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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This is the first in a series of three novels written by the late Stieg Larsson, a Swedish journalist specializing in antidemocratic right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations and the editor-in-chief of the magazine Expo. Larsson has developed a story based on what he knows about, with a protagonist named Mikael Blomqvist, the editor of a financial magazine who is facing a short jail sentence for libel after his expose of a corrupt financier goes off course. Blomqvist is approached by the elderly industrialist Henrik Vanger who requests that Mikael investigate the disappearance of his teen-aged niece more than forty years earlier. To sweeten the deal, Vanger says he will present Blomqvist with the goods on the corrupt financier after the mysterious disappearance is solved.

Blomqvist is assisted in his investigation by the inscrutable Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed genius computer hacker who introduces an additional theme to the storyline, that of sexual violence against women. With the resolution of the mystery there is the promise of further adventures with Blomqvist and Salander. Well-drawn characters, attention to detail, and a fast-paced plot make this an enjoyable read.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Afternoon Book Discussions

     Join us once a month, on a Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, to discuss a fiction or non-fiction book selection. Coffee, tea and cookies are served. Books are available at the Circulation Desk four weeks before the discussion date. Our schedule is:

January 15th
The Thirteenth Tale, written by Diane Setterfield
When her health begins failing, the mysterious author Vida Winter decides to let Margaret Lea, a biographer, write the truth about her life, but Margaret needs to verify the facts since Vida has a history of telling outlandish tales.

February 20th
The Girl Who Played with Fire, written by Stieg Larsson
On the eve of the publication of a sex-trafficking expose, two reporters responsible for the magazine story are murdered. The fingerprints on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander, a genius hacker, prompting the magazine’s publisher to launch his own investigation to vindicate her.

March 20th The Irresistible Henry House: a Novel, written by Lisa Grunwald
Cared for in a series of temporary homes where young women are taught mothering, skills, winsome orphan toddler Henry captures the hearts of program director Martha and each of his temporary mothers while hoping for a permanent home.

April 17th The Gangs of New York: an Informal History of the Underworld, written by Herbert Asbury
This is an illumination of the gangs of old New York that ultimately gave rise to the modern Mafia.

May 15th Wide Sargasso Sea, written by Jean Rhys
Inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and set in the lush landscape of Jamaica in the 1830s, Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman and marries him. Afterwards, the rumors begin, poisoning her husband against her and driving her towards madness.

June 19th A Thread of Grace: a Novel, written by Mary Doria Russell
In 1943, fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum and her father flee across the Alps into Italy with thousands of other Jewish refugees seeking safety, only to find an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allied forces, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding and ordinary Italians.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Fiction

Some holiday romances:

A Fool’s Gold Christmas, by Susan Mallery, is about injured dancer Evie Stryker and her return to her hometown of Fool’s Gold and her estranged family. In a “bah, humbug” mood, Evie is talked into staging the town’s winter festival and then she plans to leave. But an unlikely attraction to her brother’s best friend results in a Christmas miracle.

The Christmas Singing: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country, by Cindy Woodsmall, portrays the celebration of Christmas among the Amish, while telling the story of Mattie Eash, for whom Christmas has painful memories since her fiancé Gideon abruptly broke up with her three years ago. Although her move to a new town has brought her a new life as a cake decorator and a new love, Mattie unexpectedly must return home where she meets up with Gideon again.

An O’Brien Family Christmas, by Sherryl Woods, presents the reader with two romances within the O’Brien family as they celebrate Christmas in Dublin, Ireland. Playboy Matthew falls for older woman Laila but then she breaks off their romance. Can he win her back? Then matriarch Nell meets up with an old boyfriend and the sparks fly. Will these two couples end up happily ever after?

Christmas and mysteries:

Twelve Clues of Christmas, written by Rhys Bowen, features Lady Georgiana Rannoch, who is 35th in line to the British throne and in need of funds, in this Depression-era story. She is able to hire herself out as a paid hostess at a country Christmas house party. The holiday festivities begin; until the murder victims begin to pile up. Christmas recipes and period party instructions are included.

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, by James Patterson, shows us Alex Cross at home with his family after finding the thief who stole from his church’s poor box. Then, he gets another phone call summoning him to investigate and solve a complex hostage situation.