Blog Category: Book Sketches

Posted by JGranatino on Tue, Nov 06
Ella Longfield is traveling on a train bound to London and observes two teenage girls board, and soon they are seated with two young men carrying black garbage bags. She overhears the men flirting with the girls as well as their admission that they just got released from prison. Ella becomes concerned for the girls' welfare and considers alerting the police or even trying to figure out how to contact their families in this small community. But after overhearing something else, she decides not...
Posted by JGranatino on Fri, Nov 02
Ludwig ("Lale") Sokolov was sent to Auschwitz-Berkinau in April of 1942, and after his facility with languages was apparent he was set to work as a "Tatowierer" for the Nazis tattooing numbers on new arrivals at the camps. Shortly thereafter, he met Gita, another prisoner who worked in the administration building. Doing whatever they could to survive, Lale and Gita helped other prisoners by smuggling food and medicine, all the while realizing they could be killed at any moment by the guards. As...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Aug 27
In his preface, author Macdonald himself gives the best description of this book’s content: “This is a book about truth, not lies, although much of it is concerned with how truth can be used just like lies.” Stressing the complexity of his topic, he explores the different kinds of “truth” – partial, subjective, artificial, and unknown – discussing and giving many examples of competing truths, misuse of statistics and numbers, the critical importance of context and naming, and deceptive...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Aug 27
This book recounts informal conversations between three long-time friends staying together in a small house in the forest of the Dordogne. Coming from very different paths, they are united in their desire to offer helpful guideposts for life’s journey, sharing their own experiences with candor and humor. Their relaxed but deeply insightful discussions cover topics such as life’s aspirations, learning to listen, insights into the body and the emotional life, the mystery of suffering, forgiveness...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Jul 30
Baby Teeth updates the "evil child" trope of Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, and The Bad Seed with a truly frightening story of a seven-year-old girl who has all the hallmarks of a future serial killer. Hanna is an intentionally mute girl whose refusal to talk comes not from any physical or psychological disability, but from her feeling that most people are too stupid to bother talking to. The novel alternates from chapters told in Hanna's cool, calculating point of view as she develops her plan to...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Jul 09
Kim Brooks left her four-year-old son alone in the car in a Target parking lot for five minutes, and you probably think she’s a bad parent.  You’re not alone.  When she first wrote about her experience (and the two-year legal ordeal that followed) for Salon.com a few years ago, she received an onslaught of public comments from internet users eager to tear her apart for being a horrible mother.  Her response, Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, is a thought-provoking...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Jun 25
Leanne was a freshman when she narrowly survived the Virgil County High School Massacre, a school shooting that claimed nine lives. Now, as a senior, she’s determined to set the record straight about what happened that afternoon, and why what many people believe about the victims and the survivors is a combination of lies and rumors. In this YA novel, Kody Keplinger shares just how little control victims of catastrophic events have over their stories once they become part of the public eye. She...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Jun 25
An avid bird feeder himself, Jones explores the long history of wild bird feeding and the many controversies surrounding it. Does it hamper birds’ ability to forage for food themselves, spread avian diseases, attract predators or encourage pests? Should birds only be fed in the winter time or year round? Are the commonly used seeds appropriate for nestlings? Is the quality of the seed mix  good and free of toxins? How does feeding affect various bird populations and does it encourage more...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Jun 18
Maggie is married to a widower, Dr. Noah Alderman, and lives with him and his young son Caleb in a comfortable suburb in outside Philadelphia. One day she receives a call from Anna, the daughter she had in her first marriage, having lost custody to her now ex-husband after Maggie was institutionalized for post-partum psychosis. Anna’s father, stepmother and stepbrothers were killed in a plane crash, and Maggie finally has a chance to reunite with her long-lost daughter who stands to inherit a...
Posted by JGranatino on Mon, Jun 11
They called themselves the May Mothers, and they met regularly in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York seeking comfort in the company of other new mothers while helping each other get through the new mother jitters. In Molloy’s debut psychological thriller, The Perfect Mothers, the women plan an evening out on the town on July 4 at a local bar to get a much needed break from the demands of motherhood. All are eager to attend except Winnie, but she relinquishes when one of the others arranges...

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