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Nancy's Notes - December 18, 2008

“Dreams from My Father” by Barak Obama, “Bleeding Kansas” by Sara Paretsky, “Hounded to Death” by Rita Mae Brown,

Nancy’s notes

            If you want to get up to speed on the president elect, we now have “Dreams from My Father”. This is the second Obama book we have in stock. Obama wrote the memoir nine years before his Senate campaign. It was not until its reissue in 2004 that it became a bestseller.  It is the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother. The book takes him from Americas heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in a tiny African village. He begins his story in New York where he hears of his father’s death. Barack then retraces his family’s history: the migration of his mother’s family from Kansas to the Hawaiian islands where his mother finds love with a Kenyan student.

            Sara Paretsky’s “Bleeding Kansas” tells the tale of two families linked by their Midwestern pioneer pasts. Set in Kaw River Valley it is the story of the Schapens and the Grelliers, two farm families whose histories have been entwined since the 1850’s when their ancestors settled the valley as antislavery immigrants. Terrified by the lawlessness of the past the Schapen family turns to old fashion religion for security. They keep a close eye on all their neighbors and keep track of all their misdeeds which they print on their web site. The Schapens run a harassment campaign against those they consider immoral as they are convinced that God has shown down on them.

            The latest in the foxhunting mysteries by Rita Mae Brown is entitled “Hounded to Death”. It reveals the cutthroat world of competitive hound shows. “Sister” Jane Arnold has traveled to Kentucky for one of the biggest events of the season, the Mid-American Hound Show. The fun is squelched when immediately after the competition one of the contestants, Mo Scheider, turns up dead. Detested by his peers, Mo had no shortage of enemies. Two weeks later, Sister is rocked when her friend veterinarian Hope Rogers dies from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sister refuses to believe that Hope killed herself and vows to sniff out the truth. Before she can make headway, a wealthy pet food manufacturer vanishes during a canine exhibition. Sister can’t help but connect the three incidents.

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