Submitted by Kit Darling and the members of the Bay Area Book Club
Since the Hamilton Public Library is closed due to Covid-19, we didn’t have access to copies of the same book to read and discuss. Here are a few reviews of titles that we have enjoyed. To borrow them or place a reserve, go to https://hpl.bibliocommons.com/ .
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell Rose is a typist in a New York City Police precinct in the early 1920’s – prohibition. This is not a police procedural. This is not a romance. This story is full of twists and turns with great character development. Rather plain and prudish, Rose is absorbed by a new typist, Odalie, and her totally different life style. The first part of the book is okay as Rose and Odalie become acquainted, but the rest is fixating as we go through twists and turns with this new relationship and are totally entranced to know what will happen next. With the overall ambience of the 20’s, we see the seediness and opulence of the time. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I will just say it is awesome. I read it before the pandemic and I am still thinking about it after reading many more books. Janice Stone
Educated by Tara Westover. The youngest of seven children, Tara was raised in rural Idaho on a part farm/part scrapyard. Her fundamentalist Mormon family did not believe in government run schools, but did believe in preparing for the Days of Abomination. Her proselytizing father preached that the government brainwashed kids in public schools and that church run schools were infiltrated by the Illuminati so that they could raise generations of socialist Mormons. Her young life was working on the farm, in the scrapyard and in the kitchen. But Tara wanted more. She wanted an education. The memoir chronicles her struggles with her dominant father, her unsupportive mother, and a verbally and physically abusive brother in order to reach her goal. A captivating, inspiring and heartbreaking story permeated with ideological mania, outlandish physical trauma, and politically charged paranoia. Paige Turner
The Innocents by Michael Crummey. Beautifully written, The Innocents was shortlisted for three major literary awards in 2019. This is an extraordinary novel – emotionally precise, vivid in its portrayal of nature, and subtle in its exploration of the relationship between life and story. Evered and Ada are young when both their parents die from illness. Now brother and sister fight to survive on their land situated on the isolated north coast of Newfoundland. They must work as a team, but their loyalty and connection to each other is severely tested when a ship anchors in their cove. Paige Turner
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Set in coastal South Carolina, the story follows the life of Kya Clark, AKA ‘The Marsh Girl’. Abandoned by her siblings, her mother and finally her father, Kya survives on her own in the family shack in the marsh. She is reclusive and regarded by the townsfolk as a wild creature Kya becomes a talented and knowledgeable naturalist and eventually through her self-illustrated books, an acknowledged expert on marsh flora and fauna. When the town football hero and Romeo is found dead in the marsh, Kya is immediately suspected and is jailed and charged with murder. She is ultimately cleared of the charges through the efforts of her few supporters and a clever lawyer. An excellent read, both for the characters and the suspense, but also for the description of the life of the marsh. Kit Darling