Book Passage President Elaine Petrocelli selects her favorite new books and provides a review about her selections in each issue of the Book Passage News & Reviews.
These books are also displayed in each branch of the Bank of Marin, as part of the program Partnership for Literacy sponsored by Book Passage and Bank of Marin. Visit any branch of the bank to find out more about this program.
Medger, Kentucky is a town that has been supported and then ruined by coal. Kevin and his mother are devastated. Kevin’s baby brother has died and his father blames Kevin. Fortunately, Kevin’s grandfather takes Kevin under his wing and shows him that he can be strong. Scotton brings us wonderful complex characters including a brave hair dresser who stands up against the coal company’s removal of the mountaintops. You’ll be thinking about this book for a long time.
It’s 1985 and Addie Baum is in her eighties. When her granddaughter asks how she became the woman that she is today, Addie says it’s because she lived a fascinating life. She tells her dear granddaughter how a reading club she joined in 1915 led to life-long friendships. She speaks of World War I, of the killer flu, of women’s suffrage and of her own decision to have a career. This feisty, funny, and determined woman brings the early 20th century into sharp focus. Some signed first editions.
Sybilla, a fourteen year old African America child is missing. When found, it’s clear she is the victim of horrible racial and sexual violence. The New Jersey town that has been simmering with racial tension erupts. The case becomes a media sensation. The case, which may remind you of a real situation, is explored through a variety of voices including politicians, police, media, and the citizens. Some signed first editions.
Harrison’s darkly comic mystery is set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Detective Sunderson has moved to a remote cabin to get away from his family and to heal. Instead he is soon trying to unravel the murder of a young woman. His new neighbors include a gang of very well armed outlaws who are terrorizing the citizens and intimidating those who should be protecting them. When his brother shows up wanting help with a crime novel, Sunderson wonders if it’s really fiction. Read this page turner and find out.
A young bride is about to leave Calcutta to join her husband who is completing his PhD in Illinois, when she comes across a shocking letter to her husband from a man. Years later, when their son finds the letter, he assumes it was written to his mother. In 12 perfectly contained chapters, we travel with this family to India and the USA and we see what they try to hide from each other. Some signed first editions.
Alice and her husband Jake have given up their dream of becoming parents. They throw themselves into making a success of their Austin barbecue restaurant. When her grandmother dies, Carla, a 10 year old girl in Honduras, decides she has to get away from the poverty and brutal crime. She’s determined to bring her little brother to Texas where their mom has been working and sending what she can to her fami- ly. The journey is harrowing and then, and as these two families lives intersect, this timely novel becomes profound. Some signed first editions.
Jane Whitefield is determined to remain the anonymous wife of a surgeon but when eight women representing each of the Seneca clans approach her, she has to listen. They ask her to find her childhood friend, Jimmy, who is wanted for murder. Jane’s specialty is hiding people, but now she must find Jimmy. When she does, she learns that the man he is accused of killing was working with mobsters and now both the mob and the police are after Jimmy. Have fun with this thrilling page turner and in the process, you might learn how to disappear if you need to. Some signed first editions.
Today, eleven year old Will is going outside. His mother, once an acclaimed filmmaker, has kept Will inside with her for years. Everything they need is ordered in. The rooms in their rambling house are named after places they don’t go. The kitchen is Paris, the basement is Toronto. When Will finally sneaks outside he meets a boy, but then the boy disappears. Once he’s been out there, he must go again. Before long he’s insisting on going to school. He meets a boy who teaches him skateboarding and the two of them decide to look for a missing friend. Suddenly the danger Will’s mother always feared for her son is real. Told alternately by Will and his mother, this first novel is mesmerizing.
Between the elephant attacks on their first date and the malaria at their wedding, Alexandra Fuller and her now ex-husband didn’t have an easy start. They left Zambia and moved to Wyoming where they were raising their 3 children. But the already shaky marriage couldn’t withstand the 2008 financial crisis. With her dry wit and openness, Fuller takes us back to the Africa of her childhood and brings us even more insight into her strange family and the intense beauty of Africa. Some signed first editions.
Pell was in her late sixties, the veteran of failed marriages and disappointing involvements, when she found new love with Sam Hirabayashi, a fellow runner who was in his late seventies. Along with her own experience, this outstanding investigative journalist brings us the mature love stories of 14 couples. Whether they had married before, had never had a committed relationship, met online or at a high school reunion, all bring us new perspective on our country’s fast growing dating demographic—people over sixty. Some signed first editions.
As a Peace Corps volunteer in 1955, Meyer fell in love with a Chinese woman inspite of the fact that even dating the Chinese was forbidden. After he and his wife married and came to the US, he returned to Wasteland, the village in Manchuria, to teach middle school English. Now families who have been rice farmers for centuries are moved to cinder block apartments so that agribusiness can control their land. With humor and depth and terrific characters, Meyer’s brings us an important book on today’s China. Some signed first editions.
At last, a new Nick Hornby novel! Welcome to the 1960’s in Blackpool where Barbara Parker is fascinated with Lucille Ball’s I Love Lucy. When Barbara wins a beauty contest, she realizes that being a local beauty queen is a trip to nowhere and instead she goes to London where she learns she’s not really as remarkable as she seemed in Blackpool. Barbara does make it onto a TV show and she even meets Lucy. Her description of meeting the actress is delicious. With his perfect timing, often subtle and frequently laugh out loud humor, and his deep insight into a fabulous cast of characters, Hornby shows us that Funny Girl was well worth our wait. Some signed first editions.
It’s 1914, but Inspector Rutledge isn’t thinking about the war that is about to begin. He’s just become engaged and now he’s investigating the murder of a Dorset furniture maker with no known enemies who has been found hanging from a staircase. Soon there are more deaths. As this thriller unfolds, Rutledge has to choose between his duties to Scotland Yard and his patriotism. Charles Todd is a mother and son team who write with such clarity that it’s impossible to know who wrote which parts of their novels. Some signed first editions.