Review: Prairie Fires

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful read! I had no idea that Laura and her daughter had such a complex, fraught relationship. I also had a very patchy grasp of the history of the period – this adroitly combines interesting social history with fascinating biographical studies of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane. Extensively researched and beautifully written, this a great read even if you aren’t a Little House fan.
-Mrs. P.

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The Man Booker Prize 2017

Earlier this October, Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, was announced the 2017 winner of the leading literary award in the English speaking world, The Man Booker Prize. Established in 2005, the award aims to bring recognition and reward for the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK. The only criteria: being the best novel in the opinion of the judge. This allows the winner to not only receive £50,000 and shortlisted authors to receive £2,500, but also for authors to receive worldwide readership and book sales. To ensure consistency in excellence for choosing quality fiction, the judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, from scholars and writers to politicians and actors – all sharing the same love for fiction and engagement to attract “the intelligent general audience.” The prize has established trust in readers sharing and seeking similar values in fiction. Two of the authors, Mohsin Hamid and Colson Whitehead, were both featured in Loomis Chaffee’s 2017 all-school summer reading with Exit West being shortlisted and The Underground Railroad longlisted in the Man Booker Prize.

The winner, George Sanders, was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Lincoln in the Bardo was described as a work of fiction that “creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters” by Baroness Young, 2017 Chair of judges. The novel added a surreal twist to a factual incident, describing Abraham Lincoln’s visit to his dead 11-year-old son Willie in a Georgetown cemetery. The grieving father was greeted with innumerable souls in the thousands of dead from the Civil War, both by the quick and the dead, pondering and contemplating life and death. Saunders explores not only the reality and pain of loss and death but also life, too-its endless possibilities, meanings and moments.

The Man Booker Prize shortlist, longlist and winner are currently displayed in the Katherine Brush Library. Come enjoy these witty, moving and transcending works of fiction!

Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words, by Lynn Sherr

I would rate Lynn Sherr’s book, Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words, 4 stars out of 5. Lynn Sherr does an excellent job of composing the book from historical resources, enlightening readers on  Susan B. Anthony. Sherr clarifies and elaborates many of Anthony’s words so it flows steadily. By letting us read Anthony’s own words, we understand Susan B. Anthony. Who she is as a woman, friend, and as a women’s rights activist. In this book Anthony’s undeterred character and optimistic view shines through the pages. Not only that, you learn that she is humorous, caring, and loyal too.