Libraries' new large print includes 'Dreamers of the Day'

Posted: Friday, September 05, 2008

We've got new large print at all the public libraries: some nonfiction and lots of fiction. Bestsellers include "No Choice but Seduction," by Johanna Lindsey, "The Front," by Patricia Cornwell, "Tailspin," by Catherine Coulter, "Phantom Prey" by John Sandford, "Santa Fe Dead" by Stuart Woods, and "The Third Circle" by Amanda Quick.

"The Translator," by Daoud Hari. Born and raised in a small, traditional village in Darfur, Hari went to school, learning Arabic in addition to his native Zaghawa, and traveled to Libya, Israel and Egypt. Once violence broke out, though, he found himself in a refugee camp in Chad, where he realized that his language skills could do more for his people than taking up a gun would. He worked as a translator for journalists and aid workers, helping them illegally cross the border into Darfur to document abuses and provide medical aid until his capture and imprisonment in 2006. Now living in the United States, Hari uses deceptively simple language to tell his harrowing story. (nonfiction)

"A Voyage Long and Strange," by Tony Horwitz. Horwitz takes umbrage at a comment by a park ranger at Plymouth Rock regarding the ignorance of Americans. But when what he thought was merely a gap in his own knowledge of the century between Columbus's "discovery" of America and the Pilgrims' settlement shows itself to be a chasm, he is driven to action. A little library research begins filling holes and spurs Horwitz to three years of road trips throughout North America. Beginning in Newfoundland with the Vikings and ending up back at Plymouth Rock (with a lot more history under his belt), Horwitz looks for the reality behind the myth. Sometimes he finds it, sometimes he's left frustrated, but the result is an irresistible story based on the best research available.

"The Seventh Well," by Fred Wander. A veneer of fiction covers this finely written memoir, protecting readers from the worst details of Wander's years in a series of Nazi concentration camps. With lyrical prose, he eulogizes his fellow prisoners, telling the story of the rich farmer who dreams of once again spending Sabbath with his wife and children, and of the young boy who force-feeds his younger brother to ensure his survival, and of the countless other men and boys who lived and died beside him. Like a kind of grim kaleidoscope, this shows us a pattern at once beautiful and chaotic.

"Dreamers of the Day," by Mary Doria Russell. When the 1918 flu epidemic wipes out all of Agnes Shanklin's family, the 40-year-old Ohio schoolteacher inherits enough money to travel to Egypt, fulfilling a life-long dream. She's lived long under her family's thumb and is eager to remake herself and see what the world has to offer. The European community of the time is small and so it is natural that she becomes acquainted with such luminaries as T.E. Lawrence and Winston Churchill, who arrive for the Cairo Peace Conference of 1921 and end up staying in Agnes's hotel. To top off the thrill of meeting these influential men, the well-educated but romantically inexperienced Agnes finds herself enmeshed in her first romance.

"The Monsters of Templeton," by Lauren Goff. Willie Upton, archaeology student and failed murderess, has returned to her hometown expecting safe shelter. But something has changed: perhaps it is the town, whose rumored monster has finally and inarguably shown itself, dead in the lake; or perhaps it is Willie herself, who at 28 may be pregnant from an affair with her married professor. Driven by her own pregnancy to sort out her own father's identity for once and for all, Willie teases apart old family documents spanning two centuries to get at their secrets, and finds some surprises. Part mystery, part historical fiction, and part coming-of-age novel, this is not only fun, but genuinely well written.

"Souvenir," by Therese Fowler. This first novel will be snapped up by fans of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult for its heartwarming romantic drama. Meg and Carson grew up together in a farming community, looking forward to the day they'd marry. But fate intervenes in the form of Brian, whose father holds the power to whisk Meg's parents' farm out from under them, and she makes a prudent, though not heartfelt, decision. Seventeen years later, Meg, now with a teenage daughter, a loveless marriage, and a terrible disease, is offered a second chance. Carson is back in town to prepare for his own marriage, but it seems he's never forgotten Meg, nor she him.

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Join the Juneau Pulic Libraries for storytelling and music by Morgan Fawcett, formerly of Juneau, on flute and Ash Dargan, of Australia, on didgeridoo at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at the Douglas library.

For information about the Juneau Pulic Libraries' upcoming programs or to place a hold on any material, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.



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