May books usher in rich, colorful and rewarding worlds

By John Hoover

For the rest of the world, spring began in the month of March with the arrival of the Vernal Equinox. Good Reads1 copyBut in Chester, May is the month when spring finally arrives and we put away our winter coats and gloves and boots.  May also is Mother’s Day, getting out in the garden and just plain welcoming the sun and warmer weather.

The books we here at Misty Valley Books are recommending this month deal with families, the spring-like growth of new life and finding direction, and a thriller that doesn’t really have anything to do with spring but is still a Good Read.

22 Britannia Road coverBoth Kim and Amanda have found books set during World War II and its aftermath but that speak to family relationships: Kim recommends 22 Britannia Road ($16) by Amanda Hodgkinson.  This debut novel takes us to England where a Polish refugee family tries to rebuild its life together.  With flashbacks to the war years and told from the points of view of father, mother and son, this story recounts the struggles involved in creating an entirely new life.  “Well written,” says Kim.

Amanda’s choice is Crossing the Borders of Time ($17.95) by Leslie Maitland.  In this novel, based on a true story, Maitland recounts the tale of her German-Jewish mother’s escape from Nazi Germany first to France, then to Cuba and finally to the U.S.  “The book is as much about the relationship between mother & daughter as it is about the historical backstory,” Amanda says.

This month, Lynne likes Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being ($28.95).A Tale for the Time Being cover  “Ozeki masterfully weaves Buddhism, cultural adaptation, Alzheimer’s, suicidal thoughts, marriage, and the sheer beauty of a 104-year-old great grandmother Buddhist nun who saves them all, into a remarkable book. We are all Time Beings and I remain in awe of Ruth Ozeki.”

For young adult readers (14 & up) Jory suggests Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ($17.99) by Benjamin Alire Saenz with its spring-like theme of two young men navigating their way in the world.  “Set in Texas in the late 1980s Aristotle & Dante is the story of a pivotal friendship that allows each young man to make sense of their respective lives.”

Vermont Gardener's Companion coverDreams of spring and summer lead me to suggest master gardener Henry Homeyer’s The Vermont Gardener’s Companion ($16.95).  “If this book doesn’t answer your gardening question there probably is no answer.  Full of tips and gardening dos and don’ts Homeyer’s book is essential reading for every Vermont gardener.”

Bill recommends Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl ($25).  “An ideal golden couple is not what they seem, then the wife disappears, understandably, and goes to great lengths to create evidence that the hubby killed her, not without reason.  Meanwhile, the hubby…. but I can’t divulge any more.   Both Lynne and I zoomed through this terrific story with pleasure.”

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeGood Reads

About the Author: After a 35-year career as a high school social studies teacher, John Hoover and his wife, Sally, retired to Vermont. He lives in Windham where he serves as a Justice of the Peace and Library Trustee. He works part time as a book-seller at Misty Valley Books, is active at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and sings in several choral groups.

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