Popular history

alone.jpgAlone : Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk” by Michael Korda offers readers the history behind the popular film “Dunkirk”.  British troops , cut off by the Nazi invasion of France  retreated toward the coast, then were evacuated, famously, by a flotilla of both military and civilian boats.  Korda  brings a personal touch to the story: his own family had found shelter in Britain after fleeing from the continent a step or two ahead of the advancing Nazis. His is “a swiftly paced, illuminating account of these dramatic events.”

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Fiction by favorites

Kristin-Hannah-aloneJust in:  new stories by popular authors.  “The Great Alone” is Kristen Hannah’s first story since the bestselling “The Nightingale”.   In 1974, a Vietnam vet inherits a homestead from a fallen comrade and moves his family to Alaska.  Unfortunately, the stark landscape, which was supposed to grant him a measure of peace, instead brings out his paranoia, leaving it for his wife and daughterto pick up the pieces. Kirkus reviews calls  this one  a “tour de force”.      In “Still Me” by Jojo Moyes, Louisa Clark, heroine of “Me Before You”, arrives in New York, eager to start a new life.  She must juggle the demands of her employers, the strain of a long-stance relationship, and an awkward encounter with a someone from her past. Readers can expect “tears and belly laughs” (Cosmo).

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More prize fiction

pachinkoPachinko” by Min Jin Lee, a finalist for the National Book Award, is an “absorbing saga of 20th-century Korean experience.”  Sujna, the only surviving child of a poor family, works dutifully in her mother’s boarding house until she becomes pregnant by one of the guests.  Another boarder—a sickly but kindly pastor—marries her and takes her to Japan. “As the destinies of Sunja’s children and grandchildren unfold, love, luck, and talent combine with cruelty and random misfortune in a deeply compelling story” (Kirkus Reviews).

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Award-wining fiction

singIn “Sing, Unburied, Sing”, Jesmyn Ward evokes “the terrible beauty of life along the nation’s lower margins” in a “sharp-eyed novel” (Kirkus Reviews) that won the National Book Award for fiction.  Jojo and his little sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, while their mother Leonie drifts in and out of their lives.  When Jojo’s and Kayla’s father is released from prison, Leonie takes the kids with her on what turns into a harrowing road trip across a muggy landscape haunted by hatred. “Lyrical yet tough, Ward’s distilled language effectively captures the hard lives, fraught relationships, and spiritual depth of her characters” (Library Journal).

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Forgotten folk

radiumThe Radium Girls” by Kate Moore is a cautionary tale from the early days of industrialization. After the Curies discovered radium, jobs for working with the new substance were much coveted—until the workers began to fall mysteriously ill.   “The Great Halifax Explosion” by John Grant Bacon provides a tick-tock account of the fateful decisions that led to of one of the world’s most deadly industrial accidents: a munitions explosion that leveled Halifax, Nova Scotia.  “Ghosts of the Tsunami” by Richard Lloyd Parry presents stories of life and death in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone.  Nomadland shdeds light on a new generation of retirees: in debt and short on funds, they are they have hitting the road in astonishing numbers,  traveling from job to job as  “workcampers.”

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Mean streets

promise.jpgThe private eyes code:  ‘down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid (Raymond Chandler). In “No Middle Name”, Lee Child tells jack Reacher’s backstory in twelve stories, starting as a teen in New York on the night of the 1977 blackout. n “City of Endless Night” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, two boys stumble on the body of headless women in a Queens garage, the first of many in this “tightly wound” thriller. In “The Wanted” by Robert Crais, Elvis Cole is hired to find out where a troubled teen is getting piles of cash.  In “Robicheaux” by James Lee Burke, the titular character struggles with guilt, booze and Bayeux-bred baddies.  In “Promise not to Tell” by Jayne Ann Krentz, an escapee from a cult fears that someone from her old group hunting down survivors.

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Special Ops

opThree thrillers dealing in international intrigue.  In “Operator Down” by Brad Taylor,  Pike Logan learns that two members of his team, both former Mossad agents, are being targeted for assassination.  in “The Take” by Christopher Reich, a Saudi prince is robbed on his way to the airport; missing are not only valuables but a sensitive document.  A retired operative is hired to get it back.    And in “Tom Clancy Power:  and Empire” by Marc Cameron, a storm tossed American spy ship is at risk of falling into Chinese hands.

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