Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Power by Naomi Alderman

In the not-too-distant future, young girls around the world develop the ability to send electricity through their fingertips. This charge can be as light as a static electric shock or strong enough to kill. It is soon discovered that girls can awaken this power in older women, and the world changes almost overnight. The Power follows the stories of four people living through this tumultuous time. Roxy, the daughter of an English mob boss, uses her power to fend off home invaders and soon becomes embroiled in the family business; Allie, an American teen, fights off her abusive foster father and runs away to a convent; Margot, an American politician, must hide her power as new laws make it illegal for women with the power to work in government; and Tunde a Nigerian journalist who travels the world recording and reporting on what he sees. As scientists look for answers, governments try to maintain the status quo and women take to the streets to overturn slights both personal and institutional. Vigilante groups rise up, riots break out around the globe, and women take by force the power that has often been denied and used against them.

The Power provokes its readers to question stereotypes, gender dynamics, and what it means to have power. But don’t expect Alderman to hand out easy answers; she is clearly more interested in sparking conversation and self-reflection, which she accomplishes with aplomb. This is a book that begs to be devoured, passed on to friends and acquaintances, and dissected and discussed at length.

-Portia Kapraun

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Artemis by Andy Weir

    In this sci-fi thriller, Jasmine Bashara moved to the moon with her father at the age of 6. Jazz, a defiant, self-educated woman, grows up to be a porter and along with that, dreams to become filthy rich. With the meager pay of a porter, she also smuggles contraband on the side.

    Her dreams of wealth are what ultimately put her life in danger. A wealthy and ruthless businessman makes a proposition that she cannot refuse--well, that she reluctantly accepts. With this heist, she entangles herself in a situation that ends up getting her boss killed and her hunted. Her intellect and knowledge are the only way to survive. This book is definitely a page-turner.  If you like sci-fi with a dash of banter, pick up this book.

"We're going to be rich, buddy. Filthy rich.---And besides, who doesn't want to come to Artemis?  It's the greatest little city in the worlds." -Jazz

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Carnegie's Maid

This story takes place in the years 1863 through 1900. Clara Kelley is sent across the Atlantic from Ireland to America by her parents. She is to go to Pennsylvania to live with a cousin and find work, so that she can send money back home. Upon landing in New York, no one is waiting for her as she sees other passengers fall into the arms of waiting relatives. She walks on. She hears her name being called out. She follows the voice. IT belongs to a tall man wearing a bowler hat and topcoat finer than she has ever seen. "Clara Kelley, are you?" he asks. "Yes, sir," she replies. He informs her that he is to take her to Mrs. Seeley, who trains young girls to be hired out as maids.

The "Clara Kelley" for whom the man was looking never made it off the ship. Clara knew she had a choice to make in that moment. She could tell the man the truth, or she could become that other "Clara Kelley," get a ride to Pennsylvania, and have a job waiting for her. As you might guess, she chooses the latter. Once in Pennsylvania, she meets the mistress, Mrs. Carnegie, to whom she will be a lady's maid.

After several months she becomes very good friends with Carnegie's oldest son, Andrew, who is a very successful businessman. As their friendship grows, they also become silent business partners.  Clara becomes very wealthy from her understanding of the business.

I really enjoyed reading this book for its history of immigrants and the establishment of the first Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. Andrew Carnegie went on to fund more than 2,500 libraries in America, one of which is the Delphi Public Library!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Sunday Silence

Nicci French is the pseudonym of Nicci Gerard and Sean French, a husband and wife writing team from Suffolk England.  This  is their seventh Frieda Klein novel and follows Dark Saturday.  Frieda is a psychologist and resides in London where she has a strong group of friends whom she considers her family and she often gets involved in helping the police with murder cases.  Since the beginning she has been literally haunted by a murderer named Dean Reeve.  Dean is supposedly dead, but Frieda believes he is still alive and is aware of her every move.  He has committed arson and murder against her enemies and to stop her from searching for him.
This novel begins with the murder of a private detective she had hired to find Dean Reeve.  He must have gotten close, because Dean killed him and buried the body under her floorboards in her home.  Shortly thereafter, her niece is kidnapped, drugged and held for a weekend in an unknown place, and then her friend, Ruben is beaten almost to death.  She blames Dean Reeve for these incidents.  When her friend Josef's son is briefly kidnapped and then returned unharmed, he repeats several times to Frieda "This is me look somewhere else".  She finally realizes, this is a message from Dean and he is saying he is not responsible for the the kidnapping of her niece or the beating of Ruben.  This can only mean that a copycat is involved.
A new detective is assigned to the case but fails to find the perpetrator.  Frieda must do what she can to protect her friends and family.  This was supposed to be the end of the series, where she deals with Dean Reeve.  Cleverly the writers instead send her on a quest to find a copycat who is as ruthless and murderous as the murderer he is enthralled with.