Simply Books! March Meeting

Here are the books we shared at this month’s Simply Books! meeting:

“Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American
History” by Katy Tur–this memoir is by a journalist who followedT  ru mp on the campaign trail. No new information about the campaignitself, really, but an insight into how hard these journalists work and how much they might have to give up to take such a job (Tur had tomove from her home in London and lost her relationship). Well-written, and you admire the knowledge Tur has.

“Care and Management of Lies” by Jacqueline Winspear–this novel is by the same author who writes the Maisie Dobbs mystery series, but this book is not a mystery. It’s about a husband and wife during World War I writing letters back and forth, each telling comforting lies to reassure the other about how things are going. The wife is left to run the farm, while the husband is enlisted as an officer. Nice historical details, and beautifully written. A lovely read.

“Face Down Upon an Herbal” by Kathy Lynn Emerson–this mystery is the
second in the Lady Appleton series. These books are set in Elizabethan England and star herbalist Susanna, who keeps getting sent to manor houses to solve crimes. Despite the title, you don’t really learn too much about herbs! They’re enjoyable, easy reads, with nice historical details like spying and the role of Mary, Queen of Scots.  In this book, Susanna is sent to a crime scene because the victim was found face-down on a book that she’d written.

“Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins–Robbins is a quirky, funny writer, and this novel is all about the perfume business. It’s got a very involved plot, but it’s fun. You also learn a lot about perfume!

“Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?” by Mary T.
Newport–this book is about Newport’s personal journey in caring for her husband who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and her research into the use of ketones in brain health. That research led to more work in researching how coconut oil, a saturated fat, might effect the brain in a positive way. It’s a fascinating direction to look into, and it’s always good to know what sorts of things might help keep your brain healthy.

“Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World” by Nell
Stevens–this is a piece of creative nonfiction, all about the author’s time in the Falkland Islands as she tried to finish the novel she was working on. Stevens received a travel grant to finish her writing, and rented a house by herself in the Falklands. Part of the
story is about her time there, and what a fascinating part of the world it is. She also includes excerpts from her novel-in-progress.  It’s a delightful, creative picture of this time in her life, and it’s great how she can keep so many layers going at once in the narrative.  The descriptions are wonderful, too.

“Mozart’s Starling” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt–this nonfiction work by naturalist Haupt was a nice surprise! It’s all about starlings, inspired by the story of the starling owned by Mozart. Haupt also adopts a starling as she’s doing her writing and research for the
book, and anecdotes about her bird are interspersed with background about the species. It’s an informative book that covers a lot of topics–music, birds, linguistics, and our relationship to the natural world. Even if you’re philosophically opposed to this invasive
species, it’s a fun and fascinating read!

“Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third
Crusade” by John Reston, Jr.–this dual biography is about Richard the Lionheart and Saladin during the Third Crusade (1189–1192). Saladin, the Muslim leader, had taken back much of the Holy Land, and the Europeans then tried to re-conquer it. This book focuses a lot on Saladin–it’s clear Reston is a fan–and it’s fascinating to hear more
from the Muslim side than the Christian during the conflict. Not far enough along in the book to make a total judgment, but it’s very readable and about a compelling, if terrible, historical episode.

Our next meeting will be Saturday, April 28th at 2pm. There will be
an event in the Picker Room, so we’ll need to meet in our alternate location, the J area just beyond the rotunda.

–Marie

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