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Nancy Notes - December 3, 2009

December 12 Christmas activity time, “The Last Song” by Nicholas Sparks, “A Change in Altitude” by Anita Shreve, “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom, “Hothouse Orchids” by Stuart Woods.

           If you have any small children at your house, mark December 12 on your calendar as a day to have some Christmas fun. The library, in conjunction with the Partnership for Growth, will host a Christmas activity time. Children and parents are invited to the library anytime between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to enjoy a few stories, a craft, a visit from the big guy in red, and then leave with a snack. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see our new library, this will be a great time to take a peak.

            Nicholas Sparks will entertain readers with “The Last Song”. Seventeen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to North Carolina. Three years later she is still angry and alienated from her parents. Her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she and her younger brother spent the summer with her father in North Carolina where Ronnie’s father is living a quiet life in a beach town. Resentful and rebellious, Ronnie rejects his attempts to reach out to her and threatens to return to New York before the summer ends. But soon she meets Will, the last person she thought she’d ever be attracted to. Ronnie slowly lets down her guard and finds herself falling in love.

            I have enjoyed Anita Shreve in the past and she is now back with, “A Change in Altitude”. Margaret and Patrick have been married just a few months when they set off on what they hope will be a great adventure, a year living in Kenya. Patrick practices medicine and Margaret works as a photojournalist. Shuttling between expatriate suburbs and squalid shantytowns, Margaret realizes there is a great deal she doesn’t know about the mores of her new home and about her husband. A British couple invites the newlyweds to join them on a climbing expedition to Mount Kenya. During their ascent the unthinkable happens, a horrific accident occurs, and a life is claimed. After the tragedy Margaret struggles to understand what happened on the mountain and how these events have transformed her and her marriage, perhaps forever.

            Mitch Albom has written several inspirational books. His latest is entitled “Have a Little Faith”, a story of an eight-year journey between two worlds, two men, two faiths, and two communities. The story begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom’s hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor, a reformed drug dealer and convict, who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, he observes how these very different men employ faith similarly.

            Stuart Woods is a favorite of mystery lovers. His newest, “Hothouse Orchids”, involves CIA Special Agent Holly Barker, who needs a long vacation. So Holly returns to her hometown of Orchid Beach, Florida, where she had been police chief for many years. It seems like the ideal coastal retreat, but a very unpleasant surprise awaits Holly. The police department now is entirely different from the one she commanded. An old danger Holly knows only too well has resurfaced and her beloved hometown might not be the sanctuary she’d thought.

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