Recommended by Bunch of Grapes
“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed – After her mother’s death, Strayed finds herself caught in the mire of despair, doing drugs and having one night stands. Reading the back cover of a book about the Pacific Crest Trail, she decides to pull herself up by the boot straps and attempt to walk the 1,100 mile trail by herself. With a backpack too large and boots too small, she sets off on a physical and psychological journey to find herself.
“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern – Two wizards set up a competition between two young people, Marco and Celia. They must create a circus that is only open at night. Here the worlds of illusion and magic clash. The one spark of magic that the wizards do not foresee is the magic of the two falling in love. Celia and Marco do not know that one of them must die to win the competition. The setting and the flow of this story could create a magical movie. [an imdb.com search tells us this movie is in fact “in development.”]
“The Cove” by Ron Rash – This dark tale is set on a remote cove at the foot of a North Carolina mountain. Laura, outcast and a supposed witch, lives there with her disabled brother. Loneliness, cruelty, and despair dominate her life until a mute young man with a silver flute enters her life. As hope for a better life fills Laura, a local man in the town begins stoking fear of spies in their midst.
“Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand – Louis Zaperini was a hyperactive child, so his brother encouraged him to release some of his energy by running. He ran for the Americans in the Berlin Olympics. He became a bombardier in World War II. When his plane crashes in the Pacific, he survives for 47 days in a life raft. Finally, the raft reaches land, but whose land is it? Truth is often stranger than fiction and usually more interesting.
“The Snowman” by Jo Nesbo – Norwegian detective Harry Hole, an expert on serial killers, is caught up in a series of murders of women. A snowman is left near the bodies like a signature. As Hole attempts to solve the murders, he begins to wonder if the snowman killer is not stalking him. And what about his new assistant, Katrine? Isn’t there something not quite right about her? This is a smart cat and mouse thriller.
Book Den East Recommends
“Stealing The General” by Russell S. Bonds – This 2007 release is a meticulously researched book about the Civil War’s famous 1862 great locomotive chase. Sparked by a wild plan to disrupt a vital railway line of the Confederacy and bring the war to a quick end, the Andrews Raid and its aftermath, which includes prison breaks, executions, and escapes, is an adventure which deserves an up-to-date feature film to tell its story. ($20)
“Left For Dead: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for The USS Indianapolis” by Pete Nelson – In 1945, a cruiser had just delivered the atomic bomb soon to destroy Hiroshima. Then, torpedoed by a Japanese sub, she sank in 8 minutes, spilling 1,197 people to the sharks of the South Pacific. Only 317 were rescued. This 2002 book is the story of Hunter Scott and his 6th grade history project, which led to his fight against U.S. Navy and to redress the record of the unjustly court-martialed Captain, Charles McVey. Scott’s efforts brought to light truths hidden behind the veil of Command Influence in 1945. The injustice was finally acknowledged by Congress. ($10)
“Wilderness Man: The Strange Story of Grey Owl” by Lovat Dickson – A 1973 account of the self-transformation of an educated, purebred Englishman into a self-made Canadian-Indian and trapper, and his subsequent metamorphosis into Grey Owl, best-selling author and famous spokesman for the protection of wildlife and wilderness in the 1930s. The curious twists, turns, and conflicts of his colorful life would make a great movie vehicle for someone like Brad Pitt. ($10)
“Swimming To Antarctica” by Lynne Cox – Ms. Cox’s inspirational story of what it takes to be a long-distance swimmer (cold water is only one obstacle to overcome). Ms. Cox has swum the English Channel in record time, and has overcome the Straits of Magellan, the Cook and Bering Straits, and other daunting bodies of water. How she develops to accomplish the seemingly impossible would make a great feature film. ($15)
“Killing Custer” by James Welch and filmmaker Paul Stekler – This 1994 book describes the making of a documentary film about the famous 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana. The battle was won by the Sioux and Cheyenne — led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse — and lost by the U.S. government forces led by George Armstrong Custer. Welch (part native himself) tells a compelling, at times heartbreaking, story of an indigenous culture being swallowed by “manifest destiny.” ($15)
Recommended by Edgartown Books
“The Passage” by Justin Cronin – In the not-so-distant future, after a government experiment goes horribly wrong, North America is plagued by creatures called “virals,” humans infected by an extremely contagious virus. The story centers around Amy, a young girl personally affected by the experiments and Brad Wolgast, her protector. The narrative expands beyond these two to reveal different perspectives of characters surviving in the post-apocalyptic world they live in. If done well, a movie of this book would be a great adventure/thriller.
“The House at Tyneford” by Natasha Solomons – For fans of “Downton Abbey,” a film version of this book would be perfect as another saga set in a beautiful English mansion. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is no longer safe as a Jew living in Vienna in 1938, so she relocates to the English countryside to work as a domestic servant at a house called Tyneford. Her life is changed by the people she meets working at Tyneford, most of all by Christopher Rivers, the mansion’s handsome heir.
“Divergent” by Veronica Roth – The already popular middle reader book “Divergent” is sure to be the hit to follow “The Hunger Games” if made into a movie. Set in a future Chicago where humans are broken up into five predetermined factions that define an individual’s identity, 16-year old Beatrice Prior must choose which faction she will belong to. Her decision is made difficult when she realizes that she does not truly fit into any one group and her life takes on a course she never expected.
“Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles – Set in New York City, circa 1938, this book is centered around Katey and Eve, whose chance meeting with handsome banker Tinker Grey changes the next year of their lives. Tinker opens their world to the upper echelons of New York society, through which Katey and Eve navigate very differently. When their once easy friendship becomes complicated by an accident, Towles masterfully reveals how split second decisions can have the force to change lives for decades to come.
“Defending Jacob” by William Landay – Respected assistant District Attorney Andy Barber’s happy life is turned upside down when a shocking crime shatters his small New England community and his son, Jacob, is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Jacob insists he is innocent, and Andy believes in his innocence as any parent would. However, the evidence is not on Jacob’s side and Andy is put to the test of how far he will go to protect his child.