This is a new historical fiction book, on shelves July 11. If it sounds like a book you want to read, message us and we will make sure to order and put one on hold for you.
This book tells the story of a group of artists during World War II. The story depicts the characters’ struggles, losses, and wins. Even though the book is historical fiction, the author bases her story around real artists of that time, including the main character.
The artists’ lives are forever changed by war, and this unique story shines light on the trying times for artists, and the challenges they faced to save their art, as well as, create. They are forced to flee their home areas as their lives are upheaved due to war.
The evolution of the main character is a transformative journey, and the reader is a vicarious traveller. The story is inspirational, and gripping from the first page. This book is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Jenny Patten
This was an amazing book. One of the things I love best about the genre, historical fiction, is that while I'm immersed in escapism, I am also on a learning journey. I have only heard of the dust bowl, I knew nothing about it. It's odd, really. It was a pretty major event in our country's history, and yet no one talks about it. I certainly don't remember hearing about it in school.
This book chronicles one woman's journey through her adult life, focusing on living through the dust bowl and the Great Depression. I was shocked to learn of this whole new group of people that were ridiculed, discriminated against and just overall treated so poorly. It never ceases to amaze me. But this group seemed different to me than all the other groups we've managed to marginalize throughout our country's history, for this group was not discriminated against for their skin color, national origin, or religion. They were discriminated against because of a catastrophic situation they endured because of where they lived - right here in this country. I suppose there have been other instances of this - with displacement due to hurricanes etc. But the scale on which this occurred was mind-blowing.
If I had to boil down the themes of this book, I would say grit and greed. I say grit because the families that moved West had to have grit to survive. Like always, I find myself wrapped up in the characters personally, wondering what I would have done. I'm not sure I could have survived as long as they did under the horrendous conditions. And I say greed because that's where the discrimination stemmed from - both the greed of the people who were worried about all the migrants moving in to their territory and the greed of the big "corporate" farmers - who cared about nothing except profits. Not so different than today, I suppose. But reading about this piece of our nation's history for the first time was incredible. The book is really well written and I would highly recommend it!
Reviewed by Susan Buckmaster
Our first summer beach read review - on shelves June 6:
While reading this book I could picture what the island looked like, the smells of the bar and the sight of the ocean. Katie Bishop really paid close attention to details and how to really bring you into the book. It felt like I was reading about a group of friends that I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened. I read this book in 3 settings, the suspense in what happens next kept me hooked. Would recommend this book.
Review by Amanda Lainhart
March 18, 2023
This was the first book of Taylor Jenkins Reid that I read - which then prompted me to read Daisy Jones and the Six. and I'll definitely read more! If you like reading about peoples' lives and their thoughts and behaviors, Taylor does a great job of getting you into the character's life. And the thing she does best is write about strong-willed women.
Carrie is a retired professional tennis player who comes out of retirement to defend her titles against the younger and up-and-coming players.
This book is about a woman who knows what she wants and doesn't let anyone get in her way. At its core, I think it touches on many of the emotions that women experience throughout their lives and the walls that we put up to protect ourselves from the pain of those emotions.
I love the way Taylor writes and I'll definitely read more. It was an easy read and a book that I looked forward to returning to each evening.
Lady Tan Ynxian is a historical figure about whom very little information has been discovered. It is known that she lived in China during the Ming dynasty and that she published a book of her medical cases in 1511. From the few recorded facts available, Lisa See has crafted an engaging and memorable character. At eight years old, Yunxian is a curious and intelligent girl, the daughter of an upper-class family of fifteenth century China. When her father leaves on a long journey, she is sent with her father's concubine to her grandparents' home in Wuxi. Grandfather Ru is a respected scholar, and her Grandmother Ru is a well-known practitioner of traditional medicine who hopes to pass her extensive knowledge on to her granddaughter. Because doctors are not supposed to touch blood, she is often assisted by Midwife Shi whose daughter, Meiling, is just the same age as Yunxian. Despite the differences in their social and economic situations, the girls develop a bond that will last all their lives.
As a woman, Yunxian lives in the luxurious home of her husband's family while Meiling works as a midwife and helps in the family's tea shop. Their life-long friendship survives betrayal, grief, envy, and pride.
In spite of the enormous cultural differences between these women and the women of the 21st century, Lisa See is able to draw parallels that connect our two worlds. Then and now, in China and around the world, the gift of friendship among women is so vital and so valuable. As in the modern world, there were many women in this imagined world who tried to further their own situations by criticizing and undermining the women around them. Patient, gracious friendship helps each woman to succeed, and provides comfort and encouragement when things are difficult.
Lisa See also writes about the bond shared by everyone that occupies a female body. Over the span of our lives, women deal with bodies that change over the course of each month and over many years. As in the past, we are often defined and valued according to the attractiveness of our bodies or by the lack of what is considered to be attractive. We deal with pregnancy, childbirth, infertility, and diseases to which women are more prone.
This book is packed with interesting historical information about foot-binding, marriage customs, medical practices, social structure, and the justice system of the fifteenth-century China. Its main attraction, however, is its relevance to twenty-first century readers.
This book will be available June 6. It was an advanced readers copy, given to Jude Poulette. Jude graciously read the book and wrote this amazing summary and review for our readers.
The Change by Kirsten Miller was a compelling, fast-paced read that could fall into multiple genres – fantasy, magical realism, contemporary fiction, and even mystery – and somehow Miller makes it all work beautifully. Each character Miller created jumped off the page, and I found myself rooting for the three main characters (Nessa, Jo, and Harriett) every step of the way. Despite its length, I finished the novel in just a few sittings.
Book review submitted by Bridget Morgan, a grad student in Library Science at The University Kentucky. She is a long time Berea resident and reads around 300 books a year!
Non-Fiction: Body Mind
I've watched Joe Dispenza on the Gaia channel and I listen to his meditations. I think he is amazing. His books, however, always seemed a little overwhelming. When I found Becoming Supernatural on sale, I bought it. It sat on my bookshelf for a year. A couple of months ago, I found time to pick it up and start reading. Parts of it can be pretty deep and I have to read it a few times to grasp it. For me, the primary message is that we are beings made of energy. And through our thoughts we create energy that is cohesive or incohesive. This energy cohesiveness is directly linked to our health and happiness. Our thoughts are energy. Like attracts like. We are in control of our destiny.
I've read other books that have the same message and many are thought of to be "out there" And Joe Dispenza is probably thought to be "out there" by many as well. But he has science to back up what he's saying. And everything he says makes sense to me.
This is a great read. It's pretty dense at times. But if you believe that we were all given the innate ability to create our own destiny and to take control of our physical and mental health and well-being, then read the book.
Loves reading. Loves learning.