Bibliotecara's 2011 Reading List
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Glad you are back, Leslie!
Wow! You really did get a good start on New Years, didn't you?
#3 - Hey Stasia! Yep, I sure did! To be fair, I actually began "Ford County" back in December, but I didn't finish it until New Year's, so I put it on the '11 list. The other two, however, I read on New Year's Eve/Day. Needless to say, I did more reading than sleeping! Lol!
#2: - Thanks, drneutron! I'm looking forward to some great reading this year! Hope you are, too!
I watched an excellent show on PBS's "Masterpiece Classic" last night, entitled "My Boy Jack." It was about Rudyard & Carrie Kipling and their son, Jack's struggle to enlist in the British army in WW I. It's inspired me and I think I'm going to put Kipling's works on my TBR list this year. We'll see how that goes!
And the list goes on ...
5.) Resolution - Robert B. Parker - This is book #2 in the series about Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Everett has gone on his own to the town of Resolution, where he's taken a job as the "lookout" (a private peace keeper) in the local saloon. Life gets interesting as he realizes the real reason that his boss is at odds with the owner of a local copper mine.
6.) Brimstone - Robert B. Parker - Book #3 in the Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch series. Everett and Virgil have left Resolution and spent nearly a year searching for Virgil's lost love, Allie, in towns around Texas and New Mexico. When they find her, all three head north to the town of Brimstone, where they've heard there might be work for gunslingers cum law officers. Another example of Parker's terse, no-nonsense characters who believe in doing what needs to be done. Well written, in a light but gritty manner.
7.) A Good Yarn - Debbie Macomber - The second book in the "Blossom Street" series. Lydia's yarn shop has been open on Blossom Street for a year now and she's got new customers and new friends coming into her life. There's Elise, who's just retired and long bitterly divorced; Bethanne, whose husband has just walked out on her for a much younger woman; and Courtney, a depressed, overweight teenager who's just moved to Seattle to live with her grandmother for her senior year in high school. Each of these women brings her own style and problems to the shop on Blossom Street.
8.) Alchemy and Meggy Swann - Karen Cushman. Another excellent, entertaining medieval story for young people. Margret Swann has recently been sent by her feckless mother to live in London with the father she never knew. "Master Peevish", as she calls him, is an alchemist whose sole focus in on his "great work," which leaves him little time or energy to spare on his crippled daughter and her needs. Meggy must learn her way around the city, find her own food and deal with the prejudices and hatred of the people she encounters against those who are crippled. This is a well-written, inspiring story of one young woman's journey of self-discovery and growth.
#7 - Yeah, I guess I am! I figured when I got started with a series, I should go ahead and read them all while I had the time! We're snowed/iced in right now & I can't get to work, so why not read?
I've got A Good Yarn waiting for me on my shelves and I really enjoyed the first one, so I really should get round to it soon!
and the list goes on ...
9.) Back on Blossom Street - Debbie Macomber
10.) Summer on Blossom Street - Debbie Macomber
11.) Prince of Darkness - Sharon Kay Penman. The final volume in the Medieval Mysteries series. Justin de Quincy is lured to Paris by his former lover, who is acting on behalf of Prince John. There, he is persuaded to help John prove that he is innocent of conspiring against his soon-to-return brother, King Richard. Justin must discover who has forged the incriminating letter that implicates John in treason, catch a murderer and keep from being killed himself in a roundabout way of serving his queen.
12.) Candlestone - Bryan Davis - This is the second book in an interesting Christian fantasy series, "Dragons in our Midst". I started reading it at the request of our church librarian to see if it would be appropriate for our collection and couldn't put it down! Two teenagers, Billy Bannister and Bonnie Silver are embarked on a quest to solve several mysteries, including "What was the strange book that the dragon slayers used to summon a dragon?" "Where is the magnificent sword that seemed to disintegrate the evil Devin?" And "what happened to The Candlestone, the mysterious gem that not only absorbs light, it captures and holds encoded light, including transluminated humans, people who have been transformed into light energy by King Arthur's sword,Excalibur?" Now I just have to find the rest of the series!
13.) The Thief Taker: Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner - Henry Morton is one of the famous/infamous Bow Street Runners in regency-era London of 1815. When a young dandy, Halbert Glendenning, shows up dead in a carriage at a party, Henry's girlfriend Arabella calls him to investigate. Morton must deal with angry peasants, haughty gentry, posing military officers and corrupt law officers in an effort to get to the truth.
#10: Hi, scaifea! Yes, you should definitely move "A Good Yarn" up on your reading list. I enjoyed it - and the entire series - very much. I still have one to read ("Twenty Wishes") that I only recently discovered is the 4th book, not the 5th. Oops! Let me know what you thinkg of AGY when you read it.
#11: Adding The Thief-Taker: Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner to the BlackHole. It looks very good! Thanks for the recommendation, Leslie.
#13: You're welcome, Stasia! It really is good. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.
I'm compiling a list of birthdays of our group members. If you haven't done so already, would you mind stopping by this thread and posting yours.
#15: Just got the sequel to "Thief Taker," titled "The Emperor's Assassin," and am looking forward to starting it this weekend!
This week's updates to the list:
14.) Just So Stories - Rudyard Kipling - very entertaining.
15.) The Man in the Queue - Josephine Tey - Wow!
16.) Raising Dragons - Bryan Davis - Book 1 in the "Dragons in Our Midst" series
17.) The Loud Silence of Francine Green - Karen Cushman - an interesting look at the life of a 13-year-old girl growing up in the early '50's. Francine has always been taught to "stay out of it" and not do anything to get herself or anyone else into trouble. Then she meets Sophie Bowman and everything starts to change.
18.) The Lost Gate - Orson Scott Card
19.) The Great Divide - T. Davis Bunn - An excellent tale of a lawyer who's still grieving from a personal tragedy and moves home to a small NC town to try to rebuild his life. He then takes on a case involving a megacompany that completely rocks his world, both professionally and personally, and threatens to destroy him. I couldn't put it down!
20.) Theodor Seuss Geisel - Donald E. Pease
#21: Thanks, Stasia! I've discovered that I enjoy Bunn's writing. Just finished another by him and have started on a third!
I am obviously going to have to try one of Davis Bunn's books at least.
#24: yeah, Stasia, you should DEFinitely do that! I like them all but, if I had to choose, I might say that "My Soul to Keep" is my fave thus far. Maybe that's just b/c I'm almost as big a theatre junky as I am a book junky, though!
21.) My Soul to Keep - Davis Bunn. Actor Brent Stark is building a new life after coming to faith while in prison. When he's approached by businessman Bobby Dupree with an offer to get back in the film business he must face the spectre of his past and determine whether or not he has the faith to step into the future. Excellent!
22.) Winner Take All - T. Davis Bunn - The sequel to "The Great Divide," this volume picks up the life of attorney Marcus Glenwood as he struggles to deal with the fact that he's falling in love with his assistant, Kirsten - a lady who has a mysterious past and secrets of her own. After taking on the mega sportsgear company, New Horizons, in an earlier case, Glenwood is now trying to help the new CEO of the company recover his kidnapped daughter and survive the attentions of some very unsavory characters.
23.) The Quilt - T. Davis Bunn - All I can say is "Oh, my!" and "I definitely need to buy this for my BFF, Desire', who's an avid quilter!"
24.) The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling - A classic. Makes me want to read the "Second Jungle Book."
25.) Florian's Gate - Davis Bunn - When Jeffrey Sinclaire moves to London to work for his mysterious "uncle" Alexander in the antiques trade, he has no idea how radically his entire life will be affected by the new experiences he has and the people he meets.
One of my favorite Just So stories was The Cat Who Walked by Himself. The latest National Geographic has an article about domesticated animals and they said, "Wildcats were the only animals believed to have domesticated themselves,..." But How the Rhinocerous Got His Skin still cracks me up.
#27: I like TCWWBH and HTRGHS too. Another one that cracked me up was The Elephant's Child. I kept picturing all of those family members "whacking" the poor elephant baby with their various body parts! I'll have to look for that Nat Geo article. Sounds interesting!
My reading list of late has been a bit eclectic. Here's the update:
33.) Catacombs: A Tale of the Barque Cats - Anne McCaffrey - an excellent addition to the story of the barque cats. The enigmatic P'shaw Rah leads the barque cats and their human companions back to his home planet, Mao, supposedly to give them refuge from the soldiers of the empire who are trying to kill them. It soon becomes apparent, however, that the crafty cat has his own plans for the future of the barque cats.
34.) The Emperor's Assassin - The second book in the Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner series. It's amazing to think that the early British policemen had just as much trouble with a lack of community support as modern cops!
35.) Tears of a Dragon - Bryan Davis - The awesome conclusion to the Dragons Among Us series. Billy and Bonnie go into the crystal that holds Dragon's Rest in an attempt to rescue Merlin and the Professor's wives and provide a way for the dragons there to enter eternal peace in heaven.
36.) Mobbed - Carol Higgins Clark - another entertaining Regan Riley mystery.
37.) I'll Walk Alone - Mary Higgins Clark - Interior designer Alexandra Carpenter is still struggling to cope with the disappearance two years past of her toddler Matthew, when evidence mysteriously begins to surface that seems to indicate that she either kidnapped him herself or she's mentally ill.
38.) The Willoughbys - Lois Lowry - an interesting parody of many classic children's stories, this is the story of the four Willoughby children - Timothy, Barnaby A, Barnaby B and Jane - and their intolerable parents. The children begin to dream about being orphans, never realizing that their hateful parents are simultaneously plotting to rid themselves of the children. An industrious nanny, a sad millionaire and a mysterious baby round out the cast of intriguing characters.
39.) Kiss the Moon - Carla Neggers
40.) Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul - Douglas Adams - Strange things are afoot in London, beginning with the mysterious explosion of a ticket agent's desk and the disappearance of said agent at Heathrow Airport. Upon investigation, Dirk Gently discovers that the unusual series of events somehow involve a large, nordic-looking man who was trying to purchase a ticket to Oslo, with no passport and no money.
41.) A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle - This is a classic young adult book that includes all of the best fantasy/scifi elements: time travel, aliens, other planets, families, brothers and sisters, unusual friends and magic. Meg Murray and her younger brother Charles Wallace (not Charlie, or Chuck or even Charles, but Charles Wallace), along with their friend Calvin, embark on an adventure across time and planets to rescue her father. Everyone in their town assumes that Mr. Wallace ran away with another woman, but Meg and her family are convinced that something untoward happened to him while he was in the midst of his latest scientific experiment involving tesseracts.
42.) Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle - The continuing story of Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin as they travel through time and battle the Dark. Meg begins to worry about Charles Wallace, who is being bullied at school because he's a 6-year-old genius and because he seems to have begun having hallucinations. He claims to have seen a "drive of dragons" in the family vegetable garden, however no-one else has seen this, not even Meg.
43.) Miracles on Maple Hill - Virginia Sorensen - An entertaining Newbery Medal winner about a young girl, Marly, who's worried about her father, a veteran and POW recently returned from the Korean War. When the family travels to her grandmother's house on Maple Hill for a vacation, Marly begins to hope for miracles of healing in her father's life.
44.) Fever 1793 - Laurie Halse Anderson - a fascinating account of the Yellow Fever epidemic that hit Philadelphia in 1793, as told through the eyes of a young girl. Mattie Cook lives with her mother and grandfather in rooms above the family's coffeehouse in colonial Philadelphia. Her world begins to crash down around her on the morning when her friend Polly doesn't show up for work at the coffeehouse. Rumors and fears start to fly after Mattie learns of Polly's overnight death from a mysterious people and more people begin to get sick.
45.) The Maze - Will Hobbs - Rick Walker is a desperate 14-year-old who's on the run after breaking out of a juvenile detention center to escape from a serious beating. After stowing away in the back of a pickup truck, Will finds himself stranded in the camp of Lon Peregrino, an eccentric biologist who's working to release fledgling North American condors back into the wild. Finding himself drawn to the man and the project, Will must try to save his new friends from unscrupulous and dangerous locals.
46.) Letters from Rifka - Karen Hesse - Twelve-year-old Rifka tells the story of her family's flight from their home village in Ukraine to a new life in America, through a series of letters to her cousin that she writes on the blank pages and spaces in her treasured book of poetry by Pushkin. The saga records the family's trials and their persecution as Jews and unwanted immigrants as they travel by train and ship, dealing with border guards, corrupt doctors and hostile nationals, as well as unexpected kindness from strangers.
51.) Instant Family - Elizabeth Rose - an interesting story of a young Australian woman who's struggling to rear her three half-siblings after a tragic accident. When one of the boys gets involved in teenage hijinks and ends up in trouble with the law, the family is pushed into an unexpected relationship with the victim of that mischief.
52.) Hood - Stephen Lawhead - Book 1 in the "King Raven" series. An outstanding and intriguing treatment of the legend of Robin Hood. Rhy Bran ap Brychan is the heir to the throne of a Welsh marches cantref at the end of the 11th century. After his father and the entire warband are killed by Norman invaders in a vicious ambush, the playboy prince is forced to flee for his life. Gravely wounded, he is forced to flee to the forest, where he encounters an ancient, mysterious woman who is intent on helping him become the leader his people need.
53.) Scarlet - Stephen Lawhead - Book 2 in the "King Raven" series. Follows the adventures of William Scathelocke, a Saxon forester who has been dispossessed and impoverished when his liege lord is overthrown and his lands confiscated by Norman lords under William Rufus. Will hears rumors about a phantom called "King Raven" who is supposedly leading an opposition to the Norman invaders in the Marches and sets out to see if he can find the mysterious hero.
54.) Tuck - Stephen Lawhead - Book 3 in the "King Raven" series. Aethelfrith is a faithful Saxon friar who lives and ministers in a small oratory near the town of Hereford until the day that he has a fateful encounter with a brother monk and a mysterious Welshman named Bran. From that point on, his life is radically changed as he becomes increasingly involved in ministering to the dispossessed Cymry living in the forest known as Caer Cadw and riding with the phantom/hero known as "King Raven." Awesome series! My only regret is that there are only three volumes in the series! Definitely added to my "Must Buy" list.
I'm still on a Stephen Lawhead kick! Here's the latest endeavor:
55.) Patrick, Son of Ireland - Stephen Lawhead - This is a fascinating and entertaining look at the historical figure who came to be known as St. Patrick. It follows Succat from his rabble-rousing, carefree youth, through his capture by Irish raiders and his years as a slave in Hibernia, to his escape and eventual return. Lawhead provides a very interesting look at the times and cultures in which Succat/Patrick lived, as well as the intense emotional and spiritual journey which lead to his becoming a follower of Jesus and his return to the land of his captivity. On a scale of 1-10, I give this 10 stars for excellent writing, believable character development, historical accuracy and general entertainment value.
56.) Wolves of Andover - Kathleen Kent
57.) Heaven is for Real - Todd Burpo - Wow! A fascinating look at the journey of one family after their young son is hospitalized with a ruptured appendix. I think I read this in less than a day! Couldn't put it down.
58.) War Horse - Michael Morpurgo - This is an excellent story about an English horse named Joey and his boy Albert. When World War I begins, Joey is conscripted by the British army and taken to Europe to serve in the army. Albert vows to find his friend Joey and bring him safely home. Told from Joey's point of view, this is a beautifully written story of the love and friendship between boy and horse.
59.) In the Company of Others - Jan Karon - an excellent installment in the "Father Tim" series, this follows Fr. Tim and Cynthia on their vacation to Ireland. While staying at a family-owned inn on Lough Arrow, Tim and Cynthia are drawn into the lives of the inn's owners and a local family. They learn about the area and its people through reading the 200-year old journal left by an area doctor and are drawn into the trials, tribulations and joys of their new friends.
Hey Stasia! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I've been out of commission for a week due to surgery. Yes, you should DEFINITELY read The Skin Map. My local public library has ordered book 2, The Bone House, and I've put a hold on it but it's not yet available. I'm chomping at the bit! What are you reading now?
62.) The Book Stops Here - Ian Sansom - An interesting and highly entertaining tale of a British librarian working in the "wilds" of of the north of Northern Ireland. Israel Armstrong and his colleague, the irascible Irishman Ted, embark on a series of unexpected adventures when they go to England for a mobile library service convention. Encounters with a group of New Age Travellers, a seedy used van salesman and a cousin with a surprising secret make for a very unusual business trip.
Hey Whisper1! - Thanks for the good thoughts. Yes, I'm recovering, but it's been a bit slower than I thought it would. Haven't had much energy & haven't been online much! But I HAVE been reading! :)
63.) Case of the Missing Books - Ian Sansom - This is the first book in the "Mobile Library" series, of which "The Book Stops Here" is #3.
64.) Mr. Dixon Disappears - Ian Sansom - Book #2 in the "ML" series. Great series! Made me laugh or smile at every page!
65.) Against the Wind - Bodie & Brock Thoene - "Zion Diaries", book #2. I don't normally like to start a series with a book in the middle, but the Thoene's are such excellent writers that I didn't mind this time! This one follows famed concert violinist Elisa Lindheim Murphy and her American journalist husband John as they experience the beginning of the Holocaust and World War II in 1936 Britain. Powerful!
I read one book in the Mobile Library series, The Bad Book Affair. I made it through 80 pages and that was all I could stand of the thing. I sincerely hoping you are enjoying the series more than I did the one book.
Are you recovered from your surgery yet?
Hi Stasia - Yes, I've apparently enjoyed the books more than you did. As a librarian, I find that I identify with many of the scenarios that are described! I'm recovered from my surgery now, although I must say that it took longer to get to this point than I thought it would. I'm praising God for the ability to breathe properly for the first time in decades! Thanks for asking. I hope you and yours are all well.
68.) Gathering Storm - Bodie & Brock Thoene - Book #1 in the "Zion Diaries" series. Excellent! Follows Lorelei Bittick and her family as they try to flee Belgium, where her father was on faculty at a seminary, in the face of the beginning Nazi onslaught. Lori encounters Eben Golah, a mysterious man who captivates her mind and - later - her heart. An entrancing look at the lives of ordinary people who took extraordinary stands in the face of evil, as well as the legend of the Lamed Vav.
69.) The Red Suit Diaries - Ed Butchart - the intriguing thoughts of a professional "santa" who also happens to be a Christian on the true meaning of Christmas and what it means to portray Santa Claus. This is one that my mom recommended originally and one I thought I'd never read. Then I picked up a copy on my regular used book shopping junket and thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did! The author gives a new perspective to sharing the love of Christ through his role as Santa.
70.) View From Saturday, The - E.L. Konigsburg - an excellent tale of four very different sixth-graders who are each on life journeys and come together to do the seemingly impossible and to become lifelong friends.
71.) When Zachary Beaver Came to Town - Kimberly Willis Holt - everything changes for thirteen-year-old Toby and his best friend Cal when Zachary, a boy billed as the "Fattest Boy in the World," moves into their small Texas town during the summer of 1971.
72.) The Bone House - Stephen Lawhead - Book #2 in the "Bright Empires" series. Another excellent volume chronicling the exploits of Cosimo "Kit" Livingstone and his sometime-girlfriend, Mina. They travel across space and time from an Etruscan tufa tomb, to a Stone Age society to Mina's coffeehouse in seventeenth-century Prague to an avenue of Egyptian sphinxes in their quest to reunite the pieces of the skin map and solve the mystery of the Bone House, all the while staying ahead of the nefarious Archibald Burley and his henchmen. I couldn't put it down and read it in just over a day!
73.) The Bronze Bow - Elizabeth George Speare - This was a reread of an old favorite. Teenager Daniel bar Jamin saw his father and uncle crucified by the Roman occupiers in their small Galilean village when he was only eight years old and has hated the Romans ever since. After running away from his apprenticeship with a cruel blacksmith master, Daniel takes refuge with a group of outlaws in the mountains and dreams of one day fighting to rid Israel of its hated occupiers. When he reencounters an old classmate, Joel bar Hezron, and his twin sister Malthace, the lives of all three begin to take a dramatic turn as they encounter a carpenter named Jesus and his followers.
74.) Farewell to Manzanar - Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston - This made my heart clinch and gave me pause to think about the history of the United States and the lengths to which human prejudices can be aroused during times of war and crisis. It's the story of the author's experiences as a Japanese American living in California at the outbreak of World War II and during her family's forced imprisonment at Manzanar Internment Camp in California.
75.) Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers - an outstanding fictionalized retelling of the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer, set in 1850s California. Farmer Michael Hosea has asked God to send him a wife and is quite astounded when the Lord tells him that the woman for him is "Angel," an infamous high-priced prostitute living in the boom town of Pair-a-Dice, California. Meanwhile, "Angel" is struggling to buy her freedom from her current madame and wants nothing more than to be able to buy a small, remote cabin and go to live by herself. She has lived for more than ten years as a prostitute after being sold to Duke, a wicked pedophile pimp, as a small child. When Michael makes an offer of marriage, Angel scoffs and believes him to be a fool. The plot thickens when events take a drastic turn for the worse and lead both characters down paths that they could never have anticipated. Couldn't put it down and finished it (486 pp) in less than two days!
76.) Behind the Veils of Yemen - Audra Grace Shelby - an eye-opening account of one woman's experiences when she and her husband moved with their three small children to the country of Yemen and began to get to know the people there. This taught me a great deal about what the lives of Yemeni women are really like and made me think about what it would be like to be a Christian living in an almost totally Muslim society in which women are expected to wear the complete burqa attire and are almost totally separated from men outside their own families.
77.) The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz - This won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2008 and is the first step in achieving my personal goal of reading all of the Pulitzer fiction winners over the next two years. It's the story of Oscar de Leon, a Dominican boy who grows to manhood in the northeast United States. The story gives an excellent overview of life in the Dominican Republic under the dictator Rafael Trujillo and the impact that the regime had on Dominican culture and the people (both those who remained and emigres). It was a difficult read for me for two reasons: the excessive use of vulgar language and the inclusion of a copious amount of Spanish words and phrases with no translation whatsoever. While I agree that this gave a good "flavor" of dominican culture, it was very distracting to a non-native Spanish speaker.
77.) Jesus Wept - Bruce Marchiano
78.) My Palace of Leaves in Sarajevo - Marybeth Lorbiecki
#50 - Hey thornton, Thanks for the comment! I have read neither "Journey to Topaz" nor "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." It sounds like they made an impact on you, though. I think I'll add them to my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendation.
79.) Brother Cadfael's Penance - Ellis Peters - An excellent addition to the chronicles of Brother Cadfael, the Benedictine monk cum detective living in the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul in Shrewesbury, during the 1140s. It is the end of A.D. 1145 and the conflict between Empress Maud and Prince Stephen for the throne of England continues fierce. New comes to Shrewesbury of a terrible betrayal in which one of the empress's greatest champions, Philip FitzRobert, has turned against her. In the process, one of Philip's knights, Olivier de Bretagne, has disappeared. Brother Cadfael learns of this and sets out to discover what has become of the valiant knight who is also his son.
80.) Bad Book Affair - Ian Sansom - This is the latest in the series about Israel Armstrong, the half-Jewish vegetarian librarian from London who lives in Tumdrum, the north of the north of the north coast of Northern Ireland.
81.) The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty - The second book finished in my quest to read all winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This was definitely more enjoyable for me than the Junot Diaz one. Successful fabric designer Laurel returns from Chicago to her childhood home in Mississippi to be with her father and his new wife during his eye surgery and must then cope with his death and come to terms with her past. This is an excellent story about the impact that family and society have on Southern women and their sense of self.
82.) Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy - an entertaining addition to the Scarlet Pimpernel saga. It was a good read about one of my favorite literary characters, Sir Percy Blakeney, bart., and his adventures in revolutionary France.
Has it really been 2+ weeks since I posted? Wow! Well, here's the update:
83.) Ironweed - William Kennedy - Book # 3 in my Pulitzer-prize-reading quest. This is an excellent story about a man, Francis Phelan, who's down on his luck in Depression-era Albany, New York. "Fran" has been on the run for 20 years, since the day he accidentally dropped his infant son out of the baby's diaper and killed him. The story chronicle's his life on the streets, his friendships with several other "bums" including Helen and Rudy, and his quest to return to his family. It's a tale of the search for redemption and the need to deal with the ghosts of one's past.
84.) A Man of His Word - Book 1 in the "Hearts of Middlefield" series. Moriah Byler has been abandoned by her husband of four months with only a note in which he says that he no longer wants to be Amish and he no longer wants to be married to her. Abandoned and pregnant, she wonders what she could have done to deserve this and where God is in all of her troubles. Meanwhile, her husband's identical twin brother, Gabriel, struggles to keep his love for his brother's wife hidden, while at the same time helping to take care of her. A good read. I'm not certain where I'd place it in the "pantheon" of Amish-themed fiction.
85.) The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway - Pulitzer winner #4. I actually bumped this one up in my reading schedule because of the recommendation of one of my students. It's an outstanding story of perseverance in the face of seemingly-insurmountable odds. Santiago is an elderly fisherman living in a tiny village on the coast of Cuba and he has had very limited success with his catches for nearly three months. Everyone thinks that his luck has dried up, even to the point that the parents of the "boy", his helper, have refused to let their son keep fishing with him. Throughout the story, we see Santiago's perseverance and the love the young boy feels for him as he tries to help however he's able.
86.) An Honest Love - Kathleen Fuller - Book # 2 in the Hearts of Middlefield series. A good, uplifting read about relationships, God and the power of love - both human and divine - in the lives of an Amish community in Ohio.
87.) Dark Fire - C.J. Sansom - The second book in the series about Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer living and working in London during the time of Henry VIII. Shardlake has just agreed to take on the case of Elizabeth Wentworth, a young orphan who's been accused of murdering her cousin Ralph by throwing him down a well. The case is complicated by the fact that the accused refuses to talk to anyone, even after she's thrown into Newgate Prison and threatened with torture. At the same time, the king's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, presses Matthew to investigate the existence of the mysterious solution called "Greek Fire" and the people who are supposed to have the formula for making it - a task which soon proves to be more dangerous to life and limb. I had a hard time putting this one down and lost quite a few hours' sleep immersing myself in its pages. It makes me eager to go on to the next book about this intrepid, hunchbacked lawyer!
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