Year of the Dog by Shelby Hearon: When 25-year-old Janey Daniels’ high school sweetheart and husband of five years betrays her for an old girlfriend, she decides she must get away. Taking a sabbatical from her meddling mother and her job as a pharmacist at the local drugstore in Peachland, S. C., Janey moves to Vermont where she volunteers to raise a Labrador puppy named Beulah to be a companion dog for the blind. Janey then meets James and the two form a relationship that helps them both deal with betrayal, love, and loss.
Allison DuBois’s latest book, Secrets of the Monarch: What the Dead Can Teach Us About Living a Better Life, is an inspirational, easy to read encouragement to “love and live life large.” In each chapter, DuBois’s message is clear: those who we have loved, and who still love us, guide, care, and watch over us. Sharing your good times, your happy, funny, and sad stories with others, raises their spirits and encourages them to want much of the same kind of happiness in their own life. So spread the word: live life large, make no apologies for who you are, and love one another. If you do that, you’ll never regret your life.
In the year A.D. 79, young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus is appointed by the emperor to the postion of aquarious of the massive Aqua Augusta Aqueduct that provides water to the Roman towns around the Bay of Naples. The aqueduct has ceased to flow beyond Pompeii and his predecessor has mysteriouly disappeared. Making the repairs and solving the mystery leads to intrigue, adventure, a bit of romance, and an erupting Mount Vesuvius. Harris is an excellent storyteller who weaves an engaging fictional plot with rich historic detail, engineering knowhow, and geologic facts. Life in the ancient world is vividly displayed and the characters keenly developed. Pompeii is a must read for those who enjoy historical fiction or who just want a good story.
Do you like reading scary stories during Halloween? How about trying something different? Communion: A True Story by fiction writer Whitley Strieber is the story of the author’s experiences with unidentified flying objects and his encounters with the aliens who abducted him. Since the author relates what he feels are his real experiences, the book is considered nonfiction. His storytelling writing style creates an atmosphere of suspense and emotion that would rival any horror novel. So, is it real? Read it and then decide for yourself.
The memoir, Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A., describing the experiences of author Luis J. Rodriguez during his Teen years, offers a highly personal and eloquent account of street gang society and culture. His candid recounting of what lead him to join and live the life of a gang member illustrates the social stresses on poor, immigrant families and the subculture that rises from their experience. The description of gang life comes from the heart and soul of his experience and reveals the mind of a teenager who lived a very tenuous life. However, the author’s story is also one of hope, holding on to his ideals and looking ahead to the future. It is, in some respects, a coming of age story where a positive alternative is discovered and pursued. This book has a powerful message and should be read by everyone concerned with the plight of urban youth.
Produced in 1950 by Universal Pictures, Harvey is the lighthearted comedy about a provincial man who is convinced his best friend is a six foot, three and a half inch tall rabbit name Harvey. The film, based on a Pulitzer-prize winning play of the same name written by Mary Chase, stars Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd who is well liked in his neighborhood but is somewhat of an embarrassment to his sister and niece, who are mortified when he introduces their friends to Harvey. Of course Harvey is invisible to everyone but Dowd, yet this doesn’t seem to bother him and he is oblivious to the strange looks he and his invisible friend generate as they go about the town. When his sister can’t take it anymore, she finally decides to have him committed to a mental institution, which results in a chaotic and humorous twist of events.
Peter Falk‘s 2006 memoir Just One More Thing is an engaging collection of glimpses into the life of the film and television star. He takes the title from the favorite line of his television alter-ego, Lieutenant Columbo. While he writes much about his adventures playing Columbo over three decades, there are also numerous stories about his path to becoming an actor and the eclectic and dynamic people he worked with throughout his career. Falk shares stories about many Hollywood celebrities including John Cassavettes, Alan Arkin, Frank Sinatra, Ben Gazzara and Faye Dunaway. Each witty chapter offers a unique view of Falk and the Hollywood scene in the second half of the twentieth century.
Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of many novels including Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Son of a Witch and Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the basis for the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. He has also written over a dozen books for children. He was born in 1954 in Albany, New York and received his Ph. D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University. Many of Maguire’s adult novels are revisionist retellings of classic children’s stories; for example, in Wicked he transformed the Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into the sympathetic protagonist Elphaba. Maguire currently makes his home in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1944, Warner Brothers released the romantic thriller To Have and Have Not, loosely based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel of the same title. Interestingly enough, William Faulkner, a literary rival of Hemingway, co-wrote the screenplay for the film. This was also Lauren Bacall’s first movie role, and marked the start of the love affair between Bacall and the film’s star Humphrey Bogart. The story takes place in Martinique where we find struggling fishing boat captain Harry “Steve” Morgan (Bogart) reluctantly helping the French Resistance smuggle people off the island. Soon thereafter Morgan meets an attractive American pickpocket, Marie “Slim” Browning, and a steamy relationship ensues. The all-star cast also includes Hoagy Carmichael and Walter Brennan.