Despite the temporary closure at the Walla Walla Public Library, there are many online digital services, such as eBooks and Audiobooks, online access to newspapers and research databases. See this week’s Washington Anytime Library selection at anytime.overdrive.com.
“We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” by Shirley Jackson
Since the mysterious death of four family members, the superstitious Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood, her ailing uncle Julian and agoraphobic sister Constance have lived in a bizarre but contented state of isolation. But when cousin Charles arrives in search of the Blackwood fortune, a terrible family secret is revealed. Bernadette Dunne’s reading is flawlessly paced and suspenseful. The voices she provides the cast of characters are spot on: precocious Merricat is haunted and increasingly desperate; Constance is doting but detached; Uncle Julian is both pleasantly dotty and utterly unnerving; and Charles is the conniving villain listeners will love to hate. A treat for fans of mystery and suspense.
“Cocaine Blues,” by Kerry Greenwood
The growing American audience for Phryne Fisher, Australian author Greenwood’s independent 1920s female sleuth, will be delighted that her diverting first mystery is finally available in the U.S. Fisher’s off-the-cuff solving of a high society jewel theft leads her to her first professional engagement when a witness to her brilliance asks her to investigate a possible poisoning-in-progress. The detective’s admirable willingness to intervene to help those in distress involves her in a variety of other puzzles, including identifying the King of Snow, who has taken over the Melbourne drug trade. Many of the members of Fisher’s entourage familiar from later novels make their debuts as well.
“The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology,” by Mark Boyle
Gerard Doyle’s narration aptly reflects the author — a man of strong convictions who chose to chart his own course. As author Mark Boyle came to the conclusion that the things he owned were beginning to own him, he took drastic steps that many of us would find unthinkable: He renounced modern technologies and opted for a slower existence closer to the earth on Blasket Island, off the coast of Ireland’s Dingle peninsula. Doyle brings an Irish lilt to the narration, adopting a relaxed and unhurried pace, like that of the author, who has found that he’s gotten closer to what matters to him. It is evident, in the writing and in Doyle’s gently self-assured reading, that Boyle feels better about his life for having made the change.
“The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels,” by Ree Drummond
Drummond, a blogger and best-selling author of “The Pioneer Woman Cooks,” turns her popular blog chronicling her improbable city-girl-meets-rugged-cowboy saga into an affecting new memoir. Drummond deftly describes what happens when life takes a U-turn, taking readers from her chaste but steamy courtship with “Marlboro Man,” to their subsequent wedding and Australian honeymoon and into the first year of their marriage where the two decamped to Marlboro Man’s isolated ranch (Drummond had been en route to a new life in Chicago when she met him). What emerges is a charming and romantic yet realistic tale of the forces that can test a new relationship, no matter how good it is. She presents a sometimes riotously funny, always strikingly real tale of love and life. Drummond is intensely likable and writes with the facile confidence of one who clearly knows herself well. Plenty of surprises lie along the way, such as her parents’ divorce and an immediate pregnancy following the nuptials. She’s sure to have readers in tears and in stitches as they share her adventure. In a word: delightful. Includes several recipes.
“Cutting for Stone,” by Abraham Verghese (fiction)
“The Remains of the Day,” by Kazuo Ishiguro (fiction)
“You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain,” by Phoebe Robinson (nonfiction)
“A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy” by Sue Klebold (nonfiction)