2012 Fall Booklist

2012 Fall Reading list:


The Bloodletter’s Daughter by Linda Lafferty (Historical fiction Prague, not Vienna, was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and the cultural center of Europe. But witchcraft, alchemy, and superstition were rampant and religious persecution existed. The “mad” bastard son of the King of Prague is sent sway to a Bohemian town to be treated by  bloodletters. The villagers relied on bloodletters to relieve their ailments by balancing their humors.  At that time, barbers were also barber-surgeons, or bloodletters. Marketa  is the daughter of a town barber and she assists her father, what follows is heartache, murder & …)

City of Women by David Gillham ( 1943 and Berlin, and the city is essentially a population of women….ordinary people thrust into difficult times, described by some readers that this book is “hard to put down”)

*The Diviners by  Libba Bray  (Evie leaves her hometown for NY city to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.” Occult based murders occur and Evie becomes part of the investigation)

Freak by Jennifer Hillier ( Abby Maddox is a celebrity and a serial murderer behind bars. Then a series of new murders are occurring with carvings in the victims that say “ free Abby Maddox” –detectives enlist her help to capture the new killer, or is she orchestrating these murders. Interesting examination of the groupies of people who worship murderers.)

A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama ( set in China 1957, Mao announces a new”openness” and the reorganization of labor and reeducation camps permeate this period. Tao’s father is taken away to a reeducation camp, famine kills 16-40 million people and Tao waits for his father to return)

The Little Bride by Anna Solomon  (real history about the jewish settlement on the great plains and the mail order bride, a russian girl ,16 years old who is married to an observant Jew and the stepmother of teenage boys.) released  October 2011

A Round House by Louise Erdrich (a native American boy finds out his mother has been brutally attacked, the mystery evolves and the toll of revenge is examined)

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer ( loved his memoir The Tender Bar, now a look at the most successful bank robber during the time period of 1920’s- 1950’s. A fictionalized account of the man who  became a folk hero to the public, though imprisoned for part of his life- he read the classics behind bars- he never killed anyone but hated the financial institutions that favored the rich.The story begins with Sutton’s release from Attica prison and giving a tour to a journalist…)

In the Shadow of the Banyan  by  Vaddey Ratner (The author was five when the Khmer Rouge overran Cambodia- this is the heart wrenching tale  -both  poetry & horror)

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers ( Loved this book- fictionalized account of one man’s experience in the Iraq frontline and the “promise” to bring  back  a fellow soldier – the prose is stunning but can’t hide the stink of war)

Non Fiction:

The End of Your Life Book Club by  Will Schwalbe (This is an inspiring true story about a son and mother who begin a book club  as the mother’s life comes to an end. In talking books they explore questions of faith, courage, and thankfulness)

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by  Blaine Harden ( Not many escape from North Korean camps but Shin does and shines a light on the repressive state of N. Korea)

No Easy Day by Mark Owen ( first hand account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden)

Joseph Anton by  Salman Rushdie ( Rushdie’s memoir  of surviving  an Islamic fatwa for the book he wrote  ( Satanic Verses) that offended the religious )

Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Eric Manheimer, M.D. ( Bellevue is the largest public Hospital in New York and known for it’s psychiatric wards. This book is about 12 patients, all separate stories, that reflect a microcosm  of the world and the issues that play out nationally- Suicide, immigration, poverty, healthcare costs…)

The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster by  Tim Crothers (a 9 year old girl looking for food meets a man from her slum who teaches chess to empower kids. Phiona stands above all the others and this is her story- a chess prodigy)

Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland (heart warming stories about animal relationships- unusual ones)

*Young Adult

Send me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt ( Mia is a teenager who is always looking for  a “sign” but missed the sign for her illness- cancer. She keeps her illness a secret…a  page turner!)

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