On the Shelf by Paul 12/28/16

Issue 2016 – 17   Book Reviews
The Book Share & Review Group gathered for its final meeting of 2016 on December 20. Here are the books that were shared:
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, by M.T. Anderson: a work of non-fiction written for young adults, the book tells the story of the Nazi siege of Leningrad during the harsh winter of 1943-1944. The composer, Shostakovich, dedicated his Symphony No. 7 to the city, thus earning it the name of the “Leningrad Symphony”. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Every Man Dies Alone, by Hans Fallada: a novel based on the true story of a working class couple in Berlin, who became part of the German Resistance during WWII. Published in 1947, the book was one of the first anti-Nazi novels to be published by a German after the war. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Like a Leaf Upon the Current Cast, by Katie Willmarth Green: this somewhat biographical work tells of the authors childhood at Shady Flat (between Downieville and Sierra City) as it explores the history of life along a section of the North Yuba River from pre-Gold Rush times to the present. (On the shelf at the Downieville Library.)
In Other Words, by Jhumpa Lahiri: the author is the winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies. In the current book (published this year), Lahiri, the daughter of Bengali immigrants, tells of her love for the Italian language, and how she moved to Rome to fulfill that love. The book is written in both Italian and English, on facing pages. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Love Song to the Plains, by Mari Sandoz: a work of non-fiction, the book is a lyric salute to the earth, sky, and people who made the history of the Great Plains. The author was a Nebraska novelist, biographer, lecturer, and teacher; she wrote extensively about pioneer life and the Plains Indians. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Child 44, The Secret Speech, Agent 6, and The Farm, by Tom Rob Smith: the first three novels are a trilogy inspired by the true-life case of a man who committed a series of child murders in Soviet Russia in the years following the death of Stalin. The fourth novel is a stand-alone psychological thriller set in London and Sweden. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Maus, by Art Spiegelman: usually published in two volumes, this is a graphic novel in which the author depicts himself interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and a Holocaust survivor. The artwork represents Jews as mice and other Germans and Poles as cats and pigs. It became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This, by Nadja Spiegelman: the daughter of Art Spiegelman, the author has written a memoir about her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and the fallibility of memory, as she tries to reassemble missing pieces from her family history. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!, and The Pigeon Needs a Bath!, by Mo Willems: as both storyteller and illustrator of these children’s books, the author uses the pigeon to humorously teach lessons about life. (Soon to be on the shelf at the Downieville Library.)
The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester: the book tells the fascinating story of how a British philologist and a U.S. Army surgery, sentenced to life in an English asylum after having been found not-guilty of murder due to insanity, collaborated in the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf, by Greg Wolfe: in this children’s book, an elf discovers that Santa doesn’t deliver presents to Jewish children, and decides to do something about it. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Seducing the Spirits, by Louise Young: the author, who works with the Kuna people of Panama, wanted to write a National Geographic-style book about them, but decided instead to use the form of a novel to tell their story. In the book, a female graduate student intern is sent to the Kuna people to study the nesting habits of harpy eagles, but soon discovers that she learns as much about the people, and about herself, as she does about the birds. (On the shelf at the Downieville Library.)