The Book of Books
By: Jessica Allen
Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler
The Public Broadcasting Service launched The Great American Read in May 2018.
It was an eight-part series celebrating the power of reading. A national survey was conducted to select 100 best-loved novels. Approximately 7200 people participated.
The Book of Books is the companion book to the PBS series.
The list of favorites contains a large variety of authors, genres, and subject matter. All are fiction, ranging in time from Don Quixote in 1605 to Ghost in 2016. There are the classics such as Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird. Newer titles include The Help and Gone Girl. Children's books also appear on the list. If you've never read Where the Red Fern Grows or forgot about Charlotte’s Web, reread it. At a different age, stories can be related to differently.
Each novel has a page with a synopsis of the story and information on the author. There are explanations of how the novel came to be, photographs, some early manuscripts and first-edition covers.
The Book of Books gives insight to the mind of the author before the novel was written; the inspiration or the culture at the time. Every story has its own story of how it came to be. This compilation explains the true depth of many of them.
The reader can also find narratives on character personalities and fictional locales.
Should you judge a book by its cover? Probably not, but a cover design can grab the attention of a potential buyer. Some favorites have made the leap from page to stage and screen.
The Book of Books is more than a collective list of novels. It holds the secrets of some of the best literary works. It can be found in the non-fiction section of the library; 813 ALL.
The Flight Attendant
By: Christopher Bohjalian
Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler
The book begins with Cassandra Bowden waking up in a hotel room in Dubai.
This is routine for Cassie, as she is a flight attendant. But this time is different. She has a splitting headache, the room is not hers and there’s a dead man in bed next to her. Frightened and unsure of what happened, she puts the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, leaves the hotel, and hurries back to work on her next flight to Paris.
Cassie has a history of bad behavior. She drinks too much, hops in bed with men she does not know, and tends to black out. She has some memory of the night with Alexander Sokolov, a hedge fund manager from the United States. He was in seat 2C, her first class section on flight 4094 from Paris to the United Arab Emirates, and she recalls flirting with him. She also remembers dinner and his suite at the Royal Phoenician. A business associate named Miranda stopped over to discuss an upcoming meeting with investors of Unisphere Asset Management and they all shared a few drinks. The rest is a bit of a blur. Could she have killed this man she barely knew? Did someone come in while they were asleep and slit his throat? If so, why did they spare her?
Since the crew of flight 4094 were some of the last people to see Alexander Sokolov, they are all questioned by the FBI. Along with Cassie’s other talents, she is an accomplished liar. She fabricates a story of how she was with Alex, but left when he was still very much alive. She does have a vague recollection of leaving his room but does not remember returning. This correlates with what most of the crew said, except for Megan Briscoe. She knows Cassie did not return to the hotel provided by the airline until shortly before they left for work the next morning. Thus begins a small hole in Cassie’s story.
With the memory lapse, the lies, and bits of truth, Cassie realizes she is in over her head.
Some of what she is telling investigators may be true, but she can’t be sure. She takes the advice of the union representative and retains an attorney. At the first meeting with Ani Mouradian, Cassie comes clean and tells her attorney the truth, or most of it.
The rest of the book is a mixture of who is lying and who knows what but is not telling. With the help of social media, bits of information leak. Cassie continues to make irresponsible blunders which send up red flags to the FBI. As the story progresses, it is evident the FBI is interested in more than just the death of Alexander Sokolov. Other operatives appear and the case is more involved than originally presented.
The novel is a mystery combined with espionage and murder.
The library has The Flight Attendant available in regular and large print and also as an audiobook.
A Perfect Shot
By: Robert Yocum
Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler
Nicholas “Duke” Ducheski’s life is not what he had imagined it would be. He was the hometown hero when he made the perfect shot leading his team to victory in the state high school basketball tournament. He was supposed to break away, go to college and have a life better than his father. But that was over twenty years ago. Now in his early forties, Duke’s working a dead end job at the same place his father labored day after day.
The majority of A Perfect Shot is set in the 1990’s when the steel mills were thriving in the Upper Ohio River Valley. Duke’s wife, Nina despises him, but will not give him a divorce. Their son, Timmy, was deprived of oxygen during birth and has lived his entire life in a convalescent home. Duke has no siblings and both parents are deceased. Aside from his childhood friends, Theodore “Moonie” Collier and Angelo Angelli who have stuck by in through thick and thin, he has no real life.
Yet “The Duke” still has a reputation in his small town. People remember his heroic moves on the basketball court and consider him a legend. Moonie and Angel convince him to ride on that success and follow his dream of opening a restaurant. So he collects whatever money he’s been able to save and opens Duke’s Place. That’s when troubles really begin.
Illegal gambling activities are run within the local establishments. Duke wants nothing to do with them. He knows enough about their operations since the chief enforcer of one of the organizations is his brother-in-law Tony DeMarco. But families have a powerful way of convincing others. Moonie has a gambling problem which gives Tony an advantage over his sister’s husband. Complicating the situation is Cara Wilbright, a divorcee and mother of two young children, with whom Duke is having an affair. She gives Tony more leverage, as threats to Cara and her children would be taken very seriously.
Several other characters portray significant roles in the story, which make for a well-rounded mystery/suspense novel. Page after page and chapter after chapter, just when it seems things can’t get any worse for Nicholas Ducheski, they do. Corruption, friendship, sacrifice, and true grit are the backbone for the novel. What price is the hero willing to pay for doing what is right and getting justice?
Robert Yocum does an excellent job of pulling the story together. He is currently president of Yocum Communications, a public relations and marketing firm in Westerville, Ohio, but worked as a crime and investigative reporter with the Columbus Dispatch from 1980-1991. This could make one wonder how much of the story is fiction and how much, if any, is based on fact.
A Perfect Shot can be found with the fiction books in the library; FIC YOC.