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Deb Messling
I'm a librarian in a small public library. When I speak about library issues, I speak for myself, not my employer.
Recent Activity
This is the much heralded memoir of a Yale Law School graduate who came from Kentucky "hillbilly" stock but was mostly raised in rust-belt Ohio. His mother was a drug addict who ran through a succession of men; His "mamaw" was more nurturing but hotheaded and sometimes violent. Vance talks... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
I was crazy about Tremblay's last one, A Head Full of Ghosts. His new book is not as wickedly entertaining, but as it got going it was a page-turner. The subject is somber: the disappearance of a young boy. Tommy Sanderson goes missing in Borderland Park after hanging out with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
Anne Tyler falters badly in this retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, in which Kate, a socially awkward woman is pressured by her scientist father to marry his immigrant lab assistant for the sake of the green card. Despite feeling deeply hurt by her father's callousness toward her, she... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
Godwin tries her hand at a ghost story here, although the metaphorical ghosts of family overshadow the actual supernatural presence. After the death of his mother, 11-year-old Marcus has gone to live in a ramshackle beach house with his great aunt Charlotte, an eccentric, alcoholic artist. He arrives there in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
I never thought I would write a review that would include the sentence “The fetus sounded somewhat pretentious.” This slim novel is an astute character study of despicable people. Trudy, nine months pregnant, is cheating on her poet husband John with his brother, Claude. The pair decide it would be... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
I adored Simonson’s first book, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. When I started this one, set in Rye, England just before the Great War, I was very disappointed, because it seemed too leisurely paced (euphemism for “when the hell is something going to happen?” ) Well, eventually, lots of stuff happened,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
First off, let me say I’ve always been a huge fan of English folk-rock, so this book about a group of English folkies at a haunted house held a charm for me from the get –go: which character is the fake Richard Thompson, which one is Nick Drake, which one... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
The unnamed narrator of this stream-of-consciousness novel must raise thousands of dollars in a short time to pay his children’s private school tuition and put money down on a new apartment. His excruciatingly WASP-y wife is away with their kids for the summer, visiting her mother whom the narrator dislikes.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
Writers Clare and Jeff Martin move from the city to the Hudson Valley hoping that a change of scenery will rejuvenate Jeff’s one-hit-wonder writing career. They land a gig working as a caretaker at the crumbling mansion of Jeff’s old college professor. Uh oh. Caretakers of crumbling mansions usually have... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
I mostly loved this subdued, naturalistic coming of age story, set on a small farm in a hardscrabble town in Pennsylvania that is on the verge of being flooded by a dam project. The narrator and main character is Mimi, a plucky and intelligent kid whose no-nonsense mother Miriam wants... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
This book made a lot of 10-best lists for 2016 – not just best mysteries but best novels. It reintroduces the story line of corruption in the Sûreté du Québec, as Armand Gamache is named the new head of the Sûreté Academy. Gamache believes that that the bad old guard... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
Sammie is an unemployed reporter who once covered Jacky Seever, a serial killer on death row. She got a lot of material for her stories by sleeping with police officer Paul Hoskins, who is still somewhat hung up on her. After copycat killings start, she is invited to write for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
This was a book club selection that I certainly didn’t expect to like, about astronaut, botanist and engineer Mark Watney, whose crew accidentally leaves him behind on Mars. As NASA frantically tries to arrange a rescue, Mark survives by planting potatoes and doing all kinds of creative things with his... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
The basis for Helen Mirren vehicle Woman in Gold, this book recounts the story of Gustav Klimt’s renowned portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, stolen by the Nazis who obscured Adele’s Jewish identity. Decades later, Adele’s niece Maria filed a lawsuit to get that and other paintings returned to the family. It... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
Harold Fry’s highly unlikely pilgrimage is a 500-kilometer walk to visit Queenie, an old work mate who wrote him a letter telling him she was in hospice. He sets out impulsively, in bad shoes and with no other equipment, convinced that his walking will keep Queenie alive. His quest is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
I picked up this book through the emails I get from BookBub, and I’m so glad I did. It’s a perfectly crafted little novel, set in England, which tells the story of how a random accident changes the life of a little boy. Byron’s mother, an ex-actress in a troubled... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
The title of Cathleen Schine's novel comes from a poem by Philip Larkin which begins “They fuck you up, your mum and dad / They may not mean to, but they do." But I would not say that the characters in this book are inordinately fucked up. It is actually... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
Okay, this was the most far-fetched entry yet in the Three Pines mystery series. After 11 titles, we know that the quaint and beautiful village of Three Pines has the highest per-capita murder rate on the planet. Could it get any worse? Yes. There is a weapon of mass destruction... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
This is a very careful and well-researched fictionalized treatment of the love affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok. It follows their relationship through its passionately romantic beginnings to its more subdued phase as Eleanor is consumed with her role as First Lady and First Lady to the World.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
I follow Sady Doyle on Twitter. She is a reliable advocate for feminism and was a powerful voice for Hillary Clinton when the Bros of the left were trying to destroy her. So I was excited to read her first book about the Women We Love to Hate. It’s an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
This is one of the most original – and downright odd - books I’ve ever read about American slavery. The main character is Cora, who follows in her mother’s footsteps by running away from the cruelest possible owners on earth. She meets up with Caesar, another escapee, who convinces her... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
I enjoyed Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10. This book, her first novel, is about a woman, Leonora, who finds herself invited to a bridal shower for an old friend she’s been estranged from for 10 years. That’s strange. The old friend is marrying Nora’s ex-boyfriend. That’s stranger. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
Britt-Marie was a secondary character from Fredrik Backman’s marvelous “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.” It is not mandatory, but highly advisable, that you read that book first before starting this one. Britt-Marie is…precise? Rigid? Judgmental? Full-on obsessive-compulsive? She is not an easy character to like, but... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
“The Girl on a Train on a Boat” would be a good alternative title for this guilty pleasure of a suspense story. Our girl is Lo Blacklock, a travel writer who invited on the maiden voyage of a small luxury ship whose owners seem a touch shady. After borrowing mascara... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)
This is an odd little page turner about Lucy, an orphaned teenager who runs away from her guardian and her big sister to live with William, a 30-something English teacher in rural Pennsylvania. Their life together seems idyllic at first, but eventually William becomes more and more controlling and Lucy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Book-Book (Read It)