May deals a handful of ‘wild card’ good reads

By John Hoover
©2015 The Chester Telegraph

Good Reads1 copy After several months of setting a specific theme for the staff at Misty Valley Books, I’ve made May a “wild card” month, allowing the staff to choose any book they want. As I looked at their selections I was amazed at the breath of interests represented in what they’ve recommended.

Lynne’s wild card choice is Whispering Shadows ($25.99) by Jan-Philipp Sendker. “Sendker’s newest book reflects his career as the Asian correspondent for Stern magazine. Whispering ShadowsBut instead of a beautiful love story (Art of Hearing Heartbeats), he gives us a gripping thriller that takes place in Hong Kong and mainland China. Paul Leibovitz, reeling from a family tragedy, makes a brief connection with a distressed American woman, which leads him into the darker side of China’s new wealth and a search for meaning and redemption in his own life.”

Jeffrey Lent’s new book, A Slant of Light ($27), is Bill’s choice. “Jeffrey Lent is a New York Times bestseller, a Misty Valley Books New Voice and a MVB Slant of lightVermont Voice.  He is a remarkably agile novelist who transports you to a different place and, in the case of his latest – as well as his first, In the Fall – to a different time.  In A Slant of Light, which he presented at Misty Valley Books last month, the setting is the Finger Lakes region at the end of the Civil War.  The plot is vivid and riveting.”

Always one with a practical bent, Amanda recommends Edward C. Smith’s The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible ($19.95). “This time of year finds me chomping at the bit to get back outside to the garden.  When spring finally does arrive, I’m planning to expand my use of containers to increase the variety of flowers and vegetables I’ll be growing.

Container gardening“Using Smith’s book as a reference, I’ve got a lot of great ideas for this growing season. The Container Bible is full of excellent advice on soil improvements, plant varieties, instructions for creating self-watering containers and has hundreds of beautiful photos.  As a Vermonter himself, Smith can relate to the often challenging growing conditions we face here.”

Kim’s choice reflects her taste for both history and mysteries. “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary ($15), by Susan Elia MacNeal, the first book in this historic mystery series, centers around British born/American raised academic Maggie Hope. Mr Churchill's sectry Hope begins the novel as a typing-pool secretary for Prime Minister Winston Churchill, but ultimately becomes a spy for the British Intelligence agency MI-5. The story is set during the London Blitz of WWII and provides a great inside look at the British War Department. I’m very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series!”

Sylvan chooses Ann Bauer’s Forgiveness 4 You ($26.95) the premise of which she says “sounds like a black humored parody. An advertising executive walks into a bookstore staffed by an ex-priest and leaves with a brilliant new business plan: for-profit, non-denominational redemption and consolation. forgiveness4you

“While they search for a spiritual connection and the perfect slogan, the question between the lines is what is the true nature of religion and absolution? While the story is savagely funny at times, I also found it cathartic and sweetly hopeful.”

Once in a while a book comes along that causes an awakening of sorts. For me, Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal ($26) was such a book. Although the topic is one we tend to avoid until it’s too late it is one we all need to consider. being mortal

Covering a variety of topics about aging and life’s inevitable end this book is extremely well- written with numerous accounts of how different people dealt with the aging process. A book I consider a must read for those of us approaching a certain age and for those who will care for us.

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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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