Lisa’s May Recommendations

Emma    by Alexander McCall Smith

EmmaEmma Woodhouse arrives home in Norfolk ready to embark on adult life. Not only has her sister, Isabella, been whisked away on a motorcycle up to London, but her astute governess, Miss Taylor is at a loose end, abandoned in the giant family pile, Hartfield, alongside Emma’s anxiety-ridden father. Someone is needed to rule the roost and young Emma is more than happy to oblige. But there is only one person who can play with Emma’s indestructible confidence, her old friend and inscrutable neighbor George Knightly — this time has Emma finally met her match? – from publisher

Paris Red by Maureen Gibbon

paris redAt seventeen, Victorine Meurent abandons her old life to become immersed in the Parisian society of dance halls and cafés, meeting writers and artists like Baudelaire and Alfred Stevens. As Manet’s model, Victorine explores a world of new possibilities and stirs the artist to push the boundaries of painting in his infamous portrait Olympia, which scandalizes even the most cosmopolitan city. – from publisher

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

dead wakeThe #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Garden of Beasts presents a 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania that discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle. – from publisher

Click here to read a sample!

At The Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen 

at the water's edgeWhile her brother, Ellis, and his friend try to find theLoch Ness monster in an attempt to get back into her father’s good graces, Maddie is left on her own in World War II-era Scotland and experiences a social awakening. – from publisher

Click here to read a sample!


Lisa’s November Recommendation

The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin

“The Beautiful American, of course, is Lee Miller, a girl from Poughkeepsie, New York, who became a Vogue model, lover, mistress and protogé of the Surrealist photographer and artist Man Ray, friend of Picasso and numerous other Surrealist luminaries living in Paris in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and one of the most influential photographers of World War II. The narrator is Nora, Mackin’s creation, a parallel figure in Miller’s life whose own story carries the reader along through highs and lows of the artistic life, France under fascism into and through World War II,  and briefly into the second half of the Twentieth Century when the women cross paths a final time and their personal triumphs and fortunes are revealed.” – Summary by Michael Foldes of Ragazine

Similar Reads

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty – Set in the 20’s in New York and has a fictional narrator who closely follows the life of real-life actress Louise Brooks before she made it big.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.

The German Woman by Paul Griner – This riveting war story introduces us to the beautiful Kate Zweig, the English widow of a German surgeon, and Claus Murphy, an exiled American with German roots—two lovers with complicated loyalties.

Margaret’s October Recommendation

Margaret says: “As a lover of historical fiction, I have read so many novels set during the second World War.   I wondered when I picked up Doerr’s critically acclaimed new book, whether or not he would be able to tell a fresh story.  And he did! It is wonderful when an author is able to really provide his or her readers with a new perspective on something that they think they know.  Doerr has done this with “All the Light We Cannot See.”  It follows two teenagers: one a blind girl escaping from Paris and a German Hitler Youth. Wondering how their stories come together is intriguing and kept me reading as did a slight mystery element.  What stayed with me, though, were the descriptive images (at times incredibly cinematic) that Doerr painted of the siege of Saint Malo.”
3 Similar Reads
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – This historical fiction title is also set during World War II. This book features reincarnation, time-travel, and humor.
Mission to Paris by Alan Furst – Set in France 1939, this spy/suspense novel features foreign correspondents and spies.
Jacob’s Oath by Martin Fletcher – Holocaust survivors are free, and one in particular is determined to find his brother’s murderer – a concentration camp guard.

Victoria’s March Recommendation

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweetHotel 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

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms

Laona’s January Recommendation (#2)

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

“As I continue my quest to learn more about the personal accounts of Japanese American farewell to manzanarcitizens following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I turned to this blog.  Rebecca has done a wonderful job of offering ‘similar reads’ for all of the recommended books.  I turned to my previous recommendation of Silver Like Dust , and found a suggested read, Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston.  Farewell to Manzanar is the true story of one spirited Japanese-American family’s attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention…and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States.  Library Journal calls [the book] ‘an extraordinary episode in American history'”.

Read about or request this book from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead

Dear Miss Breed by Joanne Oppenheim

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Laona’s October Recommendation (#2)

Silver Like Dust: One Family’s Story of America’s Japanese Internment by Kimi Cunningham Grant

“After reading Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine and The Buddha in the Attic, I became very interested in reading more about what happened to our Japanese American citizens following the bombing at Pearl Harbor.  This memoir is ultimately ‘the poignant story of a Japanese American woman’s journey through one of the most shameful chapters in American history'”.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston (Access to library catalog here!)

2) An Album of Memories: Personal Histories From the Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II by Roger Daniels (Access to library catalog here!)

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas (Access to library catalog here!)

2) How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway (Access to library catalog here!)

3) The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaug (Access to library catalog here!)

Claudia’s June Recommendation

In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

“Erik Larson, author of Devil in the White City, has written a meticulously researched narrative about Germany during the years 1933-1937.  In In The Garden Of Beasts he tells the story from the eyes of the newly appointed  Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, and his family.  Set during Hitler’s rise to power, it reveals the experiences and evolving attitudes of the Dodd family and others as they live through this terrifying time.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation by Charles Glass (Access to library catalog here)

2) I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941 by Victor Klemperer (Access to library catalog here)

3) Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich by Eric Metaxas (Access to library catalog here)

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (Access to library catalog here)

2) The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood (Access to library catalog here)

3) The Book Thief by MarKus Zusak (Access to library catalog here)