A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka (2009)

This is the kind of book you can't stop thinking about once you finish it. It's about war, political unrest, struggling to survive, family, and mostly about love. Well-developed characters struggle through the many changes in 20th century Poland. The author skillfully goes back and forth from World War II era to 1992. Eventually, the reader is surprised by the melding of these two worlds.

Lots of tears. Lots of triumphs of the human spirit. I can't wait to read more from Pasulka. Check out A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True today.

In January, our multicultural celebrations will feature Eastern Europe. Check out the programs to learn more about the countries and cultures in this region.

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann (2010)
Set the Night on Fire is the first book in a long time that I literally could NOT put down. I lost a lot of sleep with this book, but it was worth it. It's part historical fiction, part thriller, and an all around well-written story.

It starts and ends in the present with the daughter of activists from the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, who is trying to deal with a family tragedy and fight for her own life with stalkers watching her every move. Eventually she finds out it all goes back to 1968. The middle of the book tells the story of what happened to her parents and their friends from 1968-70.

Watch a trailer for the book:

Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) PG-13
This charming movie is for everyone who ever wanted a fresh start. The viewer wants Frances to be happy. As the movie progresses, we find out exactly what it will take to make her happy. Maybe a man is the icing on the cake instead of the be all and end all? She finds happiness helping others and building a new life (and a new home) for herself. The beautiful scenery in this movie adds to the appeal.

You can also check out the book of the same name by Frances Mayes.