moscowIn 1922, 33-year-old Count Alexander Rostov is ruled an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and sentenced to house arrest for life in the Metropol, a grand luxurious hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, a man of grace and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and while he had lived in grand style for four years at the hotel he must now live in an attic room while Russia faces revolutionary changes. His confinement actually provides him far richer relationships and adventures than in his previous and purposeless life.

The story is filled with a group of memorable characters each of whom impacts and changes the Count’s life and is filled with wonderful thought-provoking observations of life. This is a character-driven novel-one to savor slowly One of my all-time favorite books! While I don't usually reread books this one deserves a second reading to uncover all of its layers of richness.

lab girl by hope jahren 275A memoir from a passionate paleobotanist, Jahren writes an engaging, elegant  and humorous account of her childhood in Minnesota, how she grew to love trees and plants, her early experiences in laboratory work, her battle with anxiety and depression, and the longtime friendship with her quirky, beloved lab partner, Bill. Jahren intersperses stories about plants with stories about her own life in a way that makes for a surprisingly mesmerizing read. This will have you looking at trees in a different way and even if you have no passing interest in trees, there is a lot here to keep you entertained!

barkskinsThis is a sprawling saga of a novel that begins in 17th century Canada following the fortunes and misfortunes of two families over a period of three hundred years. But it is equally the story of our forests and how they were destroyed by greed and about the genocide of the Native Americans.

This is not so much a character-driven ficitonal work but an insightful. historical look into the ecological costs of progress-the destruction of forests and of Native Americans as their hunting lands are destroyed and their entire lifestyle. It gave me insights about how we have destroyed the very environment on which we depend for survival.

It is a profound book but but be prepared for a long patient read that it is 700 pages.

Ove2A perfect blend of a light hearted, humorous and yet deeply moving novel about a 59 year-old curmudgeon who finds his life turned upside down when a young family moves in next door. A touching look at the impact that others have on our lives as well as reflections on love and loss.  The author's characters are so well written, you will surely know some real life equivalents-I know I did!

travelersAn international spy thriller that moves from  New York, to Argentina, to Paris, to Barcelona, to Dublin, to Capri, to Stockholm, to Edinburgh, to Iceland. Will Rhodes, on assignment for a travel magazine in Argentina, meets a woman who seduces and then blackmails him drawing him into a tangled web of international intrigue. It becomes clear that nothing is as it seems and no one is who they appear to be. Intricate plotline and a real mindgame challenge of intrigue for the reader!

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