Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ category

Surviving Hiroshima—Anthony Drago & Douglas Wellman

October 17th, 2020

On August 6, 1945, a 22-year-old Kaleria Palchikoff was doing breakfast chores when a blinding flash lit the sky over Hiroshima, Japan.  A moment later, everything went black as the house collapsed on her and her family.  Their world, and everyone else’s, changed as the first atomic bomb detonated over a city.  From Russian nobility, the Palchikoffs barely escaped death at the hands of Bolshevik revolutionaries until her father, a White Russian officer, hijacked a ship to take them to safety in Hiroshima.  Safety was short-lived.

After the bombing, trapped in the center of a previously unimagined devastation, Kaleria summoned her strength to come to the aid of bomb victims, treating the never-before-seen effects of radiation.  Fluent in English, Kaleria was soon recruited to work with Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s occupation forces in a number of secretarial positions until the family found a new life in the United States.

Heavily based on quotes from Kaleria’s memoirs written immediately after WWII, and transcripts of United States Army Air Force interviews with her.

SULWE by Lupita Nyong’o

March 9th, 2020

In this stunning debut picture book, Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story that will inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

Excerpt front front jacket:  “She is darker than everyone in her family.  She is darker than anyone in her school.  Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister.  Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.”



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March 6th, 2020

Eli Saslow is among the best nonfiction writers working today, and here he writes about a gifted young man trained to be a champion of hate who then encounters love, and hope, in the world he hated.  This is the story about the long struggle of America’s racist history told through the battle over a single American soul. [David A Fahrenthold, pulitzer prize-winning political correspondent, The Washington Post]

Dereck Black grew up at the epicenter of white nationalism: His father founded “Stormfront”, the largest racist community on the Internet.  His godfather, David Duke, was a KKK Grand Wizard.  By the time Dereck turned nineteen he had his own daily radio show—already regarded as the “leading light” of the bugeoning white nationalist movement.

Then he went to college—he had been homeschooled by his parents.  At New College of Florida, he continued to broadcast his radio show in secret each morning, living a double life until his classmate uncovered his identity and sent an e-mail to the entire school: “Dereck Black…white supremist, radio host…New College student???”   The ensuing uproar overtook the college.  Some students found the courage to reach out to him.  Dereck started to question the science, history, and prejudices behind his worldview.  Rising Out of Hatred tells the story of how white-supremacist ideas migrated from the far-right fringe to the White House through the intensely personal saga of one man who eventually, at tremendous personal cost, disavowed everything he was taught to believe.  This is a book to help us understand the American moment and to help us better understand one another.

GPL:  92 Black


THE GIRLS with NO NAMES: a novel by Serena Burdick

February 3rd, 2020

The Girls with No Names is a beautiful tale of hope, courage and sisterhood, inspired by the real House of Mercy and the girls confined there for daring to break the rules.  Growing up in New York City in the 1910s, Luella and Effie Tildon realize that even as young women, their freedoms come with limits.   Luella, the brazen older sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases.  Her rebellion comes with consequences, and one morning Luella is mysteriously gone.  Effie suspects that her father has sent Luella to the House of Mercy & hatches a plan to get herself committed to save her sister.

Selena Burdick expertly weaves together the stories of women affected by the asylum, telling a mesmerizing tale of strength, subterfuge, and the unbreakable bond between sisters.  This atmospheric, heartwarming story explores not only the historical House of Mercy, but the lives-and secrets-of the girls who stayed there.  A spellbinding thriller.


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BLUE MOON by Lee Child (a Jack Reacher Novel)

January 20th, 2020

“This is a random universe,” Reacher says.  Once in a blue moon things turn out just right.”  This isn’t one of those times.

Reacher is on a Greyhound bus, minding his own business, with no particular place to go & all the time in the world to get there.  Then he steps off the bus to help an old man who is obviously just a victim waiting to happen.  But you know what they say about good deeds.  Now Reacher wants to make it right.  An elderly couple has made a few well-meaning mistakes & now they owe big money to some very bad people.  One brazen move leads to another & suddenly Reacher finds himself a wanted man in the middle of a brutal turf war between rival Ukrainian & Albanian gangs.

Reacher has to stay one step ahead of the loan sharks, the thugs, & the assassins.  He teams up with a fed-up waitress who knows a little more than she’s letting on, & sets out to take down the powerful & make the greedy pay.  It’s a long shot.  The odds are against him.  But Reacher believes in a certain kind of justice…the kind that comes along once in a blue moon.

GPL:  F Child