Count the Ways

A story that spans about 40 years in the life of Eleanor and Cam in New England, details the way we form new families and move forward when the dynamic changes and we are forced to adopt new identities when the old ones no longer fit. Eleanor is a children’s book illustrator and author when she meets Cam at a craft fair. They quickly fall in love and begin a family at Eleanor’s farm. As an only child and orphaned at a young age, Eleanor has always hungered for a family of her own. Their happiness seems impenetrable until a turn of events changes Eleanor’s perspective on her husband and their family comes apart. Following her path in the aftermath, the author portrays a realistic single Eleanor trying hard not to hold onto resentment and possibly find happiness again. Maynard is the former paramour of J. D. Salinger. They lived together when she was 18 and he was 53.

Give Unto Others

It’s hard to believe that Donna Leon’s latest mystery is #31 in her series about Commissario Guido Brunetti. I think I have read most of them, and this one is just as intriguing. A woman whom Brunetti knew growing up, comes to see him about a personal matter. Brunetti has a few of his associates look into the matter, and before he realizes it, they all become embroiled in a complicated case of tax fraud. For anyone who has been to Venice, it feels like you are back there, with Leon’s descriptive tone and Venetian characters. Her fans will be happy to see this latest offering in libraries…

One Italian Summer

A story about a close mother-daughter relationship and what happens after the mother dies, One Italian Summer begins when Katy’s mother dies and she wonders how she will go on living without her. Married and living in California, 30 year-old Katy was an only child and very close to her mother, Carol. They were best friends and spent a lot of time together. When Carol passes away, Katy decides to take the trip to Italy she had planned to take with her mother that they never got around to. Before she leaves, she tells her husband she may not want to be married to him anymore and flies off to Europe. Once there, she meets a young woman her age who IS her mother, Carol, as a younger woman. Not understanding quite how this is happening, Katy is overcome by seeing her mother again and finding out about her life pre-Katy. As she takes in the magical life of Italy, she is romanced by a visiting American and faced with how to move ahead in her life. Although the premise is hard to grasp, the questions it raises are entertaining. The end gets neatly tied together as Katy learns how to live without her mother and finds peace.

On A Night of a Thousand Stars

When Santiago Larrea, a wealthy Argentine diplomat, is appointed Argentina’s ambassador to the United Nations, he travels to Buenos Aires with his wife, Lila and daughter Paloma. But just before they leave, a conversation between Santiago and an old university friend stirs up Paloma’s interest in her father’s younger years in Argentina during the military dictatorship in the 1970’s, a taboo subject in their house. After they arrive, Paloma meets Franco, a young man, whose parents were desaparecidos, men and women forcibly disappeared by the state and killed during the dictatorship. As Paloma investigates her father’s years as a student, she discovers troubling facts about her parentage, and places herself in danger. This is not an easy book to read, as the author reveals the tragedies, including torture, endured by several of the characters. This is a debut novel by Ms. Clark, who grew up in Argentina during the turbulent times addressed in the novel, and interviewed sons and daughters of the “disappeared” to learn their stories. It’s a very compelling read…

Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow is back in a new format this month (read the newspaper article here). The PBS show that promoted books and encouraged reading began in the early 1980’s, ran for over 20 years and won more than 20 Emmy Awards. The show is back in a new format (now with a price tag). Starting on March 6th at $9.99, Reading Rainbow Live celebrates “the joy of reading with a focus on movement and music… each event consists of a 25-minute show with singing, dancing, field trips, and special guests, followed by a 25-minute Reading Rainbow Live After Show Experience.” The creators plan a new show each month which is available to watch 30 days after the live event for those who purchase a ticket. Hosted by Looped, Reading Rainbow streams on demand with interactive tickets available on the day of the show. Many of the old Reading Rainbow DVDs, CDs and books are still available through our library system.