Books to Know – Top 10 List – August 2012


1. A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver

by Mark Shriver, 2012

Mark Shriver was born into the illustrious Kennedy family through his mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister to John F. Kennedy. However, it is his father’s faith, accomplishments, and essential goodness that he chose to recognize in writing. Sargent Shriver is credited with helping found the Peace Corps under the Kennedy administration, among other good works. Unlike many unflattering memoirs these days, Shriver makes a welcome choice in holding his father up as a model for emulation. Kennedy pow-wows do feature here, but Shriver will hold your attention.

 2. The Coldest War

by Ian Tregellis (See book review)

 3. Scared Silent

by Mildred Muhammad, 2009

In town for the African-American Authors’ Expo on August 18, the ex-wife of executed DC sniper John Muhammad shares her side of the story in this poignant memoir. Her tale of domestic violence and isolation, and the eventual strength she found to care for her children and comfort them even when their world turned upside down, is inspiring. Mildred Muhammad is not only no longer scared silent, but is a powerful and articulate advocate for victims of domestic abuse.

4. Redemption in Indigo

by Karen Lord, 2010

Winner of the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, this debut from African American author Karen Lord is based on a Senegalese folk tale. Paama leaves her gluttonous husband and comes to the attention of powerful spirits, the Djombi, who decide to give her the Chaos stick, an object that alters situations. Unfortunately, the Chaos stick used to belong to the Indigo Lord-and he wants it back.

 5. The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican

by Catherine Fletcher, 2012

Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon is not an obscure piece of history, leading as it did to the Church of England’s break with the Roman Catholic church. However, instead of revisiting the tumultuous Tudor court, historian Catherine Fletcher tells the story from inside Rome, as the pope vacillates over the political consequences of his decision. The book focuses on Italian diplomat Gregorio Casali, and the minutiae of his petitions on Henry’s behalf. This history is aimed at Tudor aficionados and academics.

6. Me, Who Dove Into the Heart of the World

by Sabina Berman, August 7 2012

Autistic savant Karen Nieto narrates this first novel from award-winning Mexican playwright Sabina Berman. Karen, originally known as “Me,” runs wild on her family’s beach property.  When her aunt comes to rescue the failing tuna cannery, she finds the feral girl, and teaches her to communicate. Karen’s abilities allow her to save the family business, turning it into the world’s first humane tuna cannery. This book will appeal to fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, environmentalists, and fans of unusual first-person narrators.

 7. From This Wicked Patch of Dust

by Sergio Troncoso, 2011

Mexican couple, Pilar and Cuauhtémoc, settle in a shantytown on the border of El Paso, Texas, with the hope of providing a better life for their four children. The novel, deemed a Notable Book by Southwest Books of the Year, follows the family’s story as the children pull away from their roots. The message is an enduring picture of the immigrant experience and the price of success.

 8. The Prisoner of Heaven

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, 2012

Beloved Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón returns to Barcelona and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in the sequel to The Shadow of the Wind. Daniel Sempere is married and a new father. Once again, mysterious secrets from the past surface, this time dealing with his friend, Fermín Romero de Torres. This new story weaves Daniel’s together with that of David Martín from The Angel’s Game, and heads toward a spectacular finale.

9.  The Absolutist

by John Boyne, 2012

British soldier Tristan Sadler returns to England after World War I to deliver letters to Marion, the sister of his fallen comrade Will Bancroft. John Boyne, known for his literary historical fiction, elicits deep emotions from his readers again throughout Tristan’s complex, multiple-timeline tale. Each heart-wrenching twist will keep the pages turning to the end

10. Existence

by David Brin, 2012

Hugo and Nebula award winner David Brin returns to highly conceptual science fiction in his latest novel. Existence, set forty years in the future, hinges on the discovery of a message from aliens in a piece of space debris. With all the threats to existence that Brin’s various characters struggle to avoid, the meaning of this message will change everything they think they know.


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