Page Turners

Here is a list of books that have been shared on KMA's Page Turners with the Shenandoah Public Library.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

INTERRED WITH THEIR BONES—Jennifer Lee Carrell—Mysteries within mysteries, trips between the days of Shakespeare and the present day pursuing the old question of “who was Shakespeare as well as a modern one, who is killing in order to find out, or not. The author's Shakespeare scholarship leads to rivalries, relationships, religion and politics of the late 1500s and early 1600s. In the 'present' Scholar Kate Stanley pursues a 'dare' to follow a gift where it leads, a dare made by her mentor, another Shakespearian scholar, Roz. Traveling with friends who might be enemies, Kate pursues evidence of the legends of Shakespeare. For lovers of Shakespeare, I'm sure very satisfying; for mystery people an engaging mystery although there are quite a large number of 'actors' on this stage doing many things. I found it OK not to always keep it all straight. In the end it didn't make that much difference.

Friday, January 25, 2008

PLAYING FOR PIZZA—John Grisham—Thoroughly delightful! Grisham’s hero, Rick Dockery, has become the ‘goat’ of NFL football and lands a job as quarterback in Parma, Italy as the quarterback for the Parma Panthers, one of several American Football teams in Italy. Rick’s introduction to another way of life, food, opera, small cars, wines and people is portrayed with humor and grace. A wonderful read with no bad-guys only good guys. A charming book I didn’t want to be over.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MURDER ON K STREET—Margaret Truman—The latest in the Capital Crimes seires is an improvement over the past couple. This time Ms. Truman kept me engaged with a story of Senator Lyle Simmons, and his unlikely continuing friendship with college roommate Phillip Rotondi. Senator Simmons and Rotondi go a long way back to and including both having been in love with the same person. As Simmons rose in politics, he became involved with possibly unsavory lobbyists. Simmon’s wife is murdered, his son is President of the lobbying firm, his daughter is distant and his college buddy comes to be a friend and while there, with Mac and Annabelle Smith (Truman’s often heroes) among others manages to discover who killed Mrs. Simmons as well as a couple of others.

BLASPHEMY—Douglas Preston—A scientific experiment, a particle accelerator, built to explore the mysteries of the universe as it approaches a reproduction of the “big bang”, suddenly veers into a discussion, perhaps a discussion with God. Preston explores the places of religion and science in western culture, tossing in politics, a small but enthusiastic segment of religious extremists, and the relation with the Navajo nation to build the plot. Engaging questions to ponder in a fast paced open-ended story.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

THE LOST CONSTITUTION—William Martin—While a battle rages in the country over the possible repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, Peter Falon, William Martin’s hero, searches for an alleged annotated copy of the first draft of that venerable document; a copy which was annotated by the New Englanders attending the Constitutional Convention. Consequently the story yo-yos between the present and various times in the past as the document is passed from one person to another. In doing so the reader is introduced to lots and lots of characters from various periods in the past and a growing number of bad-guys and possible good guys in the present. (I was happy to see a number of reviewers were as confused as I by those.) By shifting back into time, Martin is able to present the historical, economic and social changes of New England from the Revolution forward. He also spends pages and pages describing the New England landscape. Interspersed are excellent questions about the Constitution, what it means and how it should be treated; as well as murder, mayhem and the emotions raised when the possibility of amendment becomes part of the public debate. In short, way too long and way too many characters, but an interesting story with good questions. Check the reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA--Colleen McCullough--The seventh book in the 'Master of Rome' series was unexpected by many as at the end of the sixth book McCullough said she was taking a break from Rome, she'd written over 6000 pages, as I recall, and needed a break. Finding McCullough's treatment of the 14 years following the murder of Julius Caesar is a huge treat. One more time in this stand alone novel (although it helps to have read the others and have loose ends 'tied-up'), McCullough displays her huge knowledge of things Roman from details of food and dress and daily life to political, military and cultural attitudes which were prevalent during the period. Whether you like the characters or not, they're portrayed with great clarity relative to their importance in the scheme of the story. Her portrayal of the major characters, Octavian, Anthony and Cleopatra allows the reader to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each; and how those strengths and weaknesses combined to determine the flow of history. Some reviewers have challenged her work for describing situations in terms of 'anglo' interpretations rather than those of the first century B.C. and others her description of Cleopatra's physical appearance. None however have found these differences sufficient not to recommend the book nor to detract from the author's scholarship. McCullough's authorship displays highs and lows of behavior; adherence to a principle (Rome/Egypt) political greed, ambition, stupidity, love and hate all in the context of the rivalry between Octavian and Anthony and Cleopatra's determination to put her son, Caesarion, child of Julius Caesar, on the "Throne of Rome". One wonderful book--compelling reading.