Written by Willow Gale, Bookmobile Manager
To start off Women’s History Month, here are some recommendations for books with strong female protagonists:
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney – Penney’s novel is set in 1867 Canada, as winter settles in. Mrs. Ross discovers the brutally murdered body of a voyageur for the Hudson Bay Company. Unfortunately, she raises the alarm before she realizes that her 17-year-old son is missing; he soon becomes the prime suspect. A variety of searchers head out with a variety of motives, including the mother determined to find her son before the others do. This story is as bleak and severe as the landscape the searchers traverse. Penney won critical acclaim for this, her debut.
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – The Queen is in the garden with her corgis when they go rushing off to bark at the bookmobile, parked by the kitchen door at the palace. Brought up with impeccable manners, she feels she should apologize for the dogs and steps inside. Faced with the option to read for pleasure for the first time in her life, Her Majesty chooses a book to borrow. This small act changes all her relationships: with her staff, other heads of state, the British people, and herself. The Uncommon Reader is a small book, easily read over the weekend, packed with big ideas, good humor, and much to ponder. Award-winner Alan Bennett is in the news recently for writing the screenplay (and play) The Lady in the Van which is based on his real-life experience.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusack – Set in Germany during the rise of Nazi power, The Book Thief describes the growing-up years of Liesel as she struggles to understand life in a small village outside Munich. Before she’s even learned to read, she has stolen her first book and thus begins a relationship which will sustain her very being. Death is our narrator in this tale, which seems fitting and works well. Zusak’s use of language is simply beautiful and you may find yourself lingering over phrases and images. This book was very popular with book clubs when it first came out and a movie was made several years later. Now’s your chance to catch up with a book you’ve always meant to read.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young – The first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic novels, Blood Red Road will appeal to fans of the world of Mad Max. Saba and her twin brother, Lugh, manage to survive as scavengers in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by sandstorms. That is, until mysterious horsemen grab Lugh in the midst of a storm and disappear with him. Saba is determined to rescue her brother, no matter the cost. Along the journey, she makes strange alliances and discovers her own cunning, strength, and fighting abilities. JMRL has copies of this book available, as well as the other two books in the trilogy: Rebel Heart and Raging Star.