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Historical Fiction

Mysteries of the Magnificent Variety

Are you looking for a great mystery with some meat to it? Lewis Buzbee has written such awesome books. In Steinbeck's Ghost, 13-year-old Travis, unhappy about his family's recent move, finds he can still connect with his old life at the Salinas Library re-reading his favorite books. He enjoys Steinbeck — after all, Salinas is Steinbeck's hometown. But suddenly he begins seeing the characters spring to life. As he struggles to solve this mystery, budget cuts threaten his library. In looking for ways to save his haven, Travis uncovers many truths and stumbles into a story Steinbeck might be telling him to write.

Moon Over Manifest

This year's Newbery Award winning book, Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, presents a story within a story and is totally captivating. Historical fiction should always be this compelling. But you can read the rave reviews and plot summaries by clicking on the link to this item in our catalog. What I want to relate is why this superb novel touched me personally. One story take place in 1936, during The Great Depression. I grew up hearing stories and accounts of what it was like to live during this trying time from my parents and grandparents. My mother told about searching for stray pennies in couch cushions to buy a loaf a bread. She had to sleep on the floor so boarders could have the beds in the bedrooms.

Book Club Reads: February 2011

Canton Public Library's Book Club in a Bag offers a wide variety of reading selections for book clubs. Each kit has 8 copies of the book, resource material for the leader, and a sign out sheet for members. Book Club in a Bag kits can be reserved by calling the Adult Reference Desk at (734) 397-0999.

Pope Joan: a novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross

The other Boleyn girl: a novel by Philippa Gregory

Epics and Sagas to Sweep You Off Your Feet

Epic fiction, defined as novels that cover a span of time (often centuries) and are focused on a specific geographical location, and sagas series, defined as lengthy novels (often historical) that focus on the characters and families over a certain span of time, are large and expansive. They'll carry you to a different time and place. Give these a try:

Roses by Leila Meacham

The princes of Ireland: the Dublin saga by Edward Rutherfurd

Look What's In Large Print: February 2011

Tired of squinting while reading? Getting a headache from focusing too hard for too long? You're not alone — one in six Americans over the age of 45 have trouble reading small print.

Turtle in Paradise

Meet Turtle, a charming eleven-year-old who is in under no illusions about the ways of the world. It is 1935 and her "starry-eyed," romantic mother (who is always falling in and out of love with total losers) ships Turtle off to relatives in Key West, Florida because her latest housekeeping job does not allow children. Turtle is thrown into a radically different way of life amid boisterous cousins, eccentric adults, hurricanes, scorpions, and windfall fruit. She isn't allowed into her cousins' Diaper Gang (no girls allowed) to earn spending money, but has high hopes she'll soon be on Easy Street like Little Orphan Annie when she discovers a pirate treasure map.

I Knew It Was An Awesome Book!!!

Check out the blog I posted on this super historical fiction book a couple months ago. It has been named a Newbery Honor Book. I know a winner when I read it! (Well… usually!)

One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams-Garcia's most recent book, One Crazy Summer, was named a Newbery Honor Book this week. So what is it about?
In the summer of 1968, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters are shipped off by their father to spend a month with their estranged mother in Oakland, CA. But their mother has no time for them. Instead of taking them to Disneyland as they had hoped, she sends them to the People's Center run by the Black Panthers so she can write poetry. Delphine is a remarkable older sister, wise beyond her years, and an expert at handling her siblings. Each girl has a distinct response to their mother and the ideas and people to which they are exposed. They develop a hard-won, tenuous connection with their mother and an awareness of injustice on a personal and universal level. With endearing characters, a vivid depiction of a pivotal moment in African-American history, and beautiful, poetic language, this is a book worth reading more than once. Readers will wonder what happens to the sisters when they return to their father in Brooklyn with their 'radical' new ideas about the world.

History, boring? Never!

Looking for some fun historical reads? Look no further.

Sugar changed the world: a story of magic, spice, slavery, freedom, and science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Journey into Mohawk Country as written by H.M. van den Bogaert with artwork by George O'Connor and color by Hilary Sycamore

What Should I Read?

In what order should you read a series? Read everything written by Sue Grafton or Malcolm Gladwell and would like to try a similar author? Books & Authors, available in Canton Public Library's databases, allows you to search by title and/or author, subject, keyword, time period, geographic location, or character. Follow the series links for additional titles, or take advantage of the Expert Picks & Librarian's Favorites for recommendations based on some of your favorite titles or topics.

A Mixed Bag of Teen Reads from 2010

Some of my favorite teen books from 2010 include fantasy, historical fiction, and a few plain old realistic fiction reads.

Ostrich boys by Keith Gray

Sisters red by Jackson Pearce

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Historical Romance

If you enjoy historical romances by Bertrice Small or Sabrina Jeffries, try these authors:

Heart of a Samurai

Margi Preus has created a masterpiece with this fascinating, exciting, and factual historical novel. In 1841, fourteen-year-old Manjiro and his four friends find themselves fighting for survival on a deserted island after their fishing boat is destroyed in a storm. Luckily, an American whaling ship rescues them before they perish. They cannot return to Japan because the country's borders are closed to both foreigners and to citizens who have strayed. Imprisonment or even death would await them. Manjiro is curious, intelligent and eager to help with the work on Captain Whitfield's ship. They become very close and Captain Whitfield takes Manjiro home with him to Massachusetts where he attends school and helps on the Whitfield's farm. He is believed to be the first Japanese person to set foot in America.

Fiction Set in the Sixties

If you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett, here's a selection of other novels which explore their characters' lives in this time of social change:

The secret life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Plum wine: a novel by Angela Davis-Gardner

Fiction Set in (or just after) World War II

The following novels focus on interpersonal relationships, exploring romantic entaglements and friendships during this time of global upheaval:

The Granville sisters by Una-Mary Parker

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

The wedding officer: a novel of culinary seduction by Anthony Capella