I want to remind my readers that I still have some books by local authors. I have several books written by Randy Turner about the Joplin tornado. I also have several copies of High Grade, a novel by D Lincoln Jones who was born in Granby and grew up in Neosho. He is working on a sequel that I am looking forward to.
Sometimes people come into my store with a book in hand and tell me I just must read this book because they enjoyed it so much. Guess this is just the way it is with people who love to read, we just can't help but want others to find as much joy in reading it as we did.
A book by Barbara Kingsolver is what was shared with me. I read two of her books a couple years ago and reported on them. When I found out the newer book was actually a sequel to an older one I was excited to read it. So I will do a quick review of that first book then follow with this newer one.
The Bean Trees
A young woman, Taylor, has decided to leave her poor area in Kentucky, sure that there is a better world waiting for her. Her friends are getting married and having babies and she wants none of that. So she takes off in a beat up Volkswagen and ends up in New Mexico where it breaks down next to a tire shop called Jesus Is Lord Used Tires. The woman there takes her in. Ends up this business is a sanctuary for Central American refugees. I forgot to mention that along the way in Oklahoma a woman came up to her car and gave her a 3 year old little girl to save her from the abuse she has endured. The rest of the story is very engaging as she struggles with being a “mother”, makes friends, and learns how new families can be born without giving up the old.
Pigs in Heaven
This story starts out with Turtle, who is now 6 years old on vacation with her mother Taylor. They are at the Hoover Dam and she is the only one who sees a man fall down a big hole near the dam. You realize right away that there is a very special bond between Mother and daughter. Turtle got her name because of the way she latched on to Taylor when she was 3 years old. The girls aunt just gave her to Taylor in a parking lot in Oklahoma then vanished. Taylor never knew where she came from but was sure she was an Indian child. Through Turtles insistence they find someone to check out this pit and the man is rescued. As a result they become celebrities and a young Cherokee attorney sees them on TV and sets out to find them and reclaim this child who is obviously a “lost” Cherokee who should be returned to tribal family. After meeting with the attorney, Taylor flees to protect her daughter as she knows the emotional damage that will happen if Turtle is taken from her. I love the way the story winds and weaves the lives of Taylor, Turtle, a boyfriend, Taylors mother, and an old Cherokee man who finds his way into their hearts. A terrific ending and I highly recommend Kingsolver books.
Out Stealing Horses
This book was written in Norway and translated for United States publishing. I really liked Petterson's style of writing. It starts out with 67 year old Trond Sanders, who has found a little cottage on a river to live out his life in peace and reflection. He remembers back to 1948 as a young 14 year old growing up along the Norway/Sweden border. His thoughts and feelings as a youth spending summers with his father in a cabin much like the one he has, come back to him with such clarity, then he meets his elderly neighbor and his identity makes him relive the event of that one summer when a new friend. took him out to steal horses. Actually they just pretended to steal them by being stealthy and getting on the horses and riding them across the horse lot. His friend has acted strange all day and later he learns that on the previous day his friend had left a loaded gun in the house and one of his younger brothers picked it up and accidentally killed his twin brother. Trond remembers back to conversations with a friend of his father, who reveals that his father was active in smuggling information during the war. All the lines of this story weave together in the end for an emotional ending that I didn't see coming.