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"Gold" by Chris Cleave

Vita's picture

The themes of Gold are love, sacrifice and choices - on an Olympic scale. The author takes on track cycling, one of the toughest of the cycling venues. He wrote this a year before the London Olympics, so it has a very current vibe. The two main characters are Zoe and Kate, competitive cyclists preparing for the Olympics. The underlying story, involves Sophie who has leukemia, the daughter of Kate. Gold is a terrific read for sports enthusiasts who enjoy competitive events.

The Outsider: A Memoir by Jimmy Connors

Vita's picture

I was a huge tennis fan during the Connors and Borg era. It was the sport I should have played as a young athlete. The writing feels honest and fresh but not particularly good. Still it is very entertaining and Connors hands out some dirt on tennis folks but what would you expect the author is Jimmy Connors! I liked Connors family stories in East St. Louis. Family was important to what made Connors a tennis star and he gives due homage with no reservations.

 

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power, by Paul Fischer

Caitlin's picture

In this fascinating book, film producer Paul Fischer combines interviews, research, and first-hand investigation to tell the strange story of Kim Jong-Il’s kidnapping of South Korea’s leading director and his star actress ex-wife. Obsessed with film since he was a child, Kim Jong-Il used North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda to build his power within the regime, making the only movies that the isolated North Korean people were allowed to view. As Kim’s ambitions eclipsed his country’s limited filmmaking ability, he decided to recruit new talent—forcibly.

Choi Eun-Hee was South Korea’s biggest and most beloved star; Shin Sang-Ok, her director ex-husband, ran the largest film production company in South Korea. Kim kidnapped both in 1978, and after torturing Shin into compliance, the two began making films for North Korea’s captive audience. With success—their films played to packed theaters for months and won international awards—came the opportunity to escape via a chase straight out of a spy novel.

A must-read for anyone interested in the history and culture of North Korea. 

A Snicker of Magic

When Felicity and her family move back to her mother's hometown of Midnight Gulch, Felicity hopes her luck will change. Having spent her entire life wandering from town-to-town with her mother and sister, Felicity wants nothing more than to settle down and stay in one place. In Midnight Gulch, Felicity finally makes a friend and meets family she never knew before, and while she begins to build roots for herself she also learns of a curse that has driven all of the magic away from the town. Felicity believes there is still a snicker of magic left in Midnight Gulch and she and her new best friend Jonah set out to break the curse, believing that when they do, Felicity and her family might just stay.  

True Tales to be Told For Teens: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

Maya Van Wagenen, stuck at the bottom of the social ladder, decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950's popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to becoming popular? The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise-meeting and befriending with Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya's journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper

Catie's picture

No one is more surprised than Judd Foxman when his father passes away.  Not so much by the death, but by the nonreligious patriarch’s last wish to have the family sit Shiva, a Jewish tradition that requires his mother and siblings to spend an entire week together under one roof.  This wouldn’t be so bad if Judd’s family wasn’t so dysfunctional.  As this group of unique characters are forced to spend time together old wounds are brought to surface and they are made to deal with issues they would have rather continued to ignore.  The only family member not present is Judd’s wife who has been openly having an affair.  As Judd unwillingly reconnects with his family and struggles to deal with the reality of his deteriorating marriage what results is a novel full of biting, albeit slightly dark humor with realizations about family life and love.  

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