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Debbie's Picks

What an amazingly researched and masterfully written book this is. Epic does not begin to describe it. Prior to reading this, I don't remember learning much, if anything, about the great migration of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the North from 1915-1970. The stories of three unrelated individuals made it personal, real, and moving, and they will stay with me always.


I found this to be an engaging, intelligent, and moving story. We tend to judge our books by their covers, and we so often don't know the half of who people really are. Philosophical and lovely; I am very glad this story found me.


Like The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, this is a powerful testament to the power of books, compassion, and friendship, to transform lives. Historical fiction at its very best, I will be forever grateful that this wonderful story of these brave individuals has graced my life. I will recommend these books again and again.


I had no idea of the terrific importance of beavers in climate change issues! I am changed forever in my esteem of them and thanks to Ben and his humorous and fascinating book, I am a beaver believer forever!


Anthony Doerr is a masterful storyteller, and this book is elegantly written and haunting. I thought the imagery was beautiful, and my time reading this treasure was well spent.


This is historical fiction at its finest (especially when it features strong women). I had never heard of either the blue people of Kentucky or the pack horse librarians. That women were brave enough to take on the lonely and dangerous endeavor of delivering reading materials to the poor, isolated people in the hollers just astounds me! And to imagine what additional dangers a blue-skinned female doing so might face is terrifying. I recommend this wonderful novel every chance I get.


I fell head-over-heels in love with this grumpy, irritating, and ultimately deeply lovable old guy, Ove. What a wonderfully uplifting novel that I will reread and recommend (oh and his novel, Anxious People as well; charming). I will hope that readers take a chance on books by Mr. Backman as I doubt they will be disappointed.


What truly magnificent and intelligent creatures octopuses are (I learned we don't say octopi, which I always had prior; who knew?). I thought this was a fascinating and charming book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about this marvelous species. If I wanted a new tattoo, an octopus would be at the top of my list.


All I can say is Thank You Larry McMurtry for one of the finest stories in the history of mankind. My life would be infinitely less rich had this amazing book never found me. I kind of feel sorry for people who have never read and fallen in love with the whole sweeping, epic wonder of it.


Oh how I love Ivan Doig's writing style and his wonderful stories. This book has it all: Humor, suspense, tenderness, adventure, nostalgia, wonder, and love. This book is a gem, and the world lost a true treasure when we lost Ivan Doig.


I wish everyone could read this inspiring book. To be reminded that there are people in this world doing important work, making real and positive impacts on our planet; well, it was a breath of fresh air. I have read that we humans are hard wired for negativity, and that surely seems true enough when we read the daily headlines. However, Jane calmly reminded me that each of us can make a difference-even just picking up trash in our neighborhoods.


Sci-Fi is not my usual go-to genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story! A guy (from the future; post-earth) makes some questionable life choices and ends up volunteering to be an expendable (think you've had a hard day at work?) on a colonizing mission to a nearly uninhabitable icy planet. This is a (mostly) light-hearted and fun read with some thought-provoking themes. I am glad I met these guys.


This is a truly amazing story of the relationship between a gentleman in South Africa who owned an animal sanctuary and the adopted band of elephants (deemed rogue) he took in and what they learned from each other. Heartbreakingly beautiful, what he discovers for us about their intelligence, familial ties, grace, and strength will stay with me for the rest of my life. Oh to travel to Thula Thula South Africa to experience that place for myself!


An outstanding history of not only the devastating fires of 1910 (with particular relevance to Wallace, ID), but also Teddy Roosevelt and his fight for public lands, Gifford Pinchot and the beginnings of the USFS, and an incredibly brave man by the name of Edward Pulaski (just to name a few highlights). Read this book and then go hike the Pulaski Trail above Wallace. You won't be sorry!


Moxie. That's what Virginia Hall was made of. I am very thankful to Sonia Purnell for bringing this hero's story to light as I love reading about incredibly brave women and their contributions to our world. In this case, she helped save it from the tyranny that was Nazi Germany. This book reads like a spy novel, and it is just unfathomable to me that she did the things she did-and with a prosthetic leg (named Cuthbert), no less.


Sometimes Mel Brooks' zany humor is just what the world needs! Wonderful anecdotes about his childhood and the forces that shaped him. Insider info. about his movies (like Gene Wilder almost wasn't the Cisco Kid; unthinkable!). I enjoyed learning more about this comedic genius (who wrote or co-wrote a lot of the music and lyrics for his musicals) and how his humor has helped make this world a better place.


Thank you, Well-Read Moose for introducing me (via the newsletter) to the very best book to happen to me during the scary and uncertain early days of the pandemic. Brilliantly written characters (Sportcoat, Bum Bum, Sweetcorn to name a few), engaging story lines, humor, suspense, love; this book has it all. This book made its way from friend to friend, and all seemed to be as enchanted by it as I was. I will read this again (or perhaps listen to an audio version on Libro).


Once again, Erik Larson dazzled me with his writing as he truly makes history a page-turner. WC truly was the man for his time, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about him, his inner circle of confidantes, and Britain itself remaining brave and vowing never to give up!


This novel started my love affair with Christopher Moore's stories. A hilarious, irreverent, and tender imagining of Christ's childhood/teenaged years as told by his pal, Biff. Yes, some will see it as sacrilegious, but I imagine that one of the reasons we humans still exist is that God does, in fact, possess a sense of humor. I will read anything CM decides to write and I will most likely laugh out loud while doing so (and end it with a smile on my face).


I don't have adequate words to describe what a profound and talented writer Brian was. I was so moved be these essays and I was simply stunned at the beauty of his writing. Whether writing fiction (Martin Marten) or non-fiction, he works are truly some of the finest I have ever had the pleasure of discovering.


Although I have read (or listened to) all of David's books, this is still my favorite (although Me Talk Pretty One Day is a very close second and Holidays On Ice is on my annual Christmas reading list). He's weird, wacky, and whip-smart, and I thank my lucky literary stars that I discovered his irreverent sense of humor. Who knew reading someone's diaries could be so entertaining?


One of the finest books I have ever fallen in love with and one that I recommend over and over. This would be a good choice for books I'd want to have with me on a desert isle, as I doubt I would ever tire of reading it.


If there is a Jess Walter fan club, I should probably be in it as I will read anything that gentleman writes. I love it that he lives right here in the old PNW, as a writer with his immense talent could go anywhere. He is intelligent, witty, and engaging, and I think this story is all these things as well. I look forward to the movie!


Any adjectives I use to describe this book will be inadequate. Beautiful. Poetic. Powerful. Haunting. I fell in love with Ivan's writing with this memoir, and I have gone on to devour and recommend his works of fiction. He truly was a literary treasure.


This is still one of my favorite books of all time and the one I reread most frequently. Also, a book I would want with my on a desert island as I don't think I would tire of the company of these marvelous characters.

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