covers and reviews from amazon.com
Ms. Brinton – The Scarlet Letter (Nathanial Hawthorne) In the early days of Puritan Boston Hester Prynne braves the stigma of adultery by wearing the embroidered scarlet "A" on her clothing. She refuses to name the father of the child, and with dignity, follows her own path.
Ms. Buys – Where the Heart is (Billie Letts)
Novalee Nation, is seven months pregnant. On the way to California, her boyfriend, leaves her stranded at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma. Living in Wal-Mart at night, she begins to create a new ‘family.’ MUCH better than the movie!
Ms. Cannata – The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
Set in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, McCarthy depicts a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and … bands of cannibals roam … with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth.
Ms. Cappelli – The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)
A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation…unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates.
Ms. Ciosek – Flyboys (James Bradley) brilliantly illuminates a hidden piece of World War II history as it tells the harrowing true story of nine American airmen shot down in the Pacific. One of them, George H. W. Bush, was miraculously rescued. The fate of the others-an explosive 60-year-old secret-is revealed.
Mr. Conte – Culture Warrior (Bill O’Reilly) the host of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor mobilizes fellow "traditionalists" against a "secular-progressive movement, condemning the "erosion of societal discipline" flowing from an alleged "S-P [secular-progressive]" agenda of drug legalization, teenagers' rights, moral relativism, church-state separation, therapy instead of punishment for criminals …
Ms. Depodesta – Go Ask Alice (Anonymous)
A “diary” by an anonymous teen, who, lonely, awkward, & under extreme pressure from her "perfect" parents, swings madly between optimism & despair. When one of her new friends spikes her drink with LSD, she begins a frightening journey …a nightmare of exalting highs and excruciating lows.
Mr. Dirkson – Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafón) The time is the 1950s; the place, Barcelona. Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax's novels.
Ms. Fiorillo – The Templar Legacy (Steve Berry)
An agent sees a purse snatcher fling himself from a tower to avoid capture, slitting his own throat as he jumps. Further snooping uncovers links to a fanatical sub-cult of the Templars looking for the Great Devise, an ancient Templar archive...
Ms. Geil - Napoleon's Buttons (Penny LeCouteur) 17 groups of molecules have influenced the course of history, providing the drive for early exploration, enabling the voyages of discovery, resulting in grand feats of engineering, & spurring advances in medicine & law…Lively prose and an eye for colorful & unusual details …
Ms. George – The Secret (Rhonda Byrne) An “Oprah book” - Supporters will hail this New Age self-help book on the law of attraction as a groundbreaking and life-changing work, finding validation in its thesis that one's positive thoughts are powerful magnets that attract wealth, health, happiness... and did we mention wealth? Detractors will be appalled by this as well as when the book argues that fleeting negative thoughts are powerful enough to create terminal illness, poverty and even widespread disasters.
Mr. Goodrich – The Passion of Artemesia (Susan Vreeland)
Raped at 16 by an assistant in her father’s studio and married off to the only man who would have her. Vreeland’s book portrays of life of an ambitious, talented woman, Artemisia Gentileschi, the only woman to be considered among the great Renaissance painters, at a time when women did not gain entrance to the artistic world.
Ms. Hulten – The Book Thief (Markus Zuzak)
Set in World War II Germany, narrated by Death, who meets the book thief, a 9-year-old girl when he comes to take her little brother. As she finds her way into a foster family and a community compelled for various reasons to “Heil” Hitler, she becomes an enduring force in Death’s “life”, despite his efforts to resist her.
Mr. Ives – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (J.K.Rowling)
Find out what finally happens to Harry.
Ms. Krombel – The Girls (Laurie Lansens) Conjoined twins Rose and Ruby Darlen are linked at the side of the head, with separate brains and bodies. Born in a small town outside Toronto in the midst of a tornado and abandoned by their unwed teenage mother two weeks later, the girls are cared for by Aunt Lovey, a nurse who refuses to see them as deformed or even disabled. She raises them in Leaford, Ontario, where, at age 29, Rose, the more verbal and bookish twin, begins writing their story—i.e., this novel, which begins, "I have never looked into my sister's eyes." Showing both linguistic skill and a gift for observation,
Ms. Laich – Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli) What happens when the enchantment with the ‘new girl’ leads to criticism of her unique way? How does Leo, in the throes of ‘first love’ cope, when his friends start hassling him about his ‘abnormal’ girlfriend. Is it OK to be your own person?
Ms. Lemme – A Very Long Engagement (Sebastien Japrisot) August 1919: Mathilde Donnay receives a letter from a dying man. The former soldier tells her that he met her beloved fiancé shortly before he died. Mathilde goes to his hospital and there hears the story of an execution. She also receives a package with a photograph of the men and copies of their last letters. As Mathilde reads the letters and goes over the soldier’s tale, she begins to suspect that perhaps the story didn't end quite so neatly.
Ms. Mendes-Miller – In Life is Funny (E.R. Frank), there is no dated slang, only the ripe hip-hop dialogue heard on subway cars and street corners. Frank's ear is perfect as she details the lives and loves of 11 Brooklyn teens on the cusp of adulthood. Though the stories are gritty, for every slam there is a triumph.
Ms. Miller – for one more day (Mitch Albom)
Charlie's been drunk so often and disappointed his daughter so many times that she doesn't invite him to her wedding. He even fails at his suicide. Or does he? When his deceased mother returns to love him unconditionally for one more day, he's not quite sure what's going on.
Mr. Mohr – the five people you meet in heaven (Mitch Albom) As the novel opens, readers are told that Eddie, unsuspecting, is only minutes away from death ... Albom then traces Eddie's world through his tragic final moments, his funeral, and the ensuing days as friends adjust to life without him.
Ms. Ritchie – Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris) In autobiographical stories, Sedaris mines poignant comedy from his peculiar childhood in North Carolina, his bizarre career path, and his move with his lover to France. Though his anarchic inclination to digress is his glory, Sedaris does have a theme in these reminiscences: the inability of humans to communicate.
Ms. Rogers – Brief History of the Dead (Kevin Brockmeier)
A deadly virus has spread rapidly across Earth, cutting off wildlife specialist Laura Byrd from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the planet's dead populate "the city," located on a surreal Earth-like alternate plane, but their afterlives depend on the memories of the living. Forced to cross the frozen tundra, Laura free-associates to keep herself alert; her random memories work to sustain the people in the city, including her best friend from childhood, a blind man she'd met in the street, her former journalism professor and her parents.
Ms. Rossi – And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie) is the story of 10 strangers, each lured to Indian Island by a mysterious host. Once his guests have arrived, the host accuses each person of murder. Unable to leave the island, the guests begin to share their darkest secrets--until they begin to die.
Ms. Saia – If Morning Ever Comes (Anne Tyler) Ben Joe Hawkes is a worrier. Raised by his mother, grandmother, and a flock of busy sisters, he's always felt the outsider. When he learns that one of his sisters has left her husband, he heads for home and back into the confusion of childhood memories and unforseen love....
Ms. Seichter – Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah) tells of his experiences growing up in Sierra Leone during one of the most brutal & violent civil wars in recent history. Equally thrilled by causing mischief as by memorizing passages from Shakespeare & dance moves from hip-hop videos, he was a typical precocious 12-year-old until rebel forces destroyed his childhood innocence when they drove him from his home…
Mr. Snyder (incoming assistant principal) - First They Killed My Father (Luong Ung) In 1975, Written in the present tense, First They Killed My Father will put you right in the midst of the action--action you'll wish had never happened. The author's personality and strength shine through on every page. Covering the years from 1975 to 1979, the story moves from the deaths of multiple family members to the forced separation of the survivors, leading ultimately to the reuniting of much of the family…
Mr. Tobin – Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity (John Stossel)
The ABC News correspondent mines his 20/20 segments and challenges conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." …snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, etc.
Mr. Tristine – Triangle (David von Drehle) A profitable business in a modern fireproof building, a model of efficiency, the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City became the deadliest workplace in American history when fire broke out there in March 1911. Within 15 minutes the blaze killed 146 workers…
Ms. Twiggs – The Charm School (Nelson DeMille)
The sustained action of this chilling vision of modern Russia starts with a young American tourist phoning the U.S. embassy in Moscow to report an unusual encounter with a U.S. Air Force major in the forest near Borodino. The tourist then vanishes and the officer is identified as a Vietnam MIA. Attaches Sam Hollis and Lisa Rhodes eventually uncover a spy school graduating several hundred "Americans" each year and staffed by an unwilling faculty made up of American servicemen missing from Vietnam.
Ms. Tucker – The Alchemist (Paul Coelho) Santiago, a shepherd boy, dreams of seeing the world, and learns many lessons as he journeys from Spain to Morocco in search of worldly success, and eventually to Egypt, where an encounter with an alchemist brings him at last to self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment.
Ms. Ventura-Clements – A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) The story covers 3 decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of 2 women. Mariam is the scorned, illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. 18 years later, he takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila,
Ms. Underwood – Small Wonder (Barbara Kingsolver)
This book of essays by Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, etc.) is like a visit from a cherished old friend. Conversation ranges from what Kingsolver ate on a trip to Japan to wonder over a news story about a she-bear who suckled a lost child to how it feels to be an
Mr. Wall – The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
This is the story of Charlie, a freshman, not the biggest geek in the school, but by no means popular. He's a wallflower—shy, introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts.
Mr. Wiesen – Bladerunner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) (Philip K. Dick)
It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!
Ms. Wertheim – Girl with the Pearl Earring (Tracy Chevalier) centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows… From the very first, 16-year-old narrator Griet establishes herself as a keen observer who sees the world in sensuous images, expressed in precise and luminous prose.