trail: Mouthwatering Meals and Tempting Treats for the Backcountry by Laurie Ann March
The Camping Cookbook by Annie Bell
Glamping with MaryJane: Glamour + Camping by MaryJane Butters
Camping with Kids and Dogs:
Camping and RVing with dogs: the complete reference for dog-loving campers and RVers by Jack and Julee Meltzer
As part of the Evergreen Library's monthly book discussion group, you're invited to join local author Dale Lovin as he discusses his book, The Mirror in the River: A Novel of Suspense.
When a wealthy woman mysteriously disappears near Aspen, Colo., former FBI Agent Brad Walker finds that his love of fly fishing in remote mountain areas has planted him directly in the crosshairs of corrupt politicians and a kingpin in the world of human trafficking.
6 pm Wednesday, June 12
Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley
Ptolemy is 91, a recluse living alone and falling fast into dementia when this story begins. Confused and scared, his apartment is filled with filth and bugs. A family friend, Robyn Small, 17 years old, comes into his life and both find needed friendships. Robyn helps Ptolemy clean up his apartment. A reinvigorated Ptolemy volunteers for an experimental medical program that will restore his mind, but at hazardous cost: he won't live to see 92. Mosley's depiction of the indignities of old age is heartbreaking and Ptolemy carries off these indignities with grace and decency.
Exciting and challenging and somewhat dismaying, change is a part of our lives. It is a part of home life, work life and social life. And although we know if we did not experience change, life would become stagnant and boring, it is still hard to accept at times. We know the procedures, how to get things done and then something different is thrown in that we have to adapt to and add to our mental databank. So, OK, let’s embrace change and make it work. Here are a few titles that may help with the transitions.
Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson
Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Manifesting Change: It Couldn't Be Easier by Mike Dooley