Basement Bookies Recommend

The Basement Bookies Met virtually in May 2020 to share titles they had been reading with hopes to encourage members to give them a try. Enjoy this list, maybe you’ll find a title or two of interest.

AuthorTitleSummaryLibrary owns
Antmyer, Helen HoovenAnd ladies of the clubThis saga of the lives of two families in a small southwestern Ohio town chronicles the town’s political, cultural, and social transformation, between 1868 and 1932, through the eyes of the local women’s literary clubNo
Atwood, MargaretThe handmaid’s taleSet in the near future, America has become a puritanical theocracy and Offred tells her story as a Handmaid under the new social order.Yes
Atwood, MargaretThe testaments“Fifteen years after the events of the handmaid’s tale, the theocratic regime of the republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within”–Jacket flap.Yes
Beckerman, IleneLove, lost, and what I woreIn a volume originally intended just for friends, the author reflects on her fortunes and misfortunes through the clothes she has worn, clothes that have expressed her hopes and dreams–from her Brownie uniform to her first maternity dress. Reprint.No
Berlin, LuciaA manual for cleaning womenWith her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday–uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin’s stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They are hitchhikers, hard workers, bad Christians. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. Berlin, a highly influential writer despite having published little in her lifetime, conjures these women from California, Mexico, and beyond. Lovers of the short story will not want to miss this remarkable collection from a master of the form”–No
Camus, AlbertThe plagueA haunting tale of human resilience and hope in the face of unrelieved horror, Albert Camus’ iconic novel about an epidemic ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature.No
Coben, HarlanThe boy from the woodsWilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Thirty years later, he still doesn’t know anything, and another child is missing. Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble. In order to venture back into his past community, he must uncover secrets that could destroy the lives of millions.Yes
Cummins, JeanineAmerican dirt“Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is. . . fairly comfortable. . . And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy. . . Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon . . . ride la bestia-trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?”–Provided by publisher.Yes
Follett, KenFall of giants (Century, 1)Five families become entangled in events from the beginning of the twentieth century, following as thirteen-year-old Billy begins working in the Welsh mining pits, an American law student gets a job with Woodrow Wilson’s administration, two orphaned brothers try to leave their native Russia for the U.S., and Billy’s sister’s employer begins an affair with a spy at the German embassy in London.Yes
Follett, KenWinter of the world (Century, 2)Continuing the story of five interrelated families as they become entangled in events from the beginning of the twentieth century, from the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.Yes
Follett, KenEdge of eternity (Century, 3)“East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives. George Jakes, the child of a mixed-race couple, bypasses a corporate law career to join Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department, and finds himself in the middle not only of the seminal events of the civil rights battle, but a much more personal battle of his own”–Jacket flap.Yes
Follett, KenPillars of the Earth (Pillars of the Earth, 1)The construction of a cathedral involves a story of betrayal, revenge and love in 12th century England.Yes
Follett, KenWorld without end (Pillars of the Earth, 2)Two centuries after the building of the elaborate Gothic cathedral in Kingsbridge, its prior finds himself at the center of a web of ambition and revenge that places the city at a crossroad of commerce, medicine, and architecture.Yes
Follett, KenColumn of fire (Pillars of the Earth, 3)“Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions, and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents”– Provided by publisher.Yes
Jenoff, PamThe orphan’s tale“Sixteen-year-old Noa, forced to give up her baby fathered by a Nazi soldier, snatches a child from a boxcar containing Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp and takes refuge with a traveling circus, where Astrid, a Jewish aerialist, becomes her mentor”–OCLC.Yes
Johnson, CraigThe cold dish (Longmire, 1)Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire investigates the mysterious death of a local man, but despite his colleagues’ opinion that the death was an accident, Walt believes it is directly linked to a brutal rape the victim was convicted of two years earlier.Yes
Joubert, IrmaThe Girl from the trainThe only survivor of a Polish resistance plot gone wrong, six-year-old Gretl finds refuge with the family of Jakob, one of the resistance fighters, before being resettled in Apartheid-era South Africa, where she confronts its prejudices and hides the truth of her past.No
Larson, ErikThe splendid and the vileDiscusses London’s darkest year during the blitz through the day-to-day experience of Winston Churchill and those closest to him.Yes
Moyes, JoJoGiver of stars“Set in Depression-era America, . . . Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they’re committed to their job–bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives . . .”–Publisher provided.Yes
Moyes, JoJoMe before You“They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose–Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life–steady boyfriend, close family–who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident”–Provided by publisher.Yes
Natusch, Amber LynnWarheadThe death of Chicago’s Northside alpha is the kind of thing Sapphira has to cover up every day. But before she can calm the brewing discord in the city’s supernatural community, another body drops into her lap—or more specifically, the lap of her best friend, Jenkins. When the only neutral territory in the city starts racking up a body count, it’s never a good thing. Especially when her ex-boyfriend is still trying to kill her and a creepy new ghost with an ancient book won’t leave her alone. Just another day in the life of the blue-eyed bomb—whose lies are about to bite her in the ass.No
Nemirovsky, IreneSuite FrancaiseA story of life in France under the Nazi occupation includes two parts–“Storm in June,” set amid the chaotic 1940 exodus from Paris, and “Dolce,” set in a German-occupied village rife with resentment, resistance, and collaboration.Yes
Nemirovsky, IreneAll our worldy goodsIn haunting ways, this gorgeous novel prefigures Irène Némirovsky’s masterpiece Suite Française. Set in France between 1910 and 1940 and first published in France in 1947, five years after the author’s death, All Our Worldly Goods is a gripping story of war, family life and star-crossed lovers. Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and his grandfather, the tyrannical family patriarch. Their marriage provokes a family feud that cascades down the generations. This brilliant novel is full of drama, heartbreak, and the telling observations that have made Némirovsky’s work so beloved and admired.No
Noah, TrevorBorn a Crime“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. …. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother-his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life”–
Obama, MichelleBecomingAn autobiography of lawyer and American First Lady Michelle Obama.Yes
Picoult, JodiSongs of the humpback whaleAfter a family argument, Jane takes her daughter, Rebecca, and travels across the country to stay with her brother Joley, and Oliver, her oceanographer husband, tries to track her unpredictable path.Yes
Richardson, Kim MicheleBook woman of Troublesome Creek“Cussy Mary Carter is the last of her kind, her skin the color of a blue damselfly in these dusty hills. But that doesn’t mean she’s got nothing to offer. As a member of the Pack Horse Library Project, Cussy delivers books to the hill folk of Troublesome, hoping to spread learning in these desperate times. But not everyone is so keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and the hardscrabble Kentuckians are quick to blame a Blue for any trouble in their small town”–Provided by publisher.Yes
Sharlet, JeffThis brilliant darkness“As a journalist suddenly skeptical of the power of words to tell the deepest truths of other people’s stories, Jeff Sharlet turned to taking snapshots and posting them on Instagram- images that he then reflected on in words of extraordinary intimacy and power. A visionary work of radical empathy, this collection of images and reflections is framed by the two years between his father’s heart attack and his own, a time defined by insomnia and late- night driving and the companionship of other darkness- dwellers: night bakers and last- call drinkers, frightened people and frightening people, the homeless and the lost (or merely disoriented), addicts and people on the margins. A book that erases all boundaries between author and subject and reader, between the “safe” and the afflicted, This Brilliant Darkness is a riveting, light- bearing inquiry into the ways we live with suffering”–Yes
Weir, AndyThe MartianAstronaut Mark Watney, having been stranded on Mars during a dust storm, relies on his ingenuity and engineering skills to stay alive and try to contact NASA.Yes

Here are more recommendations from our June 2020 Virtual Meetup!

Basement Bookies Book Recommendations, June 2020