The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
The characters in this novel are based on a real family of sisters who worked in the Paris ballet world in the late 1880’s, the Belle Époque. One was the model for Edgar Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.
When you think of Degas’s ballet painting, do you think of lovely, delicate dancing girls? Look closer – many are exhausted, gritty, and rather unattractive. Buchanan weaves her story around these girls.
Other Degas portraits and newspaper accounts of murders and art exhibits are woven into the story.
The reading experience is enriched by a website that shows the paintings referred to in the text. http://www.cathymariebuchanan.com/art
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
“The Burgess Boys by Pulitzer prize-winning Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteredge) is a complex, but fast moving story about two brothers and a sister with an early tragedy that shapes their lives and their relationships with one another. They are drawn together some 40 years later when the sister’s 17 year old son throws a pig’s head into a mosque of recently arrived Somali refugees to a very white Maine community. Strout is a good storyteller and this would be a great book discussion title. The siblings are not always likeable, but they feel very real. Strout uses some interesting secondary characters to enhance their dysfunctional relationship, their weaknesses, their intelligence and ultimately, their goodness.”
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
From Kirkus Reviews- “Sentimental, heartfelt novel portrays two children separated during the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. In 1940s Seattle, ethnicities do not mix. Whites, blacks, Chinese and Japanese live in separate neighborhoods, and their children attend different schools. When Henry Lee’s staunchly nationalistic father pins an “I am Chinese” button to his 12-year-old son’s shirt and enrolls him in an all-white prep school, Henry finds himself friendless and at the mercy of schoolyard bullies. His salvation arrives in the form of Keiko, a Japanese girl with whom Henry forms an instant and forbidden bond….A timely debut that not only reminds readers of a shameful episode in American history, but cautions us to examine the present and take heed we don’t repeat those injustices.” Click here for the full review.
3 Similar Reads (Fiction)
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
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Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
“Extraordinary biography of an extraordinary man. From Kirkus Review: “those familiar with the story of the puny, sickly boy (Teddy Roosevelt) who made himself over by will power alone have the most to look forward to. That is not, for one thing, what McCullough found in the thousands of Roosevelt family letters. But he does not merely offer another, more complex and fine-tuned interpretation; he has embedded it in the true-life equivalent of a Russian novel of relations and generations, of mood and moment (whence those “”mornings on horseback”” at Oyster Bay) and shaded characterization.”
3 Similar Reads (Non-Fiction)
An Hour Before Daylight by Jimmy Carter
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Rome and Rhetoric by Garry Wills
“I read this to get ready to see Julius Caesar at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Wills explains how Shakespeare uses classic rhetorical devices in the dialogue of Brutus, Caesar, Cassius and Antony. He adds information about Shakespeare’s sources and the actors in Shakespeare’s company. I found this a fine preparation for seeing the play.”
3 Similar Reads (Non-Fiction)
Roman Culture; weapons and the man by Garry Wills
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The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
“If you’ve read any if Margo Lanagan’s other works, especially Tender Morsels, you understand her love of creating new and strange fantasy worlds that subvert old fairytales and are grafted on top of our own reality. The Brides of Rollrock Island delivers that strange and beautiful (an often unsettling) experience again. While this book is considered YA I would definitely recommend this book for adult readers as well.
3 Similar Reads (YA Fiction)
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
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