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Liz's Ten Second Reviews
"The Book of Eels" by Patrik Svensson: Yes! I read it!! Eels are not appealing at all to me - and I am glad I did: this book explains the ecological niche of a creature while telling a human family story; specifically, a father and son discovering together the world of eels. It is a wonderful education about nature, breadth of the conservation movement and the importance of scientific thought.

"A Thousand Mornings""House of Light", and "Felicity" by Mary Oliver: Everything about Mary Oliver's poetry works for almost everyone: its ease of understanding, its simplicity, its concern for the natural world. Most importantly her poems give you permission and the opportunity to reflect and learn.

"A Woman of No Importance" by Sonia Purcell: Virginia Hall was an amazing person with unbelievable energy, organizational skills, ability to work with anyone and completely focused on defeating the Nazis. She was a powerful force that created opportunities for the Allies to completely undermine the western land war and occupation by the Germans.

"Florence Adler Swims Forever" by Rachel Beanland: this novel based loosely on a true story tells of a family that has secrets and the tragedies that follow those secrets. A first and second generation immigrant story in Atlantic City and the original beauty pageant during WWII.

"Homeland Elegies" by Ayad Akhtar: this is a serious read with humor not to be dismissed as light-hearted. A father and son saga that is heartbreaking intensity and garners some disbelief. . . . read to understand another version of America as your homeland.

"Our House is on Fire" by Greta Thunberg and Family: what drives this family and where are the ideas from. . . . . completely transparent and this amazing story assumes the inevitable actions and expectations are part of a completely ordinary family life.

"In the Woods" by Tana French: two crimes decades apart; dysfunctional families, municipal battles, two missing children and another murdered. Unravel with the narrator who is baffled as to his own role in these two mysteries.

"Clap When You Land" by Elizabeth Acevedo: a young adult read that is definitely a great book for a parent and teen to read and discuss; a mystery and an immigration story and a father's love for his daughter make this a compelling read. 

"Nothing to See Here" by Kevin Wilson: a wild premise for a crazy story that keeps you rooting for the narrator who does not appear to have very good sense!! Topsy turvy premise that makes a great read!

"Transcendent Kingdom" by Yaa Gyasi: deep, thoughtful and worthy of a lengthy discussion; I enjoyed this novel as I learned about familial choices and bonds of faith in our lives.

"Deacon King Kong" by James McBride: a crazy story that evolves and pulls you into a neighborhood that is so familiar and also WILD! A singular character-filled community teases your credibility and tolerance for mayhem and mishap!

"The Jane Austen Society" by Natalie Jenner: for Jane lovers and those who love literary references and significant parallels from the "real" world and a literary fantasy. With engaging characters and a compelling story with some Hollywood mixed in the English Countryside - it is really good!

"Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick" by Zora Neale Hurston: with an ear and eye for human behavior and a wit to match these stories are wickedly splendid and so memorable. Laugh out loud fun - a 2020 discovery for your soul!


Tracey's Ten Second Reviews
"Leave the World Behind" by Rumaan Alam: This book terrified and fascinated me. Two families of differing race, class, and social stations that have never met before come together in a time of crisis and unknown threats. The ultimate exploration of how people find common ground and care for one another in desperate times.

"Stamped" by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi: This young-adult version of Ibram X. Kendi's "Stamped from the Beginning" was an excellent way for my family to approach discussing racism in our society, how we arrived at our current state of racial tension, and what we can do to support anti-racism in our daily lives. A real eye-opener for kids and adults alike.

"Redhead by the Side of the Road" by Anne Tyler: No one creates loveable societal misfits like Anne Tyler. A great story about regular, if quirky, people seeking success in life and love.

"All Adults Here" by Emma Straub: This novel grabs you from the beginning and keeps you engaged with a sweet family of characters and the interweaving of their life struggles and transitions. A great read for "adults" in all stages of life.

Amy's Ten Second Reviews
"Escaping Viet Nam" by Harriet Hill and H'yoanh Buonya: This is a true story of how one girl tries to escape persecution by the North Vietnamese Army, the Viet Cong. H’Yoanh’s journey led her into the jungles of the Highlands. She was captured by PolPot’s killing regime and lived with the soldiers doing whatever was asked of her. This book is a wonderful story about how one woman perseveres over tremendous hardships. I recommend this book.

"The Splendid and the Vile" by Erik Larson: I enjoyed this book so much I didn’t want it to end. Eric Larson is an amazing storyteller. The reader experiences each facet of how decisions were made to win the second world war. This book captures Winston Churchill’s leadership of England when Hitler declared war and bombed Britain killing 45,000 people. We learn about Winston Churchill, his family and advisers that helped him with war strategies. I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed it so much I might just read it again!

"The House of Broken Angels" by Luis Alberto Urrea: This book gives the reader an insight into a family that loves one another and has the highest respect for the family matriarch – Big Angel. The family is gathering for the grandmother’s funeral and the next day will celebrate Big Angel’s birthday. Although we come to know the family and how dysfunctional they are, we feel a strong bond to the characters and their lives.
 

"Saint X" by Alexis Schaitkin: A family goes on a vacation to a tropical resort. Everything is wonderful until Allison, the older sister of Claire, goes missing. It is said that she was murdered by an island resident. When the family goes home and Claire grows up she becomes obsessed with trying to find out if her sister was indeed murdered. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Allison on that island. This book is a real page turner.

"Migrations" by Charlotte McConaghy: The main character Franny Stone goes on a journey to save the Artic terns and track their migration. She hitches a ride on a fishing boat and the story takes many twists and turns. We discover that Franny has other reasons for this journey. Franny has had an unusual life. Reading each chapter, we are told another small piece. When we reach the end of Franny’s journey her motives for this trip are revealed.