homegoingThe book is an amazing masterpiece written by a first-time 26-year-old author, Yaa Gyasi. The novel begins with two half-sisters born in 18th-century Ghana who will never meet. Effia marries a white British man and Esi is enslaved and taken to America. The book follows the children of these two women through the generations, alternating between Africa and America. The chapters are a series of interrelated stories that play out the legacy of slavery on the successive generations. Through this heartbreaking journey, I learned so much about the slave trade within Africa changing my perspective on this horrific time period in our history. The haunting, beautifully depicted characters are etched firmly in my mind. This is a novel with truly staying power for the reader.

 

 davinci3The true tale of a special force of British & Americans during World War II who sought to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.  This rag-tag group of museum directors, curators, art historians and others raced against time (and behind enemy lines) to recover and save the world’s great art work from the Nazis. Adolf Hitler who directed the plunder, was planning on exhibiting his "trophies"  for a `Fuhrer Museum' in his home town of Linz. The inspirational story of these brave men and women is beautifully illustrated through many, many incredibly powerful photographs depicting the theft, storage and recovery of thousands of masterpieces of European art.

  The author later expanded this work into two other in-depth books:  The Monuments Men and Saving Italy.

sppon riverEven 100 years later this collection of short, free verse poems still packs a punch, and is relevant today. Based on the author’s childhood home in central Illinois, it is the portrait of a small Midwestern town, as told through the epitaphs of its former denizens—from beyond the grave.

Masters’ book peels back the veil on small town life to reveal the many secrets and scandals therein, and showing life there to be anything but idyllic and perfect.

A critical and commercial success at the time of its publication, Masters’ book was banned in the schools & library of his home town for 60 years.  Today it is still often assigned in high school and college literature courses, and its portraits are often used as monologues for theatrical auditions.

kitchensWhen Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. Eva’s life is told through the points of view of those who know her: family, friends, rivals and acquaintances, giving the story a unique perspective. Each chapter acts as a stand-alone short story with Eva, the central character, aging along the timeline. Humorous, poignant, quirky characters. A joy to read for foodies, with lots of recipes and food references! This is a wonderful portion of fiction from a fresh, new voice.

flower moonThis is a powerful, important and very sad chapter in our American history about the Osage Indians who were murdered following the discovery of massive oil fields on their reservation in the 1920’s.

Upon discovery of oil, members of the tribe became the wealthiest people per capita in the world. They rode in chauffeured cars and sent their children to schools in Europe. But as dozens of tribe members begin dying under suspicious circumstances, the new director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, steps in to investigate and in so doing shapes the FBI as we know it today.

Grann has done extensive, meticulous research to expose the atrocities committed against the Osage that is not widely known nor written about in history books-but should be. The author’s suspenseful writing makes this is a page turner and knowing that it is true makes it even more compelling. A must read. Grann is also the author of the Lost City of Z.

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