By Victoria Tirrel
When the mercury hits 90 or the rain falls, you’ll find my nose in a book. This summer I’ve read my way through some of my old favorites and a few new ones courtesy of the Coffman Library.
I recently finished Miller’s Way by Anna Quindlen, a novel about a young girl growing up in a valley named for her family that is under threat of being drown by a new water diversion project. The book spans her life from grade school until adulthood, the dynamics of a well-drawn family of diverse characters, against the backdrop of the ’60s to today. It’s a novel for people who love place and family.
Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad kept me reading eagerly. Winner of both the Pulitzer Price and the National Book Award, it’s the story of an escaping slave named Cora. Whitehead doesn’t stint on the brutality, but the subtlety he adds to the portrayal of slave life and escape keeps the book a page turner. Highly recommended!
I’m now about a third of the way through Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach, which tells the story of the daughter of a man with mafia connections as she works in the Brooklyn Naval Yard during WWII. So far it’s rich with history and possibility…can’t wait to find out what happens. Egan won the Pulitizer Prize for her earlier book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, so you know the writing is excellent!
I hope you’ll check out these novels and the myriad other wonderful books waiting on the shelves of your library. Happy summer reading!
By Carol Van Why
Originally published in the July 2018 issue of the 1666 Coffman Newsletter
Cheri Register’s name is one that often comes up in Coffman conversations whenever good books are mentioned. In a 2017 Book Night mini-review, Sara Evans shared that Register’s book The Chronic Illness Experience is one she suggests to friends who are coping with chronic conditions. Interestingly, Jane Brody, New York Times columnist, praised an earlier edition of this book in her “Personal Health” column in February, 1989. Clearly, this book has staying power.
Shortly after Register’s The Big Marsh was published, Gretchen Kreuter invited Cheri to discuss the book at Book Night. Cheri Register died in March 2018, but not before two of her books received Minnesota Book Awards. The Big Marsh is one of those, as is Packinghouse Daughter. Recently, both books have been added to the Coffman library’s collection. Gretchen Kreuter donated Packinghouse Daughter, and I donated The Chronic Illness Experience.
Bettye Olson is not a Coffman resident but lives in nearby Lauderdale. Not only is she a friend of many residents and a longtime attendee at Mag’s exercise class, but it’s said that she is one of Minnesota’s most influential twentieth century artists. Bettye’s Coffman friends feel privileged to share her with art lovers near and far.
At least once or twice a day, Coffman’s eastsiders are fortunate to enjoy one of Bettye’s works hanging in the 1E elevator lobby. Now, thanks to Afton Press, Bettye Olson’s life and lengthy career are documented in a stunning book entitled, Persistence of Vision: The Art of Bettye Olson. As part of a group that raised seed money to support publication of the book, I’m pleased to have my copy become part of our library’s collection.
Look for all three of these important books in Coffman library’s recent arrivals area. Remember to sign out books on the clipboard located on the library’s table. The library’s loan period is two months.
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