Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Language of Trees

[Cover]

TitleThe Language of Trees

Author:  Ilie Ruby

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, July 2010

Summary: Ilie Ruby’s debut novel opens with a canoeing accident in the waters of the Canandaigua Lake. The three small Ellis children have stolen a canoe and are making their way out to Squaw Island, a few miles away. When a storm springs up, the wind and waves prove to be too much for the children; only two will survive the storm. Twelve years later, the tragedy continues to haunt the residents of Canandaigua figuratively and literally.

Grant Shongo has returned to his family’s cabin on the lake. His wife Susanna left him a year ago and Grant has come back to heal. Back to the place his Seneca ancestors called The Chosen Spot, where the earth split open and his people emerged. Grant isn’t the only one who has been drawn back to Canandaigua. Echo, his first love, has returned from Boston, fearing that Joseph, the man who raised her, is in far worse health than he has let on.

The reunion of Grant and Echo is overshadowed by the disappearance of Melanie Ellis. Melanie has led a troubled life since that night twelve years ago, when she and her brother and sister were caught in the storm so far from shore. Now she is gone without a trace, leaving behind her boyfriend and young child. Some believe she is on yet another binge, but others are not convinced. Either way, her family is determined to find her. It is a perfect storm of sorts, these events that are unfolding. Events that will reveal secrets long kept hidden, a lifetime of secrets and mistakes “that catch up with a person in a span of a few hours”.

This is a great novel with endearing characters that will touch your heart. This is not a novel about regret; instead it is a story of accepting choices made and moving on without regret. It is a story that demonstrates that “not everything is meant to happen. Some things should stay as they are, just like that, full of possibility. It’s wanting them that gives you something to hope for, a reason to get up in the morning and put on a fancy dress”. I loved this novel and its message.

Who will like this book? Everyone, especially those who like literary fiction.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Room

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Title: Room

Author:  Emma Donoghue

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company, September 2010

Summary:  This is a raw, astonishing story of a boy and his mother who live as prisoners in a single, small room. It may be a reminder of headline grabbing kidnapping cases, but as narrated by the child, it is a testament to a mother’s love and resiliency. Sometimes very disturbing, the horror is darkly beautiful as Ma creates a life for her son. Jack’s innocence and curiosity builds as Ma’s desperation forces them both to confront a certain reality. Very inventive and poignant, Jack is so endearing, that his voice will stay with you for a long time.

Recommended by : Cindy B., Children’s Department

The Thieves of Manhattan

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TitleThe Thieves of Manhattan

Author:  Adam Langer

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (2010)

Summary: Ian Minot is a struggling writer working at the Morningside Coffee diner. Ian works alongside Joseph, a struggling actor, and Faye, an aspiring artist. Of the three, Ian has been the least successful in his career. His Romanian girlfriend Anya, however, is very close to getting her collection of short stories published while Ian continues to get rejection letters. One of the most memorable of these comes from the literary agent Geoff Olden who simply wrote “good luck placing this and all future submissions elsewhere”.

When Faye draws Ian’s attention to a customer they have nicknamed The Confident Man, Ian is appalled to see that he is reading a copy of the recently published memoir “Blade by Blade”. In Ian’s opinion, the book is a “bogus piece of crap”. As it turns out, The Confident Man feels the same way about it. The Confident Man is Jed Roth, a former editor at a very respectable publishing house. Jed left his position at Merrill Books when his decision not to publish “Blade by Blade” was overruled by the owner of Merrill Books. Jed has devised a plan to bring down Merrill Books and agent Geoff Olden and recruits Ian to play a crucial role in his scheme. Ian agrees but soon finds himself in over his head and unsure who to trust.

This is a fun story, full of humor and intrigue, which takes a few shots at the publishing industry along the way. The last few pages contain a glossary of selected terms used throughout the book, all based on literary figures.

Who will like this book? Anyone looking for a fun read, especially those who like intrigue. Anyone familiar with the publishing industry.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Death Echo

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TitleDeath Echo

Author:  Elizabeth Lowell

Publisher: HarperCollins, June 2010

Summary: Emma Cross, former CIA agent now working for St. Kilda Consulting, must rustle with Russian spies and a terrorist plot in Elizabeth Lowell’s latest book.  Emma needs to chase down “The Blackbird” a yacht that could have explosives attached to it… enough explosives to blow up a major city. The story moves from the Puget Sound to Vancouver Island.   Interestingly, a “twin” yacht went missing never making it to its port. Are the two connected somehow? Did they have the same owner?

Fortunately for Emma she doesn’t have to work alone. Enter Mackenzie Mac Durand, a former Special Ops guy, and the transit captain for “The Blackbird.” Sparks fly between the two and a romance blossoms amidst all of the turmoil.

They are in for a bumpy ride in this romantic suspense novel, fighting off Russian Spies, CIA agents, and a very hazardous sea -  and time is not on their side.

Recommended by: Nancy, Deputy Town Librarian

Without a Map: A Memoir

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Title: Without a Map: A Memoir

Author: Meredith Hall

Publisher: Beacon, April 2007

Summary:  If you think you had problems as a teen, try finding yourself pregnant at 16, being disowned by your family, and shunned by everyone in your community.  This memoir takes place in the 1960’s in a small New Hampshire town.   Hall’s parents are divorced.  She is sent away from her family, friends, and school to live with her father and stepmother where she is basically ostracized in an attempt to hide her pregnancy.  She is forced to give up the baby and then spends her early adulthood wandering and longing for the baby she gave up and the parents who betrayed her.

She eventually reconnects with her son when he is a young adult, but it is bittersweet as he has been adopted by a family who lived in poverty and had abused him.  Hall ultimately helps to care for her aging parents, offering them what they were never able to offer her.  She is brutally honest in recalling her life.  She takes responsibility for her mistakes.  Hers is a story about hope, survival, and finding forgiveness.

Recommended by: Barbara, Head of Children’s Services