Tom Clancy: Duty and Honor by Grant Blackwood
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016, 425 pages)
Tom Clancy: Duty and Honor by Grant Blackwood is the next book in the Jack Ryan Jr. Novel series. Jack Ryan Jr. has been temporarily suspended from the intelligence group where he works called the Campus. Jack is trying to decide his future when suddenly someone attempts to kill him. Jack decides to strike out on his own to find his would-be killer and the motive for the assassination attempt. Jack’s investigation takes him to Europe. Jack picks up a couple of unlikely allies along the way.
I read mixed reviews about this book. I enjoyed it, but I had to just ignore any practical questions that I had about the plot. For example, Jack jets off to Europe to follow his would-be assassins. He is currently not working. He is footing the bill for the travel, hotels, food, weapons, and the expenses of one of his allies. Where is Jack getting the money? He must have a nice nest egg.
Tom Clancy: Duty and Honor was easier to follow than most of the novels that bear Tom Clancy’s name. Most of the novels involve juggling multiple plots and multiple characters. There didn’t seem to be as much juggling in the novel. I look forward to reading the next Jack Ryan Jr. Novel.
Lady Killer by Jamie S. Rich; illustrated by Joelle Jones
(Dark Horse Books, 2015, 138 pages)
Lady Killer is the story of Josie, a 1960s housewife who seems to have the perfect life taking care of her young daughter and preparing her husband’s dinner each night when he gets home from work. Josie’s mother-in-law becomes suspicious that she’s having an affair when she sees her meeting with a strange man on multiple occasions. Josie isn’t having an affair though—she’s a paid assassin! There is plenty of action and gore in this well-drawn graphic novel as she stabs and chokes her victims to death. When Josie’s employer becomes suspicious of her loyalty, she becomes the target. I highly recommend this book to fans of horror films and black comedies.
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott; art by Derek Charm
(IDW Publishing, 2016, 120 pages)
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy follows three stories in different time periods. One story features Uhura, Spock, and Kirk from the new Star Trek films. Uhura and Kirk are students at the Academy, while Spock is an instructor. Another story introduces us to a new diverse group of Starfleet Academy students, including one from Vulcan, who participate as a team in an Olympic-like competition. The final story focuses on a Starfleet ship that is lost in space. The stories intertwine in an interesting way. I highly recommend this graphic novel to both teens and adults.
Champion of a Cause: Essays and Addresses on Librarianship by Archibald MacLeish
(American Library Association, 1971, 248 pages)
Archibald MacLeish, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, playwright, journalist, and lawyer, served as the Librarian of Congress from 1939-1944. Though he had no previous experience as a librarian, MacLeish did a lot to shape modern librarianship in these years. In the lead up to WWII, he cast librarians as defenders of democracy and the culture of freedom against European fascism. This political stance infused a sense of activism that has come to be a defining aspect of librarianship. This collection brings together MacLeish’s essays and speeches on librarianship.
In addition to writing about how libraries support the democratic process, MacLeish also gives a detailed (and frankly pretty boring) description of the massive reorganization of the Library of Congress, which he oversaw. He also writes about the plans that the Library made to preserve important books and artifacts in the event of an attack on the capital. Between helping to define the role of librarians and modernizing the operations of the nation’s foremost library, MacLeish made a remarkable impact on American libraries in a very short amount of time. The final few address were given in the 1950s and 60s, well after MacLeish had left the position of Librarian. In these, MacLeish speculates on the future of libraries in ways that are still relevant today.
This collection of essays and addresses is fascinating, both for what it reveals about the development of the profession and as an example of how people in government positions reacted to and prepared for America’s involvement in WWII. MacLeish is also an excellent writer, which makes these essays that much more enjoyable.
Jane Re by Patricia Park
(Pamela Dorman Books, 2015, 352 pages)
Jane Re is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. Jane Re is a Korean-American orphan living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Flushing, Queens. Jane is constantly given a hard time because of her lineage – her American father is something of a sore subject. After graduating from college, getting a job in the financial sector and then losing that job Jane doesn’t know how much longer she can stand to be surrounded by her family. That’s when her friend Eunice shows her a help wanted listing for an au pair in Brooklyn. Jane hesitantly decides to apply and then finds herself receiving the offer to come and live with the Farley family.
While living with the Farleys Jane finds herself falling for the father, Ed, and he for her. When it seems that they’re destined to move forward with their affair a familial obligation, combined with a life-changing event, result in Jane spontaneously leaving New York and going to Korea. This time among other members of her extended family takes Jane down a different path and she’s not quite sure where she really belongs and/or if Ed is the man for her.
I really liked Park’s reimagining of the classic Bronte novel. It was just the kind of reading experience I was looking for. If you’re a Jane Eyre fan I think you’ll appreciate this book.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
(Viking, 2012, 369 pages)
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl who comes from a close family. She has the financial responsibility to provide for them and when the only place she has ever worked, the Buttered Bun, decides to close their doors, she is forced to find work outside of her comfort zone. She takes on a job as a caretaker to a man named Will Traynor. Will is quadriplegic because of motorcycle accident. The two of them couldn’t have less in common. She lives a simple life and is a caring person who is devoted to her family. Will is a wealthy young man who is used to being in control of everything in his life and when it was taken away in the blink of an eye, he became hateful of his life and everyone in it.
It does have some predictable paths but it think Me Before You was beautifully written. Moyes has the ability to get you to really know her characters so they become real and unforgettable. Coming from worlds apart, it was so enjoyable to watch the relationship of Will and Louisa grow into the truest form of love.
Jojo Moyes does an exceptional job writing about a controversial subject with fairness and respect. Her execution of the end was incredible. It forces you to think about how you value life and also how beautiful it is to have someone in your life who makes it worth getting up every morning. From heartbreaking to heartwarming and laughing through tears, this is one of the most emotional books I have read in a long time. I can’t wait to get my hands on After You (book #2).
You can also check out reviews of this title from Sadie and Julia.
The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower
(Harper, 2015, 309 pages)
The Residence is a New York Times bestseller written by Kate Andersen Brower. This nonfiction book reveals a look at the various staff who worked in the White House during the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama administrations. The staff are the only constant in the White House. Administrations come and go, but some White House staff serve 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years. The jobs are not advertised. Positions are normally filled by family and friends of the current or former staff.
There are many interesting stories in this book. There is the story of the day that Kennedy was shot. Jacqueline Kennedy returned home from Dallas early the next morning still in her pink outfit covered in President’s Kennedy’s blood. Mrs. Kennedy said that she didn’t want to change until she got home because she wanted the world to see what had happened to her husband. There is also a story about the 9/11 attacks. The White House staff were evacuated because it looked like the White House could be a target.
While the book is repetitious, I did enjoy reading it. Brower did hundreds of interviews to tell this story. The staff members of the “Residence” are portrayed as dedicated employees who can do their jobs and keep the secrets of the families who live in the White House.