nscheemaker@northshire.com's blog

Perpetua's Kin by M. Allen Cunningham - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780997652376
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atelier26 Books - September 4th, 2018

M. Allen Cunningham has once again raised the bar on the art of the novel. I enjoyed Perpetua's Kin as one would a rare smoky scotch - savoring the complexity, as well as the inherent skill and time needed to bring the effort to full maturity.

The book clearly succeeds beyond an exceptionally rich piece surrounding the Civil War. Storylines such as this resonate because they remind us how important our personal histories become for those who follow us. Perpetua's Kin may be a distinctly American portrait, but the overarching themes - war, love, wanderlust, suffering, are quite universal. I always walk away from a reading like this ruminating on the largeness of life and the lasting impact of the arts - the lasting influence that novelists can have on every one of us. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780802128188
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - May 8th, 2018

Winthrop's eloquence softens this grim yet tender tale of a small town in the Jim Crow south awaiting the execution of 17 year old Willie Jones, caught in the arms of his white high school girl friend and sentenced to death for rape. Based on the true history of Gruesome Gertie, a traveling electric chair circulating in the south after WWII, The Mercy Seat illuminates the whispers and prayers of bewildered souls enduring the complex racial tensions of the era. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje - Book Review

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Warlight: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525521198
Availability: Backordered
Published: Knopf - May 8th, 2018

All the superlatives apply to this wondrous novel - mesmerizing, enthralling, hypnotic and elegant.
One can feel the fog and the lurking shadows of post war London where siblings Stitch and Wren are abruptly left in the care of men who might be mobsters. The Moth,The Darter, and the entire cast are never quite what they seem. Whether cruising down the Thames in a mussel boat, or understanding the importance of stegophilists for espionage, readers will be captivated by every twist and turn. I give this a standing ovation for every single element - and especially for Ondaatje's clever reference to the state of "Schwer". His writing here is utter perfection. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781101902783
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown - October 17th, 2017

This is the story of Yellowstone's most famous Wolf , number 832AF, or more affectionately known as "06" for the year she was born. Observed, tracked and photographed by novices and biologists alike, 06 was internationally revered for her majestic stature, merciful leadership, tender parenting and fierce hunting skill. Her legendary reign as the granddaughter of one of the first Canadian wolves brought to repopulate the park in 1995 is both fascinating and magical. Yet American Wolf is a much larger and critical story. It illuminates the inherent tensions of contemporary life in the American West and begs a number of important questions. What do we value? What are we willing to sacrifice to preserve our precious wild places? ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780735211179
Availability: Hard to Find - May no longer be available
Published: Riverhead Books - August 29th, 2017

My Absolute Darling is a family war story with one hell of a courageous heroine at its vortex. Turtle Alveston is unforgettable. Reading this novel will keep your shattered heart pounding through every last page - and you will be obsessed with getting there, though not so quickly as to miss any detail provided by this enormously talented author. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness by Steve Zeitlin - Book Review

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By Steve Zeitlin, Bob Holman (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781501702358
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Published: Cornell University Press - September 2nd, 2016

Zeitlin's collection is part memoir, part documentary and part personal essay. His most recent book explores a cross section of his experience as a professional folklorist - examining and documenting the meaning and power of human expression in all of its varied forms. Here he challenges and inspires us to celebrate the ordinary as the extraordinary, how our daily work, play, music, food, art, and family traditions matter. How these precious ingredients, if we allow them, if we are mindful and aware of their importance to us and to our time, can be the inspiration that allows us to engage in a more creative life. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker


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