Monday, November 29, 2010

Just Finished...

I just finished The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (see February 25th)—great book! In the story, one of the main characters mentions a book from their childhood called Five Go to Smuggler's Top by Enid Blyton. I poked around on the Internet and discovered I missed a huge childhood series published in the U.K. The Famous Five is a series of children's novels written by Enid Blyton. The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children—Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina (George), and their dog Timmy. Blyton wrote 21 Famous Five novels, publishing the last in 1962:

1. Five on a Treasure Island (1942)
2. Five Go Adventuring Again (1943)
3. Five Run Away Together (1944)
4. Five Go to Smuggler's Top (1945)
5. Five Go Off in a Caravan (1946)
6. Five on Kirrin Island Again (1947)
7. Five Go Off to Camp (1948)
8. Five Get Into Trouble (1949)
9. Five Fall Into Adventure (1950)
10. Five on a Hike Together (1951)
11. Five Have a Wonderful Time (1952)

12. Five Go Down To The Sea (1953)

13. Five Go To Mystery Moor (1954)

14. Five Have Plenty Of Fun (1955)

15. Five on a Secret Trail (1956)

16. Five Go to Billycock Hill (1957)

17. Five Get Into a Fix (1958)

18. Five on Finniston Farm (1959)

19. Five Go to Demon's Rocks (1960)

20. Five Have a Mystery To Solve (1961)

21. Five Are Together Again (1962)

Reading List...

Steve reports the following recent reads.

Summerland by Michael Chabon - I liked it, but not sure I would recommend it to people who don't like science fiction. Ethan Feld plays baseball, rather terribly, in Summerland, on the tip of Clam Island, where it never rains. Ethan's father is kidnapped by the evil Coyote, a shape-shifter and trickster who wants to bring about the end of the universe. Ethan and his friends (both human and fairy-like) set off on a quest through the different worlds that make up the universe to save his father, and the universe, by playing baseball.

Cleopatra's Heir by Gillian Bradshaw - I liked it a lot. The young son of Julius Caesar and the fabled Cleopatra, Caesarion was seen by some as the hope of the marriage between Rome and Egypt, by others as the folly of a commander's lust for a wanton foreign schemer.

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant - This is the same quality as The Red Tent; memorable characters.

Reading List...

From Pat, an update of several things she and Steve have read lately.

Dancing to the Precipice: Lucy Dillon, Marquise De La Tour Du Pin by Caroline Moorehead - Great story. Biography of L
ucie de la Tour du Pin—it all takes place around the time of the French Revolution. If you like historical fiction, you will like this a lot.

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi - Very good. Born in the small German town of Burdorf, Trudi Montag is a Zwerg—a dwarf—who yearns to stretch and grow and be like everyone else. But as she matures to become the town's librarian and unofficial historian, Trudi learns that being different is a secret that everybody shares.

The Help by Katherine Stockett - I listened to it. Great book especially listening to the maids tell their stories (see March 22nd).

Beach Music by Pat Conroy. Great book, but I got tired of it. It's about five stories in one, but worth
reading (see June 8th).

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah - Very good book.

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory - Another feather in the author's cap (Pat also recommends The Other Boelyn Girl, see June 8th).

Just Finished...

Paul recently finished The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck and said, "I really enjoyed it—not your average upbeat novel—just right."

About the book:

Ethan Hawley, a descendant of proud New England sea captains, works as a clerk in the grocery store owned by an Italian immigrant. His wife is restless; his teenaged children are troubled and discontented, hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just Finished...

Paul reminds us that Matterhorn (see May 7th) "was great!" He and Jack are reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (see February 22nd). Paul read Again to Carthage by John L. Parker Jr., the sequel to Once a Runner (see April 28th), but said it was "not as good as the initial book."

About Again to Carthage from Goodreads.com:

John L. Parker, Jr.'s first novel, Once a Runner, is the cult novel for runners. Self-published in the late 1970s, and for years sold out of the trunk of the author's car at running events, it went on to sell over 100,000 copies and achieve legendary status among runners.

It perfectly captured the intensity, relentlessness, and sheer lunacy of a serious miler's life. Kenny Moore of Sports Illustrated-himself an Olympic runner-called it "by far the best fictional portrayal of the world of a serious runner . . . a marvelous description of the way it really is."

For over twenty-five years, fans of Once a Runner have wanted more. Parker has finally written the sequel, which begins in the early 1970s where the previous book left off. The protagonist of the first book, Quenton Cassidy, has lost his best friend and teammate from college, a helicopter gunship pilot who dies a horrific death after crashing in the jungle. Cassidy is plunged into a depressive spiral in which he is forced to re-examine his studiously carefree life as a young, single attorney.

Cassidy's return to the world of competitive running is dramatic and revelatory both to Cassidy himself and to the reader, as is his desperate, all-out attempt to make one last Olympic team.

Just Finished...

RobinB says "I hated" Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (see August 31st). "I read all of the reviews of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, and most were saying it was the novel of the decade. Despite having gotten stuck in the middle of Corrections, his earlier book, I decided to try it. I hated it. His writing is incredible in that character descriptions are so vivid you can picture the people and the surroundings. However, I couldn't find anyone to like. They were all upper-midddle class professionals who were born fortunate and given every opportunity under the sun...and yet were a bunch of lost souls WHINING and WHINING and WHINING about something amiss in their lives. I have no idea how many pages I read because of the Kindle, but at 85% I said that's it...I'm done with you people...life is too short.

Heard about a Book...

Morning Edition interviewed Edmund Morris who has just released Colonel Roosevelt, the final book in his biography trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt.

From Goodreads.com:

Of all our great presidents, Theodore Roosevelt is the only one whose greatness increased out of office. When he toured Europe in 1910 as plain “Colonel Roosevelt,” he was hailed as the most famous man in the world. Crowned heads vied to put him up in their palaces. “If I see another king,” he joked, “I think I shall bite him.”

Had TR won his historic “Bull Moose” campaign in 1912 (when he outpolled the sitting president, William Howard Taft), he might have averted World War I, so great was his international influence. Had he not died in 1919, at the early age of sixty, he would unquestionably have been reelected to a third term in the White House and completed the work he began in 1901 of establishing the United States as a model democracy, militarily strong and socially just.

This biography by Edmund Morris, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex, is itself the completion of a trilogy sure to stand as definitive. Packed with more adventure, variety, drama, humor, and tragedy than a big novel, yet documented down to the smallest fact, it recounts the last decade of perhaps the most amazing life in American history. What other president has written forty books, hunted lions, founded a third political party, survived an assassin’s bullet, and explored an unknown river longer than the Rhine?

Colonel Roosevelt begins with a prologue recounting what TR called his “journey into the Pleistocene”—a yearlong safari through East Africa, collecting specimens for the Smithsonian. Some readers will be repulsed by TR’s bloodlust, which this book does not prettify, yet there can be no denying that the Colonel passionately loved and understood every living thing that came his way: The text is rich in quotations from his marvelous nature writing.

Although TR intended to remain out of politics when he returned home in 1910, a fateful decision that spring drew him back into public life. By the end of the summer, in his famous “New Nationalism” speech, he was the guiding spirit of the Progressive movement, which inspired much of the social agenda of the future New Deal. (TR’s fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt acknowledged that debt, adding that the Colonel “was the greatest man I ever knew.”)

Then follows a detailed account of TR’s reluctant yet almost successful campaign for the White House in 1912. But unlike other biographers, Edmund Morris does not treat TR mainly as a politician. This volume gives as much consideration to TR’s literary achievements and epic expedition to Brazil in 1913–1914 as to his fatherhood of six astonishingly different children, his spiritual and aesthetic beliefs, and his eager embrace of other cultures—from Arab and Magyar to German and American Indian. It is impossible to read Colonel Roosevelt and not be awed by the man’s universality. The Colonel himself remarked, “I have enjoyed life as much as any nine men I know.”

Morris does not hesitate, however, to show how pathologically TR turned upon those who inherited the power he craved—the hapless Taft, the adroit Woodrow Wilson. When Wilson declined to bring the United States into World War I in 1915 and 1916, the Colonel blasted him with some of the worst abuse ever uttered by a former chief executive. Yet even Wilson had to admit that behind the Rooseveltian will to rule lay a winning idealism and decency. “He is just like a big boy—there is a sweetness about him that you can’t resist.” That makes the story of TR’s last year, when the “boy” in him died, all the sadder in the telling: the conclusion of a life of Aristotelian grandeur.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Heard about a Book...

Terry Gross interviewed Siddhartha Mukherjee about his new book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Though a little worrisome, it sounds like a fascinating book.

From Goodreads.com:

Cancer is among the most dreaded of diseases, often mentioned in whispers or euphemisms. (The very word is a curse in Dutch.) Whatever we call it, "the big C" is unavoidable in any language: According to the World Cancer Report, it will become the worldwide leading cause of deaths in 2010. Siddhartha Mukherjee's
The Emperor of All Maladies lifts the taboo by presenting a history of cancer in the context of both of miscomprehensions and advances in its detection and treatment. As a cancer physician and researcher whose articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications, the author approaches the subject with a rare combination of expertise, humanity, and writing skills.

Heard about a Book...

I listened to Diane Rehm's interview Salman Rishdie about his new book Luka and the Fire of Life, a book he has written for his son. Sounds very interesting...

From the author's website:

“You’ve reached the age at which people in this family cross the border into the magical world. It’s your turn for an adventure—yes, it’s finally here!” So says Haroun to his younger brother, twelve-year-old Luka, in Salman Rushdie’s thrilling, delightful, lyrically crafted fable for the young and young at heart.

The adventure begins one beautiful starry night in the land of Alifbay, where a terrible thing happens: Luka’s father, Rashid, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, falls suddenly and inexplicably into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one can rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka must embark on a journey through the world of magic with his loyal companions, Bear the dog and Dog the bear, as they encounter a slew of fantastical creatures, strange allies, and challenging obstacles along the way—all in the hopes of stealing the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly treacherous task.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Heard about a Book...

Featured in Paperback Row in The New York Times Book Review is When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins is this "smart, engaging look at American women’s strides and the hurdles they still face."

From Goodreads.com:

Picking up where her previous successful, and highly lauded book, America's Women, left off, Gail Collins recounts the sea change women have experienced since 1960. A comprehensive mix of oral history and Collins's keen research, this is the definitive book about five crucial decades of progress, told with the down-to-earth, amusing, and agenda-free tone this beloved New York Times columnist is known for. The interviews with women who have lived through these transformative years include an advertising executive in the 60s who was not allowed to attend board meetings that took place in the all-male dining room; and an airline stewardess who remembered being required to bend over to light her passengers' cigars on the men-only 'Executive Flight' from New York to Chicago.

We, too, may have forgotten the enormous strides made by women since 1960--and the rare setbacks. "Hell yes, we have a quota [7%]" said a medical school dean in 1961. "We do keep women out, when we can." At a pre-graduation party at Barnard College, "they handed corsages to the girls who were engaged and lemons to those who weren't." In 1960, two-thirds of women 18-60 surveyed by Gallup didn't approve of the idea of a female president. Until 1972, no woman ran in the Boston Marathon, the year when Title IX passed, requiring parity for boys and girls in school athletic programs (and also the year after Nixon vetoed the childcare legislation passed by congress). What happened during the past fifty years--a period that led to the first woman's winning a Presidential Primary—and why? The cataclysmic change in the lives of American women is a story Gail Collins seems to have been born to tell.

Heard about a Book...

In another Indie NEXT List find, Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo looks funny and thought provoking.

About the book:

When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger—and amuse himself—he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world—and more important, his life—through someone else's eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing.

In Roland Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he's missing in the most unexpected place.

Heard about a Book...

I found an old Indie NEXT List from last year that recommends The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore. If you're into romance, check it out.

From Goodreads.com:

A neglected garden. A cottage that holds a secret. A mysterious Frenchman (handsome, naturally). A family in need of some love. These elements are entwined in this heartwarming novel by the author reviewers consistently compare to Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher.

It begins as Miranda and David Claybourne move into a country house with a once-beautiful garden. But reality turns out to be very different from their dream. Soon the latent unhappiness in the family begins to come to the surface, isolating each family member in a bubble of resentment and loneliness.

Then an enigmatic Frenchman arrives on their doorstep. With the wisdom of nature, he slowly begins to heal the past and the present. But who is he? When Miranda reads about his past in a diary she finds in the cottage by the garden, the whole family learns that a garden, like love itself, can restore the human spirit, not just season after season but generation after generation.

Wise and winsome, poignant and powerfully moving, The French Gardener is a contemporary story told with an old-fashioned sensibility steeped in the importance of family and the magical power of love.

Heard about a Book...

For you Stephen King fans, I read a review that says Full Dark, No Stars, King's new collection of four novellas, offers "four satisfyingly bleak accounts of human behavior at its most extreme." King's own website simply says, "A collection of four novellas linked by the theme of retribution."

From the author's website:

"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger..." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922." the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

"Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It's a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitely ends a good marriage.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Heard about a Book...

Out in paperback is The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk, the winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature 2006.

From Goodreads.com:

Galip is a lawyer living in Istanbul. His wife, the detective novel–loving Ruya, has disappeared. Could she have left him for her ex-husband or Celâl, a popular newspaper columnist? But Celâl, too, seems to have vanished. As Galip investigates, he finds himself assuming the enviable Celâl's identity, wearing his clothes, answering his phone calls, even writing his columns. Galip pursues every conceivable clue, but the nature of the mystery keeps changing, and when he receives a death threat, he begins to fear the worst.

With its cascade of beguiling stories about Istanbul,
The Black Book is a brilliantly unconventional mystery, and a provocative meditation on identity. For Turkish literary readers it is the cherished cult novel in which Orhan Pamuk found his original voice, but it has largely been neglected by English-language readers. Now, in Maureen Freely’s beautiful new translation, they, too, may encounter all its riches.

Heard about a Book...

Released last year just before the holidays and now out in paperback, a holiday story from Wally Lamb, Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story.

From Goodreads.com:

LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone's turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade—easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy.

Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School—where Mother Filomina's word is law and goody-two-shoes Rosalie Twerski is sure to be minding everyone's business. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from QuÉbec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin' and Hopin' barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.

From the Funicello family's bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off),
Wishin' and Hopin' is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been—and how far we've come.

Heard about a Book...

I always enjoy Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast, when she does her Word of Mouth segment on NPR's Morning Edition - she reviews books, magazine articles, newspaper stories that she has read recently. Today she raved about a new biography, Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.

From Goodreads.com:

Her palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, two of the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a son with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way the supple personality has been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order a generation before the birth of Christ. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Heard about a Book...

I've heard that David Byrne, former Talking Head, has written an interesting book about about his bicycling adventures throughout the world—Bicycle Diaries. Check it out.

From the author's website:

Since the early 1980s, David has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them with him when travelling around the world. DB's choice was initially made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation, exhilaration, and connection it provided. This point of view, from his bike seat, became his panoramic window on urban life, a magical way of opening one’s eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city’s geography and population.

Bicycle Diaries chronicles David’s observations and insights — what he is seeing, whom he is meeting, what he is thinking about—as he pedals through and engages with some of the world’s major cities. In places like Buenos Aires, Istanbul, San Francisco, and London, the focus is more on the musicians and artists he encounters. Politics comes to the fore in cities like Berlin and Manila, while chapters on New York City, and on the landscaped suburban industrial parks and contemporary ruins of such spots as Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Columbus are more concerned with history in the urban landscape. Along the way, DB has thoughts to share about fashion, architecture, cultural isolation, globalization, and the radical new ways that some cities, like his home town, are becoming more bike-friendly—all conveyed with a highly personal mix of humor, curiosity, and humanity.

Heard about a Book...

There are many books on the life of Mickey Mantle, my childhood baseball hero. I've read several reviews that says this new is very good—The Last Boy - Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy.

About the book:

Award-winning sports writer Jane Leavy follows her New York Times runaway bestseller Sandy Koufax with the definitive biography of baseball icon Mickey Mantle. The legendary Hall-of-Fame outfielder was a national hero during his record-setting career with the New York Yankees, but public revelations of alcoholism, infidelity, and family strife badly tarnished the ballplayer’s reputation in his latter years. In The Last Boy, Leavy plumbs the depths of the complex athlete, using copious first-hand research as well as her own memories, to show why The Mick remains the most beloved and misunderstood Yankee slugger of all time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Heard about a Book...

Recent on All Things Considered I heard an interview with Tim Wu the author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires—it sounds like a fascinating book.

About
The Master Switch:

According to Columbia professor and policy advocate Tim Wu, the great information empires of the 20th century have followed a clear and distinctive pattern: after the chaos that follows a major technological innovation, a corporate power intervenes and centralizes control of the new medium–the master switch. Wu chronicles the turning points of the century’ s information landscape: those decisive moments when a medium opens or closes, from the development of radio to the Internet revolution, where centralizing control could have devastating consequences. To Wu, subjecting the information economy to the traditional methods of dealing with concentrations of industrial power is an unacceptable control of our most essential resource. He advocates not a regulatory approach but rather a constitutional approach that would enforce distance between the major functions in the information economy–those who develop information, those who own the network infrastructure on which it travels, and those who control the venues of access–and keep corporate and governmental power in check. By fighting vertical integration, a Separations Principle would remove the temptations and vulnerabilities to which such entities are prone. Wu’ s engaging narrative and remarkable historical detail make this a compelling and galvanizing cry for sanity–and necessary deregulation–in the information age.

Heard about a Book...

Out in paperback in September, one of Cheryl's favorite romance authors, Kristen Hannah's Magic Hour.

From the author's website:

Deep in the Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest– nearly one million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. Even in this modern age, much of it remains undiscovered and uncharted. From the heart of this old forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she can give no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past…

Until recently, Dr. Julia Cates was one of the preeminent child psychiatrists in the country, but a scandal shattered her confidence, ruined her career, and made her a media target. When she gets a desperate call from her estranged sister, Ellie, a police chief in their small western Washington hometown, she jumps at the chance to escape.

In Rain Valley, nothing much ever happens–until a girl emerges from the deep woods and walks into town. She is a victim unlike any Julia has ever seen: a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation.

When word spreads of the “wild child” and the infamous doctor who is treating her, the media descend on Julia and once again her competence is challenged. State and federal authorities want to lock the girl away in an institution until an identification can be made.

But to Julia, who has come to doubt her own ability, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. To heal this child, Julia will have to understand that she cannot work alone and must look to others–the people in the town she left long ago, the sister she barely knows, and Dr. Max Cerrasin, a handsome, private man with secrets of his own.

Then a shocking revelation forces Julia to risk everything to discover the truth about Alice. The ordeal that follows will test the limits of Julia’s faith, forgiveness, and love, as she struggles to ascertain where Alice ultimately belongs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Heard about a Book...

The recommendation I read for Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall said, "I sat down in my kitchen with this novel to occupy an hour or so—soon the day was gone, and I was still reading."

From Goodreads.com:

Destined to be a classic,
Sweeping Up Glass is a tough and tender novel of love, race, and justice, and a ferocious, unflinching look at the power of family.

Olivia Harker Cross owns a strip of mountain in Pope County, Kentucky, a land where whites and blacks eke out a living in separate, tattered kingdoms and where silver-faced wolves howl in the night. But someone is killing the wolves of Big Foley Mountain—and Olivia is beginning to realize how much of her own bitter history she’s never understood: Her mother’s madness, building toward a fiery crescendo. Her daughter’s flight to California, leaving her to raise Will’m, her beloved grandson. And most of all, her town’s fear, for Olivia has real and dangerous enemies.

Now this proud, lonely woman will face her mother and daughter, her neighbors and the wolf hunters of Big Foley Mountain. And when she does, she’ll ignite a conflict that will embroil an entire community—and change her own life in the most astonishing of ways.

Heard about a Book...

This looks like a good piece of fiction - from Adam Haslett the author of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize finalist You Are Not a Stranger Here, his debut novel is Union Atlantic.

From Goodreads.com:

At the heart of Union Atlantic lies a test of wills between a young banker, Doug Fanning, and a retired schoolteacher, Charlotte Graves, whose two dogs have begun to speak to her. When Doug builds an ostentatious mansion on land that Charlotte's grandfather donated to the town of Finden, Massachusetts, she determines to oust him in court. As a senior manager of Union Atlantic bank, a major financial conglomerate, Doug is embroiled in the company's struggle to remain afloat. It is Charlotte's brother, Henry Graves, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, who must keep a watchful eye on Union Atlantic and the entire financial system. Drawn into Doug and Charlotte's intensifying conflict is Nate Fuller, a troubled high-school senior who unwittingly stirs powerful emotions in each of them.

Heard about a Book...

I'm seeing several recommendations for the thriller Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd.

About the book:

One May evening in London, Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, is feeling good about the future as he sits down for a meal at a little Italian bistro. He strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterward. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents, through which Adam loses everything—home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, cell phone—never to get them back.

The police are searching for him. There is a reward for his capture. A hired killer is stalking him. He is alone and anonymous in a huge, pitiless modern city. Adam has nowhere to go but down—underground. He decides to join that vast army of the disappeared and the missing who throng London’s lowest levels as he tries to figure out what to do with his life and struggles to understand the forces that have made it unravel so spectacularly. Adam's quest will take him all along the river Thames, from affluent Chelsea to the gritty East End, and on the way he will encounter all manner of London's denizens—aristocrats, prostitutes, evangelists, and policewomen—and version after new version of himself.