ebarnum@northshire.com's blog

Our Souls at Night

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Our Souls at Night: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101875896
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Published: Knopf - May 26th, 2015

This is a poignant story of two elderly people in a small town who, out of loneliness, decide to just sleep together, just talk and sleep in the same bed every night. Haruf's novel is understated, almost whispered, as he tells of the town's reaction and the pressure from her family to end the relationship. This bittersweet novel took me by surprise, I was unaware how invested I was with the characters until it was over, and I realized that this novel and it's people were going to linger with me for a good long while. ~ Reviewed by Erik Barnum

The Sparrow

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The Sparrow: A Novel (The Sparrow Series #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780449912553
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Published: Ballantine Books - September 8th, 1997

This author's background as a cultural anthropologist brings a vermillisitude to this tale of cultures in conflict. Her graceful prose, hint of humor, and fascinating characters keep the story electric and the reader entranced. Russell's book coalesces around a first contact mission, something that might scare off some readers, but this is not some fan-boy's science fiction novel. This is an adult, emotional roller coaster ride driven by fully etched characters who are challenged ethically and morally by a culture they can't hope to understand, or be understood by. I highly recommend this debut novel by one of my favorite writers. ~ Reviewed by Erik Barnum

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay - Book Review

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The Power of One: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345410054
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Published: Ballantine Books - September 29th, 1996

One of my all-time favorite novels about a young man growing up in South Africa during WWII. Great storytelling. ~ Reviewed by Erik Barnum


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The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap Cover Image
By Matt Taibbi, Molly Crabapple (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780812983630
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Published: Random House - October 21st, 2014

Matt Taibbi's knowledge and take-no-prisoners attitude is enormously refreshing in this age of political correctness. His new book is a dire call to arms, as he takes on the new system of justice in America between the untouchable wealthy and the criminalized poor. This is a frightening and important work about the abuses and inherent unfairness that Taibbi sees as evolving into a warped dissolution of civil rights in this country. ~ Reviewed by Erik Barnum

The Good Lord Bird

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The Good Lord Bird: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594632785
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Published: Riverhead Books - August 5th, 2014

This is the story of John Brown as told through the eyes of a young boy who is taken in by Brown after his father is killed. McBride's plot and the evocation of the time and place of this novel is extraordinary, and his portrait of John Brown is both flamboyant and in a strange way reverential. Brown comes across as a single minded fanatic, not quite mad but not entirely sane either. A terrifically engrossing read. Highly recommended. ~ Reviewed by Erik Barnum

How We Learn

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How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993882
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Published: Random House - September 9th, 2014

While the plethora of scientific studies quoted could have been mind numbing, the author's breezy prose is engaging and the conclusions that are reached are indeed surprising and fascinating. This well researched and engaging book essentially belies all that we thought we knew about how we learn, and offers a tutorial on how we can apply these concepts to enhance how we learn in our everyday lives. ~ Reviewed by Erik Barnum


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