Trudy


Trudy loves to read fiction, especially fiction with a historical bent. When she can bear to put a novel down, she also reads history, biography and other nonfiction (although she avoids anything with post-modern in the title).


 

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Milkman: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450000
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - December 4th, 2018

The 2018 Booker Prize Winner is a challenging novel and is probably not for everyone, but I loved it. Some of the challenges include: long sentences, very long paragraphs, characters with no names. But, these are also the rewards. Once I gave myself over to Burns's unusual writing style, I truly "felt" her community, with its gossip, violence, absurdities, rigidity, and even tenderness. As to the unnamed characters: it stops mattering. For example, the main character is "middle sister," also known as "the girl who reads while walking" and "maybe-girlfriend." In my reading, these descriptions became wonderful substitutes for the names.


Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780061792267
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - February 19th, 2013

This 2013 Pulitzer prize winner blew me away.  The details of the case against "the Groveland boys" as well as the general abuse of black people in the area are chilling. The actions of the racist, Klan controlled sheriff are enraging. And, Thurgood Marshall's bravery and resolve in the face of all this is truly amazing.  This reads like a thriller but (sadly) it is true.


The Refugees Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802127365
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - January 2nd, 2018

This is a fabulous collection of short stories. While the focus of the collection is on the immigrant experience, the uniqueness of each story stands out.  There is humor, chaos, sadness, and many surprises. Highly recommended.


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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399588174
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - November 15th, 2016

Given the depressing times we live in, it is nice to read a memoir by someone who survived some very depressing times...and can still laugh. This book conveys some of the horrors, the complexity, and the ridiculousness of apartheid. But, it is, above all, Trevor Noah's tribute to his amazing mother. You end up with a smile on your face, despite it all.


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Manhattan Beach: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476716732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - October 3rd, 2017

There's a lot going on in Egan's new book. We meet Anna, the complicated and feisty heroine, when she is twelve in Depression-era New York and follow her through the war years as she becomes the sole provider for her family. There's a mystery (what happened to her father?). There's beautiful writing and, for us desert rats, a lot of water imagery! And, the historical detail is so interesting and surprising. A novel to get lost in.


In a Lonely Place Cover Image
By Dorothy B. Hughes, Megan Abbott (Afterword by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781681371474
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - August 15th, 2017

Critics call her the "queen of noir" and rightly so. Her depiction of Los Angeles in the 40s is so vivid. Her ability to get into the mind of a serial killer (without giving us gruesome detail) is amazing. But, what surprised me the most is that this is a truly feminist novel.


A Climate of Fear (A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery #6) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143109457
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 7th, 2017

If you like your detectives more intuitive than hard-boiled, give Fred Vargas a try. Her mysteries feature the intuitive Commissaire Adamsberg who often baffles and irritates his more logical, yet still eccentric, team. In addition to enjoying  a cast of quirky characters and an extremely complicated mystery, you will learn a bit about French history and culture along the way. And, in this mystery, you even get a trip to Iceland. 

 


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News of the World: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062409218
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 20th, 2017

I loved this book. The two main characters -- a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading the news in small towns across Texas and a 10-year-old white girl who had been captured and raised by Kiowa but is now being returned (against her wishes) to white relatives -- are unforgettable. The writing is beautiful. And the adventures of this unlikely duo are both frightening and hilarious. If my crystal ball is working, I'd say someone will turn this into a movie -- but, of course the book will be better!


The Regional Office Is Under Attack!: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399573217
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - April 11th, 2017

Read this on a long airplane ride. What a hoot! It's got lots of action, humor, twists and turns - and women with super powers. As a former academic, I especially loved the "academic treatise" interspersed throughout the book. Quite original and strange.


Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America's National Parks Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250105899
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - June 14th, 2016

Woods' year visiting America's national parks did not go exactly as planned. But, it led to this beautiful book -- which is a loving tribute to his mother (a Tucsonan and lover of the Sonoran Desert) as well as our national parks. 


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Homegoing Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101971062
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017

This wonderful debut novel opens in 18th century Ghana, where the lives of two half-sisters diverge dramatically.  One stays in Ghana; one becomes a slave in the US. The novel then follows the descendants of the two sisters forward into present day. Each chapter focuses on a different person and manages to provide an in-depth look at that person while also keeping an eye on the larger historical context. An amazing book.


Every Last Tie: The Story of the Unabomber and His Family Cover Image
By David Kaczynski, James Knoll (Afterword by)
$21.95
ISBN: 9780822359807
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Duke University Press - February 5th, 2016

This is a moving memoir by the brother of the "unabomber," Ted Kaczynski. David Kaczynski, a Buddhist and anti-death penalty activist, provides glimpses of family life with a troubled older brother...a brother who (as a child) could be sweet and thoughtful but eventually severed "every last tie."


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Lab Girl Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101873724
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 28th, 2017

I loved Lab Girl – loved her voice and her description of what it takes to do science – especially for a woman. And, her perspective on plant life…WOW!!…so interesting and unique.


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H Is for Hawk Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802124739
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - March 8th, 2016

Quite a unique book. At once, a gripping account of a woman dealing with grief and an amazing introduction to the world of raptors and the people work with them.


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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - August 18th, 2015

This indictment of our criminal "justice" system will/should make you lose sleep. The stories of people wrongfully convicted or receiving excessive punishments are often unbleievalbe - but they are true, and we need to pay attention.


Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062238474
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - September 6th, 2016

  • Fabolous Women's History (Tidbit: One law firm told O'connor they'd only hire her as a legal secretary)
  • The fact that these two trailblazers are so different from each other makes a great story
  • An eye-opening account of the workings of the Supreme Court
     


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The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781451659177
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 7th, 2016

I loved this book -- part travelogue, part history. Rinker Buck has a distinctive voice -- funny, self-deprecating, anxious but also cocky.  His modern day journey in a covered wagon is fascinating and full of  interesting history.  And, the mules....WOW! Who knew??


A Deadly Wandering: A Mystery, a Landmark Investigation, and the Astonishing Science of Attention in the Digital Age Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062284075
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 2nd, 2015

In 2006, a tragic texting-while-driving car crash killed two scientists on their way to work and dramatically changed the life of Reggie Shaw, the young man who caused the crash.  This page-turner of a book covers the ground-breaking investigation by a persistent officer who wouldn't let the crash be dismissed as an unfortunate weather-related accident, the science of driving while distracted, as well as the efforts of Reggie Shaw and others to change the way we look at cell phones and driving.  An important book.


The Last Bookaneer: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143108092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - April 26th, 2016

What a fun read!  I love the concept of literary pirates as well as the take on Robert Louis Stevenson.  This is a great adventure store steeped in literary history--lots of twists and turns.


The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062329141
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - April 7th, 2015

This is the hilarious and completely implausible story of a woman who uses her wits to escape the slums of Soweto and eventually "save the King of Sweden" (and deal with a nuclear bomb, too).  This has the same tone as The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.


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The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781439159866
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - July 2014

This book is about the fastest ride on the part of the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon, and that is certainly thrilling.  But, I loved the book for other reasons. Kevin Fedarko's writing about the beauty & importance of the Grand Canyon is fabulous as is his telling of the history of the folks who saved the Grand Canyon from numerous dams.  This is a nonfiction page-turner.


The Good Lord Bird Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594632785
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - August 5th, 2014

James McBride won the National Book Award for this funny and engrossing novel. Onion, a 12-year old boy (thought to be a girl by his rescuer, the abolitionist John Brown) is the narrator of the novel.  He is a sometimes innocent, sometimes cynical observer of John Brown and other abolitionists.  Somehow, McBride manages to be irreverent and funny without trivializing our anti-slavery heroes.  Storytelling at its best.


In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780061995200
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - April 16th, 2013

This is a memoir, an ode to the bicycle, and an interesting history of Amsterdam.  It is wonderful to read about a place where cars don't rule! 

 


Gone Girl: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307588371
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - April 22nd, 2014

If you are in the mood for a psychologically creepy read with lots of twists and turns, Gone Girl is for you!  Wow! Narrated by a husband and wife in a failing marriage (to put it mildly!), this book is riveting.  The reader must wade through the unreliable accounts of both characters to try to figure out what is really going on.  A page-turner.


Doc: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812980004
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - March 6th, 2012

This page-turner of a novel is now in paper. Mary Doria Russell has given us an unusual and at times very amusing view of the "wild west" and Doc Holliday. Action-packed and fun but also thought-provoking.