This is a booklist created by Gere Branch library staff to accompany the stage production of Ethan Claymore at Gere’s neighbor, The Lincoln Community Playhouse.
Ethan Claymore is a 1988 play by Canadian playwright Norm Foster, filled with warm, charm and a touch of the paranormal. Reclusive egg farmer Ethan Claymore is barely eaking out a living, as he still mourns the loss of his wife five years earlier. His overly enthusiastic neighbor decides it’s time for Ethan to re-enter the world of the living, including some socializing — Douglas plans to set Ethan up with the new young schoolteacher in town. Complicating matters is the fact that Ethan’s estranged older brother has just died — which doesn’t stop the brother from visiting to provide some brotherly (and otherworldly) relationship advice just before the Christmas holidays. But what is the dark secret that hangs over the Claymore brothers, from their childhood, and will it all end up happily ever after?
You can also see this Ethan Claymore Booklist as a PDF, which includes a printable Word Search puzzle on the themes of this play.
The Recluse of Herald Square: The Mystery of Ida E. Wood
by Joseph A. Cox [Biography W851c]
The search for the real identity of this woman is a fascinating mystery.
by Shelley Shepard Gray [Gray]
After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky, if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone, even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was. For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called ‘The Recluse’ confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
by Michael Finkel [Biography Knight]
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.
In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
The History of Love
by Nicole Krauss [Krauss]
Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he’s still alive. But it wasn’t always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book. . . . Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together toward a climax of “extraordinary depth and beauty” (Newsday).
by Teddy Wayne [Wayne]
David Federman has never felt appreciated. An academically gifted yet painfully forgettable member of his New Jersey high school class, the withdrawn, mild-mannered freshman arrives at Harvard fully expecting to be embraced by a new tribe of high-achieving peers. Initially, however, his social prospects seem unlikely to change, sentencing him to a lifetime of anonymity. Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells. Struck by her beauty, wit, and sophisticated Manhattan upbringing, David becomes instantly infatuated. Determined to win her attention and an invite into her glamorous world, he begins compromising his moral standards for this one, great shot at happiness. But both Veronica and David, it turns out, are not exactly as they seem.
Loner turns the traditional campus novel on its head as it explores ambition, class, and gender politics. It is a stunning and timely literary achievement from one of the rising stars of American fiction.
Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings
by Italo Calvino [Biography B C141]
Never before published in English, these essayistic writings enlarge our understanding of one of the twentieth centrury’s most beloved authors. In evocations of Italo Calvino’s tumultuous teenage years–his life during Mussolini’s rule, at the time of the liberation, and during the Cold War–we learn the story of the author’s generation as it confronted moral, civil, and artistic dilemmas. In writings from the extended periods during which Calvino lived alone in Paris and New York, we witness his struggle to find “the right distance between being involved and being detached.” In “American Diary” he recounts his peregrinations throughout the United States in 1959 and 1960: from New York to Texas, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston. He describes his bafflement with heretofore unimaginable technology, his fascination with the Beats, his horror at the squalor of the suburbs, the inspiration he derived from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words and actions, his impressions of myriad aspects of American culture. Filled with the author’s characteristic insight, intelligence, and brio, Hermit in Paris will take its place alongside Italo Calvino’s seminal works.
by Shirlee McCoy [PB McCoy]
When Trinity Miller’s attacked by a man who mistakenly believes she’s Mason Gains’s girlfriend, the reclusive prosthetic maker is forced from seclusion to rescue her. And he soon learns someone’s determined to get information on one of his clients–information they’re willing to kill for. Now the former army pilot has to find a way to take down the men on their trail…and make sure Trinity survives. When Trinity arrived at Mason’s isolated home to convince him to help her friend’s son, her plans didn’t include going on the run with him. But Trinity must work with Mason to outwit their pursuers…or risk losing both their lives.
A House Among the Trees
by Julia Glass [Glass]
When the revered children’s book author Mort Lear dies accidentally at his Connecticut home, he leaves his property and all its contents to his trusted assistant, Tomasina Daulair, who is moved by his generosity but dismayed by the complicated and defiant directives in his will. Tommy knew Morty for more than four decades, since meeting him in a Manhattan playground when she was twelve and he was working on sketches for the book that would make him a star. By the end of his increasingly reclusive life, she found herself living in his house as confidante and helpmeet, witness not just to his daily routines but to the emotional fallout of his strange boyhood and his volatile relationship with a lover who died of AIDS. Now Tommy must try to honor Morty’s last wishes while grappling with their effects on several people, including Dani Daulair, her estranged brother; Meredith Galarza, the lonely, outraged museum curator to whom Lear once promised his artistic estate; and Nicholas Greene, the beguiling British actor cast to play Mort Lear in a movie.
When the actor arrives for the visit he had previously arranged with the man he is to portray, he and Tommy are compelled to look more closely at Morty’s past and the consequences of the choices they now face, both separately and together. Morty, as it turns out, made a confession to Greene that undermines much of what Tommy believed she knew about her boss–and about herself. As she contemplates a future without him, her unlikely alliance with Greene–and the loyalty they share toward the man whose legacy they hold in their hands–will lead to surprising upheavals in their wider relationships, their careers, and even their search for love.
by Gail Godwin [Godwin]
After his mother’s death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she’d moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.
The islanders call it “Grief Cottage,” because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.
The Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse
by H.R. Trevor-Roper [B B127t]
The story of one of the most outrageous confidence tricksters of the twentieth century, Sir Edmund Blackhouse.