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This Is a wonderfully soulful memoir and an homage to the author’s parents, particularly her father, a man who thrived on living on the edge. Their strengths and weaknesses made for a grounded (in a most unorthodox sense) childhood. As a reader it was sometimes hard to catch my breath, whether from laughter or, occasionally, from tears of empathy. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
This novel is "heartfelt." The heroine, Erin, is an impassioned 19-year-old feminist who is determined to confront the utter injustice of the reputation that "Women Adventurers" suffer. Deciding that she is going to set the record straight on that score and on a myriad of topics from astrophysics, philosophy to the nature of Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and Chris McCandless of Into the Wild, Erin sets off from England to find Alaska on her own terms. This book is a whole new kind of nature/novel writing and so believable that some readers fail to note it is fiction. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
Anthropologist, Maggie Paxson is haunted by war and the people who are devastated by it. Having worked all over the world she has borne witness to just about every form of brutality & heartbreaking tenderness. On the Plateau, a remote place (S.E.France) of reserved, hard lived communities, she finds a history of being a safe haven for refugees; in the distant past, during WWII and right now. Through the story Daniel Trocme (one Israel's " Righteous Among Nations" ) & his "crickets" - children from all over Europe that he fought so quietly but ferociously to protect. Maggie discovers wondrous links to today's refugees (stories of hard won survival and finds a link to her own life- and it raises many questions. This book deserves to be on the shelf next to Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning, Eger's The Choice & Wiesel's Trilogy. I could not put this book down! ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
Wry and heartbreaking, this novel follows the many incarnations of Maristella the 2nd, who inherits the name after the first child who had it dies. And what a name, Maristella Fortuna, which means many things: star and fortune, ill fortune. Grames delves into ancestral stories and the myths that we create for ourselves and our families. Biting and acerbic, this novel is an homage to women, and to families that are haunted by their past and futures. A brilliant debut. This novel took me completely by surprise and held me captive for the weekend. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
This is one of those irreverent and scary books that leaves me laughing and crying. Laughing at the total absurdness of humanity's own stew of misdeeds and just plain stupidity and crying for the same reason. It does make you think that, for all of our hubris and control issues or lack thereof, why are we still here? Phillips, as he proudly states, finally uses his degrees from Cambridge with his acute razor sharp wit in talking about everything from Lucy (the Australopithecus not the song) to the introduction of invasive species like starlings and rabbits. Riotous, ridiculous, and sobering all at once. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan