Selected Reads at Eastern Branch

 December 12, 2007

Come check out some of the great reads we have here at Eastern.  We have lots of new books on our shelves! 

 Are you a fan of Ken Follett?  Do you like historical fiction?  If so, you may want to try World Without End, the sequel to an earlier work by Follett.  The first book in the series, Pillars of the Earth, was recently featured by Oprah, and tells the tale of an 1100's English monastery and village, covering several decades in the lives of the local inhabitants.  World Without End covers the descendants of Pillars, this time in the period surrounding the Black Death in the 1300's.  Both of these large books bring the period to life, and the reader feels like he or she is alongside the villagers, knights, monks, and nobles of this long-ago and fascinating period.  We have both books at Eastern.  Give us a call at 788-4074 or come in to reserve a book, as we currently have a short waiting list for both of these .  Don't worry, though, because you'll soon have a copy of these great books in hand.

 Speaking of Medieval times, I am reminded of the Divine Comedy, a classic work of literature from the 1300's.  The author, Dante Alighieri, told a fabulous tale of his visits to the afterlife, offering biting sarcasm of many well-known contemporaries and people of the past.  Our branch has an updated version of this classic, entitled My Visit To Hell, by Paul Thigpen.  The premise here is much the same.  A man unexpectedly finds himself in Hell, guided through its many layers, each reserved for sinners of various types.  The tour is both fascinating and humorous, as Thigpen verbally skewers some well-known people of the past, as well as present-day types, like traitors, liars, murderers and advertisers, the latter being compelled to listen to their well-known jingles as they being tormented.  Don't be fooled by the title-this is a humerous slant on the subject, and a quick read.

 Finally, there is the non-fiction AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From the Military-And How It Hurts Our Country, by Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer.  The authors, both upper class types who unexpectedly found themselves with family members in the military, discuss how military service has become largely a lower and middle class affair.  Roth-Douquet, whose husband is a Marine flyer, and Schaeffer, whose son is a Marine infantryman, found their upper class, let-someone-else-serve assumptions challenged when their loved ones found themselves on the front lines of America's latest war.  Their profound observations, like how FDR's sons (and many of the privilaged classes) served in World War Two, while Bush's daughters and other elites' family members usually don't serve today , make readers think long and hard about where the nation is headed.  This is an easy read in spite of the topic, and covers perspectives from both civilians and those in uniform, giving potential solutions to what is a very serious issue for a democracy.

Steve