Synopsis: Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach an “outlander” in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord 1743. Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
Brandon Says: Diana Gabaldon knows a lot of things about a lot of things, and it really shows in this book. History, botany, dialectology, hand-to-hand combat, romance, fletching…the list goes on…all of which adds to the immersion that I felt while reading about Claire’s adventure in 1700s Scotland. The way that Gabaldon described the landscapes makes me want to pay a visit to the Highlands some time in the future, and also study the story of the Jacobite rising in more depth. Overall, this is a solid book and I recommend it for anyone looking for something over 500 pages for their “Read More Challenge”.
Brandon's Past Staff Picks
The Color Purple
Synopsis: Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Attacked repeatedly by the man she calls 'father', she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker - a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
Brooke Says: The Color Purple may be on the list of challenged books, but no one should disregard Alice Walker and her brilliance in bringing to life some of the hardships Black women endured even after the abolition of slavery. With a compelling journal-entry narration and an even more enthralling narrator, the story of Celie's life through her own personal voice tugs at the heartstrings. Her perspective and recorded details offer a true insight to the limitations she faces as a black woman trapped in a constant state of abuse. But, as your investment into Celie grows, so does her ability to feel and love. By the end of this profound novel, the excitement for Celie's newfound life feels like a victory. Sadly, it's only one fictional story compared to many realistic adversities; however, The Color Purple is worth bearing witness to the intense, yet impactful experiences of a black woman in the 1930s.
Brooke's Past Staff Picks
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Synopsis: Michelle McNamara’s compelling true crime debut covers the Golden State Killer’s terrorizing actions during the 1970’s and 1980’s in California. The author’s untimely death on April 21, 2016 could have completely halted this project; however, through the efforts of her husband, Patton Oswalt, and other dedicated individuals the book was completed and published in February 2018. The arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 may be the concluding chapter for these unsolved crimes.
Donna Says: This is dark but compelling read and with DeAngelo's recent arrest and charges increases the reasons to read this work of true crime. One of the biggest topic of discussion from this arrest is the privacy concerns of DNA in genealogy databases. If you are participating in Read More 2018, use this as your Book about a current issue.
Donna's Past Staff Picks
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Synopsis: What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.
Elizabeth says: The latest book from America’s favorite astrophysicist is delightful, fast-paced, & highly entertaining read. Note: Can be used in the category of “Non-fiction book about science” in the Read More 2018 Challenge.
Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks
A Warrior’s Faith
Synopsis: A Warrior's Faith recounts how the highly decorated Navy SEAL's unstoppable sense of humor, positive attitude, and fierce determination helped him survive after being shot in the face by an enemy sniper on a roof in Ramadi, Iraq. Though blinded, the irrepressible Job recovered from his wounds and began facing a new set of obstacles with his characteristic humor and resolve. He married the girl of his dreams, hunted elk, climbed Mt. Rainier, graduated college with honors, influenced countless people around him, and was looking forward to being a father before his life was tragically cut short by a hospital medical error offers readers a way to find hope in the middle of life's raging storms.
Megan Says: If you are in need of refreshment, inspiration and perspective then read A Warrior's Faith. I just happened upon this book and after reading a few pages realized that it was no accident that I had found it. This is a great choice for the Read More challenge category: book about friendship.
Megan's Past Staff Picks
The Cuckoo's Calling
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.
Nina Says: Most of us know by now that Galbraith is a pen name for J.K. Rowling. There may not be wizards here, but the first in her Cormoran Strike series is nonetheless magical. The intensity of her mystery voice isn’t on full display yet – it grows by leaps and bounds even by book two -- but Cormoran and his perfect foil/assistant Robin grab hold of you from page one. Even if you’ve read it before, now’s the time to revisit. The TV series, renamed C. B. Strike, heads to the US via Cinemax next month.
Nina's Past Staff Picks
The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism
John U. Bacon
Synopsis: A gripping account of the world's largest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb describes the events that led to the catastrophic igniting of the French freighter Mont-Blanc in 1917 Halifax, killing and wounding thousands while leading to advances in medicine and weapons science.
Randall Says: December 1917, the Norwegian relief ship Imo collided with the French cargo ship Mont-Blanc. Laden with more high explosives than had ever been packed onto a single vessel, the resulting detonation aboard the Mont-Blanc killed more than 1,600 Haligonians instantly and destroyed 2.5 square miles of Halifax. Bacon’s riveting, narrative account brings to life the events leading up to the disaster and shows how relief efforts strengthened ties between the United States and Canada.
Randall's Past Staff Picks