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Book review – Page from a Tennessee Journal September 13, 2010

Posted by mplibrary in Reviews.
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Howard, Francine Thomas. Page from a Tennessee Journal. Las Vegas: AmazonEncore, 2010. 275 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-98255-506-4.

In Page from a Tennessee Journal, Francine Thomas Howard does an exceptional job depicting a period in American history wherein African-Americans living in the South traveled northward in a movement known as “The Great Migration”. She personalizes this era by supplying the reader with a well told tale of two families living in rural Tennessee circa 1913, one black and one white, and the events that ultimately resulted in cataclysmic, life-altering changes for both. By the author’s own admission, her debut novel was inspired by family secrets.

The story revolves around a farm that is at once rather humble while being large enough for sharecropping. In a fast moving plot, when white farmer Alexander McNaughton falls in love with black sharecropper Annalaura Welles, it is apparent to the reader that things are not going to end well; surprises abound, from the reactions of Alex’s very practical wife, Eula Mae, to the actions of the long absent husband, John Welles, upon his return. One is horrified by the brutality and indifference towards women, especially black women, but heartened by their strength and resourcefulness as portrayed in the well-drawn characters of Annalaura and eventually, the white woman, Eula Mae. As the story reaches its climax, one can feel the momentum. The style in which Howard handles this breakneck action with love, revenge, and pride all taking roles, is a portent of her ability to write more good novels in the future. Certainly, the ending is the right one, and is begging for a sequel!

Sandra C. Clariday, Associate Dean, Tennessee Wesleyan College

Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave September 13, 2010

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The immigrant situation in England and the cruelty perpetuated by oil companies in African villages receive treatment by Chris Cleave, a writer for the Guardian. This fascinating novel switches back and forth between the voices of Little Bee, a teenage Nigerian refugee who has just spent 2 years in an English detention center, and Sarah, a compassionate British woman. Worlds collided some years before when the two met in a violent episode on an African beach. Little Bee seeks Sarah out upon release from detention. What a survivor Little Bee is, to have witnessed the loss of family and home and lived through unspeakable violence. She plans her life around ways to kill herself quickly “when the men come.” She has witty insights into life in the UK where she has taught herself the Queen’s English in order to assimilate. She is a lesson in the pure joy of living and of hope for the future in spite of all our inhumanity towards one another. An ambiguous ending leaves one wondering exactly what happened. I’d be interested to know what other readers think!
Julie Adams

Guest blog: Review of 1602 August 23, 2007

Posted by twcbookwise in Reviews.
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Today we welcome guest blogger Nathan Fox to discuss our new graphic novels. Take it away, Nathan!

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For those of you familiar with classic Marvel comic characters, 1602 should not be over looked. Mr. Gaiman’s name alone attached to a book about mainstream characters (such as Spider-Man and Captain America) should get TWC’s “fanboys” rushing through the doors of our library. The art done by Mr. Kubert does his family’s legacy in comics complete justice. The story brings Marvel’s classic heroes and villains to a time before bombs and machine guns. But while the times are simpler, rest assured, true believers, the danger is even greater. James of Scotland is about to take the throne with Dr. Doom backing him. Unfortunately for our heroes though, that is the least of their troubles.

If you do happen to read this book and like what you see, the library is getting in Ultimate Sandman Vol. 1 also by Mr. Gaiman. Also, I love the fact that the library is diving into the sea of graphic novels that are out there. Please help me by encouraging them to continue getting more in. I mean who else out there would love to see a copy of one of Frank Miller’s Sin City stories or DC comic’s Kingdom Come here in our library. Until next time “EXCELSIOR” as Stan Lee likes to say.

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