Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

Widow of the South by Robert Hicks (2005)
Carrie McGavock has her plantation home turned into a hospital during the Battle of Franklin. When the field of battle might be plowed under for planting, Carrie turns her own yard into a cemetery for the re-burial of the dead.

The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill

The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill (2004)
If you’re looking for something a little different in the mystery genre, try this! Interesting locale, great characters and an intriguing mystery make this a good book.

This novel takes place in 1976 in Laos. The royal family has been deposed, the professional classes have fled and the communists have taken over, and Dr. Siri Paiboun has just been appointed state coroner for the Laos People’s Democratic Republic. The 72-year-old Siri has got the coroner’s job because he’s the only doctor left in Laos. But when the wife of a Party leader is found dead and the bodies of tortured Vietnamese soldiers surface on a Laotian lake, all eyes turn to the new coroner and his small staff to figure things out. Siri looks to old friends, consults tribal shamans, and uses forensic deduction to figure out what’s going on.

Listen to an NPR interview with the author where he discusses the unique setting for the novel and how that affected his main character.

The Serpent’s Daughter by Suzanne Arruda

The Serpent’s Daughter: A Jade del Cameron Mystery by Suzanne Arruda (2008)
This is the third entry in the Jade del Cameron mysteries. Jade grew up on a ranch in New Mexico and served as an ambulance driver during WWI. Her abilities to survive in extreme circumstances serve her well as her adventures take her to Colonial East Africa. In The Mark of the Lion, she searches for the murderer of her dead fiancé’s father and in Stalking Ivory, she tracks down elephant poachers. Her latest adventure takes her to Morocco where she is to meet her mother before heading off to Spain to buy a stallion for the family ranch. When Jade’s mother is kidnapped, Jade chases after Tangier to Marrakesh. These charming books are part mystery, part Saturday afternoon matinee adventure.

Check out the author's blog for information on Jade and the time period in which she lives.

700 Sundays by Billy Crystal

700 Sundays by Billy Crystal (2005)
In great storyteller fashion, Billy Crystal gives us an entertaining story of his quirky life with his family and reveals his sometimes complex relationship with his Dad. Dad worked two jobs and died early but Crystal is glad he got those “700 Sundays” with him.

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke (2007)
James Lee Burke writes with a gritty style, using characters, settings, and issues from the underbelly of southern Louisiana. In his latest book, Burke starts with the premise that Hurricane Katrina damaged New Orleans more than the bomb that struck Hiroshima. Burke manipulates the plot to include events before, during, and after Katrina. His words ring true.

Dave Robicheaux is a compassionate cop who is sucked into the vortex of a Katrina style “blowdown.” Murders, drugs, in your face evil, graphic language, and down home characters – good and bad – confront readers with the historical, world class disaster we call Katrina. In this novel, Burke does a world class job.

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

The Innocent Man by John Grisham (2006)
This is John Grisham’s only nonfiction book and proves he can still write a good story. This well-researched book tells the gripping story of Ron Williamson, ex-baseball hero of Ada, Oklahoma, and how injustice lands him on death row and on the brink of being put to death. This book reads like fiction.

Tell us what you think! Join us on Wednesday, February 27 at 7:30 for a librarian-led discussion of The Innocent Man.

City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin

City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin (2006)
The mysterious origins of Anna Anderson, who for sixty years proclaimed herself Anastasia, only survivor of the massacre of Czar Nicholas II’s family, are entwined with the rise of the Nazi party in 1920s and 1930s Berlin.

Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells

Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells (2000)
Meely LaBauve is a fifteen-year-old Cajun boy living in the swamps of 1960s Louisiana. His mother long dead and his father often away hunting gators, Meely is left to his own devices to feed himself and go to school when he wishes. When a school bully, Junior Guidry, decides to teach Meely a lesson, it takes Meely, his pa and the friends he didn’t know he had to outwit Junior and his crooked cop uncle, and triumph before the judge. This coming-of-age novel is reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn and has a fine ear for dialect and some laugh-out-loud moments. You will root for Meely.

Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox

Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox (2002)
This book shows a Michael J. Fox you don’t know. Fox was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but took his charismatic personality to Hollywood and almost destroyed himself in the process. Even after early onset Parkinson’s disease, he still considers himself a "lucky man." Read it and see why.

All the Way Home by Ann Tatlock

All the Way Home by Ann Tatlock (2002) This is the story of a young girl who finds a friend and a family with the Japanese American Hatsunes; however, they lose touch when World War II breaks out and the Hatsunes are interned. Years later she is reunited with her friend while working for the civil rights movement. The story is a clever juxtaposition of the social issues—the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and the incarceration of Japanese Americans in the 1940s.

The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson

The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson (2007)
This nonfiction book is a snapshot of the summer of 1911. That summer, Kaiser Wilhelm comes to the coronation of his cousin George V, as King of England. The upper classes were indulging in balls and love affairs and the working classes were becoming increasingly disgruntled. A surprisingly quick and entertaining read.

Considering Doris Day by Tom Santopietro

Considering Doris Day by Tom Santopietro (2007)
Author Santopietro might have called his book Re-Considering Doris Day since his premise is that the signer/actress has gotten a bum rap as a goody-goody. His book, besides giving some biographical information, gives an enjoyable evaluation of each of Day’s movies, albums, and TV series and specials. In his view, Day was an energetic, sexy actress who deserves another viewing. I went back and watched or re-watched several of her movies, and would especially recommend Pillow Talk and Teacher’s Pet.

Don’t forget to check out the other Doris Day movies we have at the library.

The Legend of Fire Horse Woman by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

The Legend of Fire Horse Woman by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston (2003)
Sayo, born under the disastrous sign of the Fire Horse, comes to California from Japan for an arranged marriage and years later during World War II is imprisoned with her family in a Japanese internment camp. A story which skillfully re-creates the limitations and loneliness of life in the Manzanar camp.

The March by E. L. Doctorow

The March by E. L. Doctorow (2005)
Characters as diverse as freed slaves, Confederate and Union soldiers, a Southern lady, German-born Union surgeon and General Sherman himself populate this very unromantic view of Sherman’s march through the South.

Doctorow was awarded the 2007 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement. The Tribune features an October 28 profile article of the author, a 2005 review of The March, and archived articles. Doctorow was presented with the award on November 4 at the Chicago Humanities Festival. You can also listen to an NPR interview about the book.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda (2005)
Entertaining, revealing, but not about his career on MASH. This is a poignant story of an eccentric life with his Dad, a vaudeville performer, and his Mom who struggles with mental issues. Alda’s story is funny, conversational, and a great read. And, yes, they really did stuff his dog!

Also check out Alda’s 2007 biography: Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.