Looking for a book recommendation? Look no further! Here are a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently:
The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
The Keepers of the House is a sprawling novel, tracing seven generations of one landed Alabama family from the early nineteenth to the mid twentieth century. When the family patriarch dies and the truth concerning his relationship with his black housekeeper is exposed (It’s not what you think – everyone already knows he is the father of her three children), his granddaughter is left with the fallout. Grau weaves a story that is awash with a deep and enduring sense of place and of home; and with graceful writing and searing indictment, Grau confronts racisim in the Jim Crow south head on.
The Keepers of the House won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1965, but did not receive a welcome reception from everyone. The Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in Grau’s yard in response to her book’s criticisms of the accepted racial attitudes of the day.
Backyard Winter Gardening: Vegetables Fresh and Simple, in Any Climate, Without Artificial Heat or Electricity – the Way it’s Been Done for 2,000 Years by Caleb Warnock
This time of year most gardeners are drowning in zucchini and tomatoes and the last thing they want to think about is extending their growing season, but come December those fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes will be sounding pretty good. Caleb Warnock’s Backyard Winter Gardening is a practical and usable guide to enjoying homegrown vegetables year round, even in areas where winters are cold and snowy. Intended for those who have gardening experience, but are newbies to winter gardening, Warnock’s book explores a variety of different techniques, such as cold frames, hot beds, and geothermal greenhouses, as well as giving detailed information on specific vegetables, such as which varieties of each vegetable will grow best using which technique. He also is realistic about what can’t be done (sorry, no fresh strawberries in January). I’ve always put my garden to bed for the winter by the end of September, but this book has given me the confidence to try a few of the simpler techniques for winter.
One caveat about this book: the author is a bit extreme in his views, in my opinion. For example, I do not agree that the national security of our country is dependent on backyard gardening. If you happen to agree with that sentiment, then this book is definitely for you. If, like me, you happen to disagree, this book is still for you – just skip over the rhetoric and keep to the practical stuff.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Cadence Easton is a teenager from a privileged New England family. Each summer she gathers with her mother, aunts, cousins, and grandparents on the family’s private island near Martha’s Vineyard. During her fifteenth summer something happens to Cadence, leaving her with searing migraines and an inability to remember what she calls “summer fifteen.” Told from Cadence’s point of view during her seventeenth summer, her memories slowly return, revealing the horrifying truth of what happened that summer.
Suspenseful and plotty, We Were Liars is an easily read mystery that dips its toes into the realm of magical realism. It also leans heavily on one of my favorite plot devices: the unreliable narrator. The plot twist at the end may be shocking to some, while others may be unsurprised, as all the necessary clues were in place for the reader to discover. Although technically a young adult book, this adult reader thoroughly enjoyed We Were Liars.
What good books have you read lately? We'd love to hear!
Long before becoming a librarian, Emily was an avid library patron. She enjoys reading fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and classic children’s literature. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery.