Castro Valley Library


Good reads this past year by library1.5
Thursday, December 31, 2009, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Books, Libraries

We have the technology, we have DVD’s, books and music on CD and e-books to download, but our biggest checkout activity is still print books. The Christian Science Monitor recently posed the idea that it might be the last decade for the dominance of printed books as the e-book readers like Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader gain in popularity.
Electronic or paper, it’s still the stories that pull many of us into the Library, and here are a few of my favorites from this past year:

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Kite Runner meets Grey’s Anatomy in this dramatic saga of two men born in India who become doctors, one in the U.S., one in Ethiopia. It’s epic in scale but touching and intimate with wonderfully memorable characters to care about. The author is a physician at Stanford Hospital.

City Of Thieves by David Benioff. Until I read this book, World War II’s Siege of Leningrad was mostly a statistic from a history book to me. This short novel (under 300 pages) tells the story of two young Russian soldiers on a mission behind German lines in the harsh winter landscape. A great buddy story, a great war story, with cinematic descriptions. (The author is a screen writer with 25th Hour and Kite Runner among his credits)

Half Broke Horses: a True Life Novel, by Jeanette Walls. Until James Frey blurred the lines between memoir and novel, this one might have been called non-fiction. It is the fictionalized story of Walls’ grandmother Lily, who became a teacher at age 15, in a remote southwest frontier town she reaches after a solo 28-day horseback ride. Lily is a spirited heroine, fiercely outspoken against hypocrisy and prejudice, a rodeo rider and breaker of horses, and a ruthless poker player. It’s one of those heartwarming stories about indomitable women. If you like Walls’ Glass Castle, you’ll find this a delight!

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Anne Barrows. Yet another look at WWII from a lesser known perspective. The story unfolds in letters from our newspaper columnist heroine, after the war ends, to citizens on the isle of Guernsey which was occupied by the Germans during the war. With the enemy just a stone’s throw from British soil, it was a harrowing time that took a mix of courage and guile to survive.

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton. I know they are formulaic and good for a quick read, but this one rises above her most recent entries in the ABC mysteries. Kinsey follows a case that involves a decade old kidnapping that leads to suspects that she knew in high school. It’s like when you have a friend over for dinner and you take up where you left off last time. I thought it was a satisfying read.
dk/12/31/2009
Happy New Year

Let’s hear your favorites!

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’ll have to add those onto my to-read list. I liked Eat, Pray, Love. I think they’re making the movie too.

Comment by joyceandnorm

If you’re into Zombies one of the best books around is “World War Z” by Max Brooks. Each chapter is a piece of the war story told by different characters in the book. Some chapters are continuations of previous chapters. The library also has a copy of this book on CD, but it is abridged.

“Patient Zero” by Jonathan Maberry is another zombie story. If you like gun fights, and medical mysteries with zombies thrown in, this is the book for you. Think of zombies as a biological terror weapon!

Comment by Danielle Kirchner




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