- Carol S
Zelda’s voice is clear in this fictional autobiography of her marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald. With first person descriptions and dialogue the reader experiences the relationship’s conflict. Author Therese Anne Fowler says that in her research she felt “dropped into a raging argument between …Team Scott and Team Zelda”. The richest resources were the collections of their letters during their courtship, Zelda’s hospitalization, letters to friends and Scott in Hollywood. While Scott is writing The Great Gatsby she asks him for a divorce. This book presents an emotional journey of the couple and the author had a particular interest in the animosity between Zelda and Ernest Hemingway. Scott helped Ernest in the literary world. As the men’s friendship strengthened Zelda became estranged from both. She observed that “Hemingway had become Scott’s alter ego” and was terrified by that. When they returned to America and then Hollywood Zelda was relieved to be away from Ernest Hemingway. The success of The Great Gatsby cast a shadow over the marriage as Scott worked on his next novel for seven years, selling short stories while Hemingway’s star rose. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald has the charm of nostalgia and sentimentality. A fascinating companion book is Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. It contains black and white photos, color plates and an introduction written by their granddaughter. The others listed below are fiction.
- Carol S
Author James Cain best known for The Postman Always Rings Twice and Mildred Pierce has a new novel published 35 years after his death. He began it in 1975 and died in 1977. James Cain is one of the “big three” of crime classics—with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. His work Mildred Pierce is a recent HBO award winning series. Before his death at the age of 87, he put elements of his life into one last novel-angina and nitroglycerine pills. He borrowed from his best known work of a young attractive woman getting out of a bad marriage, an older man, a handsome young man, economic challenges and implication in her husbands’ death. The Cocktail Waitress story is told in the main character’s own words and viewpoint. Cain worked on his novel up to his death and it was found in the files of a deceased Hollywood agent. There was a whole manuscript, several partial ones, fragments, lines on notebook paper and another draft labeled “original”. Its completion took nine more years. The reviewer compares the main character, Joan Medford, to Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce. In the editor’s afterword, the story of the publication of the “lost” manuscript describes the collection of its pieces like a mystery solved.
- Carol S
- Heather McCue
What does a clever cat, a literate mouse and Queen Victoria have in common? They are all characters in The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright. When the story opens, it is the worst of times for poor alley cat, Skilley. His luck soon changes when he discovers that Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, one of Victorian London's most popular inns, is looking for a mouser. Just when it appears that Pip and his fellow mice might have met their doom, Skilley surprises everyone with a secret of his own. That's just the beginning of a tale full of friendship, danger, the chance to save someone and help Mr. Dickens with his novel. The illustrations by Barry Moser are a welcome addition to a perfect family read aloud. So, what are you waiting for? Check it out--this book will prove that reading aloud as a family is certainly the best of times.
- Jennifer Naimzadeh
Fans of Fforde’s other works (the Thursday Next Series, Shades of Grey) will recognize the subtle and offbeat humor sprinkled throughout The Last Dragonslayer. Fforde’s first foray into teen fiction follows the young Jennifer Strange, a not-quite 16 year old foundling who has taken on the task of running Kazam magical management. When magicians across the country begin to have premonitions of the death of the last dragon, and something called Big Magic, Jennifer decides to get to the bottom of things by seeking out the last dragonslayer. Magic, mayhem, twists, and turns ensue as Jennifer discovers the history of dragons, magic, and her own role in the world of magic.
Find your next great read by searching author, title or series, the "If you like..." search, genre or topical browsing and more.
- Kristi Sligh
Hold Still, is one of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Nominees. It's is a book about a girl named Caitlin, who is struggling to recover losing her best friend, Ingrid, to suicide. She find's Ingrid's journal, and she reads it everyday. She doesn't realize it at first, but Ingrid's journal, full of notes to other people, telling them she thinks she's ugly, she's not worth anything, slowly, somehow gives her hope to overcome the loss. I will warn you, its a book that will make you cry. Normally I don't like these kinds of books, but this one opened my eyes to a suicide minded girl's view on life. I don't know how else to express it. But if you really hate books that make you cry, stay away.
- Kristi Sligh
This book is about a post apocalyptic world, where all of the sane people live below ground, away from the "harmful sun and rain" that will burn your skin off, and leave nothing more than bones, and you are lucky to live to 25. Rigid rules surround the "enclaves" where the people live: you only have a name if you live to 15, when you reach 15 you are either a Breeder, a Builder, or a Hunter, any artifacts from the old world must be turned in, otherwise you are banished from the enclave, and are left to fend for yourself - and to battle the Freaks. The Freaks are mindless, ferocious monsters, and if one of them dies, they are eaten by another Freak. But suddenly the Freaks are developing cunning, and strategies never seen before by the enclaves. Deuce and Fade, the main characters, investigate, and try to warn the elders of the enclave of this, but to no avail. Suddenly a turn of events sends Deuce and Fade topside, where all of the things Deuce has been taught are contradicted. Perceptions change, and Deuce tries to absorb that all she's ever known, is lost...
- Kristi Sligh
Warriors Don't Cry is the story of 9 African-American students trying to integrate Central High School of Little Rock, Arkansas. The author, Melba Patillo Beals, is one of the nine, and the story is told from her point of view.