Between the Covers: More Choices from the Central Library
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Looked forward to this book all year since reading its prequel. It was so good. Can't believe I need to wait another year for the final book! A little magic, a little history, and lots of intrigue fill the series. Love these books!
Murder of Innocence by Joel Kaplan, Eric Zorn, and George Papajohn
A true crime book about a very mentally ill woman who takes revenge on nearly everyone she'd ever met and goes on a shooting rampage at a school related children attended. Very well written.
Derniers Vers by Jules Laforgue
This is a brief book of poetry, Laforgue's last work, through which some of his technical ideas came to fruition. I'd checked out some Laforgue before. It's good to investigate him after further francophone study. As with many proto-Moderns, his innovations seem modest, today, & are to be seen in historical context.
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
I highly thank James Loewen who wrote about history being written and taught wrong especially in school. When many of us study (or read) about history--our history--it is not even left to challenge minds not to include all those, too, who made his-story (or hers) like women, colored peoples, and even mentally/physically challenged. The book opens mind and horizons on this "stiff, boring" history! I recommend everyone to read this book!
Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
Said to be Crichton's last completed novel, it suffers from being not-completed. It has a plot and some good action sequences; but it seems to be a collection of every element you could think of, if you wrote Pirates of the Caribbean.
Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates
The president of a college confronts her history, 40 years ago, during her first year in office. Psychological, soul-searching exploration of family past.
This Pen for Hire and others by Laura Levine
Laura Levine was a writer for some of the 70s comedies. She writes the "Jaine Austen" mysteries. Jaine is a freelance writer and part-time private eye. These books are hysterical and make me laugh until I cry. Somehow, Jaine manages to get herself into some crazy situations. Also, I am a cat lover and her cat's name is "Prozac."
The Likeness by Tana French
The Likeness, the second Dublin Murder Squad mystery, focuses on Cassie Maddox. A woman who was Cassie's double, and living under an old undercover alias of hers, is found dead. Her old boss decides to cover up the murder and send in Cassie, undercover as her double. The situation is odd, yet appealing, five outcasts living together as a family and fixing up a Georgian house that was recently inherited by one of them. That Cassie passes as her double with friends this close may not stand up to belief, but I found this to be a very compelling and original novel. French is writing this series so that each book is from a different detective's point of view. When I read In the Woods, the first in this series, I decided I did not like this gimmick or the ending, and was not going to continue, but I'm very glad I did.
Hostage by Colin Mason
Written back in the 1970s -- this little gem is an exciting and plausible account of how a nuclear war might start. Unlike many books of this genre, this novel puts his characters in the midst of peril from the bomb -- with one character seriously injured from radiation. The ending is ambiguous and yet satisfying. I am so happy to have discovered this author.
The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
A very disturbing book that points out how thoughtlessly we make life choices that later have serious repercussions or cause us to regret or wonder what life might have otherwise been. It also shows how people evade issues of morality for ease and convenience.
Gone Missing by Linda Castillo
Gone Missing is the latest in a series of four police procedural-thrillers with an ex-Amish police chief of a partly Amish town. Because of her background and personal relationship with a member of the state investigative bureau, Kate is asked to consult on a serial missing persons case involving Amish teenagers. Then an Amish teenager in Kate's town goes missing. The thriller endings of these books are always well done, but Kate does things her own way so much it's hard to imagine she hasn't been called to account. Still there is a story arc between the books and that may be yet to come.
Father's Day by Buzz Bissinger
A father travels cross country to all the places they've lived with his developmentally disabled adult son to get to know him better. By the author of Friday Night Lights.
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Far more than in the realm of surgery, Complications explores how much we really are unsure of when it comes to making decisions and how much we leave that lack of information glossed over.
The Color of Water by James McBride
This was my first summer read this year -- right after I turned in my grades and put the fan in my window. It's been sitting on my to-read shelf awhile. A lovely book about a young black man raised in a chaotic but loving environment by a white mom and black step dad. In between his story is the story of his mother -- a Jewish woman from the south who made herself into a native New Yorker and raised a large family of kids who became successful happy grownups. It's funny and scary -- and also sad that McBride's mom lost touch with her family -- but she was embraced by the families and friends of her husbands.
One Mississippi by Mark Childress
This book transports the reader back in space and time to the deep south in the 1970s. A lie is eating away at the Yankee protagonist and sparks a chain of unforgettable events. It is a quirky coming-of-age novel with hilarious characters that will keep you laughing until the dark twists are revealed.
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley by Aleister Crowley
Although many sections are entertaining and some sections are illuminating, this is a miserably long and rambling book, but it and Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn give some of the origins of Wicca. Crowley was a poet, mountain climber, magician, and an avid traveler. This book is part biography, part travelogue, part bibliography (what he wrote when-- and he wrote a good deal) and part magickal/religious instruction. It is nominally in chronological order but in fact jumps back and forth a great deal, explained or excused in the preface by C's magickal relationship to time. Parts are well written and biting, parts are self-absorbed and uninteresting, and apparently it had to be much edited for redundancy because it was written under the influence of heroin. Crowley was born in England in 1873 and died in 1947. He considers himself primarily as a poet equal to Shakespeare, but also, as a mountain climber with one of the two best records in the world, a Buddhist, and later as a prophet of the age in a class with only seven others: Lao Tzu, Siddhartha, Krishna, Tahuti (Thoth), Moses, Dionysius, Mohammed. He advocated for sexual freedom, and his law was: Do What Thou Wilt. This is understandable since his early life was distorted by the religion of his father and the various schools to which he was sent. But sex seems to be a way to poetry and magick. (I am reminded of Sayers: [W]hat is a poet? Something that can't go to bed without making a song about it.) But he seems prone to romantic obsessions, at times anguished by his "freedom." The only emotional reaction to the miscarriage or death of children is his attempt to create a child by magick. There is no real recognition of WW1, except that to deny the suspicion that he was a traitor, and that the date of the armistice had shown up in a reading he did in 1918. I think he spent the bulk of the time in America. He is disturbed by his first wife's alcoholism, and by the dissolution of many friendships and romances. His take on this is that no one lives up to their potential, or is who Crowley idealizes them to be. What is probably true is that they become disillusioned with him. He was probably a very charismatic personality. He was a scholar and he researched, practiced and synthesized various forms of mysticism, notably the Cabbala, Buddhism, freemasonry, Yoga, Tarot, IChing. He thought spiritualism was bunk. He belonged to the Golden Dawn for a while, and then remade the O.T.O, a freemasonry group, with his own vision. Given his nature, it is likely that Crowley has left a body of work that is both true and false, and that it is up to the readers, his students, to discern the difference.