Category Archives: Denise

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (2014)

inventionofwingsI loved everything about this book…the superbly-drawn, complex characters; the inspirational, and often intense, storylines of each character; and the wonderful setting descriptions that made me feel like I was there with the characters! The fact that this novel was based on real-life people makes it more powerful and unforgettable.

Set in Charleston during the early 1800s, the plot follows the life of two girls into adulthood, alternating the narration between the two. Sarah Grimke is the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, and Hetty is the young slave who is given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. They share a common goal – freedom! For Hetty, it is freedom from the bondages of slavery, and for Sarah, from the oppressive societal constraints on women. Sarah is vehemently against slavery, treating Hetty with respect, even secretly teaching her how to read, which was against the law at that time. Sarah becomes a strong activist in the abolitionist movement and civil rights for women. Hetty’s life is heartbreaking, yet inspiring in so many ways.

After I finished The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and did some research on Sarah Grimke to learn more about her real life.

Highly recommend this book!

Oxygen by Carol Cassella (2008)

oxygenThis medical thriller captivated me from the start, with fascinating, thought-provoking descriptions of an anesthesiologist’s role in the operating room. Author Carol Cassella, a practicing anesthesiologist herself, has created an absorbing story that starts with the tragic death of an 8-year old girl who dies during surgery. The story line focuses on the personal and legal effects on the anesthesiologist who is held responsible for her death. Oxygen contains a great combination of twists and turns, as well as issues involving love, family, reconciliation, and betrayal.

Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner (2014)

index.aspxThis is a fast-paced psychological suspense thriller, filled with many twists and turn. An added bonus is the interesting cast of characters, especially a woman who has an extremely rare genetic mutation wherein she cannot feel pain. This is an actual condition that I found fascinating to learn more about. Although there are some graphic, gory descriptions of the murder victims, I feel that these are outweighed by the interesting character studies and absorbing, edgy storyline. If you enjoy Fear Nothing, you can try other books in Lisa Gardner’s Detective D.D. Warren series.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain (2013)

In this fascinating and well-researched novel, Diane Chamberlain tackles many social issues, including the controversial, but real, subject of state-mandated sterilizations, known as the “Eugenics Sterilization Program” in North Carolina that took place from 1929 to 1974.

Necessaindex.aspxry Lies starts out briefly in present day, then flashes back to 1960, where we meet Jane, an idealistic young college graduate just starting out as a social worker for the NC Department of Public Welfare. The story and characters are made richer by the alternating narration between Jane, and Ivy, a 15-year old client of Jane’s from rural NC who lives and works on a tobacco farm.

The author vividly transports the reader into the 1960s through many well-developed and true-to-life characters and their heartrending stories and situations. I was so invested in each of the characters that I couldn’t put this book down, anxious to read how their lives would evolve.

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I just want to say that I loved how the story ends by returning us to present day.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (2010)

I loved this book! Beautiful writing, delightful characters, and charming setting…what more can you ask for? The story is heartwarming and sentimental without being maudlin; with a great mix of humor, warmth, and insightful pearls of wisdom.

The setting is 1960s Savannah, Georgia, and the colorful cast of characters brings to life the essence of “southern hospitality.” It’s one of those books that I didn’t want to end. I wish I had women in my life like the women in this book.

Checkout Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

 

 

Defending Jacob by William Landay (2012)

An unforgettable page-turner with surprising plot twists and well-developed, complex characters. Anyone who enjoys reading mysteries or legal thrillers will want to read this book. It takes you on a suspenseful and emotional roller coaster ride that touches on many family and social issues, and gives you a lot to think about. This would be a great choice for book clubs as well!

Check out Defending Jacob by William Landay.

 

Faith by Jennifer Haigh (2011)

I found the premise of this book intriguing. The backdrop for this story is the horrifying, headline-making sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests. The setting is Boston in 2002, when the Boston archdiocese was in the midst of this scandal. It relates how one priest’s family is torn apart when allegations are made against him. The story is narrated by the priest’s sister.

I was pulled into this family’s tragic situation from the start. The unexpected twists and turns kept me engrossed to the end. Throughout the book, the question remains: Is he guilty or innocent? Most importantly for me, each character is well-drawn and authentic.

Pick up a copy of Jennifer’s Haigh intriguing novel Faith.

I am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert (2007)

I listened to this book that I downloaded from eMediaLibrary. It’s narrated by the author, Stephen Colbert. If you enjoy his show, The Colbert Report, you will definitely enjoy this book.

Many laugh-out-loud, hysterical moments as he makes comments and observations about many topics, including family, faith, the media, race, etc… in his right-wing, “serious,” completely tongue in cheek, biting manner.

Check the catalog for I am American (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert.

 

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern (2010)

I downloaded this audiobook from eMediaLibrary. I thought it was hilarious! Halpern is a guy in his late twenties who moved back in with his parents after his girlfriend broke up with him. He decided to start a Twitter page relating his father’s “words of wisdom,” after encouragement from friends who thought they were hysterical. The Twitter page became so popular that he turned it into this book.

He relates stories from his childhood to adulthood, always including his father’s commentary, which is often irreverent, sometimes thought-provoking, and always funny

Disclaimer: Much of this book is strewn with profanity, so may not be appropriate for everyone.

Check the catalog to see if Sh*t My Dad Says is available.