Books

 

The list of Recommended Books for our website has been prepared by you the readers - take a look.  If the library doesn't have the book, you might want to buy it & donate it to the library.  Check with the librarian.

Recommended books - For you non-fiction readers, fiction at the end

David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas

To build a 51-mile-long ship canal to replace that railroad seemed an easy matter to some investors. But, as McCullough notes, the construction project came to involve the efforts of thousands of workers from many nations over four decades; eventually those workers, laboring in oppressive heat in a vast malarial swamp, removed enough soil and rock to build a pyramid a mile high. In the early years, they toiled under the direction of French entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps, who went bankrupt while pursuing his dream of extending France's empire in the Americas. 

The United States then entered the picture, with President Theodore Roosevelt orchestrating the purchase of the canal--but not before helping foment a revolution that removed Panama from Colombian rule and placed it squarely in the American camp. 

The story of the Panama Canal is complex, full of heroes, villains, and victims. McCullough's long, richly detailed, and eminently literate book pays homage to an immense undertaking.

Michael Korda, With Wings Like Eagles

Michael Korda's brilliant work of history takes the reader back to the summer of 1940, when fewer than three thousand young fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force—often no more than nine hundred on any given day—stood between Hitler and the victory that seemed almost within his grasp.


Korda re-creates the intensity of combat in "the long, delirious, burning blue" of the sky above southern England, and at the same time—perhaps for the first time—traces the entire complex web of political, diplomatic, scientific, industrial, and human decisions during the 1930s that led inexorably to the world's first, greatest,
and most decisive air battle. Korda deftly interweaves the critical strands of the story—the invention of radar (the most important of Britain's military secrets); the developments by such visionary aircraft designers as R. J. Mitchell, Sidney Camm, and Willy Messerschmitt of the revolutionary, all-metal, high-speed monoplane fighters the British Spitfire and Hurricane and the German Bf 109; the rise of the theory of air bombing as the decisive weapon of modern warfare and the prevailing belief that "the bomber will always get through" (in the words of British prime minister Stanley Baldwin). As Nazi Germany rearmed swiftly after 1933, building up its bomber force, only one man, the central figure of Korda's book, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, the eccentric, infuriating, obstinate, difficult, and astonishingly foresighted creator and leader of RAF Fighter Command, did not believe that the bomber would always get through and was determined to provide Britain with a weapon few people wanted to believe was needed or even possible. Dowding persevered—despite opposition, shortage of funding, and bureaucratic infighting—to perfect the British fighter force just in time to meet and defeat the German onslaught. Korda brings to life the extraordinary men and women on both sides of the conflict, from such major historical figures as Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Reichsmarschall Herman Göring (and his disputatious and bitterly feuding generals) to the British and German pilots, the American airmen who joined the RAF just in time for the Battle of Britain, the young airwomen of the RAF, the ground crews who refueled and rearmed the fighters in the middle of heavy German raids, and such heroic figures as Douglas Bader, Josef František, and the Luftwaffe aces Adolf Galland and his archrival Werner Mölders.

Winston Churchill memorably said about the Battle of Britain, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Here is the story of "the few," and how they prevailed against the odds, deprived Hitler of victory, and saved the world during three epic months in 1940.

David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood

At the end of the last century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.

Graced by David McCullough's remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.

David Halberstam, The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship

The Teammates is the profoundly moving story of four great baseball players who have made the passage from sports icons--when they were young and seemingly indestructible--to men dealing with the vulnerabilities of growing older. At the core of the book is the friendship of these four very different men--Boston Red Sox teammates Bobby Doerr, Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Ted Williams--who remained close for more than sixty years.

The book starts out in early October 2001, when Dominic DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky begin a 1,300-mile trip by car to visit their beloved friend Ted Williams, whom they know is dying. Bobby Doerr, the fourth member of this close group--"my guys," Williams used to call them--is unable to join them. This is a book--filled with historical details and first-hand accounts--about baseball and about something more: the richness of friendship.

Doug Most, The Race Underground

In the late nineteenth century, as cities like Boston and New York grew more congested, the streets became clogged with plodding, horse-drawn carts. When the great blizzard of 1888 crippled the entire northeast, a solution had to be found. Two brothers from one of the nation's great families—Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York—pursued the dream of his city digging America's first subway, and the great race was on. The competition between Boston and New York played out in an era not unlike our own, one of economic upheaval, life-changing innovations, class warfare, bitter political tensions, and the question of America’s place in the world. The Race Underground is peopled with the famous, like Boss Tweed, Grover Cleveland and Thomas Edison, and the not-so-famous, from brilliant engineers to the countless "sandhogs" who shoveled, hoisted and blasted their way into the earth’s crust, sometimes losing their lives in the construction of the tunnels. Doug Most chronicles the science of the subway, looks at the centuries of fears people overcame about traveling underground and tells a story as exciting as any ever ripped from the pages of U.S. history. The Race Underground is a great American saga of two rival American cities, their rich, powerful and sometimes corrupt interests, and an invention that changed the lives of millions.

David Halberstam, The Education of a Coach

Pulitzer Prize-winner David Halberstam's bestseller takes you inside the football genius of Bill Belichick for an insightful profile in leadership. Bill Belichick's thirty-one years in the NFL have been marked by amazing success--most recently with the New England Patriots. In this groundbreaking book, David Halberstam explores the nuances of both the game and the man behind it. He uncovers what makes Bill Belichick tick both on and off the field..

Starlight Detectives, Alan Hirshfeld

Author Alan Hirshfeld tells how, from about 1840 to 1940, an accelerating series of discoveries pushed the frontiers of astronomical research beyond the reach of amateurs. Photography played a critical role: as it developed :) ever fainter objects could be observed. Taking advantage of their new capabilities, ever larger telescopes, situated in more and more advantageous locations, opened the depths of space to the privileged few who had access to them.

Hirshfeld shows vividly how difficult it was to construct the equipment that effected this change, to learn to use it, and to decide what should be done with it.

Elliot Perlman, The Street Sweeper

How breathtakingly close we are to lives that at first seem so far away. From the civil rights struggle in the United States to the Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe, there are more stories than people passing one another every day on the bustling streets of every crowded city. Only some stories survive to become history.

Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams, an African American probationary janitor in a Manhattan hospital and father of a little girl he can’t locate, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly patient, a Holocaust survivor who was a prisoner in Auschwitz-Birkenau.


A few blocks uptown, historian Adam Zignelik, an untenured Columbia professor, finds both his career and his long-term romantic relationship falling apart. Emerging from the depths of his own personal history, Adam sees, in a promising research topic suggested by an American World War II veteran, the beginnings of something that might just save him professionally, and perhaps even personally.

As these men try to survive in early-twenty-first-century New York, history comes to life in ways neither of them could have foreseen. Two very different paths—Lamont’s and Adam’s—lead to one greater story as The Street Sweeper, in dealing with memory, love, guilt, heroism, the extremes of racism and unexpected kindness, spans the twentieth century to the present, and spans the globe from New York to Chicago to Auschwitz.

Epic in scope, this is a remarkable feat of storytelling.

 Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than ten million copies sold around the world, now with a new introduction from the author.

An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.

 

Edmund de Waal, The Hare with Amber Eyes

 

The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox.

The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection.

The netsuke—drunken monks, almost-ripe plums, snarling tigers—were gathered by Charles Ephrussi at the height of the Parisian rage for all things Japanese. Charles had shunned the place set aside for him in the family business to make a study of art, and of beautiful living. An early supporter of the Impressionists, he appears, oddly formal in a top hat, in Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. Marcel Proust studied Charles closely enough to use him as a model for the aesthete and lover Swann in Remembrance of Things Past.

Charles gave the carvings as a wedding gift to his cousin Viktor in Vienna; his children were allowed to play with one netsuke each while they watched their mother, the Baroness Emmy, dress for ball after ball. Her older daughter grew up to disdain fashionable society. Longing to write, she struck up a correspondence with Rilke, who encouraged her in her poetry.

The Anschluss changed their world beyond recognition. Ephrussi and his cosmopolitan family were imprisoned or scattered, and Hitler’s theorist on the “Jewish question” appropriated their magnificent palace on the Ringstrasse. A library of priceless books and a collection of Old Master paintings were confiscated by the Nazis. But the netsuke were smuggled away by a loyal maid, Anna, and hidden in her straw mattress. Years after the war, she would find a way to return them to the family she’d served even in their exile.

In The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal unfolds the story of a remarkable family and a tumultuous century. Sweeping yet intimate, it is a highly original meditation on art, history, and family, as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves.

 

Graeme Simion, The Rosie Project

 

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges

  

Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers

 

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

William Trevor, Two Lives

 

William Trevor's astonishing range as a writer--his humor, subtlety, and compassionate grasp of human behavior--is fully demonstrated in these two short novels. In Reading Turgenev, a lonely country girl escapes her loveless marriage in the arms of a bookish young man. In My House in Umbria, a former madam befriends the other survivors of a terrorist bombing with surprising results. Nominated for the Booker Award.

 Margery Sharp, Cluny Brown

 Working class young woman in 1938 is sent to work at a Devon manor by her despairing uncle.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------We researched the library catalogue and found that the library has an extensive collection of books that won the National Book Award for fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.  They are listed below for your perusal.  Take them out for your enjoyment.  Look below for other recommended books, by library readers like yourself.

National Book Award:

1950: The Man With The Golden Arm by Nelson Algren
1951: 
The Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner
1952: 
From Here to Eternity by James Jones
1953: 
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
1954: 
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
1955: 
A Fable by William Faulkner
1956: 
Ten North Frederick by John O'Hara
1957: 
The Field of Vision by Wright Morris
1958: 
The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever
1959: 
The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud
1960: 
Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
1961: 
The Waters of Kronos by Conrad Richter
1962: 
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
1963: 
Morte D'Urban
 by J.F. Powers
1964: 
The Centaur by John Updike
1965: 
Herzog by Saul Bellow
1966: 
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter by Katherine Anne Porter
1967: 
The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
1968: 
The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder
1969: 
Steps by Jerzy Kosinski
1970: 
Them by Joyce Carol Oates
1971: 
Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow
1972: 
The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor
1973: 
Chimera by John Barth
Augustus by John Williams
1974: 
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer
1975: 
Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone
The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams
1976: 
JR by William Gaddis
1977: 
The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner
1978: 
Blood Tie by Mary Lee Settle
1979: 
Going After Cacciato
 by Tim O'Brien

1984: 
Victory over Japan: A Book of Stories by Ellen Gilchrist
1985: 
White Noise by Don DeLillo
1986: 
World's Fair by E. L. Doctorow
1987: 
Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann
1988: 
Paris Trout by Pete Dexter
1989: 
Spartina by John Casey
1990: 
Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
1991: 
Mating by Norman Rush
1992: 
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
1993: 
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
1994: 
A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis
1995: 
Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
1996: 
Ship Fever and Other Stories by Andrea Barrett
1997: 
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
1998: 
Charming Billy by Alice McDermott
1999: 
Waiting by Ha Jin
2000: 
In America by Susan Sontag
2001: 
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
2002: 
Three Junes by Julia Glass
2003: 
The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
2004: 
The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck
2005: 
Europe Central by William T. Vollmann
2006: 
The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
2007: 
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
2008: 
Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen
2009: 
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Pulitzer Prize:

2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Books)

2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Alfred A. Knopf)

2006 March by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)

2005 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar)

2004 The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Amistad/ HarperCollins)

2003 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar)

2002 Empire Falls by Richard Russo (Alfred A. Knopf

2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Random House)

2000 Interpreter of Maladies byJhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin)

1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

1998 American Pastoral byPhilip Roth (Houghton Mifflin)

1997 Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer  by Steven Millhauser (Crown)

1996 Independence Day byRichard Ford (Alfred A. Knopf)

1995 The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Viking)

1994 The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Charles Scribner's Sons)

1993 A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler (Henry Holt)

1992 A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (Alfred A. Knopf)

1991 Rabbit At Rest by John Updike (Alfred A. Knopf)

 

         

 

 

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