Readers’ Corner – Jan. 2024
Personal Favorites: a new year is a chance to recall books we’ve enjoyed ~
By Bonnie McCune and Kathleen Duhamel ~
The Midnight Library. Matt Haig’s powerful, uplifting fable offers a contemporary re-telling of the classic film, It’s A Wonderful Life. Disillusioned with her unfulfilling existence in a dead-end job and grieving over the death of her beloved cat, Nora Seed is contemplating suicide when she stumbles on a magical library filled with books about lives she might have led, had she made different choices.
Our Souls at Night, native son Kent Haruf’s final masterpiece, an elegy for his own existence and paean to older love. Addie and Louis lost their partners years before and work up the courage to offer one another a second chance. Unexpected obstacles, their own histories as well as adult children, challenge them to find mutual fulfillment.
Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver. Chock full of questions of culture, heritage, and religion, as well as fascinating characters poised in a controversial time and place, Belgian Congo in the 60s, a religious fanatic, but well-meaning missionary father pits himself against his four daughters, the local population, even Africa. Each girl displays astounding initiative.
News of the World, Paulette Giles. Set after the Civil War, an aging itinerant travels Texas to give live readings from newspapers. He agrees to transport a young, orphaned ex-captive of the Kiowa back to her birth family while she tries to escape at every opportunity. Exquisitely rendered, multilayered historical fiction.
Harlem Shuffle. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead spins an engaging tale of 1960s Harlem during the height of the civil rights movement. Mostly honest Ray Carney, a likeable businessman, strives to create a better future for his family by opening a high-end furniture store, only to become involved with a cast of sleazy underworld figures.