Northfield Reader's Corner

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A place to discover new authors and books. A Blog by the Librarians of the Northfield Public Library. Get the inside scoop on books and authors. Uncover the best reading for you and your book group.River City Librarian
Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

New Fiction Titles

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 1:40pm
Are you looking for new fiction titles?  See below for some suggestions of books I enjoyed.

The Wives of Los Alamos  by Tarashea Nesbit.  2014
      This novel is written in a collective voice, representing all the women of the physicists who worked at Los Alamos, on the atomic bomb.  The wives were not allowed to know what their husbands were working on.  Families were isolated from much of society.  They were not allowed to visit their families elsewhere, nor were their families allowed to visit them.  The wives came from all  over the country and the world.  The narrator reveals that they did not always agree on things, and had different ways of looking at their lives.  However, it is clear that there were strong bonds because the women needed to rely on each other for several years, without the support of family networks or other social networks.  They raised their children and tried to cook decent meals in spite of rationing, and tried to keep their homes as nice as possible, although their were many problems.  The narrator reveals how all the women changed to deal with the situations at Los Alamos.   By the end, it is clear to the reader that the project was the creation of the atomic bomb. The novel describes the various reactions of the scientists and families when they hear reports of the atomic bomb maiming and killing so many civilian Japanese.  Well written, and an interesting historical novel.

Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen.  2014
     Well known photographer Rebecca Winter moves out of her New York City apartment and  into a small cottage, in order to rent out her apartment and try and cover her finances, including her mother's nursing home bills.  Her twenty-something son Ben, does not realize how poor she has become.  She hasn't produced anything new in years.  She begins a relationship with a roofer, Jim.
who gets a raccoon out of her house.  She is unaware that he has a mentally sister, and the photography project that gets her reestablished is connected to his sister.  In the end, pieces of her life are brought together.  Wonderfully written, with unique chapter headings.

A Star For Mrs. Blake by April Smith.  2014
      This novel is a WWI follow up story, set in 1931.  Cora Blake lives in Deer Isle, Maine, and lost her son, Sammy, in the war.  She has been selected as a Gold Star Mother - one of the mothers who will travel to France to see her son's burial site.  The U.S. government spent over $1 million to give mothers who lost sons the opportunity to go to England and France.  Cora corresponds with the other mothers before the trip, and discovers that they all come from different backgrounds - Bobbie, a wealthy woman; Katie, an Irish immigrant who worked for women like Bobbie; Minne, a Jewish immigrant, and Wilhellma, married to a famous architect who has declared her legally insane because of her grief.  The group is accompanied by Thomas Hammond, a young military man who comes rom a long military family, and Lily, a nurse assigned to the group.
      As different as the women are, they have all lost their sons, and must grapple with feelings of what did they die for.  There is reference to the Depression and a possible second world war coming. 
They meet a writer, who has been badly injured in the war and must wear a face mask.   The women find out more about their sons lives, themselves,  and each other on the trip.  There are good descriptions of ordinary women being exposed to travel, new events, and worlds they had never experienced, while dealing with their grief.   The author found a great entry in the aftermath of World War I, and poses questions about patriotism and the waste of human lives in war.


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