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Community Book Reviews

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaf’on

“Every book has a soul.  The soul of the person who wrote it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens… Every book has been someone’s best friend.  Books have no owner.”  Excerpt from the Shadow of the Wind

The secret cemetery of Forgotten Books is a place where Daniel Sempere was taken as a young boy by his father to pick one book.  According to tradition, everyone initiated to this secret place is allowed to take one book from it and must protect it for life.   Daniel selects The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax.
The boy, Daniel Sempere, in his search to discover Julian’s other works, becomes involved in tracing the entire history of Julian Carax (the author).
In unraveling a long story that has been lost and forgotten, Daniel and his friend, Fermin, come across a love story, the beautiful, yet doomed love story of Julian and Penelope, who both seem to have been missing since 1919.  Fermin helps Daniel in a number of ways, but their probing into the murky pasts of a number of people finds that the young lovers have been long dead or long forgotten.  Daniel and Fermin discover that all of the author’s books have been destroyed over the years, except for the one that Daniel has.
The Spanish Civil War forms much of the background for the book.  The present time of the book’s plot is entirely under the Franco dictatorship.  The setting for the story is Barcelona, Spain.
The book is full of wonderful descriptive phrases and is enhanced with allegories and similes. Our book club enjoyed reading this selection and our discussion was enriched by everyone’s comments and varying views of the story.  The book has many plots going and the ending will surprise the reader.
It is worth noting that the first third of the book moves very slowly – but do stick with it as it picks up rapidly and then you can’t put it down.  Review of Alpine County Book Club selection for October 2015 - Submitted by Carole Morgan, Markleeville 10/30/2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
With all the Second World War literature, both fiction and non-fiction, this National Book Award Finalist presents perspectives of this violent historical event that are extraordinary and unusual, those of a blind French girl and a gifted German boy. The author’s use of words is dazzling; a well crafted story. Submitted by John and Suzanne Barr, Markleeville 3/18/15

The Last Season by Eric Blehm

I just finished “The Last Season” by Eric Blehm, nonfiction, story of a back country ranger who disappeared in Sequoia National Park in the ‘90’s. Really good book that should interest anyone who lives in the Sierra and especially people who like hiking and other activities in National Forest. A real mystery story and a well written look at both the Sierra and the rangers who manage the parks. I give it my highest recommendation. Submitted by Eric Jung, Bear Valley 4/9/15

The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day2  
by Patrick Rothfuss
I’m currently reading this second book in a fantasy series by Patrick Rothfuss--“The Wise Man’s Fear:  the Kingkiller Chronicles,  Day2” . Main character Kvothe (pronounced kwothe) has a secret life.  The whole town has heard tales of “the famous Kingkiller” but would never imagine he lives among them as the peaceful owner of the local Inn, serving ale, lamb stew and fresh bread.   The author takes us through his tragic yet charmed life as a member of the Edema Rue—a traveling band of entertainers-- into his current life at the Inn. Rothfuss's writing style is instantly captivating, with clear character development.  He is a solid storyteller similar to Steven R. Donaldson and Piers Anthony, but with a more gentle, flowing style.   I highly recommend this Fantasy series.  All  3 books are available at the Alpine County Library. Submitted by Rita Lovell, Markleeville 4/11/15

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