I have found that some of the most interesting books I have read are often those that were recommended to me by friends or co-workers.  I recently asked my co-workers at Dublin Library what books they were reading currently and here is what they replied:

 

Pam Blades –   I am currently reading (listening to) the compact disc book, “The Price of Murder” by Bruce Alexander. It’s a little like a Sherlock Holmes novel with the main character Sir John Fielding who is a blind magistrate. There are some great characters and descriptions of old London.

 

I myself recently read “Epitaph for a Peach : Four Seasons on My Family Farm” by David Mas Masumuto.  David gives his readers an intimate portrait of several generations of his family and a good idea of what effort, stubbornness, and often good luck go into running a family farm producing peaches and grapes in the southern San Joaquin Valley.  Once you’ve read this book, you’ll never go by a small farm again without wondering just who lives on the farm and how long these people have lived there. 

 

Another book I read recently provided great armchair travel to our 50th state and travel back in time, as well.  “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert was clearly a labor of love, showing the author’s fascination with Hawaii.  The novel is the story of Rachel, a young girl who is diagnosed with Hansen’s disease, then known as leprosy.  Rachel grows up in Honolulu during the last days of the Hawaiian monarchy, and is shipped off to live the rest of her life at Kalawao, on the eastern side of the Kalaupapa Peninsula on the island of Molokai.  Even in this “living grave”, Rachel and other patients make friendships, fall in love, marry, and even bear children – before having their children removed forcibly and put up for adoption lest they contract leprosy.  Some of the luckier patients, such as the fictional Rachel, had the effects of the disease halted through the use of sulfate drugs, discovered around the time of World War II, and were able to be released and allowed to settle elsewhere in Hawaii, often only to face prejudice from uninformed family and friends.  I was particularly impressed by the author’s descriptions of the rather sleepy island capital that was Honolulu of the 1890s contrasted with the urban, fast-paced Honolulu of 1946, and what a shock it would have been to a person who had not seen the changes happen gradually. 

 

 

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