We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman

We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman

We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler

by Russell Freedman

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.”

Eleni by Nicholas Gage

Eleni by Nicholas Gage

Eleni

by Nicholas Gage

In 1948, as civil war ravaged Greece, children were abducted and sent to communist “camps” inside the Iron Curtain. Eleni Gatzoyiannis, forty-one, defied the traditions of her small village and the terror of the communist insurgents to arrange for the escape of her three daughters and her son, Nicola. For that act, she was imprisoned, tortured, and executed in cold blood.

Nicholas Gage joined his father in Massachusetts at the age of nine and grew up to become a top New York Times investigative reporter, honing his skills with one thought in mind: to return to Greece and uncover the one story he cared about most: the story of his mother.

Eleni takes you into the heart a village destroyed in the name of ideals and into the soul of a truly heroic woman.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

by Daniel James Brown

For readers of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled  by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.

Triumph by Jeremy Schaap

Triumph by Jeremy Schaap

Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics

by Jeremy Schaap

From the ESPN national correspondent and author of the New York Times bestseller Cinderella Man comes the remarkable behind-the-scenes story of a defining moment in sports and world history.

In 1936, against a backdrop of swastikas flying and of storm troopers goose-stepping, an African-American son of sharecroppers won a staggering four Olympic gold medals and single-handedly crushed Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy. The story of Jesse Owens at the 1936 games is that of a high-profile athlete giving a performance that transcends sports. But it is also the intimate and complex tale of the courage of one remarkable man.

Drawing on unprecedented access to the Owens family, previously unpublished interviews, and exhaustive archival research, Jeremy Schaap transports us to Nazi Germany to weave this dramatic tale. From the start, American participation in the 1936 games was controversial. A boycott was afoot, based on reports of Nazi hostility to Jews, but was thwarted by the president of the American Olympic Committee, who dismissed the actions of the Third Reich as irrelevant. At the games themselves the subplots and intrigue continued: Owens was befriended by a German rival, broad jumper Luz Long, who, legend has it, helped Owens win the gold medal at his own expense. Two Jewish sprinters were denied the chance to compete for the United States at the last possible moment, most likely out of misguided deference to the Nazi hosts. And a myth was born that Hitler had snubbed Owens by failing to congratulate him.

With his trademark incisive reporting and rich storytelling gifts, Schaap reveals what really transpired over those tense, exhilarating few weeks some seventy years ago. In the end, Triumph is a triumph—a page-turning narrative that illuminates what happens when sports and the geopolitics collide on a world stage.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

by Ruta Sepetys

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Lorna rated it ★★★★ and said, “I, like many, did not know about the terrible genocide that occurred during the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States. Millions of people from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were deported to Siberia during Stalin’s cleansing of this area. Conditions were horrific. So it’s an important story, not only from the history standpoint, but also in love and hope.”

Bekka rated it ★★★★ and said, “This was a very powerful book. While not my favorite type of reading, the writing and suspense kept me hooked. I had a hard time putting it down. I didn’t find it as personally compelling as The Book Thief. However, it is an important story and one that has been largely overlooked by history.”

Miranda rated it ★★★★.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Library Book Club meeting for this book was held June 15, 2016.

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Bekka rated it ★★★★ and said, “This is a wonderful book! Told through a series of letters, we get to know the eccentric and brave people of Guernsey, and what they suffered through the German occupation of their island during World War II. Although there are some difficult places (anytime you’ve got Nazis you’ve got difficult passages), this is a real feel-good book. I grew to love Juliet and both her old and new friends. Highly Recommended!”

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

Lorna rated it ★★★★★ and said, “I enjoyed the book. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading it. I would highly recommend this book!”

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