Full house: The Big Fix-Up Mix-Up by Devra Speregen
Valentine’s Day is on the way! Stephanie wants a certain someone to know that he is her valentine. Her plan? To send him a message by radio – on the special Teen Love Night show. Joey’s promised to get her message on the air. But he’s feeling blue because he has no valentine of his own. He might even cancel the show – and then Steph’s new heartthrob will never know how she feels.
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Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, a novel of large beauty and power, creates a magical world out of four generations of black life in America, a world we enter on the day of the birth of Macon Dead, Jr. (known as Milkman), son of the richest black family in a mid-western town; the day on which the lonely insurance man, Robert Smith, poised in blue silk wings, attempts to fly from a steeple of the hospital, a black Icarus looking homeward… We see Milkman growing up in his father’s money-haunted, death-haunted house with his silent sisters and strangely passive mother, beginning to move outward–through his profound love and combat with his friend Guitar…through Guitar’s mad and loving commitment to the secret avengers called the Seven Days…through Milkman’s exotic, imprisoning affair with his love-blind cousin, Hagar…and through his unconscious apprenticeship to his mystical Aunt Pilate, who saved his life before he was born. And we follow him as he strikes out alone; moving first toward adventure and then–as the unspoken truth about his family and his own buried heritage announces itself–toward an adventurous and crucial embrace of life. This is a novel that expresses, with passion, tenderness, and a magnificence of language, the mysterious primal essence of family bond and conflict, the feelings and experience of all people wanting, and striving, to be alive.
In Paradise – her first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature – Toni Morrison gives us a bravura performance. As the book begins deep in Oklahoma early one morning in 1976, nine men from Ruby (pop. 360), in defense of “the one all black town worth the pain,” assault the nearby Convent and the women in it. From the town’s ancestral origins in 1890 to the fateful day of the assault, Paradise tells the story of a people ever mindful of the relationship between their spectacular history and a void “Out There . . . where random and organized evil erupted when and where it chose.” Richly imagined and elegantly composed, Paradise weaves a powerful mystery.
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family on a mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. The carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it – from garden seeds to Scripture – is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected Prime Minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring and modern writers.
Meet Dolores Price. She’s thirteen, wise-mouthed but wounded. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the chocolate, crisps and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she’s determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before really going belly up. In his extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch an incredible ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. At once a fragile girl and a hard-edged cynic, so tough to love yet so inimitably loveable, Dolores is as poignantly real as our own imperfections.