HONORING BOOK WORLD PASSINGS

HONORING BOOK WORLD PASSINGS February 2021 This month I’m deviating from my usual book review to honor two special people in the book world who passed away recently.  One was a famous author known throughout the world.  The other was a bookseller none of us here have heard of, but whose story reflects the courage and commitment sometimes needed...

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BECOMING by Michelle Obama

BECOMING by Michelle Obama (2018) January 2021 Young Michelle Robinson had carefully planned her life:  good education, career, home ownership, children.  While she did achieve those goals, it was done in a way that she never could have imagined in her wildest dreams.  In fact, her life took a path that wouldn’t even have been available to her...

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THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS

THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS by Jodi Picoult (2020) December 2020 We finally made it to the last month of 2020, a year that has seemed like a decade with all its changes and upheavals.  As we take time to reflect upon what we did and what remains to be done before 2020 ends, we should also look ahead to contemplate what we want to accomplish in 2021. ...

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The Butterfly’s Daughter

THE BUTTERFLY’S DAUGHTER by Mary Alice Monroe (2011) November 2020 It’s November!  That means our beloved monarch butterflies are returning to the Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove on their annual wintering pilgrimage.  Thousands of visitors come to the Grove to enjoy their beauty every year from November to February.  No one can truly explain their...

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Little Fires Everywhere

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng (2017) October 2020 I intended to read this very popular book long ago, but never could find a copy available when I was in the mood for it.  Now, though, with monumental fires burning in the West and smoke everywhere…what could be more timely than Ng’s second book?  I can tell you it was worth the wait. In...

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A Long Petal of the Sea

by Isabel Allende (2020) “A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exiles, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.” I cannot disagree with this assessment from the cover of this book. Isabel Allende has been a popular writer for decades, and has even been named the most widely read South...

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THE PASHA OF CUISINE

by Saygin Ersin (2016); English translation 2018 I suspect you’re as bored as I am with our current restrictions and news which never seems to improve. We need to ESCAPE, if only for a few hours, to another place and time. I can help you with that. We’re going to the Ottoman Empire of earlier centuries to follow a young man in his quest for love...

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STAMPED: RACISM, ANTIRACISM, AND YOU

by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (2020) For the past several months, technology and various media forms have revealed much to Americans about racism and racist incidents. I think many Americans are bewildered by recent events because they haven’t had (or taken) opportunities to interact with people of other races and cultures or to learn...

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On Gold Mountain by Lisa See

Years before “finding our roots” became popular, Lisa See wrote this book subtitled “The One-Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family.” While she didn’t have the plethora of online information that’s available today for such projects, she had something better: multiple family members still alive to tell her this remarkable tale of a...

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VILLAGE SCHOOL

 by Miss Read (1955) In times of stress, confusion, and disruption of our daily routines, resorting to our favorite foods, familiar places, or people can help to center us, just as a beloved book or author can. The prolific “Miss Read” wrote numerous books over a 40-year period in her two most popular series: Fairacre and Thrush Green. Village...

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