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Archive for September, 2018

Free Book Friday! A House Divided

Friday, September 28th, 2018

 

A House Divided by Robert Whitlow

Corbin Gage can stand up to anyone . . . But his own divided house will bring him to his knees. — Corbin, a longtime legal champion for the downtrodden, is slowly drinking himself into the grave. His love for “mountain water” has cost him his marriage to the godliest woman he knows, ruined his relationship with his daughter, Roxy, and reduced the business at his small Georgia law firm to a level where he can barely keep the bill collectors at bay. But it isn’t until his son, Ray, threatens to limit Corbin’s time with his grandson that Corbin begins to acknowledge he might have a problem.

Despite the mess that surrounds his personal life and against the advice of everyone he knows, Corbin takes on a high-stakes tort case on behalf of two boys who have contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to an alleged chemical exposure. The defendant, a fertilizer company, is the largest employer in the area. The lawsuit becomes a tornado that sucks Corbin, Ray, and Roxy into an increasingly deadly vortex. Equally intense pressure within the family threatens to destroy, once and for all, the thin threads that connect them.

Corbin must find the strength to stand up to his personal demons. Justice for two dying boys depends on it . . . his family depends on it.

ISBN 9781401688882, Paperback

There are currently 3 Members wishing for this book. 1 lucky member will win a brand-new copy.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win.

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

 

 

Banned Book Week – How many have you read?

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Below is a partial list of banned and challenged books, compiled by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The ALA cites Robert P. Doyle in his book Banned Books, “at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts”.

Many of the books on this list have been swapped by our members; some thousands of times. Which banned or challenged books have you read?

 

 

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger

 

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

 

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

 

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

 

Ulysses, by James Joyce

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

1984, by George Orwell

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

 

 

To see the entire list, you can visit the ALA’s website at this link:

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics

 

 

 

Non-Fiction Review – Blind Descent

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

 

Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth

by James M. Tabor

Review Vicky T. (VickyJo)

 

Space—the Final Frontier. All you Star Trek fans will remember that spine-tingling phrase. But guess what: Turns out, space is NOT the final frontier. In reality, the final frontier is the Center of the Earth.

Long after every other ultimate goal had been achieved—both North and South Poles reached by 1911, Mount Everest scaled in 1953, the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the oceans, reached in 1960, the moon in 1969—the deepest cave on Earth was still undiscovered. In fact, as late as 2000, the “supercave” had not yet been found, despite numerous attempts. “Blind Descent” by James M. Tabor tells the story of two men, both driven to find and map the deepest cave on Earth, the teams they lead, and the triumphs and tragedies that befall them both.

The author begins the first section of the book by introducing us to Bill Stone, an American caver and entrepreneur who has been searching for The Supercave since the 1970’s. Tabor tells us about Bill Stone’s early years, how he became interested in caves, and the various teams he has pulled together over the years in an attempt to discover the deepest cave, the elusive Supercave. Stone, a type A personality that others either love or hate, is in his mid-50’s by the year 2004. He is convinced that a cave in Mexico called CHAY-vay will turn out to be the Supercave he’s been searching for.

Then we meet Bill Stone’s biggest rival in the caving world: Ukrainian caver Alexander Klimchouk. Oddly enough, Klimchouk seems to be Stone’s polar opposite. Stone is bold, brash, and commanding while Klimchouk is quiet, self-effacing and modest. Stone is tall and muscular while Klimchouk is short and slight. Klimchouk has been married to his wife for decades, while Stone is divorced and has had a series of relationships. But, Tabor points out “They are alike in two key ways: both are scientists and explorers…willing to risk everything, including their lives and those of others, for the ultimate discovery.” Alexander Klimchouk is also in his mid-50’s by 2004, and he believes the Supercave is in the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union, a cave called Krubera.

Blind Descent details the race between these two men, half a world apart, but united by a common passion. Caving on a good day can be a dangerous sport; exploring supercaves can be incredibly deadly. Not only are you basically climbing mountains in reverse, but the hardest part, the ascent, comes last. Cavers spend weeks underground, camping in the dark under less than ideal conditions. Diving is also a common requirement, compounding the dangers.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I can honestly say that I have found yet another sport that I will never attempt. And I won’t tell you which caver wins this competition; you’ll have to read the book to find out.

 

 

 

 

Mystery Monday Review – The Case of the Angry Mourner

Monday, September 24th, 2018

The Case of the Angry Mourner

by Erle Stanley Gardner

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

One of the upsides of reading Perry Mason novels is that they can be read in only about three or four hours. So even if the plot is far-fetched, any reader who likes Perry, Della, and Paul stories can put up with unlikely happenings for a couple of hours.

Another plus is despite the fact that Gardner doesn’t develop characters beyond a bare minimum, even minor figures are easy to keep track of because, like in mystery plays or Pilgrim’s Progress, a character is associated with a memorable trait. Distinctive passé names aid memory too: independent Carlotta, callow Harvey, haughty Dexter, and preening Darwin.

Another standby in the Mason novels is that clients handle the truth economically with Perry. When a rich wolf, Arthur Cushing, is murdered, Belle Adrian fears her daughter Carlotta, a pretty baa-lamb, resisted the wolf’s advances with a little too much force. Carlotta, in turn, suspects her dear old mam as the defender of her daughter’s honor, interfering and yet endearing as a mom-murderess. Belle fails to help her own cause when she not only tries to destroy all evidence of her daughter’s potential involvement in the crime but she also lies to Perry about doing so.

All in all, this mystery is worth reading, with the caution to hard-core fans of Perry, Della, and Paul that Perry and Pals don’t show up until the fourth chapter. One thing about Gardner too is that he wasn’t afraid of dealing with hard issues – like date-rape – in 1951.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

 

 

The Winner of the brand-new copy of

Dirty Magic
by Jaye Wells is:

 

 

Nancy M. (nmosher)

Congratulations, your book will be on the way to you soon!

 

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!

Free Book Friday! Dirty Magic

Friday, September 21st, 2018

 

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

MAGIC IS A DRUG. CAREFUL HOW YOU USE IT. — The Magical Enforcement Agency keeps dirty magic off the streets, but there’s a new blend out there that’s as deadly as it is elusive. When patrol cop Kate Prospero shoots the lead snitch in this crucial case, she’s brought in to explain herself. But the more she learns about the investigation, the more she realizes she must secure a spot on the MEA task force.

Especially when she discovers that their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier – on the same day she swore she’d given up dirty magic for good. Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should never say never.

ISBN 9780316228435, Paperback

There are currently 10 Members wishing for this book. 1 lucky member will win a brand-new copy.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win.

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Historical Fiction Review – The Book Thief

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 

Review Vicky T. (VickyJo)

 

I read a lot of book reviews, and talk with a lot of people about books. I love recommendations, because it’s a wonderful way to find new authors or wonderful stories. However, I have had the experience (more than once, I might add) of hearing such amazing reviews of a book, that by the time I read it, this allegedly wonderful book isn’t quite so wonderful, and it becomes a letdown for me. I allow myself to have such high expectations that I am seriously disappointed. And I hate it when that happens.

Back in 2005, I began hearing some buzz over a book called “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. I read glowing reviews; a couple of friends read the book and couldn’t say enough about it. And then, it was named a Printz Honor Book. The Printz Award is given every year for the best books written for young adults. There is a winner, and anywhere from one to three honor books named every January.

I finally decided to try the Book Thief, but I had serious reservations. Too much good stuff was circulating about this novel! I went in prepared to be letdown…but I was pleasantly surprised.

The Book Thief begins with an introduction to our narrator…Death. He says, “Here is a small fact. You are going to die…does this worry you? I urge you—don’t be afraid. I’m nothing if not fair.” Death meets nine-year-old Liesel when he comes for her younger brother on a cold, snowy day. He made what he called an “elementary mistake. I became interested. In the girl. Curiosity got the better of me…” especially when he saw Liesel steal her first book, a copy of The Gravedigger’s Handbook.

Liesel’s mother leaves her with a foster family in Munich, Germany; Hans who plays the accordion and teaches Liesel to read using her only book, The Gravedigger’s Handbook, and his wife Rosa, whom Death describes as having a face decorated with constant fury. Liesel adapts to her new life, making friends with other children in the neighborhood. But it is the man Max, the Jew that Hans and Rosa hide in their basement, who has such a profound effect on Liesel. At a time when people must be cautious, must watch what they do, what they say, and to whom they speak, Liesel grows into a young woman who learns survival skills she never dreamed she would need.

And stealing books is the theme in this novel. Liesel steals again; she picks a scorched book out of a pile the Nazis are burning, and hides it until she can get home and safely examine it. She meets the mayor’s wife, a sad woman with a mystery of her own. Liesel’s first visit to the mayor’s home results in finding the mayor’s personal library. Liesel steals another book, and with the mayor’s wife giving her unspoken permission, she continues to visit and steal books. For reading has become a distraction for Liesel, an escape from the world of Nazi Germany, which grows more frightening and uncertain with every passing day. Death becomes a presence in Liesel’s life; he observes her with an interest that both puzzles and fascinates him. Death confesses to us, the readers, “I am haunted by humans.”

As I was reading The Book Thief, I kept thinking, “Well, this is okay. It’s not a BAD book, it’s just not one to gush over, either.” But by the time I finished all 550 pages, I was hooked. This novel had worked its way into my heart and my mind to such an extent that I was sorry to see it end. It’s an incredible story, and one I would recommend to older teens and adults.