Book List

I found all the following books good reading these past few months, but you will notice I have been particularly captured by Geraldine Brooks, whether she’s writing about the Civil War, early New England, King David, or her own life. I completely understand that book preferences are dependent on too many variables to dare to recommend, so you’re on your own! (Graphics and commentary all lifted from Barnes & Noble’s website.)

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New  America by Gilbert King

9780061792267_p0_v7_s192x300San Francisco Chronicle: “[An] excellent book on a little known and horrifying incident in which four young black men were rounded up and accused of raping a white woman, readers cannot help but be awed by the bravery of those who took a stand in the late 1940s and early 1950s.”


Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant

The New York Times Book Review – Tom Zoellner

“Grant’s British accent doubtlessly served him well, allowing him to move throug9781476709642_p0_v4_s192x300h the tradition-bound society of the Mississippi Delta like a neutron, without obvious allegiances or biases. At times, it feels as if he’s initiating these experiences knowing full well they’ll provide zippy material for his memoir. But he succeeds, and with flair. His empathic manner, reportorial talent and eye for the unexpected detail make this a chigger-bitten trip that entertains as much as it informs.”

9780307279187_p0_v1_s192x300Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

“McDougall recounts his quest to understand near superhuman ultra-runners with adrenaline pumped writing, humor and a distinct voice…he never lets go from his impassioned mantra that humans were born to run.” —NPR

Live by Night by Denis Lehane


“Lehane’s novel carves its own unique place in the Prohibition landscape. . . . This is an utterly magnetic novel on every level, a reimagining of the great themes of popular fiction—crime, family, passion, betrayal—set against an exquisitely rendered historical backdrop.”

The Old Man by Thomas Perry

9780802125866_p0_v3_s192x300“Perry steers this cat-and-mouse adventure across the United States and, eventually, back to Libya, with verve, including just enough verisimilitude to keep intact the willing suspension of disbelief.”Christian Science Monitor

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

9781250118325_p0_v3_s192x300“Riveting . . . His descriptions are beautifully precise . . . The genius of Smith’s book is not just the caper plot but also the interweaving of three alternating timelines and locations to tell a wider, suspenseful story of one painting’s rippling impact on three people over multiple centuries and locations . . . Smith’s book absorbs you from the start.” —Washington Post

The  Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

9780143109761_p0_v2_s192x300“The Secret Chord—a thundering, gritty, emotionally devastating reconsideration of the story of King David—makes a masterly case for the generative power of retelling. . .some of the magic here has to do with setting and time—for sensory dramatics, it’s hard to compete with the Iron Age Middle East. . .but Brooks’s real accomplishment is that she also enables readers to feel the spirit of the place.” —The New York Times 

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

9780143121077_p0_v2_s192x300“Brooks filters the early colonial era through the eyes of a minister’s daughter growing up on the island known today as Martha’s Vineyard…[Bethia’s] voice – rendered by Brooks with exacting attention to the language and rhythm of the seventeenth century – is captivatingly true to her time.” —The New Yorker

March by Geraldine Brooks

9780143036661_p0_v2_s192x300“With ‘pitch-perfect writing’ (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks’s place as a renowned author of historical fiction.”

Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks

9780385483735_p0_v2_s192x300“As a young girl in a working-class neighborhood of Sydney, Australia, Geraldine Brooks longed to discover the places where history happens and culture comes from, so she enlisted pen pals who offered her a window on adolescence in the Middle East, Europe, and America. Twenty years later Brooks, an award-winning foreign correspondent, embarked on a human treasure hunt to find her pen friends.” – Overview from Barnes & Noble website.

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