The Rose City Rollers league is made up of over 400 smart, tough, accomplished women who skate fast, hit hard, and defy stereotypes about female athletes ...And they read. Check out a list of favorites from Axles of Annihilation, one of the Rose City Rollers’ two All-Stars teams. Want more reading recommendations? Try My Librarian and get a personalized list made just for you.
Avalanche #K2 started playing roller derby in 2010 as a way to make friends here in Portland. When she’s not skating she runs an art gallery and retail store called Land on Mississippi Avenue. She and her 9 year old son love to read!
The Mental Athlete by Kay Porter
Roller derby takes a lot of mental and physical strength. This book has given me a lot of great tips on how to deal with the tough situations. It’s a great guide not just for sports but also for life. We all have different challenges to face and it’s nice to have different ways to combat them head on.
A wonderful series of books about books! It’s about a father/book binder named Mortimer. When he reads books aloud, the characters come out of the book and into the real world, but with each character that emerges a new one must return to the book. One night when his daughter Maggie was very young, he accidentally reads his wife into a book called Inkheart. The trilogy follows him and his daughter as they go on a series of adventures trying to find Maggie's mother. One of my favorite parts about this series is that each chapter starts with a quote from a different book, so once I finished the series I had an incredible new list of books to read.
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne is a smart, adventurous, young, orphaned redhead. As a young freckle faced redhead growing up in the country, I always felt that Anne and I were meant to be bosom buddies.
Yoga Nabi Sari #808 is a real life Librarian! She started roller derby around the same time she started graduate school, and grad school was easier. Nabi graduated with a Masters in Library Science from Emporia State University in August 2012. During her two years in grad school she worked at the OHSU West Campus Science and Engineering Library and did volunteer work and research for Multnomah County Library. Nabi currently works as a librarian for a local commercial real estate company.
When Nabi is not skating she enjoys…oh never mind, right now she is skating all the time. When the season is done she will hopefully read more books, see live theater, and do more hot yoga.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Victoria Jamieson aka Winnie the Pow is a fellow skater with Rose City Rollers. I am lucky enough to be her derby wife and she gave me an advanced copy of her graphic novel. This beautifully illustrated book captures the heart of this sport. You don’t have to be involved in roller derby to fall in love with this story!
The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
Mind Gym: An Athletes Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack
I went on a sports psychology kick this season and read both of these multiple times, and they really helped with my mental game.
Ripley #426 spends her days in two extreme realms, playing roller derby with the Rose City Rollers, and in stark contrast, working professionally as a Child and Family Therapist at a non-profit. Ripley moved from Colorado two years ago to work in the mental health field in Portland and skate with one of the most competitive leagues in the world. She has little time for other activities, although she does enjoy reading, cooking, and international travel, when she can squeeze it in.
The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
A novel of two Afghanistan women in the same family but generations apart, who share similar hardship and struggles in a culture where females have little freedom.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The true story of a World War Two pilot who survives a crash at sea, only to face continued abuse as a prisoner of war.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok.
A book about two Jewish boys who grow up in completely different households. The father of each boy recognizes what his son will need to succeed in life, but it comes at cost to the father-son relationship.
Shaolin Spocker #1701 works as a graphic and web designer, professional photographer, and Benevolent Overlord of her own branding design studio, Upswept Creative. When Spocker started roller derby, she still had a day job, and spent a lot of time playing with swords - she practiced the martial art of Wushu for 7 years before her growing fascination with derby took over.
When Spocker isn't skating, you'll often find her indulging in sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming, geeking out about lighting design, baking some serious-business desserts, obsessing over font libraries and color theory, or maybe even singing karaoke.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I first read this in middle school, and it's always been an important book for me: as a half-Chinese girl growing up in the United States, a lot of the experiences in the book felt familiar, and helped me understand more about the Chinese side of my background.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The entire 5-book “trilogy” was a lot of fun, but the first book always stands out in my mind. It’s an entertaining and funny flip on the science fiction genre, and a must-read for any sci-fi geek.
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
A lot of people know about the HBO show, but the books came first, and they’re worth the read. It’s not a series for the faint of heart, and you should be careful what characters you get attached to - no one is safe! :-) - but it’s a complex and riveting story that’s really grand in scope.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
I like a lot of Murakami’s work, and this was the first book of his that I found. It’s a story that’s split between two worlds--with odd-numbered chapters about one, and even-numbered chapters about the other! One world that feels a bit cyberpunk-y, and the other more mysterious and otherworldly.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
This book creates an interesting world, where Thai culture and society is at the center, natural food is scarce, and calories are more valuable and coveted than anything else. The story follows multiple characters’ perspectives, and it was fun to watch the story emerge from their individual threads.
My Librarian and our featured guest readers are made possible by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to The Library Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation, and reach through private support.
photo credits: Mercy Shammah - Your Sunday Best Photography www.yoursundaybestphotography.com
When I was young and a new reader, I liked books that have now become classics in the beginning reader genre. Books like Put Me in the Zoo, Are You My Mother?, and Robert the Rose Horse. I read these over and over and probably have a tattered copy or two tucked away in a box somewhere. These books are still great (and are still being published), but there are some newer titles and series that are equally as wonderful. Here are a few of my current favorites.
While I didn’t like comics as a kid, as an adult, I’ve become a convert to graphic novels. The Toon Books are perfect for new readers who love the comic book format. Benny and Penny, a brother and sister mouse duo, are some of my favorite Toon characters. Check out their nighttime adventure in Benny and Penny in Lights Out!.
For the more fact-minded child (or one who simply likes great photos of animals), National Geographic has published a series of readers. Who wouldn’t be enticed by the lion cub on the cover of Safari or fascinated by the ugly fish on Weird Sea Creatures?
For the more advanced beginning reader, I love the Ruby Lu chapter books by Lenore Look. Ruby Lu is an irrepressible “almost-8-year-old” who has lots of fun with her friends and Chinese-American family. There are three so far in the series. Start with Ruby Lu, Brave and True.
Check out our brand new booklists for children at the various stages in their early reading lives. You may find some new favorites!
Have you caught the fan fever for The great British Baking show? We sure have here at the Hollywood Teen Book Council. We have fallen in love with a contestant show that we find relaxing, and so "agressively British."
We enjoyed the first season that PBS aired which is actually season 5 across the pond, and we loved the hosts, the judges, and the contestants so much that we wanted to give them all gifts. Since we are "all about the books" here is what we think would make the perfect book gift for each of these fine folks.
Jane Austin' s Pride and Prejudice
The book that launched thousands of brooding romantic love heros.
Paul Hollywood’s British Baking by Paul Hollywood
What would Mr. Hollywood like better to read than his own book, full of traditional British baked goods. It is perfection.
Yes Please by Amy Poeler
Sue would enjoy hearing what Amy Poehler has to say about life, her own and other people’s
Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
We’ve picked out a charming and funny novel of a genetics professor looking for love. Will the awkward Don Tillman’s evidence-based Wife Project succeed?
Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood’s dark dystopian tale of a future with women as breeding chattel-a smart book with girl power.
Sara Dessen' s Just Listen
We want Claire to sit back and enjoy a redemptive story of Annabel, the girl who used to have everything and now has nothing. Except maybe the attention of Owen will turn her story around.
Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.
Ms. Christie’s classic novel of ten strangers invited to a private island will keep Diana turning the pages.
Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
As a busy father, Enwezor will have time to dive into these short personal essays that are by turns hilarious and heartbreaking.
The Portlandia Cookbook by Fred Armisen
Iain Watters will have fun sampling the delicious and amusing recipes in this cookbook based on the hit IFC series. Portland will gladly adopt you Ian; you, and your sweaters!
Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori
Romanic mistaken-gender comedy in manga form. Jordan we know you appreciate kawaii and food.
Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
A tale of a mouse and some soup will warm Kate's heart, plus we think this Kate and Kate DiCamillo are Kate's separated at birth.
Uncle Shelby’s ABZ book—Shel Silverstein
Luis will die laughing reading this hilarious children’s book written for adults.
Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Rose Edelstein develops the ability to taste the emotions of the people who cooked the food, making eating difficult as she learns the hidden secrets in her family and others. Martha will swoon over the story as she thanks her lucky stars she hasn’t suffered the same fate.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Nancy will be on edge as modern-day Andi Alpers, chock full of rage from a range of losses, finds the diary of a historic actress.
Norman would enjoy this illustrated guide to the many uses of many types of herbs.
Gingerbread Architect by Susan Matheson
Perhaps Richard has moved on from the standard gingerbread house and is longing to build a Cape Cod-style abode? Or maybe a classic Brownstone, Greek Revival or Art Deco creation. With plans, instructions and pictures, he will have a masterpiece in no time.
Who are your favorites from the show? What book would you like to give them?
Whether you are researching Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, or any country in between, these sources have the facts you need!
Culturegrams is an encyclopedia in which you can find out about the history of your country, as well the daily lives of its citizens. There are great printable maps and images of the country’s flag and lots of photos. You can even listen to the country’s national anthem or sample recipes! If you aren’t at the Multnomah County Library, you’ll need to log in to the encyclopedia with your library card and PIN. You’ll want to choose the Kids Edition.
Wondering which sights to see in a country? Around the World, from Time for Kids magazine, lists places you won't want to miss. You can also find timelines and learn some words in the country’s language.
At Global Trek, you can learn more about a country and its residents—sometimes from interviews with other students! You can even keep a travel journal.
Looking for a picture of a county’s flag? Just click on the small image at the CIA World Factbook to get a larger printable version of the flag, as well as information about what all its symbols mean.
If you still need help with your research, contact a librarian for more assistance. Bon voyage!
Need to know the capital of New Jersey? The senators from Hawaii? Or famous people from Oregon? Dig into the sites below to find the answers to those questions and more!
If you just need the basic facts about a state, visit State Facts for Students. Here you can find state population, capitals, area, and symbols.
To dig a little deeper, go to Stately Knowledge, which also lists famous people from each state, professional sports teams, and other fascinating facts. This site also has charts that list the states in order by population, area, and more.
Fact Monster's The Fifty States is similar; it also includes short sections on the history, economy and tourist attractions of each state. Don't miss the links on the first page of this site, which allow you to compare states in a variety of ways and play games or take quizzes to test your knowledge.
Did you know that most states have a website just for kids? Find a list of those sites at Kids.gov's State Websites for Kids.
To find articles about a state's history, visit Explore the States. Here you can also find stories about local events and customs.
If you are trying to learn the names of all 50 states, try watching Fifty States That Rhyme, which uses them in a song. Or, if you need to learn the state capitals, watch the States and Capitals Song video.
Finally, if you need a map of a state, visit the National Atlas's list of state maps. You can find several different types of maps for each state; you can either view them online or download a map as a PDF.
Didn't find what you need here? Contact a librarian if you need more help with your research.
Do you need to know the national holidays of Sri Lanka? Find the agricultural products of Ecuador? Or maybe print an image of the Nigerian flag? You’ve come to the right place!
Culturegrams and Lands and Peoples are encyclopedias in which you can find out about the history and geography of a country, as well the daily lives of its citizens. There are great printable maps and images of the country’s flag and lots of photos. In Culturegrams, you can even listen to the country’s national anthem or sample recipes! If you aren’t at the Multnomah County Library, you’ll need to log in to the encyclopedias with your library card and PIN.
The CIA World Factbook has a wealth of information about the geography, people government and economy of countries, most of it in a table format. You can also visit their Flags of the World section to get a printable version of a country’s flag and information about what all its symbols mean.
At Background Notes from the U.S. State Department, you’ll find maps and flags for each country, as well as a history of its relations with the U.S. and links to in-depth country studies from Library of Congress.
The BBC has a page of Country Profiles, which are a good source for current events, as well as fast facts and timelines. And don’t miss National Geographic’s Destinations A-Z, a great source for travel articles, maps and colorful photos.
Not finding what you need here? Contact a librarian for more help.
Are the dark days of winter getting to you? The cold and the rain and the wind bringing you down? Need something to cheer you right up? How about a book or two?
Maira Kalman is a unique, eccentric, whimsical illustrator and writer of both kids' and kid-like adult books. Her illustrations even make William Strunk’s The Elements of Style a fascinating read. Her books are filled with illustrations of the things that she likes, and her likes range far and wide and slightly off-kilter. Kalman’s latest book, Beloved Dog, is dedicated to dogs. I hadn’t noticed that pictures of dogs appear quite often in her works and this book is a lovely ode to dogs. Maira Kalman’s books will cheer you right up.
For me, a real mood lifter is to compare myself to others who have suffered more than me (Jeez, that sounds terrible. Really, I’m not that awful a person.). We’ve all had to deal with relationship breakdowns. If you’d like to read about some of the absolute worst, peruse Jennifer Wright’s It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History. It’s a fun, entertaining, and quite educational romp through some spectacular breakups. In the course of these breakups, people are stabbed. Prison sentences are served. Icky hair clumps are sent through the mail. It should put all of your own breakups in perspective.
Need some more cheering up? Try one of the books on my list here.
Every year, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) honors the best young adult book for literary excellence with the Michael L. Printz Award. Last year’s winner was Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun. This year’s winner will be announced January 10, 2016 during ALA’s Youth Media Awards.
As a way of creating awareness for the award, as well as honing our book evaluation skills, teens, adults, and librarians got together at the Hollywood Library for our own Mock Printz Award. We read eligible titles and put each up against the Printz Award criteria. We spent the afternoon discussing a selection of titles, and then we voted and picked our winner. We also had three honor books.
Our winner was Steve Sheinkin’s thrilling nonfiction account of the Vietnam War and the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Most Dangerous; Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. Steve Sheinkin was Multnomah County Library’s Teen Author Lecturer, and Most Dangerous was shortlisted for this year’s National Book Award finalist for Young People’s Literature.
Our honor books were Kevin Brooks gritty, page-turning tale The Bunker Diary. Arden Butterfield, Hollywood Teen Book Council member who participated in the workshop writes, “The ending is so surprising, I just stared at the back of the book for about five minutes. This book is amazing, and shocking, and terrifying, and wonderful.”
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt was another honor. A spare novel, about which Arden writes, “This is one of those books that just swells your heart up with love, and then at the last moment throws it on the ground and stabs it with a knife. I would recommend it to everyone.”
We also delighted in the strong characterization of Joan who becomes The Hired Girl in Laura Amy Schlitz’s historical early 20th-century novel.
We will be extending the Mock Printz into a year long excursion. Teens can come and discuss books published in the current year that may be considered examples of literary excellence for readers ages 12–18 and are possible nominees for the ALA’s Printz Award for young adult literature.
The ultimate goal for this group, by year’s end, will be to select the best book written for teens. Group members will choose nominees for a Mock Printz workshop, at which a winner as well as honor books will be voted on and given mock medals. The workshop will be held just before the official Printz Award committee from ALA announces its choice at the YMAs at Midwinter.
Come to the Hollywood Library on February 2 to hear booktalks of upcoming eligible titles, and to learn about award’s criteria through a discussion of American Born Chinese. the 2007 Printz winner. For more information contact Danielle Jones firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-988-4346.
Northern winters are harsh things, especially when you live in a cabin deep in the woods. When nature calls, you may find yourself sprinting through the snow in the middle of the night, flashlight in hand, dodging moose with giant glowing eyes, just to get to the outhouse. You might have to be pulled on a dogsled attached to a snow machine to get to your baby-sitting job. Your family dog might get eaten by a wolf. You might have to hike ten miles to school in a blizzard, uphill both ways… err wait, that last one isn’t true! But I did experience the rest. Despite all these inconveniences, the north does have its pleasures, and the beauty of the night sky is one of them, especially the chance to see that most elusive atmospheric phenomenon, the northern lights. The ghostly colors that flicker and flare, the cold rays that splinter the darkness into sheets, curtains, coronas… well, it truly is awe-inspiring.
But how do these displays actually work? What forces are behind them? This was what one brilliant scientist in turn-of the-century Norway wondered. Kristian Birkeland was both driven and talented, and his quest to understand the workings of the aurora led him to Norwegian mountaintops and on expeditions to Russia’s far north. He didn’t limit himself to the arctic and also spent time in Africa researching the then-mysterious zodiacal light. In addition, he was an inventor, and attempted to market creations as diverse as hearing aids, electromagnetic cannons, and methods of producing fertilizer in order to fund the research he truly loved. Even more amazing is the fact he accomplished all this before age 50. Find out more about Kristian Birkeland and the aurora in The Northern Lights by Lucy Jago. This is a great read for those who are interested in the lives of scientists, the history of science, and arctic adventure. And if you want more, look here.
Knitting: The voice of the grumpy Swede in A Man Called Ove, with his laugh-out-loud rants against "whipper-snappers doing monkey business" proved the perfect companion as I worked (and then re-worked) a poncho called Ella from this book of Danish knits.
Commuting: O.K. more of a "have to do" than a "love to do" but Hector Tobar's Deep Dark Down: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in A Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free , kept me anxiously looking forward to my work commute for weeks. And so what if I arrived at work a little weepy as the men were finally freed from the mine. I'm a sensitive person.
I love Christmas, but most of the things I love about it probably originated in the celebration of the solstice. Sure, I appreciate super-religious and very old carols (“Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!”), but for me, really, it’s mostly about having a real tree in my living room that’s all covered in lights and sparkly things, and the fact that the world will begin, finally, slowly, to get lighter and lighter.
So I’m not a believer, but it was still an interesting time of year to listen to Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary, which focuses intensely on the story of one woman who just happens to be the mother of Jesus Christ. This short novel is narrated by Meryl Streep, who is a magnificent reader, and the experience of listening to it was vivid and intimate. This Mary is a person who has lived through real anguish and is unwilling to put up with any nonsense. The novel is set several years after the crucifixion, and she is being cared for, or perhaps held by, some of the disciples, men who are hard at work making Jesus into a myth. She has no patience for them. For their part, they want her to cooperate or else to just shut up. The human aspects of the story, which are everything to Mary, don't interest them at all.
I listened to this because I was charmed by the author's By the Book column in the New York Times. Tóibín's a voracious reader, and I liked the warmth, humor, and wide embrace of life that came through as he spoke about books he’s loved.
Here’s a list of audiobooks that, like this one, are read by extraordinary readers. I wish you all a season of glorious reading while these long winter nights and rainy days continue, and let me know if I can help with some suggestions.
I love magazines! Do you love them? What kind? I used to love interior decoration magazines. I especially loved Better Homes and Gardens with their before and after pictures of redone homes. They were relaxing to me: clean, quiet, and beautiful homes. The pictures looked so inviting. They made me want to climb right into each photo to take a nap or entertain.
Now I love arts and crafts magazines. I especially like craft magazines with featured artists giving tutorials with step by step photos. I find the tutorials so inspiring as an amateur artist.
One thing I don’t like about magazines is the cost. Magazine lovers, we are in luck. Multnomah County Library just got a new electronic product called Zinio. Zinio lets us check out magazines digitally for free with our library card. We have unlimited access to view them on our computers or mobile devices. We can keep them as long as we like: there are no due dates. I love Zinio!
What’s great about helping people find books is learning about the books they loved. Tweens (grades 5-8) often are passionate about certain titles.
Tween 1: I want to read something exciting. I really liked (names a title like "Michael Vey.")
Me: Hmm, I better go read that!
Tween 2: I like action in books. Like in (names title.) I tried (historical fiction title) at school but I couldn’t get into it.
Me: Hmm, I better read that first book.
Tween 3: Some books are so slow...nothing ever happens. But (names a title) is the best book I ever read.
Me: Hmm, these books the tweens are recommending definitely have violence, but the heroes have a heart and soul. And there’s no putting them down.
And that’s how I’ve finally arrived at this list for 6-8 graders. I discovered some myself, but my fast and furious meter is now finely tuned, so not to worry.
Hold on tight and enjoy.
Under the reign of grey and lengthening darkness, the cold rain has returned. Along with it comes less incentive to leave the house. When the choice between venturing out into a storm and curling up on the couch arises, the home field has a significant advantage.
As motivation to leave the house wanes, the most excellent Iron Maiden documentary, Flight 666 comes to mind. It's inspiring to watch the band's journey around the globe via custom jet (flown by Bruce Dickenson, their lead singer!) as they play to tens of thousands of people. The band offers more than a blistering three hours of music, performing for fans in countries that waited for decades for their arrival. Many fans camped out for days and a few quit their jobs to be there. They remind you of why we leave the comforts of home to pursue what we love.
Don’t know Iron Maiden? That's okay. When crummy weather is the only thing separating you from getting out, a little inspiration from Eddie and the boys goes a long way.
Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults. Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues. Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served. That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles! You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!
History is more than just dates, battles, and wars. It’s real people, living their everyday lives through some extraordinary times and ordinary times, just like us today. Russell Freedman is an author who “tells stories of peoples” lives and his job is to "breathe life and meaning into his subject." This is called narrative nonfiction and it makes history come alive for the reader.
Have you ever wondered what life was like for kids in the past? What it was like to come to America as a child? How hard and dangerous was it to work in mills and coal mines? Was it fun to live in the Wild West? What was life like during the Great Depression?
Russell Freedman has written about many more topics including the Civil Rights movement, World War I and Native Americans. I hope you enjoy discovering new information about American history through reading the works of this author.
Not reading much? This blog’s for you. A short list of short reading. Four of my favorites. Plus digital magazines and comics.
The Arrival by Shaun Tan: no words, all ages; beauty in small things; immigration
Point Your Face at This: Drawings by Demetri Martin: clever; few words.
Quotations for All Occasions: lots to think about without having to read much.
Happy reading, my friends!
(Thanks to my colleague Matt M. for modeling the art of brevity.)
- Where is it? Geographers refer to absolute locations (like a street address or latitude/longitude coordinates) and relative locations, which show the relationships between places (for example, Vancouver, WA is just north of Portland, OR).
- How far away is it from your home? This Travel Distance Calculator will help you find out.
- Are there physical features like mountains, rivers or deserts? What is the climate like? The Lands and Peoples encyclopedia includes an atlas with specialized maps, including natural vegetation, farmland, and climate data. If you aren’t at the Multnomah County Library, you’ll need to log in to the encyclopedia with your library card number and PIN.
- What are the traditions of the people who live there? Culturegrams is a great resource to learn more about the customs and lifestyles of people around the world. You’ll need your library card number and PIN to use it.
- How do people use the land? National Geographic’s Map Maker Interactive lets you create a map of your own. Choose to include features like land cover (crops) or human impact on the environment.
- Where do most people live and why? This video will help you understand why certain areas are more commonly settled.
- How do people travel to the country? How do they get around when they are there? When researching a country in the World Factbook, find the transportation section, which highlights roads, airports and railways.
- Does the country export goods to other places? What goods does it import? At the Atlas of Economic Complexity, you can type in questions such as “What did Canada export in 2013?”
- Why might people come to or leave a place? This list of human migrations throughout history will help you understand why such movements occur.
- How is the country similar to its neighbors (language, traditions, etc.)? At NationMaster, you can compare statistics on two countries or even two regions.
- Are there political divisions (states, provinces, etc.)? Find this information in the World Factbook in the government section.
Not finding what you need here? Contact a librarian for more help.
Have you ever opened a book and immediately knew that you wouldn’t put it down until you turned the last page?
That is exactly how I feel everytime that I open a book by Swedish author Henning Mankell. His Wallander series pulled me in first - though called ‘mysteries’, the books are really about social justice and life told through the eyes of passionate detective Kurt Wallander. At one point Wallander says he deplores that fact that police officers carry guns and use them. ‘Are we turning into a violent society?’, he wonders.
In Faceless Killers, when a dying woman whispers a word in his ear that sounds like 'foreigner', Wallander is angered by how quickly violent prejudice ( even in his own department) builds against migrant workers. But then he has to confront his own prejudice when his daughter Linda dates a Syrian doctor.
Mankell was also extremely interested in Africa, spending part of his life there. Several of his non-Wallander books are set there. One of my favorites, Kennedy's Brain, deals with the AIDs epidemic and those who take advantage of the misery of others.
I may never get to Africa or to Sweden, but because of Henning Mankell's books, I also can feel what it is like to also have one foot in the sand, one foot in the snow.