nscheemaker@northshire.com's blog

Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780316529815
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Published: Little, Brown and Company - March 3rd, 2020

Every time I opened this novel for another session of reading I swear I could hear the mournful howl of a bloodhound at the onset of dusk, feel mist pouring in, the whole business soulful and unsettling and setting up another super creepy chapter played out in a fading southern town in the mid 70s. Turns out in Red Bluff madness and grief run rampant and wild, lurking in the landscape and luring the unsuspecting victim to dark green corners. I will never view kudzu vines the same way again. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780812993547
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Published: One World - July 14th, 2015

I've finally digested this work in 2020, five years after its publication. It will never be too late to read this one. The vitality of the message shows no signs of fading and though the truth is hard to swallow, it would be remarkable for anyone to finish this testimonial and remain unchanged. Coates gives us an intimate portrait of the human cost of racism, the continuing inequities that many in our country unfairly maneuver right now, the threat of violence that stalks black men and boys every day, and the stark difference between black and white contemporary American life. A must read on every level and a powerful tool for a deeper understanding of what is at stake. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

All the Way to the Tigers: A Memoir by Mary Morris - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780385546096
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Published: Nan A. Talese - June 9th, 2020

All the Way to the Tigers offers an unpresumptuous view into two events that profoundly altered Mary Morris's life - a fall on a NY skating rink that threatened her ability to ever walk again, and much later, her courageous solo trip to India where she rides in an open jeep on Safari through the heart of jungle preserves seeking the most elusive, intelligent, and all powerful killing machines on the planet - the Bengal tiger. I highly recommend this as inspiration for anyone who thinks their time for adventure has passed them by. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

Valentine: A Novel by Elizabeth Wetmore - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780062913265
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Published: Harper - March 31st, 2020

Valentine crushed me. Wetmore's writing is as searing and vast as the heat and landscape she creates in this novel's Odessa, West Texas in the 70's. Women and girls reach for ice tea and alcohol, carry guns, love their babies, and rage against the merciless domestic and social violence stalking the oil and cattle fields. Yet each voice here captivates with unique beauty and pain, gradually closing the gap on their disparate lives. Wetmore's exploration of racism is complex and heartbreaking as any I have read. Valentine is not just a great novel - it's an unforgettable one. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781419739538
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Published: Harry N. Abrams - October 15th, 2019

Hunter argues quite effectively that needlework is an ancient art whose meaning goes far beyond embellishment or mere ornamentation. Women have long used stitchery - more readily accessible, despite education or poverty - to effectively express their opinions, their dreams and the condition of their lives. Using a myriad of fascinating examples, Threads of Life shows the powerful ways that stitchery has influenced world history, providing a narrative for tradition, family memories, community identity and political protest. Understanding the true significance of hand sewn art can only serve to improve our world view of the women who courageously and patiently created them. This is a must read history sure to impress with surprise and discovery. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker


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