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Susan McDonough Sanchez
"Envoy" by Shannah Jay
Genre: Science Fiction
My Thoughts: "It was a wonderful blend of psychology and sci fi, with a little romance as well. Shannah Jay has a talent for creating realistic characters who change in believable ways. An enforced peace mediation between two cultures that have been at war for centuries is a situation which would test anyone. Channa Harknell is the soldier who must change if her country is to maintain its freedom. A great story!"


Hasmita Chander
"To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee
Genre: Fiction
My Thoughts: "It's a wonderful book. While the main theme deals with the treatment of Negroes by Americans in the South, the narrator is a child. This could have been done in a way that makes the reader go through a turmoil of emotions so strong that getting through the book is difficult. Harper Lee softens it without taking away any of the facts. The book tells of the world through a child unaffected by adult prejudices yet having to face them, and of a man, her father, who dares to live the way he believes is right: to be the same on the street as he would be in his own house. With nothing to hide, always straight, always true. The book makes you think, and learn and realize. I think that's what a good book does."


Nancy Groves
"Painted House" by John Grisham
Genre: Fiction
My Thoughts: "I read this book for a book club, rather than strictly of my own volition. I felt that it started rather slowly, but it grew on me as I went on. Some critics have commented on the rather minimal action in the plot; I agree that nothing terribly dramatic happens, especially compared to John Grisham's legal thrillers. However, it presents a vivid 'slice of life' in its portrayal of a season on an Arkansas farm in the 1950s. How realistic is the portrayal? Not having been there, I can't say, but it seems fairly plausible. I'm not a native Southerner but have lived in several Southern states over the last 15 years, and I can still see remnants of the lifestyle and attitudes he describes. My strongest criticism is that the story is told through the eyes of a 7-year-old, and some of his behavior doesn't seem appropriate for that age. If he had been described as 10 or 12, it might have been more plausible. After reading this book, you'll certainly understand why so many young people fled from farms and small towns to take jobs in the city. Farm life is certainly not portrayed as idyllic, although it had its rewards (not necessarily material) for many people. In all, it's an interesting book, but probably not deserving of all the hype its gotten."

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