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Books We Like

Posted on 6/8/2012 by Don Dwiggins

Books We Like

This month Collection Development manager Laura Weigand shares reviews of two of her favorite books and also gives a preview of some titles that will soon be available.

Driftless by David Rhodes

Untouched by glacial drift, the Driftless Region in Wisconsin serves as a lonesome backdrop to this Canterbury-like tale of the people from a town called Words. Rhodes’ characters journey among themselves and each life resonates with a quiet splendor that plays in the reader’s subconscious like bass notes building in a song.

While the plot lines offer romance and skullduggery, the power of this novel is in its characters and their affirmation of life. The Words community includes a middle-aged couple struggling to keep their dairy farm despite a powerful dairy cooperative in the community; a songwriter who likes to sing and work in the nude; an invalid and her caregiver sister; a sage-like mystery man; and the new minister, Winifred Smith or Winnie as she is commonly known.

Of Winnie, Rhodes says, “like most idealists, she did not bother to look at herself in the mirror before leaving [home].” In Driftless readers will experience well developed characters and intertwined plot lines that reach satisfying resolutions, while inviting readers to participate in the novel’s redemptive quests. If you like Anne Tyler, Ian McEwan, Barbara Kingsolver, or Anna Quindlen, you will be rewarded in reading Driftless.

The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman

Edelman’s memoir chronicles a journey she made with husband Uzi and three year old daughter Maya to Belize in 2000. Ostensibly a vacation, the trip to Belize was also a quest to find a healer who could help the family deal with Maya’s menacing imaginary friend, Dodo. The book reads like fiction and the reader empathizes with Edelman’s self doubt about the venture and its potential impact on the family’s future. Part mystery, part love story, and part transcendental experience, Edelman's book prompts readers to consider life beyond what is seen.

What's on the Horizon

Follow me to the sandy shore as I unpack my oversized beach bag full of satisfying summer reads. Dorothea Benton Frank’s Porch Lights, Mary Kay Andrews’ Spring Fever and Victoria Murray’s Destiny’s Diva all will be out in June.

Ready for your sun and surf enjoyment, North Carolina’s Charles Todd has a new Bess Crawford novel, Unmarked Grave and thriller writers abound. Ridley Pearson’s Risk Agent is out this month in addition to Tedd Dekker’s Mortal, Mark Haddon’s Red House, and Matthew Quirk’s 500. The latter is getting hot media buzz. Journalist Quirk has written a David and Goliath tale of corruption set in Washington, D.C. and there’s talk of a sequel.

Other titles of note for June include Stephen King’s Dark Tower and Francesa Segal’s The Innocents (think Wharton’s Age of Innocence retold). All of these titles should tide you over until July and August when some favorites will be back: Danielle Steel, James Patterson, Daniel Silva, and Tess Gerritsen. And yes, there are September savories in store from Ken Follett and Lee Child. As we all know, Jack Reacher is well worth the wait.

Whether your destination is the beach or the backyard, the Library has your best traveling companion waiting for you.