Carol's Book List
You can tell by my blond hair, great tan and sunny disposition that I was born in San Diego. After stints on both coasts of the U.S. (where my favorite book was “Make Way for Ducklings”—I still own it), my family and I settled in West St. Louis county. With a brief but memorable 3 ½ year stint in California, MO (which explains my notable tendency to call the place where I was born “the state of California”), I graduated from Kirkwood High School (when I actually wanted and received a lovely bound copy of the complete works of Shakespeare) and started heading east. I received my undergraduate degree at Purdue in Indiana and went on to get my Master’s of Science in Justice at the American University in Washington, D.C. Against all odds, I found my first job through the Washington Post, went on to work for the Justice Department until I moved to a private company, then out on my own. Mainly, I have spent a great deal of time in police departments and jails researching issues and evaluating programs to try to make the justice system work better and make decisions based on data-driven sources. I moved to Columbia to be closer to my immediate family and besides devouring books at an alarming pace, I like to spend time outdoors, borrow my friends and family pets, cook, and dream of cooler (climate-wise) places to travel to than mid-Missouri in the summertime.
This story from this debut author grabbed me from the start and kept me totally immersed. A strong, self-described nerdy young female struggling with the normal problems of belonging, with the added element of being half Native American. A rich combination of a young person’s struggle with identity while adding in the unique challenges of being associated with a tribe and the problems of meth use and addiction. Add in a pulse-pounding mystery on top of it, and you have a true page-turner.
In a word, phenomenal. A moving, unflinching portrayal of the daily challenges faced by those who are—and who help find and support—victims or crime and abuse. Taking the reader back to a time before cell phones and Amber Alerts, McLain sets her novel in a place that lets her draw on her own background as well as include a pivotal U.S. child abduction case. While it is unlike her other books, it is written in McLain’s undeniable well-researched style and with such expression and empathy that you cannot help becoming emotionally involved.
I became a huge fan of Wilkerson’s when reading “The Warmth of Other Suns,” and “Caste” does not disappoint. By examining two other systems where humans are divided in society from other humans, she brings her immense storied capacity and empathy to explain how America’s system has led to oppression, but best of all gives us hope that we can learn from our history and move forward.
Heartwarming and, at times, snort out loud funny, a small community rallied by one man who is asked to rescue a donkey delivers a great message on how it takes a community to deal with trauma of all sorts and how working toward a goal can make a situation a win-win for everyone. Absolutely a great read if you want a distraction from current life events.
A great feminist retelling of the capture of Troy, by an author that obviously draws on her comedic background. When I started the book, I was not sure how the womens’ tales would work for me (since women were considered property and spoils of war) but Haynes’ approach of covering from goddesses to everyday women makes the story shine and resonate.
A creepily futuristic premise that is executed flawlessly, Gailey puts together a great combination of science fiction and murder along with a very unlikely alliance. The plot’s twists and turns will keep you wanting to turn the next page and guessing until the very end.