Books to Read After Running

by Sally Drake and Mark Mindel


by Michelle Obama

The life story of the great-great granddaughter of a slave from North Carolina and the daughter of working class parents who raised two kids in a 900-square foot apartment in the South Side of Chicago who worked her way through the Chicago public school system, Princeton and Harvard Law School, managed a high-powered, civic-minded career and fell in love with a fellow young lawyer who would eventually become the first African-American President of the United States of America.  Michelle Obama’s story is a truly authentic American story of grace, determination, focus and hard work. It is a story that will fill you with awe, inspiration, joy and hope. It is a story that will remind you of what makes this country truly great, of the opportunity that is there for good people to succeed and the opportunity for those people to use their success to make the world a better place.  This is a stunning memoir.  Michelle is a remarkable woman and reading her story will make you believe again in hope, in the power of decency and empathy, and the potential of our country to be a place where we, together, lift each other up.

A Separation

By Katie Kitamura

This novel is the November selection of the PBS/NYT “Now Read This” virtual book club. It is a tense and taut psychological thriller about an estranged wife searching for her missing husband in Greece. There is an existential style to the narration; the wife is never named but tells the story in first-person, which gives her an eerie detachment from the events unfolding. This book is most interesting for the writing--the narrative technique brilliantly reflects the emotional state of the narrator and her internal conflict regarding her feelings for her ex-husband. The setting, a luxury hotel in an area of Greece beset by wildfires also adds to the displaced tone of this novel. This is a fast and engaging read with a complexity that will leave you thinking long after you finish.

A Place for Us

 by Fatima Farheen Mirza

This debut novel is about a devout Muslim Indian-American family living in California. It explores the tensions between the traditional parents and their children who desire to live a more American lifestyle. It has many of the classic themes of immigrant literature--identity, assimilation, and generational shifts in religious and cultural practices. But it is ultimately a moving story about a family in conflict--a universal story about regret, mistakes, and tragedy mainly involving the family’s troubled son. Parents of adolescents regardless of religion or national origin will relate to this story, demonstrating how universal so much of life is, despite all our apparent differences.

Ambush (Michael Bennett, #11)

by James Patterson

NYPD Detective Michael Bennett's number one priority is ALWAYS his family. This will be tested in the latest edition of the James Patterson series, AMBUSH. You see a Colombian hit man, or should we say, hit woman!, is after him and his family. A Mexican drug cartel is upset that Bennett killed one of their young members and has taken a contract out on Bennett. To get to him, they go through his family, his TEN adopted children, his grandfather, NYC Priest Seamus, and of course his beautiful nanny/ fiancé Mary Catherine. One of his eldest boys got mixed up with the cartel and is in a Buffalo prison where two Mexican inmates attack him. Bennett fears reprisals are possible all around and he's right. His eldest daughter, Juliet (now 'Jules' on a TV set where she is beginning her fledgling acting career in Brooklyn) could also be a target. Meanwhile, is it a coincidence that a new priest mentoring under Seamus is also from Bogota, Colombia? Could he be involved? The story is told through two varying points of view, Bennett and assassin, Alex Martinez. Ends with a 'bonus' short story, Manhunt.

Holy Ghost (Virgil Flowers, #11)

by John Sandford

Virgil Flowers is to Minneapolis law as to what Raylan Givens (TV Series, Justified) was to Lexington, KY. Unorthodox that is to say. The longhaired, cowboy hat-wearing deputy of the Minnesota Criminal Bureau of Investigation is called to the small town of Wheatfield, MN (population 600) where an apparition of the Virgin Mary at the local Catholic church has the town turned upside-down. First to take advantage of this are Mayor Wardell Holland and his 18-year-old sidekick, JJ Skinner who open up a profitable mom and pop (or in this case, Batman and Robin) General Store. Could they and their 30-year-old friend Janet "Jenny" Fischer (who spends a LOT of time in the bedroom with young Skinner) be behind the "miracle" sighting? Meanwhile, people start getting shot right around the church, which could be a huge downer for the newfound success of the town. Enter Virgil Flowers who quickly becomes frustrated as people start being murdered right in front of him and Virgil himself is hit with a bow and arrow of all things. Can Virgil solve the murder mysteries and save the town? You'll have to read it to find out.

A Measure of Darkness (Clay Edison, #2)
by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

Second in the Clay Edison series. A detective in the Coroner's office in the Oakland area, Clay is called out in the middle of a night to a shooting which took place at a huge party. Multiple deaths, some gun shot victims, another run over by a car in the aftermath, and then another discovered quite randomly by a police officer of a dead woman in a shed. But this one has a different look as the victim was strangled. Clay hooks up with an Oakland police detective in trying to figure out the mess. Intertwined are relationship stories with his fiancé and his brother who has just been released from prison after serving time for drugs. Clay and his new “partner,” Detective Nwodo eventually find their way investigating into an off-kilter private school which somehow is related to the last unknown victim, and the story takes off from there. Nice job by the father and son writing here; you never get the sense of "here's Dad writing and here's his son," and Edison, a former star Division One Hooper at Cal, is a very likeable protagonist. Here's hoping the series continues.

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