BOOK BABES 10th Anniversary Book List

 October 23 – The Same Kind of Different as Me By Hall and Moore – Carol Mondich (This is NOT third Saturday because we are at the Sylvia Beach Hotel)

Switching back and forth in short segments, two narrators portray authors Hall and Moore in memoirs that begin in distant walks of life and intersect in a homeless shelter. In the charming accent of an unschooled black man with a deep, scratchy voice, narrator Barry Scott recounts Denver Moore's life of hardship and misfortune, starting on a Louisiana plantation. In contrast, the subtle Southern accent of Dan Butler speaks for co-author Ron Hall, an educated white gentleman of comfortable means. The narrators play their parts of the drama so well that listeners will believe they are hearing the men who lived the story. In the end, the two individuals form an unlikely friendship resulting from charity and challenged by tragedy. J.A.H. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Tons of used copies on Amazon and two at Corvallis Library

November 20 – Through the Veil by Lisa Ohlen Harris (228 pages) – Carol hosts and author leads the discussion

With an ethnographer's trained eye and a poet's lyric tongue, Lisa Ohlen Harris travels to the Middle East where she finds, in a mosque, "tile after tile, the design of every square repeating the one next to it in a silent echo, lonely and lovely." Loneliness and loveliness pervade Harris's story as we journey with her to seek out answers in a land embraced by questions. --Brenda Miller, author of Season of the Body and Blessing of the Animals

Captivating. "Through" is the operative word in Through the Veil as Lisa Ohlen Harris with curiosity and compassion chronicles her unique contact with women of the Middle East. Beautifully orchestrated with honesty, insight, and humor, this book penetrates another culture and, at the same time, helps us understand what it is to be American, in the best sense of that word. --Judith Kitchen, author of Distance & Direction

A few used on Amazon and one copy at the Corvallis Library

December 18 – Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl (100 pages) – Laura Gannon

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud. The book begins with a lengthy, austere, and deeply moving personal essay about Frankl's imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for five years, and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live. The second part of the book, called "Logotherapy in a Nutshell," describes the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps. Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life; Frankl, by contrast, believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. Frankl's logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy. This is a fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book. At times, Frankl's personal and professional discourses merge into a style of tremendous power. "Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is," Frankl writes. "After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Tons of used copies at Amazon. Four copies and one downloadable audiobook at library.

January 15 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (550 pages) – Ginny

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it,The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Tons of used at Amazon. Five print and two audio at Corvallis Library.

February 19 - The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan (340 pages) – Lisa Herder (because Michelle thinks that is her birthday, but it really is not)

Starred Review. Egan tells an extraordinary tale in this visceral account of how America's great, grassy plains turned to dust, and how the ferocious plains winds stirred up an endless series of "black blizzards" that were like a biblical plague: "Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains" in what became known as the Dust Bowl. But the plague was man-made, as Egan shows: the plains weren't suited to farming, and plowing up the grass to plant wheat, along with a confluence of economic disaster—the Depression—and natural disaster—eight years of drought—resulted in an ecological and human catastrophe that Egan details with stunning specificity. He grounds his tale in portraits of the people who settled the plains: hardy Americans and immigrants desperate for a piece of land to call their own and lured by the lies of promoters who said the ground was arable. Egan's interviews with survivors produce tales of courage and suffering: Hazel Lucas, for instance, dared to give birth in the midst of the blight only to see her baby die of "dust pneumonia" when her lungs clogged with the airborne dirt. With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan's powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers' minds. (Dec. 14) 

Tons of used on Amazon and three hardcover, one CD, and one pre-loaded audiobook at Corvallis Library.

March 19 – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (320 pages) – Margaret

Adutl/High School—Henry Lee is a 12-year-old Chinese boy who falls in love with Keiko Okabe, a 12-year-old Japanese girl, while they are scholarship students at a prestigious private school in World War II Seattle. Henry hides the relationship from his parents, who would disown him if they knew he had a Japanese friend. His father insists that Henry wear an "I am Chinese" button everywhere he goes because Japanese residents of Seattle have begun to be shipped off by the thousands to relocation centers. This is an old-fashioned historical novel that alternates between the early 1940s and 1984, after Henry's wife Ethel has died of cancer. A particularly appealing aspect of the story is young Henry's fascination with jazz and his friendship with Sheldon, an older black saxophonist just making a name for himself in the many jazz venues near Henry's home. Other aspects of the story are more typical of the genre: the bullies that plague Henry, his lack of connection with his father, and later with his own son. Readers will care about Henry as he is forced to make decisions and accept circumstances that separate him from both his family and the love of his life. While the novel is less perfect as literature than John Hamamura's Color of the Sea (Thomas Dunne, 2006), the setting and quietly moving, romantic story are commendable.—Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

Tons of used on Amazon. Corvallis Library has 10 print copies and eBook and audio book.

April 16 – Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, with Erin Torneo (298 pages) – Michelle

New York Times Bestseller
Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken-- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After eleven years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face-- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.
In their own words, Jennifer and Ronald unfold the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.


Many used copies on Amazon and two print and one audio at library.

May 21 – Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King (384 pages) – Cathi

Some stories are so enthralling they deserve to be retold generation after generation. The wreck in 1815 of the Connecticut merchant ship, Commerce, and the subsequent ordeal of its crew in the Sahara Desert, is one such story. With Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival, Dean King refreshes the popular nineteenth-century narrative once read and admired by Henry David Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper, and Abraham Lincoln. King’s version, which actually draws from two separate first person accounts of the Commerce's crew, offers a page-turning blend of science, history, and classic adventure. The book begins with a seeming false start: tracing the lives of two merchants from North Africa, Seid and Sidi Hamet, who lose their fortunes—and almost their lives—when their massive camel caravan arrives at a desiccated oasis. King then jumps to the voyage of the Commerce under Captain Riley and his 11-man crew. After stops in New Orleans and Gibraltar, the ship falls off course en route to the Canary Islands and ultimately wrecks at the infamous Cape Bojador. After the men survive the first predations of the nomads on the shore, they meander along the coast looking for a way inland as their supplies dwindle. They subsist for days by drinking their own urine. Eventually, to their horror, they discover that they have come aground on the edge of the Sahara Desert. They submit themselves, with hopes of getting food and water, as slaves to the Oulad Bou Sbaa. After days of abuse, they are bought by Hamet, who, after his own experiences with his failed caravan (described at the novels opening), sympathizes with the plight of the crew. Together, they set off on a hellish journey across the desert to collect a bounty for Hamet in Swearah. King embellishes this compelling narrative throughout with scientific and historical material explaining the origins of the camel, the market for English and American slaves, and the stages of dehydration. He also humanizes the Sahrawi with background on the tribes and on the lives of Hamet and Seid. This material, doled out in sufficient amounts to enrich the story without derailing it makes Skeletons on the Zahara a perfectly entertaining bit of history that feels like a guilty pleasure. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Tons of used on Amazon. Library only has ONE large print.

June 18 – Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (447 pages) – Michelle

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White City is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison. The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims. Combining the stories of an architect and a killer in one book, mostly in alternating chapters, seems like an odd choice but it works. The magical appeal and horrifying dark side of 19th-century Chicago are both revealed through Larson's skillful writing. --John Moe

Over 1,000 used copies on Amazon and six print and two audio at library.

July 16 – The Veil by Diane Noble (400 pages) – Shelly

Hannah McClary is being raised by her aunt, who is a member of the religious group known as the Saints. Hannah questions many of their beliefs, but obeys for the sake of her aunt. Beneath the benevolence of the Saints lies a terrible secret. A secret that is slowly destroying the man Hannah loves, Lucas Knight. Alexander and Ellie Farrington have placed all their hopes for the future on a wagon to California. The trip is slow and arduous, with unexpected delays that threaten to leave them on the wrong side of the mountains when winter arrives. The wagon train must travel an alternate route, which takes them down the Utah trail through the territory of the Saints. Hannah and Lucas fight for their lives and love even as the wagons of the pioneer families rattle over the trail to a tragic confrontation with the Saints! Diane Noble brings history vividly to life in this intricate and compelling novel. She has revealed the truth of an early Mormon practice and made it personal in a way no dry history book could. Her well-drawn characters capture the heart and make you wish history could be changed.A triumph! The Veil's searing narrative pierces the heart! It will haunt you long after the last word is read! Don't wait to get this book! Linda Fitzner -- Copyright © 080198 Literary Times, Inc.

Fifteen used at Amazon and ONE downloadable audiobook at library

August 20 – The Help: A Novel by Kathryn Stockett (451 pages) – A.J.

Starred Review. What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it. (Feb.) 

Many used at Amazon. TONs in New Book at library with downloadable audio, large print, and CD.
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