Linda's Favorites

Non-Fiction:


973.3 SHO “REVOLUTION SONG”  by Russell Shorto-

This fascinating book takes us back to the founding of America through the lives of six people – unrelated but all affected by the Revolutionary War and its aftermath. They include a slave who wins his freedom, a woman who escapes her abusive husband, an English aristocrat, an Iroquois chief, a settler, who becomes a politician, and George Washington.  The author weaves together their lives in a well-paced narrative that keeps the reader engaged and wanting to learn more.  This is a great read for any history buff or really anyone interested in America’s early days and the people who lived during this important time. I highly recommend it.

599.77 BLA “AMERICAN WOLF: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West” by Nate Blakeslee –

This is the story of a female wolf, O-Six, who becomes the most famous wolf in the world.  The author creates a clear picture of the American West today, mainly in and around Yellowstone National Park and the struggles going on between the wolves and conservationists, and hunters and ranchers. Hunted to near extinction, wolves have been successfully brought back to the Rockies, but now face challenges again in the battle for control of the West.  Anyone who loves animals and nature will want to read this true story of a remarkable wolf and her family in this remote and beautiful part of our country.

305.5 VAN “HILLBILLY ELEGY” by J.D. Vance -

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America.

978.223 BUC “THE OREGON TRAIL: An American Journey” by Rinker Buck –

The author and his brother set off to travel the length of the Oregon Trail – 2,000 miles and 6 states the original way – in a covered wagon with a team of mules. Along the way we share his hardships and harrowing situations like runaway mules, crossing rivers, cliffs, broken wagon wheels and low water supplies in the desert. Buck discusses the history of the Trail and the 400,000 pioneers who made this treacherous journey 100 years ago.  While the book may not inspire you to take your own journey – it is still fun to follow the Bucks and live vicariously through theirs as they make their way across the country with Hormel Chilli as their main source of protein.

153.98 WEI “THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS” by Eric Weiner –

The author, a travel writer examines the connection between surroundings and genius on a travelogue through history. He visits China and the Song Dynasty Hangzhou, the Athens of Socrates, Renaissance Florence of Raphael, Michelangelo and Da Vinci, 1900 Vienna of Beethoven, and today’s Silicon Valley to explore how certain settings are encouraging to genius.  This is a thought-provoking book about how and maybe why creative genius flourishes in a specific place at a specific time.

976.60 GRA “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON” by David Grann –

This is the true account of the how the Osage Indian tribe became wealthy beyond all dreams when oil was discovered on their tribal land in Oklahoma in the 1890s. The Osage who as a result became the wealthiest people in the world also became a target of greedy oil men and settlers resulting in the murders of over 20 people from the tribe – and maybe even more. The relatively young FBI bungled the investigation until newly appointed J.Edgar Hoover took over the FBI. This book exposes another dark chapter in American history relating to Native Americans. The book reads like a fiction mystery thriller but sadly it is true.

Fiction:

FIC – FER “MY BRILLIANT FRIEND” by Eleanor Ferrante –

The first of the author’s Neopolitan novels, this is the story of two friends growing up in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Italy in the 1950’s. Theirs is a tough neighborhood and the two main characters grow to rely on each other to get through the days of school, boys, family troubles and the complex nature of friendships.  The book gives the reader a colorful picture of Italy after WW2, with the day to day struggles of the working poor, the Mafia, women’s subservience to men and the culture of Italy at that time. There are a lot of other characters in the book- big Italian families but stick with it as the author lays the groundwork for what is to come.  By the middle of the book, you will be hooked and the ending will leave you hurrying to read the second book in the series and on to the third and then the final book of the Neopolitan novels and will have you debating just who is the “Brilliant Friend”. I highly recommend this book – I usually do not read fiction but this is an amazing book by one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors.