This book tells the harrowing stories garnered from two years spent traveling up and down the migrant trail from Central America and across the US border. More than a quarter of a million Central Americans make this increasingly dangerous journey each year, and each year as many as 20,000 of them are kidnapped.
Martínez writes in powerful, unforgettable prose about clinging to the tops of freight trains; finding respite, work and hardship in shelters and brothels; and riding shotgun with the border patrol. K
Get ready to be shocked, amazed and totally re-evaluate the way you eat! This well researched book reviews the history of processed foods in America from the days of canning, when Americans "put up" preserves right through the present. Reading this is particularly timely with the announcement by a certain fast food restaurant of a new food "product" called Satisfries, the latest in a string of manufactured food inventions that are part and parcel of the American diet. Reviewed by A. Adams
Kiss me First tells the story of an awkward young woman named Leila who connects with in internet guru named Adrian on a chat forum. When he persuades her into an online impersonation of a troubled woman, the intrigue begins. For fans of mystery and suspense novelists like Ruth Rendell, this will be a thrilling read. K. Harris
Jeannette Walls was raised in poverty and hardship by eccentrically idealistic and unfit parents. If you read The Glass Castle you probably wondered:
How did these characters come to exist in America, in the 1960s and ’70s? Why did they not settle down and raise their family? It baffled me.
In her new book, Half Broke Horses, Ms. Walls introduces Lily Casey Smith, her maternal grandmother in a novelistic re-creation of her colorful, hard scrabble life. Lily lived in the first half of the 20th century, and raised a family during the Depression. Reading about the hardships she endured gives a partial answer to that question.
Lily Casey was born in a one-room mud dugout in West Texas, on the banks of Salt Draw River; At age 5, she helped her father train carriage-horse teams and, once a week, drove to the nearby town to sell eggs.
Floods and tornadoes flooded the dugout and forced the Caseys to move to a ranch in New Mexico. Lily's father had physical and vocal impairments, so it was Lily, at age 11, who hired and fired laborers and oversaw the workers on the ranch. Her fragile mother was unfit for this hard life.
At 13, Lily was permitted to leave the ranch and go to school in Santa Fe, where she thrived, but after her father squandered her tuition money, she had to leave midway through the 2nd term.
At 15, Lily took a job at a lonely prairie school. With only a pistol for protection, she left home and traveled over 600 miles to the school house where she lived and worked. Lily was hired on a recommendation from one of her Santa Fe schoolteachers and because certified lady teachers had left their teaching positions for factory jobs. The men were overseas fighting the First World War.
Teaching was her calling and for four years, she taught, but after the war, the seasoned teachers returned and she had to go back home.
For a short time she lived in Chicago where she worked as a maid, but didn't stay long and once again Lily returned home to start again.
In Red Lake she found herself teaching school, and in the evenings she moonlighted racing horses. At one such horse race, her horse got spooked and threw her, which "threw her into the path" of Jim Smith, who would become Jeannette Walls’s grandfather. It was right before the start of Great Depression.
I “read” the book in audiobook form with Ms. Walls own voice reading the story. I heartily recommend it.
The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant is set in Cape Ann Massachusett's in the 1800's. It tells the story of several fascinating characters, most of them cast-offs, who live a hardscrabble life in a dying settlement. K. Harns
More details from Amazon.com Set on the high ground at the heart of Cape Ann, the village of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and "witches." Among the inhabitants of this hamlet are Black Ruth, who dresses as a man and works as a stonemason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of his aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself against all imaginable odds.
Rendered in stunning, haunting detail, with Diamant's keen ear for language and profound compassion for her characters, The Last Days of Dogtown is an extraordinary retelling of a long-forgotten chapter of early American life.
Tired of the Texas plains? Let this amazing first novel carry you away to the rich and magical wilderness of 1920’s Alaska where homesteaders find out if they are strong enough to survive the back breaking work and fearsome territory. Jack and Mabel are sadly childless and have fled their comfortable but disappointing life in Pennsylvania and find that when they open their hearts to all possibilities their dreams may come true. Or are they deceiving themselves? Are they beginning to live a fairy tale life or are they victims of their desperate desires? Inspired by a traditional folk tale this wonderful novel is a mix of surprising magic and realistic struggles in an extraordinary setting. Enjoy this novel with a cup of steaming hot chocolate and your furry dog at your feet on a long fall Saturday. Highly recommended!
If you read Cold Mountain, winner of the National Book Award, or saw the movie, you were introduced to the writing style of Charles Frazier.
In Thirteen Moons, Mr Frazier exceeds what he accomplished in Cold Mountain with his character portrayal and perfect time and period tale told agains the background of Indian resettlement in America.
An orphan named Will Cooper, at the age of 12, is given a horse, a key, and a map and then sent on a journey through the uncharted wilderness of the Cherokee Nation. The story takes place in the era of the Trail of Tears, the name given to the "voluntary resettling" of many indian tribes from the American Southeast to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
Will is a bound boy, obliged to run a remote Indian trading post. As he learns to do business in this lonely outpost, he finds a father in Bear, a Cherokee chief; and is adopted by him and his people. This relationship ultimately helps to forge Will’s character and make him an advocate for the Cherokee people.
He meets Claire, the enigmatic and captivating charge of volatile and powerful Featherstone, and unwittingly gives his heart up to her. In a voice filled with both humor and yearning, Will tells of a lifelong search for home, the hunger for fortune and adventure, the rebuilding of a trampled culture, and above all an enduring pursuit of passion.
Will Cooper's story is brought to vivid life by the voice of Will Patton in the audio version of Thirteen Moons: it was one of the best read audio books of my listening life. A. Adams
This is the amazing true story by Rebecca Skloot, is the account of a woman named Henrietta Lacks whose cells from a biopsy were successfully grown outside her body for testing purposes. Her cells, named HeLa by the fledgling cellular science community, were the first cells to be successfully grown outside the human body in scientific history; and more amazingly, are still reproducing today – still contributing to our collective knowledge of a broad range of diseases and treatments, including cancer, polio and the vaccines and medicines that prevent or treat those diseases.
The personal life of Ms. Lacks and her family how tragically unfolds as her family discovered her cells were still alive and being used without their knowledge or permission; and how this news came to shape and, in some cases undo their lives. A. Adams
If you liked the “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” stories, you will surely like this police mystery thriller which takes place in Sweden by Henning Mankell. This is a Kurt Wallander Mystery which the BBC has drawn upon for their 6-episode Wallander Series, which stars Kenneth Branagh. Luckily, I managed to miss this particular episode when it aired.
While investigating a murder and a separate accidental death, Wallander inadvertently stumbles upon a plot to hack into and electronically sabotage the World Bank. A. Adams