A quietly powerful novel set in rural eastern Washington in the early 1900s. Talmadge is a gentle man who generally keeps to himself, tending his fruiA quietly powerful novel set in rural eastern Washington in the early 1900s. Talmadge is a gentle man who generally keeps to himself, tending his fruit orchard. One day two pregnant teenage girls appear on his land, and his decision to shelter them has long-lasting repurcussions. Though there are a number of troubling incidents and disturbed inviduals in this book, there is a pervasive quiet lyricism in the descriptions of the land as well as the characters. This moving novel reminds me of Kent Haruf's "Plainsong" in both subject matter - pregnant teenager(s) sheltered by rural bachelor farmer(s) - and the quiet strength of the writing style(though Haruf's writing is more spare than Coplin's). This book also calls to mind Margaret Atwood's "Alias Grace" in its strong literary style and subject of dark domestic crime. Coplin's book feels more redemptive, though. I strongly recommend this novel for fans of literary historical fiction....more
A powerful, lyrical coming-of-age story about a 13-year old boy on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation who tries to avenge a brutal crime committed agaiA powerful, lyrical coming-of-age story about a 13-year old boy on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation who tries to avenge a brutal crime committed against his mother. Erdrich develops full, complex characters and paints a nuanced picture of reservation life, capturing abundant beauty and sadness.
Erdrich used to be one of my favorite literary fiction authors but after her husband Michael Dorris committed suicide in 1997 amidst allegations of physical and sexual abuse against their children (some of it possibly with Erdrich's knowledge), I wasn't able to stomach reading either author. Finally coming back to Erdrich's writing, I find it as powerful and beautiful as ever....more
A page-turning, action-filled and somehow believable YA novel about a teenage boy who must move from town to town to protect his identity. Although heA page-turning, action-filled and somehow believable YA novel about a teenage boy who must move from town to town to protect his identity. Although he looks like a regular teenager, he is actually an alien from the peaceful planet Lorien, whose population has been (almost) destroyed by evil creatures from another planet set on taking over the universe. Our hero must develop his super-powers, prevent the other evil aliens from destroying earth, and – perhaps hardest of all – navigate the social circles at a small-town Ohio high school....more
I liked the setting and character: Benjamin Weaver, a lapsed Jew and ex-boxer, weaves his way through both seamy and well-off society in 18th centuryI liked the setting and character: Benjamin Weaver, a lapsed Jew and ex-boxer, weaves his way through both seamy and well-off society in 18th century London. The plot, too, was interesting at first: the early days of the stock market and an unsolved murder, possibly related to financial deception. However, the plot dragged after awhile, and it soon became clear that nothing would become clear. Still, I liked the atmosphere: a large cast of scheming, shady ruffians (both wealthy and poor), liberally spiced with violent brawls. Also, glimpses of life in the Jewish community, and depictions of the early stock market - an intricately constructed house of card based on promise and probability but undercut by deceit. In the end, though, I wasn't entirely certain what had happened with the murder plot, nor did I care much....more
Fascinating and disturbing true story of a controversial medical epidemic. The author is a science reporter (now editor of "Discover" magazine) whoseFascinating and disturbing true story of a controversial medical epidemic. The author is a science reporter (now editor of "Discover" magazine) whose family all contracted Lyme, and then faced many obstacles in getting treatment. Unfortunately, their story is typical of many patients with late, chronic Lyme who get caught in the "Lyme wars".
Here is a description from The Seattle Public Library Catalog:
A groundbreaking and controversial narrative investigation into the science, history, medical politics, and patient experience of Lyme disease told by a science journalist whose entire family contracted the disease. Pamela Weintraub paints a nuanced picture of the intense controversy and crippling uncertainty surrounding Lyme disease and sheds light on one of the angriest medical disputes raging today. She also reveals her personal odyssey through the land of Lyme after she, her husband and their two sons became seriously ill with the disease beginning in the 1990s. From the microbe causing the infection and the definition of the disease, to the length and type of treatment and the kind of practitioner needed, Lyme is a hotbed of contention. With a CDC-estimated 200,000-plus new cases of Lyme disease a year, it has surpassed both AIDS and TB as the fastest-spreading infectious disease in the U.S. Yet alarmingly, in many cases, because the disease often eludes blood tests and not all patients exhibit the classic "bulls-eye" rash and swollen joints, doctors are woefully unable or unwilling to diagnose Lyme. When that happens, once-treatable infections become chronic, inexorably disseminating to cause disabling conditions that may never be cured. Weintraub reveals why the Lyme epidemic has been allowed to explode, why patients are dismissed, and what can be done to raise awareness in the medical community and find a cure. The most comprehensive book ever written about the past, present and future of Lyme disease, this exposes the ticking clock of a raging epidemic. ...more
At first I generally liked the philosophy and adventure elements in this book, but I kept waiting for the book to "go somewhere" and then felt somewhaAt first I generally liked the philosophy and adventure elements in this book, but I kept waiting for the book to "go somewhere" and then felt somewhat tricked at the end for the narrative to call into question the whole narrative. Not sure it was worth the slog to basically get the message that "we make up stories". Already knew that....more
This is an incredibly powerful dystopian novel that will appeal to adults as well as teens. It is set in a future North America (maybe 100 years in thThis is an incredibly powerful dystopian novel that will appeal to adults as well as teens. It is set in a future North America (maybe 100 years in the future?) where oil supplies have been exhausted and global warming has wreaked incredible damage, leaving in its wake many drowned coastal cities. The main character is a teenage boy (with an abusive father) who scrapes out a living in the now-tropical Gulf Coast region by stripping copper wiring and other materials from old ship wrecks. Then he comes across a new ship wreck with a rich girl on it, setting into motion many choices and events. A page-turner that makes you think and really sticks with you after reading the final pages....more
Excellent contemporary fairytale. Compelling, funny, moving, believable, up-to-date take on Hansel and Gretel fairytale. Two “outcast” friends – a girExcellent contemporary fairytale. Compelling, funny, moving, believable, up-to-date take on Hansel and Gretel fairytale. Two “outcast” friends – a girl whose mother has died and an overweight boy – save the school from a witch who wants to eat them. Maybe the plot summary doesn't sound too scary, but it builds up in a creepy, terrifying way!...more