By: Special to The Laredo Sun
LAREDO, TX. - The Laredo Public Library’s two book club’ July meetings are just around the corner and they are inviting Laredoans to settle into summer with the two titles selected for the upcoming meeting, set for Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at the Laredo Public Library at 6 p.m.
for the mystery book club and 7 p.m. for the contemporary author book club.
If you want to figure out “who dunnit?” then the “Scene of the Crime” club’s selection is for you. “Sherlock Holmes fans will delight in this mystery, ‘The Hounding’ by Sandra De Helen,” C. Penn, an Amazon customer review of the book.
“Combining the sleuthing skills of Holmes and Watson with female protagonists, De Helen presents an original, fascinating mystery with ties to the tradition of Holmes and yet with a modern twist.”
“Shirley Combs and her assistant Dr. Mary Watson solve mysteries much as their predecessors did, using logic and facts to arrive at a conclusion. Tall, thin, androgynous Shirley has thoroughly studied the method and casebook of Sherlock Holmes, using Holmes' exploits for "solutions to modern day crimes."
She relies upon the Mary to chronicle their investigations.
So when attack dogs murder heiress Priscilla Vandeleur Leoni, thereby enacting her worst fear, Holmes and Watson use their investigative skills to solve the case.
Ironically, Cilla is a direct descendant of the Baskervilles; that is, those cursed to be killed by dogs as recorded in Holmes’ famous case, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles.’”
As a special treat, author De Helen will be present via Skype during the book discussion on Wednesday, allowing readers to ask questions directly to the author.
For books by contemporary authors, the “Gateway City Book Lovers” tome of choice are just for you. A ward-winning author Ellen Ullman returns with a major, absorbing, atmospheric novel that takes on the most dramatic and profoundly personal subject matter: “ By Blood.”
The setting is San Francisco in the 1970s. Free love has given way to radical feminism, psychedelic ecstasy to hard-edged gloom. The Zodiac Killer stalks the streets.
A disgraced professor takes an office in a downtown tower to plot his return. But the walls are thin and he’s distracted by voices from next door: his neighbor is a psychologist, and one of her patients dislikes the hum of the white-noise machine.
So, he begins to hear about the patient’s troubles with her female lover, her conflicts with her adoptive, avowedly WASP family, and her quest to track down her birth mother.
The professor is not just absorbed but enraptured. And the further he is pulled into the patient’s recounting of her dramas—and the most profound questions of her own identity—the more he needs the story to move forward.
The patient’s questions about her birth family have led her to a Catholic charity that trafficked freshly baptized orphans out of Germany after World War II.
But confronted with this new self— “I have no idea what it means to say ‘I’m a Jew’”—the patient finds her search stalled.
Armed with the few details he’s gleaned, the professor takes up the quest and quickly finds the patient’s mother in records from a German displaced-persons camp.
But he can’t let on that he’s been eavesdropping, so he mocks up a reply from an adoption agency the patient has contacted and drops it in the mail.
Through the wall, he hears how his dear patient is energized by the news, and so is he. He unearths more clues and invests more and more in this secret, fraught, triangular relationship: himself, the patient, and her therapist, who is herself German.
His research leads them deep into the history of displaced-persons camps, of postwar Zionism, and—most troubling of all—of the Nazi Lebensborn program.
With ferocious intelligence and an enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman weaves a dark and brilliant, intensely personal novel that feels as big and timeless as it is sharp and timely.
It is an ambitious work that establishes her as a major writer. (Amazon.com)
“A thrilling page-turner of a book . . . Book clubs of America, take note. By Blood is what you should be reading. Ullman is someone we all should be reading.” — Ed Siegel, Newsday
“Like analysis, [By Blood] has urgency—as if, by talking and talking, a solution will be found. Like history, it extends in all directions . . . Like the best novels, it’s irresistible—twisty-turny, insightful, revelatory—funny when it’s tragic, and complicated when it’s funny.” — Minna Proctor, NPR.org
The book clubs meet at the Laredo Public Library, 1 st Floor Conference Room, 1120 E. Calton Road. The “Scene of the Crime” Mystery Book Club meets from 6 to 7 p.m.
and immediately following, from 7 to 8 p.m., the “Gateway City Book Lovers’ Book Club meets.
There are no dues, no roll call, and no tests. Just Laredoans having fun reading and discussing a book.
All books are available for check-out at the Reference Desk at the Laredo Public Library or available for purchase at Books-A-Million at Mall Del Norte.
For more information, contact Pam Burrell by calling 795-2400, ext. 2268 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Edited by: C.R.