Pat reports that she is reading or has read several books this summer (alphabetical by author):
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas (see May 30th)
Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club by C. David Heymann
Barefoot by Eli Hildebrand (see May 5th)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (see June 3rd)
Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
About People of the Book:
Inspired by the true story of a mysterious codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, People of the Book is a sweeping adventure through five centuries of history. From its creation in Muslim-ruled, medieval Spain, the illuminated manuscript makes a series of perilous journeys: through Inquisition-era Venice, fin-de-siecle Vienna, and the Nazi sacking of Sarajevo.
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed manuscript, which has been rescued once again from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with figurative paintings. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she becomes determined to unlock the book’s mysteries. As she seeks the counsel of scientists and specialists, the reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its creation to its salvation.
In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of Vienna in 1894, the book becomes a pawn in an emerging contest between the city’s cultured cosmopolitanism and its rising anti-Semitism. In Venice in 1609, a Catholic priest saves it from Inquisition book burnings. In Tarragona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text has his family destroyed amid the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah’s extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed.
About Four Seasons In Rome from the author's website:
On the same day Anthony Doerr’s wife gave birth to newborn twins, Doerr learned he’d won the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Four Seasons in Rome describes Doerr’s subsequent year in the eternal city, reading Pliny, visits the piazzas, temples and churches of Rome, attending the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II, and raising twin babies. “To call this a travel book,” said Kirkus Reviews, “is to sell it short: it is delightful, funny and full of memorable scenes. Don’t leave for Rome without it."
About Gap Creek:
There is a most unusual woman living in Gap Creek. Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man" they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop.
People depend on her. They need her to slaughter the hogs and nurse the dying. People are weak, and there is so much to do. She is just a teenager when her little brother dies in her arms. That same year she marries Hank and moves down into the valley where fire and visions visit themselves on her and where con men and drunks come calling.
Julie and Hank discover that the modern world is complex, grinding ever on without pause or concern for their hard work. To survive, they must find out whether love can keep chaos and madness at bay.
In this novel, Morgan returns to the vivid world of the Appalachian high country to follow Julie and Hank in their new life on Gap Creek and their efforts to make sense of the world in the last years of the nineteenth century. Scratching out a life for themselves, always at risk of losing it all, Julie and Hank don't know what to fear most—the floods or the flesh-and-blood grifters who insinuate themselves into their new lives.
Their struggles with nature, with work, with the changing century, and with the disappointments and triumphs of marriage make this a powerful follow-up to Morgan's acclaimed novel, The Truest Pleasure.