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Clutter by Jennifer Howard A Burning by Megha Majumdar. Tony’s recommendation Pam Fessler, Carville’s Cure The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Lib audiobook Troubles by J.G.Farrell Life of a Klansman by Edward Ball, coming out in August Vesper Flights:  Essays by Helen MacDonald, coming out Aug. 25 Apeirogon by Colum McCann How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang. Long...

A Pilgrimage to Eternity by Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan wrote a history of the Dust Bowl (The Worst Hard Time) that I greatly admire so I wanted to read his recent book about his 1000-mile pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome on the Via Francigena. This book is the tangible outcome of his love of history (and recounting it), his abiding connection to the Christian faith, and the appeal for him of a good walk/drive/train ride. Given the...

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The coming of age story of Nadia Turner is a dramatic one. She lives in a Black community in southern California with her beautiful mother and father who has a steady job and a beloved truck. The local church called Upper Room is an important part of their lives. That name is poignant for me because my mother always had a copy of the devotional publication of that name on the table by her chair...

A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage

Having loved Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet, I was sure this was a good time to read this book written in 2005. And yes, it was as wonderfully interesting and informative about these beverages as his earlier book was about the telegraph. The six glasses have beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola in them. Rather than recount here a history of the world as it relates to these...

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Well, another Jane Austen finished. I’ve written about four of her books on this blog, though not about the one I know the best, Pride and Prejudice. Though this one doesn’t displace Emma or Pride and Prejudice in my greatest esteem, it is right up there. It is a bit complicated and has more characters than her usual. When she was 10 years old, Fanny, the main character, goes to live...

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

Tony’s description, “A boy and his dog along the banks of the Seine in Paris,” sounded good, though he did mention that one should not underrate “the merely pleasant.” I know nothing of the author, except that he was born in India and lived in France and wrote in French for a time. This is a self-published book. The story is told by a 12-year old boy just recovered...

Room for a Stranger by Melanie Cheng

When you hear the one sentence describing each of the two main characters you would think this is an unlikely candidate for an uplifting-read book list, but that is where I came upon it. While I would not describe it as “uplifting,” I did find it to be a fine, engaging book. And there’s a bit that is quite timely. Meg is in her 70s and lives in the house where she grew up in a...

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

I read this book when I was in high school and had come to think of it later as memorable, but not great fiction. It was hugely popular when it was written in 1931 and won Pearl Buck the Nobel Prize. It has come to be seen with more interest, perhaps because of the 2010 book Pearl Buck in China:  Journey to the Good Earth by Hilary Spurling. Buck grew up in China as the child of missionaries;...

Hunting Mister Heartbreak by Jonathan Raban

First, the title. Perhaps I encountered Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur (Heartbreak), the author of Letters from an American Farmer in school, but I have no memory of him. His book, a series of 12 letters with different styles and topics purporting to be to an English gentleman, was published in 1782. Jonathan Raban, himself an English gentleman, says though the letters seem to be factual, Mr...

The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman

My book choices have been unusual in this strange time and perhaps this is the strangest of them all. I have always had a strong dislike of birds. As I child, I was terrified the chickens would touch me. As an adult I am keenly aware of birds as disease carriers. They have not endeared themselves to me in recent years when they come in flocks and drunkenly eat berries from our holly trees...

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