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A Few Good Books: November 2016

by Emily M | Nov 21, 2016
Looking for a good book recommendation? Look no further!  Here are a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently:

AnotherBrooklynAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Award-winning children’s and young adult author Jacqueline Woodson delivers with this gorgeous foray into adult fiction.  Another Brooklyn is a lyrical, almost dream-like, coming of age story of four African-American girls living in Brooklyn in the 1970s.  August, who has returned to Brooklyn for her father’s funeral after years spent living all over the world, reflects on her teenage years spent with her three best friends.  The girls’ youthful dreams of fame, success, and love are sidetracked by family dysfunction, sexual assault, and the betrayal of friends.  Woodson writes beautifully about what it means to be black and female, but also about young love, faith, and family. 

 

TheChildrenThe Children by Ann Leary

The Children is the story of four grown step-siblings.  The patriarch of the family is a few years deceased, and his grand lakeside home is owned by his biological sons, but lived in by his widow and her daughters.  Family discord and buried secrets come to a head one summer when the youngest son and “pet” of the family brings home his new fiancé. 

What makes this story interesting is how truly unlikeable the characters are, including our narrator, younger sister Charlotte.  The characters are intelligent and quirky, but also petty, deceptive, and self-absorbed.  As the story unfolds and more of the past is revealed, I developed an empathy for several of these characters, while maintaining a steady dislike for them.  I found the ending unsatisfying, but necessary.  In this situation, there was never going to be a happy ending tied up neatly with a bow.  Despite all this, excellent storytelling by Leary makes this an absorbing and enjoyable read.

 

FarmFarm: The Vernacular Tradition of Working Buildings by David Larkin

With large color photographs on every page, Farm: The Vernacular Tradition of Working Buildings appears to be a coffee table book at first glance.  While the photography is excellent and can easily be enjoyed in coffee-table-book-style (flipping through the pages and enjoying the pretty pictures without reading the text), with just a paragraph or two of text per page Larkin provides a wealth of fascinating information about historic farm buildings.  Going back several centuries, Larkin explores the construction style and uses of various farm buildings, most notably farmhouses and barns, but also lesser known structures such as springhouses, icehouses, and corn cribs.  Larkin delves into architectural styles and how they intersect with practical use.  Most interesting to me was the explanations of how immigrants to the U.S. brought architectural styles with them from their home countries, and then adapted them to life in America based on factors such as a different climate or alternative raw materials available with which to build.  Toward the end of the book, Larkin explores the process of restoration of old farm buildings.  This is a great choice for anyone interested in historic architecture and farm life. 

What about you?  What good books have you read recently that our readers might enjoy?


EmilyLong 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.

 

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