Saturday, February 18, 2017

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men is by John Steinbeck. Definitely a book you must read before you die. A true classic this is the tale of George and Lennie set during the Great Depression. George and Lennie make the perfect traveling companions; George is smart but slight of build and Lennie is huge but with the mind of a child - a very large child who doesn't know it's own strength. They have a dream to own their own piece of land and raise rabbits, but they need money to purchase the land. When they arrive at a ranch in Salinas Valley it seems their dream might be in sight, then tragedy strikes. A stunning tale of trial, friendship, and love. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

Ratings: 10th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).


Tracks is by Louis Erdrich. This story is set on a North Dakota reservation at a time when Native Americans were fighting to hold onto their land. The story is told by two narrators, Nanapush and Pauline. Nanapush is older and provides a window into the wisdom, patience, and love of a man for his family and others in his tribe. He has knowledge of the white world, while still maintaining a strong link to the history and culture of his people. Pauline is a young girl who wants to break with her people and their history and embrace totally the white world. This is a powerful story with a powerful point to make. Fans of Erdrich will enjoy this small book as well.

Ratings: 12th grade - 8 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

By Gaslight

By Gaslight is by Steven Price. This is a magnificent piece of historical fiction spanning decades and continents. William Pinkerton is the son of the famous Allan Pinkerton who started what became the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago in 1850. The agency is still in existence today as Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations.  This story begins after Allan’s death as his oldest son, William, travels to England in search of the one criminal his father had never been able to catch, a failure which haunted him until his death, the mysterious thief known as Edward Shade. Things get nasty when the woman he is tailing jumps off a bridge into the Thames, William assumes she drowned, but her head is found several days later (along with various other body parts). Did Shade kill her? Does Shade even exist? When the woman’s old lover, Adam Foole, enlists William’s aid in finding her killer, William begins to discover the truth about Shade and his own father’s secret past. The fictional parts of the story are equally compelling. This is ultimately the story of two men who loved the same father/father-figure and where that love, betrayal, and misunderstanding led them. The book shifts back and forth in time (sometimes even giving glimpses of the future), as well as narrator, and this can be confusing at times if you are not paying attention. However, the story is haunting and beautifully told. You feel for both men and what they have endured. This is a powerful story and doesn’t seem long when you are reading it. I really enjoyed this book and hope I can convince you to give it a try.

Ratings: 12th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence) - AC (some mature thematic content) - P (profanity).