The Friends of the Princeton Public Library Book Club is reading Rainwater by Sondra Brown. Join them on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm to be part of the discussion.
Brown, a master of contemporary romantic suspense, makes a huge genre leap in her latest novel. Radically switching gears, she sets this gentle tale in Depression-era Texas. The historical setting is not her only departure from her tried-and-true formula; this bittersweet morality play also features a hardworking single mother, an autistic child, and a mysterious boarder with a terminal medical condition. The moment Ella Barron agrees to let a room to David Rainwater, her hardscrabble circumstances are irrevocably altered. As the townspeople, farmers, and ranchers struggle both economically and spiritually, a malevolent evil in the form of a menacing town bully threatens their tenuous hold on survival. Though initially suspicious of Mr. Rainwater, Ella falls passionately in love with a man she knows is doomed. When he makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her misunderstood son, he leaves behind a precious final gift and a lasting legacy of grace and compassion. Though Brown fans may initially balk, many will be irresistibly drawn in by this mesmerizing little fable. (Booklist review by Margaret Flanagan)
The Friends of the Princeton Public Library Book Club is reading The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs. Join them on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm to be part of the discussion.
What would it require for a person to live all the commandments of the Bible for an entire year? That is the question that animates this hilarious, quixotic, thought-provoking memoir from Jacobs (The Know-It-All). He didn’t just keep the Bible’s better-known moral laws (being honest, tithing to charity and trying to curb his lust), but also the obscure and unfathomable ones: not mixing wool with linen in his clothing; calling the days of the week by their ordinal numbers to avoid voicing the names of pagan gods; trying his hand at a 10-string harp; growing a ZZ Top beard; eating crickets; and paying the babysitter in cash at the end of each work day. (He considered some rules, such as killing magicians, too legally questionable to uphold.) In his attempts at living the Bible to the letter, Jacobs hits the road in highly entertaining fashion to meet other literalists, including Samaritans in Israel, snake-handlers in Appalachia, Amish in Lancaster County, Pa., and biblical creationists in Kentucky. Throughout his journey, Jacobs comes across as a generous and thoughtful (and yes, slightly neurotic) participant observer, lacing his story with absurdly funny cultural commentary as well as nuanced insights into the impossible task of biblical literalism. (Publisher’s Weekly starred review)