The Wonder, a novel by Emma Donoghue (DON), is historical fiction that works well as a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, as a psychological thriller and a story of love taking on evil. The setting is Ireland in the mid-19th century where a nurse is hired to watch over Anna O’Donnell, an eleven-year old girl who has a terrifying eating disorder. This would make a stunning movie.
It was easy to read Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde (HYD). The main character, Ethan, is a good guy and as he’s often the underdog, it was natural to urge him forward. Best of all was seeing Ethan grow and develop. Readers who have ever felt inadequate or less than OK, will find something special in this novel. Hyde also has a knack for bringing one to elation or tears, and can quietly confide wisdom and a life philosophy.
Readers of fantasy, science fiction and thrillers will be delighted with Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. The latest two are Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning (SAN). The prior four in the series are Mistborn, Well of Ascension, Hero of Ages and Alloy of Law. Readers of previous Mistborn titles will find that these two books continue to tie into the history and mythos of the world, expanding the themes. Sanderson is a master storyteller, offering some surprises along the way and engaging you to the end.
One of the strengths of Second Opinion, by Hannah Alexander (M ALE), is unique, convincing characters. Give yourself a bit of time at the very beginning for it’s a bit confusing until you are familiar with all the characters.
The last national election puts renewed focus on the American democratic process and the importance of understanding how elections really work in the United States. The study of history, as outlined in Predicting the Next President by Allan Lichtman (Politics, Lichtman), shows that a pragmatic American electorate chooses a president according to the performance of the party holding the White House, as measured by the consequential events and episodes of a term. Lichtman has correctly predicted 30 years of presidential elections so his reflections offer a lot for reflection.
Audio fans who have requested more Kingsbury titles will be happy to cheer the arrival of Sarah’s Song, by Karen Kingsbury (KIN). This story is narrated by Alexandra O’Karma, who has a successful career on regional stages, television, film, Broadway and Off-Broadway.
John Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries (IRV) gets the audio skills of Armando Duran, who has garnered Golden Headphone awards and Audie Award nominations. This novel of fate and memory is one it’s easy to relate to–in that much of what we remember and what we dream, we are living in the past. Here Irving tells about an older man, Juan Diego, who takes a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories from his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. What happens to Diego in the past collides with his present.
The title of R. R. Reno’s Resurrecting The Idea of a Christian Society (Religion, Christianity, Reno) might lead some readers to conclude he’s writing about a Christian government, but not so. He’s writing about the idea of a society informed by the values of justice, mercy and protection of the weak. Reno wrote before the conclusion of the last national election and it’s interesting how on target he was with some of his assessments.
Puddle, by author & illustrator Hyewon Hum (JE YUM), is perfect for toddlers to preschoolers. The mother-and-son story starts with a boy who is bored with nothing to do. Because of rain, he can’t go to the playground, play soccer or ride his bike. Then gradually the powers of art, creativity and imagination come to life.
Dr. Leroy Hommerding
Beach Library Director