Reading Roundup: Marshall Afternoon Book Club Recommendations
Of the eleven books that were read by the Book Club last year, the following titles were among the most popular.
Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
This is a page turner, describing an event in our country’s history that many of us didn’t learn about in school. From about 1890 to 1920 approximately 100,000 orphaned immigrant children were taken by train from New York City to the farms and towns of our newly settled western states. At each little town, the train stopped and the children were offered to anyone who was willing to give them room and board. Many were wanted for farm labor or other kinds of work. Some were well treated and others were not. Through the eyes of only a few of these children, the story is told. Within this story there is another. A troubled modern young woman meets an elderly woman who was one of those train orphans. As the story of the past is slowly revealed, it somehow resonates with the younger woman, helping her as she struggles to cope with her own less-than-perfect family situation. Beautifully written, once begun the book can’t be put down. Laurene, Marshall Afternoon Book Club
People of the Book by Geraldine Books
This inventive historical novel imagines the odyssey of a book known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illustrated Hebrew account of the Exodus. The story takes us backward in time through five centuries and four cultures. The book’s restoration by an international expert in modern-day Bosnia is interspersed with stories of its custodians during World War II Bosnia, late 19th-Century Vienna, Venice in the Inquisition and 15th-Century Spain. It’s a story of publishing, restoration and most importantly the tortuous diaspora of the people for whom the book was a sacred object. The author weaves a complicated spell, but if you can tolerate a little bit of whimsy with your history, this reading journey is well worth taking. Pat, Marshall Afternoon Book Club
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
This is a captivating true story about the Herculean effort it took to pull off a World’s Fair (with less than a year’s notice) in 1893 Chicago while the American equivalent of Jack the Ripper wantonly killed trusting females who happened to wander into his path. It is a gripping story that is as engrossing as any crime novel and it captivated many in our group. Larson has thrilled before with In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, and Isaac’s Storm: a Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History. We now await his new book, Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Since 2015 is the 100 year anniversary of the Lusitania’s sinking, it is a wonderful time to introduce yourself to Erik Larson, or to re-introduce yourself with his newest! I, for one, will be suggesting this next book for our 2016 list! Elly, Marshall Afternoon Book Club
The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin
A beautifully written and imagined view of the life and times of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a shy, intelligent and brave woman who was often obscured by her hero husband, Charles, and her famous Morrow kin. It is the story of a girl finding her own authentic way of living , in her family, her marriage and her society, through the expected small vicissitudes of life, and through unimaginable tragedy. Anne comes to be more brave and clear-sighted than anyone expected, becoming a superb navigator and pilot as well as a wonderful writer, making a life out of her own shortcomings and disappointments. The author brings to vivid life a complicated woman, married to a complicated man, in all the turmoil of the mid-20th century. Emotionally true and gripping, it will impel you to read Anne’s own book, Gift From the Sea, with fresh eyes. Vicky, Marshall Afternoon Book Club
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
One of Collins’ best known novels. Written in London, England in 1860. Considered a classic of 19th century literature, it is a gripping story of romance, intrigue, suspense and crime. The story takes place on the estate of a wealthy English landowner and the tale involves a family, servants, friends and nearby townsfolk. An additional attraction of this long convoluted mystery is the writing itself. The beautiful use of the English language, the abundant vocabulary and the detailed depiction of its characters and mores of the period produce a long remembered tale. The reader may also feel wrapped in the warmth of Collins’ writing style. It is fluidic! This is a very pleasurable read. Helen, Marshall Afternoon Book Club
The Marshall Afternoon Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 1:00. We have a wonderful selection of titles for 2015. Come join us!