Thursday, July 24, 2008


To officially qualify as a “beach book” a title is usually thought to be something light, frothy and as easily put down and picked up again with no loss to the thread of the story. While everyone needs an ice cream cone now and then, summer is also a good time to sink into that hammock and spend with some time with quality writing and challenging themes

If exotic locales are your idea of a good summer vacation then The Darling by Russell Banks will be a good way to escape the realities of a hot, dry and expensive summer. Hannah Musgrave, a former member of the Weathermen Underground, tells the story of her life in Africa: marriage to a high-ranked Liberian official, her desertion of that life and family during a bloody revolution, and her ultimate return to Africa to find her sons. Banks very adeptly intertwines this tale told an aging 60’s liberal with the actual story of the corruption of the Liberian government and the disaster that it caused in so many lives. Russell Banks is an incredible writer and worth checking out. The library owns many of his other works.

The issues concerning cloning have long surfaced in the public consciousness and will probably continue to do so for quite some time. A fictional take on this issue is explored in Mary Modern by Camille DeAngelis. A young geneticist uses some of her father’s research and a bit of modern technology to successfully clone her grandmother. Many plot twists and strange happenings ensue in the telling of this tale including the discovery of what has been done by a deranged preacher who tries to blackmail her into cloning Jesus Christ. This is a good beach book that can’t help but make the reader forget that it’s 100 degrees outside or more.

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