Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Staff Recommendations, Week of August 24, 2021

Chris Lee gets in a recommendation for new nonfiction - Paradise: One Town's Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire by Lizzie Johnson. Chris says, "Intense, exhaustive, definitive - this is long form journalism at its finest. Johnson's account of the Camp Fire that leveled Paradise, CA and left fifty-eight dead is a harrowing reading experience. The precision with which a single, terrible day is rendered is breathtaking - there were moments I felt like I, too, was choking on black smoke and gasping for air. And the book sweeps through layers of the events: Pacific Gas & Electric’s failures and culpability at the corporate levels and on the ground; Paradise’s civic leaders’ efforts to save businesses, buildings, and lives; the firefighter’s desperate battle against the blaze; and the townspeople who lost their homes and everything in them as they ran to escape the flames any way they could. By the end of Paradise, you’ll know this town as if you’d lived there and mourn it like you’ve lost it, too."

Tim McCarthy recommends Lightning Strike, the new Cork O'Connor mystery (a prequel to the series!) from William Kent Krueger. Tim says, "This is Krueger's latest in the mystery series featuring Sheriff Cork O'Connor, a man with both Irish and Ojibwe heritage. It's entertaining for the storytelling and fascinating for the cultural complexity. The series features Cork as a law man with Indigenous family and friends, as well as a white Irish police lineage going back to Chicago city cops. This entry is special, because we meet Cork at the beginning, as a 12-year-old boy whose father Liam is the Sheriff of a county including Minnesota Boundary Waters and the Iron Lake Reservation. Cork and his friend find a haunting scene in a sacred place called Lightning Strike. It’s the body of a respected Ojibwe man who is a family friend. Is there a killer out there, or did he take his own life? Krueger does two things extremely well here. The first is developing a political and cultural context to show the impact of the 1956 Indian Relocation Act on indigenous people and communities, after the law encouraged them to move off reservations and into large cities. The second, as he also did in his stand alone novel This Tender Land, is creating great characters who face tough social stress. The children in both books are extraordinary. Cork is a kid with heart, relentless curiosity, and the knack for investigation skills that he’ll need as a Sheriff throughout the series. I enjoyed every last minute!"

Do note that we have a virtual event (on a rescheduled date and time - check your calendar!) coming up with William Kent Krueger in support of this book on Thursday, September 2, 7 pm - click here for more details.

Jen Steele recommends a new picture book this week - Chez Bob by Bob Shea. Jen says, "Exciting news, birdies! Chez Bob restaurant has just opened up and the only thing on the menu is bird seed, yummy. Oh, and did I mention that Bob is an alligator, and the restaurant is on top of his nose?! What starts out as a devious plan by a lazy but hungry alligator soon turns into a story of friendship and trust. Bob Shea's latest is sure to be a family favorite."

Important Blog Editor's Note: It has been brought to my attention that Chez Bob has had its publication date bumped to September 7th of this year. If you've placed an order, we will keep it as a preorder and notify you as soon as these babies arrive. Thanks for your understanding and patience, and thanks for reading the blog!

And that's all, folks! See you next week with more recommendations from the Boswellians.

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