Vale Book Club starts cracking on this season’s books

Books on the Vale Book Club’s reading list can be checked out at the Vale Library. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

So you got a little too busy for your summer reading … Vale Book Club members took care of that for you, and are offering their list just in time for the fall and winter reading-by-the-fire season.

Following are their recommendations for good reads, including historical novels, biographies, and nonfiction works. The group presented their picks at the Sept. 12 meeting at the home of Carol Spears in Vale.

• “Astoria” by Peter Stark, the story of John Jacob Astor, was reviewed by Marge Mitchell. This is the true story of a German immigrant who attempted to build a fur trading empire in 1812 with a great impact in the Pacific Northwest.

• Kat Potter recommended “The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared.” This hilarious tale by Jonas Johanassen was set in Sweden.

• “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” by David Wallace Wells, was reviewed by Vincent Reynolds. Most of the conclusions and relevant research concerning climate change and the immediate threat to civilization may be found in Chapter One which can be downloaded online.

• Theda Craig reviewed “The Hemingses of Monticello:An American Family” by Annette Gordon-Reed. This is a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Thomas Jefferson focusing on his relationship with a house slave, Sally Hemings, who bore six of his children.

• Pulitzer prize winning “Thomas Jefferson,” by Jon Meacham, was reviewed by

Carol Spears, and Lucy Hutchens reviewed another Jon Meacham historical overview “The Soul of America: the Battle for Our Better Angels.” It covered the dark

periods and the hopeful upsurges in the country’s history since 1684 when the first slave ship landed in the Americas.

• Rosalie Johnson recommended “Eldorado” by local author, Gary Fugate. She also recommended work by Jon Krakauer including “Into Thin Air,” “The Eiger Dreams,” and “Into the Wild,” all based on true events.

• “The Sense of Being Stared At” by Rupert Shelbrick is a study about individuals who can sense when they are being watched, and was suggested by Steve Reynolds.

• “The Professor and the Madman” by Simon Winchester was reviewed by Twilla Hayden. This is the true story of Dr. Wm. Chester Minor who compiled the first Oxford English Dictionary. An interesting twist: A major contributor to the dictionary was James Murray, a schizophrenic who committed murder and lived in Broadmore Asylum for the Criminally Insane.

Next read: “The Martian”

A mission to Mars, a freak accident, and one man’s struggle to survive briefly describes “The Martian,” author Andy Weir’s first novel. 

Twila Hayden will facilitate the Vale Book Club’s discussion of the book at 7 p.m. Thursday at the home of Carol Spears, 683 Cottage St.

This page turner is grounded in real, present-day science, yet is propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot. The surprises keep coming as the main character, Mark Watley, who finds himself alone on Mars, uses all his NASA training to find a way to survive. 

He has ingenuity, engineering skills, expertise as a botanist, and a gallows sense of humor which proves to be his greatest source of strength.

A review by Ernest Kline, a New York Times bestselling author, described the story as “a MacGyver-trapped on Mars tale that feels like Apollo 13.”

The club’s next reading selection, for discussion Nov. 7, is “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave,” by Erica Dunbar.

For information about the club call Lucy Hutchens, 208-739-6954, or Marge Mitchell, 208-739-4777.

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