Books I Read on Vacation

by Kara

I had a great vacation in the mountains this year. Crisp cool air, no humidity, afternoon naps and great books!

The Chelsea girls : a novel

Fiona Davis

FICTION Davis Fiona
Historical Fiction

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City's creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home-a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine's Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

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1950's New York comes alive at the Chelsea Hotel when two friends, playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead, try to put on a show on Broadway. They learn their skills and determination are challenged by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare witch hunt for communists. A great book!
- Kara

The trial of Lizzie Borden : a true story

Cara Robertson

364.1523 /Robertson
History

"The remarkable new account of an essential piece of American mythology--the trial of Lizzie Borden--based on twenty years of research and recently unearthed evidence. The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple's younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone--rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople--had an opinion about Lizzie Borden's guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn't she? The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden's culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties"--

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When I put this on hold, I thought it was Biographical Fiction. I soon realized it is Nonfiction. By then I was hooked. It's a great story that's well researched and compelling.
- Kara

The truths we hold : an American journey

Kamala D. Harris

BIOGRAPHY Harris, Kamala D.
Biographies

"From one of America's most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country. Senator Kamala Harris's commitment to speaking truth is informed by her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in an Oakland, California community that cared deeply about social justice; her parents--an esteemed economist from Jamaica and an admired cancer researcher from India--met as activists in the civil rights movement when they were graduate students at Berkeley. Growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for justice, and when she became a prosecutor out of law school, a deputy district attorney, she quickly established herself as one of the most innovative change agents in American law enforcement. She progressed rapidly to become the elected District Attorney for San Francisco, and then the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California as a whole. Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, she took on the big banks during the foreclosure crisis, winning a historic settlement for California's working families. Her hallmarks were applying a holistic, data-driven approach to many of California's thorniest issues, always eschewing stale "tough on crime" rhetoric as presenting a series of false choices. Neither "tough" nor "soft" but smart on crime became her mantra. Being smart means learning the truths that can make us better as a community, and supporting those truths with all our might. That has been the pole star that guided Harris to a transformational career as the top law enforcement official in California, and it is guiding her now as a transformational United States Senator, grappling with an array of complex issues that affect her state, our country, and the world, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality. By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in [this book] a master class in problem solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come."--Dust jacket.

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I don't know what I think about the next presidential election. What I do know is this was a great book and I enjoyed learning more about someone who has been a leader in problem solving and advocacy for people who need help.
- Kara

A princess in theory

Alyssa Cole

FICTION Cole Alyssa
Romance

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can't resist the chance to experience life--and love--without the burden of his crown.

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A well-written romance with a smart female protagonist and prince who is mistaken for a pauper. A fun read.
- Kara

Becoming Mrs. Lewis : a novel : the improbable love story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis

Patti Callahan Henry

FICTION Henry Patti
Historical Fiction

"The love story of C.S. Lewis and his wife, Helen Joy Davidman Gresham, was improbable--and seemingly impossible. Their Eros-story led to some of Lewis's greatest works, yet Joy is most commonly known for how she died. Becoming Mrs. Lewis allows us to see how this brilliant and passionate woman lived--and why she stole Jack's heart"--

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I love books by C.S. Lewis. This book brought back some nostalgia from my childhood and helped me learn more about someone I admire.
- Kara

Romancing Mister Bridgerton

Julia Quinn

FICTION Quinn, Julia
Romance

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I really enjoy Julia Quinn books. They are well-written, feature good character development and are just what I need when I have insomnia. The characters all run together for me but I don't care. Quinn's books are entertaining and fun.
- Kara

Olive, again

Elizabeth Strout

ON ORDER BOOK
Literary Fiction

"Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red blooded original. When she's not onstage, we look forward to her return..."* And now, indeed, Olive Kitteridge has returned, as indomitable as ever. "It turns out--I just wasn't done with Olive," said Strout. "It was like she kept poking me in the ribs, so I finally said 'Okay, okay...'" Now Olive returns, this time as a person getting older, navigating her next decade as she comes to terms with the changes--sometimes welcome, sometimes not--in her own life. Here is Olive, strangely content in her second marriage, still in an evolving relationship with her son and his family, encountering a cast of memorable characters in the seaside town of Crosby, Maine. Whether it's a young girl coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth at a baby shower, or a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, the irascible Olive improbably touches the lives of others. Elizabeth Strout has achieved greatness by brilliantly laying bare the inner lives of ordinary people, by focusing on the small moments of connection which can dislodge lifelong grief and longing, and unite her characters through moments of transcendent grace. Olive, Again is another lasting work of fiction by this remarkable writer, and a cause for celebration among readers everywhere.

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Olive is back and I was fortunate enough to have an advance reader copy. Elizabeth Strout is a master storyteller and I enjoyed spending more time with Olive Kitteridge.
- Kara