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Books I’ve Read This Spring – 2021

BookTalkBooklist

Book’s I’ve Read This Spring – 2021
Library BooksTalks on Zoom, April 9, 2021
Jodi R. (Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries)

The Searcher (2020)
by Tana French (French)

This book satisfied my two cravings: mysteries; and an Irish setting. Cal Hooper’s dedication to his job as a Chicago police officer cost him his marriage. After retiring from being a detective who found missing people, he moved to a dilapidated cottage in Ireland for serenity. Asking for his help in finding a missing brother, a high school student showed up at Cal’s door. Despite warnings from others to stay away from the case, Cal became invested in finding the young man who’d disappeared. FICTION; MYSTERY


On the Come Up (2019)
by Angie Thomas (YA Thomas)

Young Adult. Author of The Hate U Give. Bri Jackson is sixteen years old and wants to be the best rapper ever. Distracted from school by her family’s poverty, empty refrigerator and unpaid rent/utility bills, Bri feels like shooting to stardom as a rapper will be her family’s ticket out of poverty. The media and an agent want her to fit their definition of her: a stereotypical angry black girl from the projects. It’s a challenge for Bri to write about the racism and violence she encounters, while not endangering herself/her family. YOUNG ADULT; FICTION


Land of Shadows (2015)
by Rachel Howzell Hall (Hall)

I found this while searching for Mystery Authors of Color. This is the first of four novels in the Detective Elouise Norton series. The next books are Skies of Ash (2015), Trail of Echoes (2016), and City of Saviors (2017). Lou (Eloise) is a well-respected detective who has solved 90% of her murder cases. Working with her new partner, Colin Taggert, Lou investigates a murder with similarities to Lou’s sister’s disappearance twenty-five years earlier. FICTION; MYSTERY


The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop (2020)
by Fannie Flagg (Flagg)

If you need a comforting read, this book envelops the readers back into the lives of Idgie Threadgoode, Ruth Jamison, and their neighbors and descendants first introduced to us in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café in 1987. The Wonder Boy is Ruth’s son, Buddy, and the characters seem to invite you into their small-town café to be a part of their reunion, updating each other and the reader on what’s happened to our beloved characters from the 1930s. FICTION


South of the Buttonwood Tree (2020)
by Heather Webber (Webber)

Blue Bishop and Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton are the two protagonists. Living in small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, their lives have briefly crossed in the past. When an abandoned baby is found in the woods, both strong women need to dig deep to find out what each really wants passionately enough to make sacrifices. Secrets are revealed that, when assembled, surprise them, their families, and the town. There is magic realism: Blue has a supernatural knack for finding lost items or people; and the Buttonwood Tree spits out prophecies on wooden buttons. FICTION; MAGIC REALISM


Dear Child (2019)
by Romy Hausmann (Hausmann)

Similar to Room, by Emma Donoghue, this mystery is about whether Lena is the young woman who was kidnapped fourteen years earlier. The woman and two children were held captive in a shack. The captor was in charge of a rigid schedule and even decided when it would be day and when it would be night, by blocking all windows and using a recirculation unit for air. The storytelling switches between Lena, one of the children, and a father who’s been waiting for over a decade for closure about his missing daughter. FICTION; MYSTERY


Olive, Mabel & Me: Life & Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs (2020)
by Andrew Cotter (Biography Cotter)

When the pandemic put sporting events on hold, commentator Andrew Cotter started posting videos of his two Labrador Retrievers, using his announcer voice to describe their everyday antics. The video series has been viewed more than 50 million times. The author describes his love of dogs, the relationship between Olive and Mabel, and the beautiful hills he climbs worldwide, but most often in Scotland. NONFICTION


The Kingdom (2020)
by Jo Nesbo (Nesbo)

This author is known for his Harry Hole series, though this is a stand-alone psychological thriller set in a mountain village in rural Norway. Narrated by Roy Opgard, who manages the service station in town, we witness Roy’s relationship as his younger brother’s protector. Carl and Shannon, Roy’s brother and sister-in-law, have arrived to build a hotel on the land where Carl & Roy were raised. A series of violent acts occur as Roy protects people he loves from others’ greed, abuse, and plans to expose past crimes. FICTION; PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER


Cross Her Heart (2020)
by Melinda Leigh (Leigh)

For more than 25 years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide, until her young sister Erin is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a storm marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one difference – Erin’s husband Justin has vanished. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former Sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and tragic death. FICTION; MYSTERY


Sergeant Salinger (2021)
by Jerome Charyn (Charyn)

This is a glimpse into the history and thoughts of J.D. Salinger, author of the coming-of-age book A Catcher in the Rye, and known for being a reclusive misanthrope. We see the rifleman and interrogator he was, when part of a secret band trained to work with the British, as well as his landing at D-Day, hand-to-hand combat at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the first Allied entry into a Bavarian death camp. He married a suspected Nazi informant while he interned at a Nuremberg psychiatric clinic. The marriage didn’t last long, and he was haunted by ghosts inside his head and stories to tell. “Grounded in biographical fact and reimagined as only Charyn could.” FICTION; HISTORICAL FICTION


Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation (2021)
by Anna Malaika Tubbs (305.8 AfrYt)

The author interviewed the mothers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. As described by Amazon: “In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America’s most pivotal heroes. One of Fortune Magazine’s 21 Books to Look Forward to in 2021.” BIOGRAPHY


The Four Winds (2021)
by Kristin Hannah (Hannah)

Elsa Martinelli feels unworthy of being loved, and throws herself into the challenges of the Dust Bowl dust storms, the Great Depression, and the drought, all of the hardships that come with raising kids in Texas of the 1930s. HISTORICAL FICTION


Skies of Ash (2015)
by Rachel Howzell Hall (Hall)

L.A. Homicide Detective Elouise “Lou” Norton and her partner, Colin Taggert, arrive at the scene of a tragic house fire. Juliet Chatman perished in the blaze, along with her two children. Left behind is grieving husband and father Christopher Chatman, hospitalized after trying to rescue his family. Chatman is devastated that he couldn’t save them. Unless, of course, he’s the one who killed them. Neighbors and family friends insist the Chatmans were living the dream. But Lou quickly discovers the reality was very different. The flames of adultery, jealousy, scandal, fraud, and disease had all but consumed the Chatmans’ marriage before it went up in smoke. FICTION; MYSTERY


Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race & Hope (2020)
by Kwame Alexander (811 Ale)

This book of poetry is described as a rap session on race. It unites history and current events to address racism and oppression in America. The author is the Poet Ambassador for NPR, and also wrote (among other books) Booked, longlisted for the National Book Award, and the picture books Out of Wonder and The Undefeated, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Caldecott Medal, a Newbery Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. POETRY


The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander (jP Alexander)

“This poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.” PICTURE BOOK; This picture book is also by Kwame Alexander, the same author as the book of poetry listed above.