The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin

The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin

The Janissary Tree

by Jason Goodwin

The Library Book Club meeting for this book will be March 8, 2018, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies will be available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

The year is 1836. Europe is modernizing, and the sultan of the Ottoman Empire feels he has no choice but to follow suit. But just as he’s poised to announce sweeping political change, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind the killings?

Deep in the Abode of Felicity, the most forbidden district of Topkapi Palace, the sultan – ruler of the Black Sea and the White, ruler of Rumelia and Mingrelia, lord of Anatolia and Ionia, Romania and Macedonia, Protector of the Holy Cities, steely rider through the realms of bliss – announces, “Send for Yashim.” Leading us through the palace’s luxurious seraglios and Istanbul’s teeming streets, Yashim places together the clues.

He is not alone. He depends on the wisdom of a dyspeptic Polish ambassador, a transsexual dancer, and the Creole-born queen mother. He manages to find sweet salvation in the arms of another man’s wife (this is not your everyday eunuch!). And he introduces us to the Janissaries.

For four hundred years, they were the empire’s elite soldiers. But they grew too powerful, and ten years earlier the sultan had them crushed. Are the Janissaries staging a brutal comeback? And if they are, how can they be stopped without throwing Istanbul into political chaos?

book 1 in the Yashim the Eunuch series

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Bekka rated it ★★★★ and said “This took me a little while to get into it, but I ended up liking it quite a bit. The mystery was well done, and the exotic locale is quite fun.”

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912, by Lauren Tarshis

The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912, by Lauren Tarshis

The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912

by Lauren Tarshis

The Books for Boys Book Club meeting for this book was held April 12, 2018, at 6:30 in the Community Room.

Book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

The most terrifying events in history are brought vividly to life in this new fictional series! In book 1, ten-year-old George is trapped on the Titanic — how will he survive?

Ten-year-old George Calder can’t believe his luck — he and his little sister, Phoebe, are on the famous Titanic, crossing the ocean with their Aunt Daisy. The ship is full of exciting places to explore, but when George ventures into the first class storage cabin, a terrible boom shakes the entire boat. Suddenly, water is everywhere, and George’s life changes forever.

Lauren Tarshis brings history’s most exciting and terrifying events to life in this new fictional series. Readers will be transported by stories of amazing kids and how they survived!

book 1 in the I Survived series

Samurai Kids: White Crane by Sandy Fussell

Samurai Kids: White Crane by Sandy Fussell

Samurai Kids: White Crane

by Sandy Fussell

The Books for Boys meeting for this book was held November 9, 2018, at 6:30 in the Community Room.

Book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

Niya Moto is the only one-legged Samurai kid in Japan, famous for falling flat on his face in the dirt. The one school that will accept him is the Cockroach Ryu, led by the legendary sensei Ki-Yaga. He may be an old man overly fond of naps, but Ki-Yaga is also known for taking in kids that the world has judged harshly: an albino girl with extra fingers and toes, a boy who is blind, a big kid whose past makes his loath to fight. A warrior in his time, Ki-Yaga demands excellence in everything from sword-fighting to poetry. But can the rag-tag Cockroaches make the treacherous journey to the Samurai Trainee Games, never mind take on the all-conquering Dragons? In a fast-moving, action-filled tale that draws on true details of feudal Japan, Niya finds there’s no fear they can’t face as long as they stick together – for their friendship is more powerful than a samurai sword.

book 1 in the Samurai Kids series

Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets by Patricia Clark Smith

Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets by Patricia Clark Smith

Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets

by Patricia Clark Smith

The Mother Daughter Book Club meeting for this book was held November 16, 2017, at 6:30 in the Community Room.

Book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

It is 1654 in New England, native land of Algonquin tribes, among them the Pocasset, Wampanoag, and Narrangansett people. The pilgrims have settled here in the natives’ territory at Patuxit, a place the Pilgrims renamed Plymouth. Weetamoo’s father, Corbitant, is chief of the Pocassets. He is mistrustful of the colonists and imparts his beliefs about them to his daughter, who is next in line to become chief. Weetamoo must learn the fundamental values and disciplines of a true Pocasset chief.

“The Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey

“The Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time

by Josephine Tey

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held Thursday, July 13th, 2017, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to a heinous villain — a king who killed his brother’s children to secure his crown? Grant seeks what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War that Saved My Life

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.

Newbery Honor book in 2016

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said “Really beautiful book! A tragic, but ultimately triumphant, story. Ada is a great heroine!”

Cathy rated it ★★★★ and said, “I adore this book both for the story it tells and the stories it doesn’t. The story it tells of crippled Ada, her abusive mother, and her and her brother’s redemption by semi-reclusive Susan during a harrowing war is wonderfully told. The stories hinted at could have been quickly outlined, but were given just enough form to leave me asking, ‘What made her mother into this cruel monster?’ ‘What happened between Susan and her family?’ ‘Will they be able to survive the dangers and hard times ahead?’ I’m enjoying flushing out these other stories in my mind. And in truth, they are other stories. Spelling out the details would only have detracted from Ada’s tale, and Ada’s tale needs no help. It can stand on it’s own, as can she.”

Miranda rated it ★★★★ and said, “When I think about WWII, I think about concentration camps, Pearl Harbor, and the Holocaust. This book brought light to another part of the war, and specifically to a young brother and sister living on the edge of society. I felt much for Ada and her brother and all of the issues they faced. It was interesting to see how the author portrayed their emotional baggage and the ways that it affected them and how they coped. I can see how this can be a great read for older tweens, but I don’t think that younger kids will be able to pick up on all of the subtleties and exactly what they were going through.”

Lorna rated it ★★★★ and said, “4 1/2 stars. I loved the 1st person narrative and the way it brought out Ada’s vulnerability and fragileness, yet her courage and determination shine through. It was a high interest story and the chapters just melted into one another as I wanted to just keep going with it. The ending was a tad over the top with sentimentality but it was uplifting and poignant.”

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

The Library Book Club meeting for this book will be Thursday, November 16, 2017, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

Book club reading copies will be available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2015

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Lorna rated it ★★★★★ and said, “Yes. Finally. I’ve been waiting for a book like this. Everything was so good – the writing, characters, the story, the sense of time and place – it was all good. The author’s approach is both scientific yet poetic. The book moves at the pace of a thriller yet I wanted to take my time reading it because each paragraph is so beautiful.”

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said, “This really was a good book, and one that stays with you after you’ve read it. It is a bit slow, in spite of the very short chapters, but its a very lyrical kind of slowness that allows you a chance to really get to know the characters and their world. All the characters were very well drawn, with no stereotypes to be found – not an easy thing to do when writing about the Nazis. This does have some definite teen cross-over appeal, since the two main characters are both older teens, but there are some harsh moments and some real heartbreaks. Its hard to even try and describe the writing style, which is literary without being difficult to read. Again, “lyrical” is the word that seems to fit, even when the author is telling us about some horrible things. The going back and forth between the characters and in time was very well done and not at all confusing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and Highly Recommend it. And, hey, he’s an Idaho author!”

Cathy rated it ★★★★★ and said, “Lyrical, gripping, haunting, and absolutely, stunningly beautiful.”

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi

A Break With Charity: A Story About the Salem Witch Trials

by Ann Rinaldi

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held October 20, 2016, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

Susanna desperately wants to join the circle of girls who meet every week at the parsonage. What she doesn’t realize is that the girls are about to set off a torrent of false accusations leading to the imprisonment and execution of countless innocent people. Susanna faces a painful choice. Should she keep quiet and let the witch-hunt panic continue, or should she “break charity” with the group–and risk having her own family members named as witches?

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Miranda rated it ★★★★★.

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

by Timothy Egan

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held September 15, 2016, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan’s critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, Egan does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, “the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect” (New York Times).

In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature.

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