MPPL's staff blog about books, movies, music and the talent behind them.
The truth of these words scalds the characters of Man Booker Prize winner Graham Swift’s Wish You Were Here. When Jack receives word from the Ministry of Defence that his younger brother Tom was killed in Iraq, he must make arrangements to bring his remains back home to the Isle of Wight. This task forces Jack to confront complicated feelings toward not only his brother’s death but also his father’s, and the weight takes a toll on his relationships with the living as well. Evocative, slow-burning, and complex, this deceptively quiet novel depicts with graceful melancholy the relationships that haunt and enrich us.
The Audie Awards: 150 finalists and only 30 winners. On Thursday, May 28th the Audio Publishers Association will declare which exceptional audiobooks will be crowned Audie Winners for 2015. Enjoy a taste of the finalists below, and stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor to let us know who you think should win this year’s Audie Awards! The categories and finalists below only scratch the surface, so make sure to peruse the other categories. The Awards Gala hosted by Jack Gantos will be Livestreamed on Thursday, starting at 6:30pm.
It’s 1890. Britain’s first department store, The Paradise, has opened up on the streets of Newcastle led by the ambitious Mr. John Moray. Coming from poverty with big dreams and bigger ideas, Denise has begun work as a shopgirl in the dress department at the store. While her innovative ideas make a splash, drawing attention from Moray himself, the road isn’t easy for Denise as she navigates a jealous peer, a fearful boss, and divided loyalties. The Paradise is a Victorian drama filled with swirling secrets, majestic dresses, matters of the heart and fierce competition where nothing is too grandiose.
Title: The Ritual Bath
Author: Faye Kellerman
Page Count: 374 pages
Tone: Atmospheric, Suspenseful
Detective Peter Decker is stunned when he learns one of the women in a remote yeshiva community in the California hills was brutally raped as she returned from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual is performed and Rina Lazarus is also the only one in the sheltered community willing to speak of this unspeakable violation. As Rina tries to steer Decker through the maze of religious laws the two grow closer. Before they get to the bottom of this horrendous crime, revelations come to light that are so shocking that they threaten to come between the hard-nosed cop and the deeply religious woman with whom he has become irrevocably linked.
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.
1. Did the author do a good job describing the yeshiva and the mikvah? Did you learn something about the Orthodox Jewish faith that you didn’t know before?
2. What was it about Rina Lazarus that Detective Decker was attracted to? What did you think of him when he fantasized about her being out of yeshiva context?
3. Did the author do a good job of describing the feelings of attraction that both Rina and Detective Decker had toward each other?
4. How did Rina try to discourage Detective Decker from being involved with her? Were there any ways she encouraged him?
5. Were you surprised at how open Rina was with Decker about her religion and why it wouldn’t be a good idea for them to go out with each other?
6. How do Rina and Detective Decker’s decisions affect their own lives and the lives of other characters in the book?
7. Was it believable that Decker’s biological parents were Jewish? Or does it seem too contrived?
8. Did you suspect that Moshe was the rapist/murderer? Were the Jewish people in the Yeshiva blinded by their faith while searching for clues/suspects?
9. Did the author do a good job of planting clues and developing the suspects?
10. Did you guess who the rapist was? Was the rapist a surprise?
11. Was it necessary to have Mrs. Marley, the security guard, murdered?
12. What was the author trying to accomplish with this mystery novel? (Begin a series? Provide entertainment? Send a message?)
13. Is the novel believable?
14. This is classified as a mystery novel. Do you think the mystery was the main point of the novel, or was it the relationship between Rina and Detective Decker?
15. What was the books greatest strength or most serious flaw?
16. How has the author set the book up to continue the series? Have any of you read further in the series? Do you plan on reading other books in this series?
If you liked The Ritual Bath, try…
Little Beach Street Bakery is a delightful novel by Jenny Colgan. Two people decide to totally change the course of their busy lives and end-up in a remote area of Cornwall, England. One takes up baking bread and the other to tending to bees. Fishermen and townspeople add side stories to this new book. I kept reading to find what what happens next.