Readers’ Corner: Nov. 2021 – Be Thankful For Something

Be thankful for different kinds of love. Book lovers, try this. Susan Orlean, a magical purveyor of insights into esoteric topics, writes an ovation for libraries in The Library Book.  A massive fire heavily damaged Los Angeles’ public library in 1987, and in seven hours, consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. The perpetrator has never been identified, but through Orlean’s simple yet compelling investigative prose, she spotlights this library’s history, the fascinating details in its life, and the larger, crucial role that libraries play for us. She leaves us wondering about the blond-haired actor suspected of the dirty deed.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, (Gabrielle Zevin), another book’s story, shows the human connections and blessings books create. Widower Fikry owns the only bookstore in a small town. His priceless collection of Poe’s poetry is stolen on the same day a small girl is abandoned in his shop. In vignettes, he writes to the girl, whom he adopts, and matches a favorite short story with an episode in his life. As their relationship deepens, he saves his failing business, finds a new romance, then must accept horrifying news. A paean to an ordinary man who discovers a bad situation may carry unexpected blessings, including burgeoning love. 

In Five Years (Rebecca Serle) features a carefully timed life going according to plan. Young corporate attorney Dannie Kohan has a successful interview for her dream job and a proposal from her long-term boyfriend in one day. Things should’ve been perfect, but they’re not: That night, she has a vivid dream in which she wakes up five years later, a different engagement ring on her finger, and a strange man in her bed. Was the encounter real, or merely a hallucination? The best part of Serle’s engaging, but uneven story, is the close relationship between Dannie and her best friend, facing a serious illness.

(Author Kathleen Duhamel writes humorous contemporary romance featuring “seasoned” characters. Her newest is Fed Up. Author Bonnie McCune’s latest is Never Retreat, a suspenseful romance in Colorado’s wilderness.

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