Tess & Karina’s book picks
September 14, 2012
On first blush, as I began “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness, I feared a revival of “Twilight.” But, with my “must-read-50-pages” rule in place, I stuck with it. Don’t misunderstand; there are similarities, for clearly Ms. Harkness was eager to jump on the lucrative paranormal romance bandwagon, but “A Discovery of Witches” succeeded in pulling me in regardless.More sophisticated than Bella Swann’s adventures, this tale strives to be mature and intellectual, and it helps that the heroine is a scholar and a witch, not some teen girl who has no gumption of her own. Unfortunately, the author couldn’t help but fall into the trap of a “damsel in distress” story, where the gorgeous, fiendishly smart and overprotective vampire sweeps her off her feet to save the day.But Diana, the witch with hidden powers beyond her imaginings, manages to hold her own, though she does turn to jelly at the sight of her blood-sucking paramour. Daemons, witches and vampires, oh my. “A Discovery of Witches” was fun – simple, but fun, though this genre is clearly played out. All in all, I would call it an entertaining beach book. Enjoy.- Karina Wetherbee
“Caleb’s Crossing,” a historical novel by Geraldine Brooks, is very interesting, covering an often-neglected aspect of American history. In the early years of the colonies, when the Puritans were actively seeking to convert the Native Americans from what they deemed to be pagan beliefs, there were Native people taken “into the fold” and educated in the European fashion. This meant learning Latin, Greek, the classics and, of course, the Bible.Based on the true story of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, “Caleb’s Crossing” is a lovely story of friendship, education and tradition. Told from the point of view of a young Puritan girl – the daughter of a minister seeking to convert the natives – the narrative is tender and innocent. Young Bethia watches as the Native people struggle to find their place in a changing world. Some bend and find their niches in order to survive, while others fight, never destined to assimilate into a culture that eventually annihilates theirs.The book is sensitive to the early plight of the Native people, determined to hold on to their traditions and beliefs in the face of the relentless flood of newcomers from over the waters. For a fascinating reminder of a turbulent period of this nation’s history, this book is worth your time. I thoroughly enjoyed it.- Karina Wetherbee
This is just a little reviewFor something called “The Tao of Pooh.”Sweet Pooh-bear, and Benjamin HoffWill teach you a lot; please don’t scoff! So smart, so wise and simply sweet,This cute book is ever so neat.It might change you, if you so please;Open your mind; live life with ease. So you see now, is it funny,I love this book more than honey.Give it a read; it’s good for you,And discover a great Taoist …Winnie the Pooh! – Tessa Wetherbee
“The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” by Alan Bradley is a delightful mystery featuring a perfectly precocious sleuth/mad scientist, Flavia De Luce. At only 11, Flavia is a gifted chemist with a penchant for poison who is also a fair hand at solving a mystery. Set in the 1950s, the book has a relaxed, old-fashioned (and very British) feel. Flavia is absolutely wonderful; she is whip-smart, sharp-tongued and just reckless enough to get into some sticky situations. I loved the dynamics between Flavia and her sisters. It was very entertaining to follow Flavia as she raced all over the town on her bicycle, Gladys, looking for clues. Overall, I thought this was a fun, fast-paced read. I certainly breezed through it! If you like a good mystery with a charming young detective at its heart, then this one is for you.- Tessa WetherbeeFor more reviews by the Wetherbee mother/daughter duo, visit http://www.reviews2share.blogspot.com.