Carolyn Crocker

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The Language of Secrets-

Summary: 
The second Rachel Getty/Esa Khattak mystery focuses on radicalization in Toronto's Muslim community and the murder of an undercover Muslim policeman. The plot is compelling, but the struggle of the characters to understand the complexity of culture, politics, faith and personality is profound. Best if read promptly after #1 _The Unquiet Dead_ Can't wait for #3!

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The Man he Became: How FDR defied polio to win the Presidency

Summary: 
A very readable account of the crucial backstory, this book makes the case that without the experience of polio Roosevelt would never have become President or achieved greatness.

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Dancing with the Tiger

Summary: 
This novel portrays the worlds of art dealers, drug trade, and the many cultures of Mexico through the eyes of a conflicted young woman. Anna carries her mother’s ashes to Oaxaca hoping to redeem herself and her parents through acquisition of Montezuma’s funerary mask. An insightful thriller.

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Eligible

Summary: 
_Pride and Prejudice_ set in Cincinnati, with a reality TV wedding? Really?? This wince-worthy premise makes for very entertaining reading/listening. The update is spot on. All the characters except a very few, retain their names and essential natures, Most of the wry observations are offered by Liz herself. and the whole thing is a very well-done hoot.

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I Let You Go

Summary: 
Two British readers balance the characters’ narratives and the police procedural as the case involving a hit-and-run accident unwinds. The plot is compelling, but the characterizations are superb. The inner workings of a CID team and the personal lives of the detectives, as well as the psychology of the suspect and others all ring true.

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The Association of Small Bombs

Summary: 
The deadly blast of the terrorist sends widening ripples of destruction. The random innocents—two 12-year-old Hindu brothers who die, and their Muslim friend who survives, their families, are forever altered and sucked into the vortex of violence—as the perpetrators themselves had been, that spreads and spreads. A tragic, illuminating novel. “What was a bomb, really? A means of separation, of opening. A factory of undoing. It took the violent forces of civilization and applied them to the very opposite aims with a childlike glee. A bomb was a child. A tantrum directed at all things. A wail of a being that hadn’t got its own way. The choice of suicide over defeat.” p. 267

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Mothering Sunday

Summary: 
This small slim novel, set on one day in 1924 from a vantage point of more than 70 years in the future is called a "romance"-- but of the two love affairs the housemaid "Jane Fairchild" experiences, the one with books and imagination is the most enduring, however formative the first conventional one that forms the plot. Beautifully written, full of life. 'Words were like an invisible skin, enwrapping the world and giving it reality. Yet you could not say the world would not be there, would not be real if you took away the words. At best it seemed that things might bless the words that distinguished them, and that words might bless everything." p.129

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Peacekeeping

Summary: 
This thoughtful novel, begins in Haiti, two years before the quake, when a group of UN staff, expats and locals coalesce around an American-educated judge and his wife, to make a difference in the upcoming elections. The natural beauty, the economic mess, the interplay of greed, superstition, poverty as seen by the expat novelist narrator provoke hope, despair, humor and pathos, and most of all, questions. A fascinating and beautiful book. '... stories, if not a necessity, are not a luxury either. Only the rich and the lucky can afford to live without stories, for without stories, as every Haitian peasant knows, life is all just things that happen to you, and you are just something that happens in the lives of others... a good story [is] the only realm in our existence where for every "Why?" there exists a commensurate "Because...". Those two words, "why?" and "because," might be the best thing our species has going for it.' p. 371

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The Blue Between Sky and Water

Summary: 
The heartbreaking story of a family of Palestinians, from 1948 to the present, as the Naqba reverberates through the generations. The portrayal of family life, the mystical connections over time, space, and beyond death, the life in Gaza and of an emigre to America and his granddaughter may be a bit idealized. But the novel offers a rare view of the conflict and the tragedy. Illuminating.

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Stuff Matters: Exploring the marvelous materials that shape our manmade world

Summary: 
Forget "marvelous"! A book that can enchant someone whose Waterloo was high school chemistry is "miraculous"! Miodownik makes materials science personal, meaningful, and understandable, opening up the wonder of the manmade world we live in, from steel to chocolate, the pencil in your hand to the stardust of outer space, from human scale to nano and atomic. Miodownik makes it all fascinating.

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