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Nancy Randall

Our newest staff member comes to us from the Book Stall and is a fantastic reader.  Just check out this list -

In the picture, Nancy's TBR pile holds upcoming releases, Afterlife by Julia Alvarex, How Much of These Hills are Gold by C. Pam Zhang, and Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles, and recent release, Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn.

American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250209764
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - January 21st, 2020

The novel opens with Lydia and her eight year old son, Luca, hiding in the shower stall of his grandmother's home in Acapulco while sixteen members of their family are murdered by the local cartel.  From that moment until the final pages of American Dirt, the two are on the run from this cartel, hoping to reach el norte( The United States) safely.  Their journey is at times horrifying, often dangerous, but Lydia and Luca also meet some warm, caring people along the way.

American Dirt is a timely page turner.  Cummins has written on an important topic with sympathetic characters and a well-planned plot.  I can't imagine anyone NOT finding American Dirt a worthwhile read.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385539302
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - October 15th, 2019

If you're a fan of Bill Bryson, and I am, you'll want to read The Body.  Bryson takes his readers on a detailed tour of our insides and outsides, what works and what doesn't.  To give you an idea of his exploration, a few chapter titles are:  Down the Hatch:  The Mouth and Throat, The Chemistry Department, The Guts and In the Nether Regions.  The Body not only describes how different parts function, it also relates how some men and women discovered these parts, how they function, what can go wrong and how that can be cured.  And just when this work of nonfiction starts getting a little dry, Bill Bryson drops in an amusing quip or a wry anecdote.

The Body is highly informative and thoroughly enjoyable

The World That We Knew: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501137570
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 24th, 2019

It is 1941 in Berlin, and Hanni, a widow, desperately wants her only child, Lea, to flee the city and the Nazi's.  Her last hope is to have the rabbi's daughter produce a golem, a statue made of clay that magically comes to life.  The golem will protect Lea and get her safely to Paris where, hopefully, Hanni's cousins will take them in.  The cousins, mathematician Andre Levi, his wife and two sons allow Lea and the golem to stay temporarily.  The World That We Knew follows these characters and several others as they travel and hide throughout France for the next three years.

If you are not a fan of Alice Hoffman, especially when her novels have a strong sense of magic, The World That We Knew is going to be a disappointment.  On the other hand, if you're willing to suspend belief and learn about golems and the angel of death, you will find The World That We Knew full of delightful characters woven into a tense plot.

Golden Child: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525573005
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth - January 28th, 2020

The Winter Soldier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316477598
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - September 17th, 2019

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307279286
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - February 25th, 2020

Say Nothing describes the conflict in Northern Ireland from the early 1970's to the present.  What began as a peaceful protest by IRA(Irish Republic Army) members in Belfast turned into decades of violence when the British army fired on the protesters.  This work of nonfiction begins with the disappearance of Jean McConville, a 37 year old mother with ten children,  and segues into stories of British officers and members of the IRA.  Colorful individuals, such as Dolours Price, Brendan Hughes and Gerry Adams help to add to the dramatic and intense narration of Say Nothing.

Keefe's book is thoroughly researched, and he certainly doesn't sugar coat the death and destruction that occurred in Northern Ireland for over thirty years.  Anyone interested in modern day Northern Ireland should read Say Nothing.


Disappearing Earth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525436225
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 7th, 2020

One day in August on the Kamchatka Peninsula, a remote area in northeastern Russia, two young sisters are kidnapped by a man with a round face and a well taken care of dark sedan.  Disappearing Earth depicts, in twelve vignettes characters from the region whose lives are closely or loosely tied to the missing girls.  There is Alla, whose youngest daughter has been missing for four years, Oksana, who thinks she saw the girls get into the kidnapper's car, Marina the mother of the missing sisters, as well as others.

I thought Phillips' debut novel was fantastic.  First of all, I love learning about people and places I never knew existed.  Also, all the characters are finely drawn with just enough tension in their lives for me to remember them and want to continue reading.  Don't worry about their foreign names;  Phillips describes the cast of characters at the beginning of Disappearing Earth.

The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction): A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385537070
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - July 16th, 2019

Nickel Academy is a reform school for boys in Florida.  It is segregated-white boys on the west side of the institution, black boys on the east side.  While Nickel calls itself an academy, it really is a house of torture.  The Nickel Boys focuses on the life of Elwood Curtis.  Elwood is a black youngster raised by his grandmother.  He is bright, motivated and takes the inspirational words of Martin Luther King, Jr. to heart.  Unfortunately, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I was not enthralled with Whitehead's, The Underground Railroad, although the rest of the world found it superb.  For me, The Nickel Boys is a much finer novel.  The characters, the plot, its presentation, and its historical significance make for an exceptional, thought-provoking work with a terrific ending.