Richard’s March Recommendation

Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

live and let dieRichard says:  “Live and Let Die is the second novel in Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond series.  At the risk of spoiling Casino Royale‘s ending, the most I’ll say is that it follows directly from the events in the preceding booka marked difference from the movies, which tend toward self-contained narratives.  Agent 007, MI5’s most dependable operative, is sent to New York City to unravel the mystery of ‘Mr. Big’ (AKA, ‘Buonaparte Ignace Gallia’), a shadowy criminal mastermind with connections to the Soviet Union.  In the process, Bond uncovers a disturbing connection between gold smugglersapparently a favorite theme of Fleming’sa voodoo cult, and the USSR’s sinister SMERSH operations.  Naturally, Bond is the only man for the job.

This probably sounds familiar, and rightly so.  James Bond has been fully absorbed into the collective pop culture consciousness; he has changed with the times to suit each generation’s expectations.  As a result, readers who have seen the motion pictures will recognize many of the series’ well-worn tropes, albeit filtered through the lens of the 1950s:  globetrotting adventures, a mysterious and beautiful woman whose primary role is to be Bond’s love interest, a ruthless megalomaniac bent on world domination, and enough racy double entendres to make even Geoffrey Chaucer blush.  In other words, Bond fans will find a lot to enjoy in this book.  It’s worth pointing out, though, that the novelswhile subtly humorousare nowhere near as outrageous as many of the movies.

Live and Let Die was later adapted into a notoriously campy film, notable mostly for featuring Roger Moore’s first turn as James Bond.  One of the series’ more lightweight entries, Live and Let Die lacks the cool sophistication of From Russia with Love or the grandiosity of The Spy Who Loved Me.  Still, the movie has a lot to recommend:  Jane Seymour’s radiant Solitaire (still one the most popular and recognizable ‘Bond girls’), Moore’s wry take on 007, a killer theme song by Paul McCartney and Wings, and a suitably tongue-in-cheek tone.  These items keep the film afloat, even if it lacks many elements of the best Bond flicks.  While it borders on the absurd, Live and Let Die never quite falls victim to the cringeworthy cheese that bogs down Moore’s later performances in a quagmire of ludicrous plots and gadgets.  The book is great and comes highly recommended; however, the film is probably a ‘fans only’ proposition.”

3 Similar Reads

Solo:  A James Bond Novel by William Boyd “James BondBritish special agent 007is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment.  Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.” – Summary from catalog

Rain on the Dead by Jack Higgins “In the past few years, the killing and capture of many Al-Qaeda leaders has left the terrorist organization woundedbut by no means dead.  And they intend to prove it.  On a dark summer night, two Chechen mercenaries emerge from the waters off Nantucket to kill a high-value target, the former president of the United States, Jake Cazalet.  Unfortunately for them, Cazalet has guests with him, including black ops specialist Sean Dillon and his colleague, Afghan war hero Captain Sara Gideon” Summary from publisher

Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen “Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan is drawn into the mystery of a child that had been abducted eight years earlier, and must use her skills with age progression as a way to reunite mother and son.  But Eve must face looming demons of her own.”   Summary from catalog

Joanna’s March Recommendation

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

this is where i leave youJoanna says:  “An amusing and, at moments, heart wrenching novel about four siblings who reunite to sit Shiva after their father passes away.  Recently made into a movie starring Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, and Tina Fey.  Both are equally entertaining and worth checking out.”
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3 Similar Reads
While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty – “Veronica Von Holten is about to learn just how badly life can spiral out of control. She’s already stressed by the demands of being a premed major when a series of bad decisions and her parents’ acrimonious divorce leave her dazed and confused.” – Library Journal
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta – “One hundred people have disappeared from tiny Mapleton, New Jersey, in a Rapture-like event that has left the community visibly shaken.” – Booklist
The Vacationers by Emma Straub – “Celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary and their daughter’s high-school graduation during a two-week vacation in Mallorca, Franny and Jim Post confront old secrets, hurts, and rivalries that reveal sides of themselves they try to conceal.” – Summary from catalog

Sue’s March Recommendation

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

storied life of aj fikrySue says:  “What book lover could resist a store about an independent book store owner with a quirky name?  A.J. Fikry is a reclusive 39-year-old widow who filters his life through the lens of his favorite books.  When a sweet toddler unexpectedly enters his life, he is forced to open his heart and his world.  This is a feel good book, with a great cast of eccentric secondary characters.  It was gentle, sweet, safe, and predictable—a nice easy read for a dreary, gray March weekend.”

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3 Similar Reads

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – “It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London.  As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm and charming long-distance friendship lasting many years.” – Summary from publisher

The Family Man by Elinor Lipman – “Henry Archer is a comfortably well-off and recently retired lawyer who has been divorced for decades.  When his ex-wife reenters his life, she brings with her the entanglements of her daughter, Thalia, the stepchild Henry loved and lost during the divorce.  Determined to reforge a connection with the now grown Thalia, Henry soon becomes embroiled in a much larger life than he expected.” – Library Journal

The Bad Book Affair by Ian Sansom – “Israel Armstrong lends the library’s copy of American Pastoral to a troubled teenage girl and soon she disappears.  Israel thinks there may be a connection, but he needs figure out what it is and find the girl, all while dealing with the trauma of a breakup and his impending 30th birthday.” – Summary from catalog

Kim’s March Recommendation

Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto

galvestonKim says:  “Last winter I was riveted to the screen watching True Detective on HBO.  I am still waiting for the re-tooling of the series with a whole new cast of characters.  In the meantime, I found creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto’s first novel, Galveston.  Set in New Orleans and East Texas, the novel is populated with criminals and other broken characters.  Like he did in True Detective, the author pulls you into a dark world where goodness and compassion struggle to find a footing.  I read it in one long night.”

3 Similar Reads

Breaking the Rules by Barbara Taylor Bradford – “When a psychopath with deadly intent vows to shatter M’s world forever, the muse and star model to France’s iconic designer Jean-Louis Tremont will break the rules to protect her family and her life.” – Summary from catalog

Echo Burning by Lee Child – “Carmen Greer wants out of a bad marriage, but it’s going to be tricky. Her abusive husband, Sloop, is in prison on an IRS beef; he’s due out soon, and he knows it was Carmen who turned him in to the feds. Faced with losing her daughter to Sloop and his full-pockets Texas family, Carmen takes to auditioning hitchhikers for the job of killing her husband. She winds up with ex-military cop Jack Reacher.” – Booklist

The Confession by John Grisham – “When Travis Boyette is paroled because of inoperable brain tumor, for the first time in his life, he decides to do the right thing and tell police about a crime he committed and another man is about to be executed for.” – Summary from catalog

Victoria’s March Recommendation

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

bumped“In 2036 New Jersey, when teens are expected to become fanatically religious wives and mothers or high-priced ‘Surrogettes’ for couples made infertile by a widespread virus, sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony find in one another the courage to believe they have choices.” – Summary from catalog

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3 Similar Reads

Wither by Lauren DeStefano – “After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.” – Summary from catalog

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan – “Part of the first generation to be conceived in deep space, fifteen-year-old Waverly is expected to marry young and have children to populate a new planet, but a violent betrayal by the dogmatic leader of their sister ship could have devastating consequences.” – Summary from catalog

Fragments by Dan Wells – “With the help of Samm and Heron, Kira sets out on a desperate search for clues as to who she is, while Marcus and the remaining human population gear up for war with the Partials.” – Summary from catalog

Mary Ann’s March Recommendation

Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes:  Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech by Chuck McCutcheon and David Mack

dog whistlesMary Ann says:  “This book explains many current political terms used by those in government and by news pundits.  Each term is illustrated with a quote and/or an incident, most from recent years.  Examples:  wing nut, high-class problem, red meat, Chicago-style politics, slicing the salami, Sister Souljah moment.”

Please note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.

3 Similar Reads

All the Truth Is Out:  The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai – “The former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine brilliantly revisits the Gary Hart affair and looks at how it changed forever the intersection of American media and politics. In 1987, Gary Hart–articulate, dashing, refreshingly progressive–seemed a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination for president and led George H.W. Bush comfortably in the polls. And then: rumors of marital infidelity, an indelible photo of Hart and a model snapped near a fatefully named yacht (Monkey Business), and it all came crashing down in a blaze of flashbulbs, the birth of 24-hour news cycles, tabloid speculation, and late-night farce.” – Summary from catalog

Dog Whistle Politics:  How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López – “López (White by Law) examines the intersections of declining economic opportunities and race affiliation as expressed by political parties.” – Library Journal (note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.)

The Way We Talk Now:  Commentaries on Language and Culture from NPR’s Fresh Air by Geoffrey Nunberg – “Compiling humorous commentaries about language in the United States, Nunberg, a language and computer technology researcher and a consulting linguistics professor at Stanford, here offers essays prepared for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. Some of the many topics covered are the long-lasting linguistic impact of movies, software that checks grammar, and word histories.” – Library Journal (note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.)

Blaise’s March Recommendation

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

hypnotistBlaise says:  “My recommendation for March is The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty.  If you enjoyed Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret, then don’t miss this one by Moriarty.

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3 Similar Reads

The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans – “His name is Connor Ford and he falls like an angel of mercy from the sky, braving the flames to save the woman he loves but knows he cannot have.  For Julia Bishop is the partner of his closest friend, Ed Tully, an ambitious young musician.  Julia loves them both but the tragedy on Snake Mountain forces her to choose between them and burns a brand on all their hearts.” – Summary from book jacket

A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon – “Forging an intense friendship in their senior year at Harvard, Ed, a Jewish, girl-crazy scholarship student; and Hugh, a Boston Brahmin who dedicatedly pines for the one who got away; abruptly and mysteriously go their separate ways years later and pursue very different lives that are shaped by their past bond.” – Summary from catalog

My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman – “In the late 1970s, Frederica Hatch is the enchantingly outspoken daughter of brilliant college professors at a minor all-girls college in Massachusetts. Her temperate, mildly eccentric, and lovely parents, also union activists for the faculty of Dewing College, serve as houseparents at one of the dorms, where Frederica has lived her whole life. Wise beyond her years, Frederica takes it in stride when she discovers that her father was married once before and that Laura Lee French, the smashingly solipsistic first wife of Dr. David Hatch, has just been hired as housemother of one of the other dorms.” – Library Journal