And Then You Die by Iris Johansen (1998)
This thriller grabbed me immediately and kept me on the run with Bess Grady, a photojournalist who comes upon a horrifying site in a Mexican village. Would she, her sister, and a man she must trust against her better judgment escape each new dangerous situation? This page turner pulls plot ideas from headline events and shows some frightening possibilities that could come to pass.
Enchantment: the life of Audrey Hepburn by Donald Spoto (2006)
I enjoyed listening to this intelligent and respectful biography of the elegant actress who charmed us with performances in many classic movies, including her first US film, Roman Holiday, for which she won an Oscar (watch her acceptance speech). We learn about her difficult life during WWII, and there is the expected “dish” about her romantic life, but it doesn’t come across as a tell-all. My only complaint: the narrative moves too quickly through the important work she did with UNICEF and the illness that took her life.
A Dance for Emilia by Peter Beagle (2000)
Part fantasy, part study of male friendship, and part story of dreams fulfilled, this one’s a well-written charmer.
Conversations with a Prince: A Year of Riding at East Hill Farm by Helen Husher (2005)
Insightful, honest and touching, this tale of a woman who resumes horseback riding lessons in her middle years brings out many of life’s truths. The author has penned a book with broader appeal than you might guess based on the subject matter.
An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabigina (2006)
Paul Rusesabagina, in powerfully simple prose and with the effective use of repetition, recounts the background and horrific facts of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, including how he sheltered—and thus saved–1200 of the Tutsi people. Don Cheadle played Rusesabagina in the motion picture Hotel Rwanda. I listened to the CD of this and highly recommend it.
Listen to an interview with Rusesabagina and hear an excerpt from the book at NPR.
Loud and Clear by Anna Quindlen (2004)
I have only recently “discovered” the Pulitzer Prize-winning Quindlen. A gifted cultural interpreter, as shown in these essays culled primarily from the New York Times and Newsweek, she gets to the heart of the matter–she articulates the truths– of the contemporary social and political scene. Enjoy—whether you agree or not!
Quindlen provides a collection of her Newsweek and New York Times columns offering her opinions and insights into social issues of the day. She divides the book into themes: heart, mind, soul, voice and body. I listened to it on CD and loved it!
Beautiful Dreamer by Elizabeth Lowell (2001)
Set in the drought-stricken Nevada ranchlands, this contemporary romance has intelligent, sensitive characters about whom a reader can care. Lowell has written an evocative story about a self-reliant heroine and a strong, silent hero, with some fascinating geological description, and just a touch of the mystical.