Fight the January cold by curling up with a blanket and a novel


By John HooverGood Reads1 copy

January is a great month to get outside and enjoy all the recreational opportunities that Vermont has to offer.  But since daylight lasts for well less than half the day what are you doing the rest of the time?  You could, of course, sleep for 14 hours but I suspect you won’t want to spend that much time in bed.  All that darkness seems to lend itself to reading and there’s no better read for a cold January night than a novel.  Here at Misty Valley Books we know novels so here are our Good Reads fiction recommendations.

AtonementBill suggests any book by Ian McEwen – Atonement ($15.95), Saturday ($15.95), Solar ($15.95), Sweet Tooth (15.95); or Alex Berenson’s  The Faithful Spy ($9.99), The Ghost War ($9.99), et al.  “Both authors, in very different ways, provide wonderful entertainment for a winter’s eve – McEwen with a wonderful plot and a dose of British intrigue, and Berenson (a New York Times reporter and a Misty Valley Books’ New Voice) with the most intriguing spy plots since 007, absent the irony and the faux glamor.” Lizard Cage

Lynne recommends Karen Connelly’s debut novel The Lizard Cage ($14.00). “Set in Burma (now Myanmar) in the days of mass protest against the military dictatorship, it is the story of Teza, a  student singer of protest songs  who transcends the cruelty of the secret police, his jailers and his life in solitary confinement through his acute intelligence, Buddhist patience and compassion for all beings, including lizards and roaches. Like Nelson Mandela, Teza has a profound influence on the people around him – his very existence challenges the brutal authority of the jailers, and his relationship with a 12-year-old orphan who’s grown up inside the walls, shows us the importance of human connection in the midst of injustice and violence.”

City of ThievesAmanda’s fiction pick for January is David Benioff’s City of Thieves ($16).  “If you think you’re cold this winter, follow in the footsteps of the two main characters as they brave a freezing Leningrad winter during WWII then set off on a fool’s errand – one they must undertake in order to stay out of jail.  The characters are so well drawn and the story (based on the author’s grandparents) makes the book hard to put down.  I have recommended this book to many Misty Valley customers as one of the best I’ve read in the last five years (also excellent as an audio CD).”

Kim couldn’t decide which of two books to recommend so she did both. Pope Joan“First, I loved Pope Joan ($16), by Donna Woolfolk Cross, a fictionalized account based on the perpetual rumor of a woman in the 9th century who, posing as a man is ordained as a priest and later becomes Pope. Well written and a great story.  My second suggestion is Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth ($9.99). The story of the construction of a medieval cathedral, as told through the stories of those involved in its completion. Taking place over 50 years, it’s full of British history, architectural design, political intrigue and human drama.  Times might change but human nature certainly hasn’t!”

GracelingFor the young adult reader Jory suggests Graceling ($9.99), by Kristin Cashore, “terrifically well-written and engaging fantasy, with a strong heroine and a powerful romance. The sequel, Fire ($9.99), I like even more! Cashore has mastered the art of weaving together a story.”

My recommendation, The Circle ($27.95), by Dave Eggers is currently on the Indie Best Seller list.  The CircleReminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, but set in the 21st century, The Circle is the story of what happens when a high tech internet company believes in total transparency for everyone, regardless of the consequences, and has the means to pull it off.  This story is not only a good read but also has the ring of prophecy.

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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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