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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 -

The Nickel Boys: 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.


Disappearing Earth: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525520412
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - May 14th, 2019

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.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385521314
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - February 26th, 2019

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.


21 Lessons for the 21st Century Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525512196
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - August 20th, 2019

Harari, the brilliant author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, has written a third work of nonfiction that is just as interesting and mind expanding as his first two.  The twenty-one lessons cover a wide range of relevant subjects today such as, equality, religion, terrorism and justice.  For each of these topics, Harari describes how they are important, how they are truthful and how helpful or harmful they are as we move towards 2055 and beyond.  Harari's range of knowledge is almost unbelievable, and his explanations are clear, concise and perfectly explained.  I am a fan of Yuval Noah Harari even though his view of mankind and our future is sometimes pessimistic.

Warning:  If you are devoutly religious and a fan of Donald Trump, the Israeli government today and Brexit, you may find parts of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century offensive.

Waking Lions Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316395410
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - February 27th, 2018

Eitan Green, a neurosurgeon living in a small city in Israel, is out driving his SUV in the desert late at night when he accidentally hits and kills an illegal Eritrean immigrant.  He leaves the scene, returns to his home where his wife, a police detective,  and his two sons are sound asleep, and unknowingly sets off a series of unexpected, sometimes dangerous, events.  From that night on, Eitan's life is one lie after another.  And each new happening means he has to cover his tracks more scrupulously.

Waking Lions has it all-great writing, suspense, fleshed-out characters and moral dilemmas.  Furthermore, it brings up themes of guilt, the Mideast conflict, illegal immigrants and how well do we truly know ourselves or others.  I eagerly await Gundar-Goshen's second novel.

— Nancy Randall

The Immortalists Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735215092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 5th, 2019