Friday, December 12, 2008

Today's Picks

Today's Picks

A Small Tall Tale from the Far Far North

Every culture has its own folk heroes who embody values, explain history, and fire children's imaginations. When Peter Sís was growing up in Czechoslovakia, Jan Welzl, who went out on his own to the Yukon to seek a more rewarding way of life, was that hero. In this book, Peter Sís combines the stories he remembers and the facts about Jan Welzl's life with a traditional American folktale form: the tall tale.

Boys In The Trees

Newly arrived to the countryside, William Heath, his wife, and two daughters appear the picture of a devoted family. But when accusations of embezzlement spur William to commit an unthinkable crime, those who witnessed this affectionate, attentive father go about his routine of work and family must reconcile action with character. A doctor who has cared for one daughter, encouraging her trust, examines the finer details of his brief interactions with William, searching for clues that might penetrate the mystery of his motivation. Meanwhile the other daughter's teacher grapples with guilt over a moment when fate wove her into a succession of events that will haunt her dreams. In beautifully crafted prose, Mary Swan examines the volatile collisions between our best intentions--how a passing stranger can leave an indelible mark on our lives even as the people we know most intimately become alienated by tides of self-preservation and regret. In her nuanced, evocative descriptions a locket contains immeasurable sorrow, trees provide sanctuary and refuge to lost souls, and grief clicks into place when a man cocks the cold steel barrel of a revolver. A supreme literary achievement, The Boys in the Trees offers a chilling story that swells with acutely observed emotion and humanity.

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