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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The Revolution of the Moon

by Andrea Camilleri (2013) Many of us know Andrea Camilleri as the creator of the beloved Inspector Montalbano series of books and films. A few years ago, he discovered a little-known fact involving the Spanish Viceroy of Sicily in 1677 that was so shocking and unusual, it grabbed his imagination. This book is based on the few known facts which...

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A Bookshop in Berlin

by Francoise Frenkel (Atria Books Translation December 2019) Many booklovers regularly scour bookstores and book sales for rare books or books with special personal meaning. In 2010, an unknown person found a 1945 French memoir at a charity jumble sale in Nice, France. Translated from French, the title was No Place to Lay One’s Head. In recent...

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