What Messenger staffers are reading


(Posted Dec. 17, 2014)

Here’s a look at what Madison Messenger staffers are reading and what other books they hope to curl up with this winter.

Becky Barker, office assistant

I’m currently reading “Thankless in Death” by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts). It is No. 37 in a series of 39 titles of the “In Death” collection.

The main character is Lieut. Eve Dallas, a homicide detective for the New York City Police Department in the year 2060. One of her early suspects in a murder investigation, billionaire Roarke, becomes her husband and crime-solving partner. The two, and a cast of ongoing characters, fight crime in a high-tech, futuristic world with some really great romance, mystery and suspense.

I don’t normally enjoy ongoing series, but this is an exception as I just started it last December (though it launched in 1995) and have been able to read the books in order without a publishing delay.

Linda Dillman, staff writer

Following the recommendation of my husband, a voracious reader, I read “The Humans” by Matt Haig and was mesmerized by the author’s first-person “alien” viewpoint of what life is like inhabiting the body/persona of a human. The narrator’s journey from an empirical, mission-focused extra-terrestrial in the persona of a college professor to a being appreciating the beauty of human imperfection is one I would gladly take again and again.

If you are looking for a holiday-inspired, slice-of-life quick read, pick up Wally Lamb’s 2009 homage to the 1960s, “Wishin’ and Hopin’.” Reminiscent of Jean Shepherd’s “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash,” the story takes place at a parochial school with a cast of kids, nuns and a quirky substitute teacher obsessed with forcing French on her young students who are preparing for a Christmas pageant. It’s a great little book to curl up with a cup of cocoa on a wintry afternoon. Lamb also authored “The Hour I First Believed” and “She’s Come Undone.”

Sandi Latimer, staff writer

I’ve read a variety of books this year—sports, space, historical biographical, historical, fiction, nonfiction, children and young adult. I find it hard to pick one of the 51 books I read as a favorite, so here are a few of the many I enjoyed.

• “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan is the story of women who took jobs during the building of Oak Ridge, Tenn., where they unknowingly built the atomic bomb dropped on Japan to end World War II. I chose it because my father’s cousin’s husband worked at Oak Ridge after the war.

• “Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero” by Douglas Perry is about Eliot Ness, the untouchable involved with prohibition in Chicago, who then served as public safety director and cleaned up graft in Cleveland, then took a job in the private sector in Pennsylvania. His downfall was liquor. I chose it because of my interest in crime fighters and history.

• In “The Ghost of the Mary Celeste: A Novel,” author Valerie Martin weaves a great tale in an unusual fashion. It left me with many questions. The fictional story combines clairvoyance, an upcoming author Arthur Conan Doyle, a medium and a reporter, as well as an empty ship at sea and diaries of the family lost from that ship. It’s a good read for a book club.

• “Thunder Dog” by Michael Hingson is the story of a blind man and his guide dog who fled from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center Tower One on 9/11.

• “Fierce Patriot: The The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman” by Robert L. O’Connell paints a three-prong look at Sherman: in battle, how his “boys” saw him, and in the post-war years. It was an interesting look at the officer and at war.

I’m currently reading “James A. Rhodes, Ohio Colossus,” a look at the political life of Ohio’s longest-serving governor. I have to admit I’m biased because I worked with Lee Leonard, one of the authors, for much of his 36 years in the Ohio Statehouse. The politics make for tedious reading, but it’s a great look back at situations and people I remember.

I have reserved two books from my local library: “The Homesman: A Novel” by Glendon Swarthout and “Pioneer Girl.” I want to read “Homesman” before I rent the movie to see how the two parallel. “Pioneer Girl” is the retrieved autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder of “Little House” fame.

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