What Should I Read Next?
The Bookseller by Mark Pryor

#4 in our new regular feature that offers up staff-selected recommendations for your consideration.
bookseller
Are you in to mysteries? Are you always on the lookout for a new series? With a handsome detective…and romantic settings? I just read the first Hugo Marston novel, The Bookseller by Mark Pryor and I loved it. Taking place in Paris (what could be bad with that?) Hugo works for the US Embassy in security but his other interests lead to murder, romance, intrigue and more. Whether walking the streets of Paris or at dinner parties at a Counts’ house, Hugo and his cohorts kept the story going to the very end. And there are more Hugo Marston novels. I asked our librarian, Mandy Richards to inter-library loan (ILL), the next book for me and I can’t wait to read it. I wonder where Hugo will be taking me next?

What Should I Read Next?
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Here’s the second entry in our new regular feature that will offer up some staff selected recommendations on books for you to consider.

I always look forward to a new book from Ann Patchett. Since reading Bel Canto and State of Wonder she has become a favorite author of mine. So needless to say that when I noticed a new book coming I put my name on the request list. And it didn’t disappoint: Commonwealth is a wonderful book.commonwealth

Commonwealth is the story of a kiss, a look in the eye, a parting of ways, and a life time of family. What happens to the family, over five decades, is the story and each character has a chance to explain their part. But whose story is it to tell? And, if you decide to tell the story, might you make others angry? These two families, divided or together, share a bond that is both fascinating and illuminating

Can I recommend this book? Yes, I can! And I am looking forward to the next book from Ann Patchett.

Nancy Kipping

Hello, Old Friend…

 

I’m talking about you, Willa Cather. Willa Cather Aren’t you the one who said, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles?” And wasn’t it H. L. Mencken who said about you that, “no romantic novel ever written in America, by man or woman, is one half so beautiful as My Antonia.” She may be a bit old fashioned to read, not unlike Edna Ferber or Sinclair Lewis (have you read Dodsworth lately, or ever?); but reading these books are a real treat. They are a cool read for a Summer afternoon.

Such stories seem anachronistic in present-day America, but the monumental rigors of pioneer life are still a vivid memory for many on the Plains. Willa Cather’s My Antonia is about the hardy people who risked their lives and fortunes in a harsh new land; Cather had the great good fortune to have lived among the first generation of white settlers in 1880s Nebraska, and she gives witness to their time and place in such a way that American literature will never forget them.

My Antonia, following O Pioneers (1913) and The Song of the Lark (1915), completes the trilogy of Cather’s best-known Nebraska novels. Critic H. L. Mencken thought My Antonia to be the most accomplished and, reviewing it in 1919, shortly after it was published, he wrote, “her style has lost self-consciousness; her feeling for form has become instinctive. And she has got such a grip upon her materials… I know of no novel that makes the remote folk of the Western prairies more real… and I know of none that makes them seem better worth knowing.”

From GOODREADS: Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley, Virgina (Gore) in December 7, 1873. Her novels on frontier life brought her to national recognition. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, One of Ours (1922), set during World War I. She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing an article for the Nebraska State Journal, she became a regular contributor to this journal.

Because of this, she changed her major and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. After graduation in 1894, she worked in Pittsburgh as writer for various publications and as a school teacher for approximately 13 years, thereafter moving to New York City for the remainder of her life. She traveled widely and often spent summers in New Brunswick, Canada. In later life, she experienced much negative criticism for her conservative politics and became reclusive, burning some of her letters and personal papers, including her last manuscript. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1943. In 1944, Cather received the gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an award given once a decade for an author’s total accomplishments. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 73 in New York City.

My favorite is O Pioneers, although I do enjoy reading, and rereading, My Antonia. Perhaps you would like to give my old friend a try. I hop you like it. And don’t foget, I have lots of old friends. Just ask me about them.