Books to satisfy, or scare away cravings

As the days shorten, I find myself craving a warm fire and a good book. If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to hear that the latest batch of new releases has something for everyone.

“The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates is an Oprah’s Book Club choice. It tells of young Hiram Walker who was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her but was gifted with a mysterious power. This power saves his life when he almost drowns in a river and it propels him to action. He escapes from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantation, the only home he’s ever known, to join the dangerous and idealistic movements in the north. Hiram is determined to rescue the family he left behind.

“Imaginary Friend” by Stephen Chbosky is his second novel after the bestseller, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” This is a  work of literary horror whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Single mother Kate and her son Christopher escape from an abusive relationship in the middle of the night. They find an off the beaten track community in Pennsylvania and at first everything seems perfect. When Christopher disappears for six days, he comes back changed. The voices in his head demand that he build a tree house by Christmas or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again. Read it with the lights on.

“Where the Light Enters” by Sara Donati is an enthralling story about two trailblazing female doctors in 19th century New York. Drs. Sophie Savard and Anna Savard work to give aid to disadvantaged women that society would rather forget. Anna’s husband, a detective, asks the doctors if they would consult on the disappearance of the wife of a prominent banker and the mysterious death of a woman with strange wounds. Donati is known for her bestselling Wilderness series.

“A Single Thread” by Tracy Chevalier is set in 1932 England. It is a vivid, satisfying and beautifully orchestrated story written by an author with the special ability to take you to another place in time. Violet loses her brother and fiancé in the Great War and decides to leave her hometown and settle in Winchester. She becomes entwined with a community of broderers; women who embroider the cushions and kneelers for the cathedral. She finds friendship, fulfillment in her work and is privy to their secrets. As the next Great War threatens the future, she must decide what she’s willing to risk to protect the life she has fought to make for herself.

Alice Hoffman, known for books with magical realism, has a new book called “The World That We Knew.” It is set in 1941 Berlin during humanity’s darkest hour. In a world where evil can be found at every turn, you’ll meet remarkable characters that take you on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never-ending. In true Hoffman style, the rabbi’s daughter creates a golem, a mystical Jewish creature, to protect a young friend as she escapes persecution.

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Tina Winstead is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Monday. Her columns may also be found online at www. thedailystar.com/comm unity/library_corner.

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