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Friday, October 27, 2017

5 Books I Want to Read: 1950s

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2878. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing.

The 1950s is an era that has always fascinated me. The post WW2 prosperity and growth. My parents graduated from high school in the 50s. I watched television shows like Happy Days when I was a teenager and movies like Back to the Future. My dad taught me how to Jitterbug before I went to my first dance. I loved the full skirts and sweater look. So it's probably not surprising that several books with a 50s setting popped up in my wish list as I was looking through it this month.

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Brighton Belle by Sara Sheridan

1951. Brighton. With the war over and the Nazis brought to justice at Nuremberg, Mirabelle Bevan (Secret Service, retired) thinks her skills are no longer required. After her lover's death she retires to the seaside to put the past behind her and takes a job at a debt collection agency run by the charismatic Big Ben McGuigan. But when the case of Romana Laszlo - a pregnant Hungarian refugee - comes in, Mirabelle soon discovers that her specialist knowledge is vital. With enthusiastic assistance from insurance clerk Vesta Churchill, they follow a mysterious trail of gold sovereigns and corpses that only they can unravel.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Piedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries - memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense - one that leaves us shaken and changed.

The Summer the Wind Whispered My Name by Don Locke

In 1959, eight-year-old Davy Connors leads an idyllic life in his small Midwestern neighborhood. But when a black family moves in to the all-white community, an undercurrent of racism is exposed.

As the issue draws battle lines between friends and family, Davy finds his sympathy for the new family challenged by his father’s bigotry. Can the fragmented community overcome its prejudices and experience true change and healing?

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín's sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself. Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

Saturday's Child by Ruth Hamilton

Behind closed doors everyone has a secret...

It was 1950. Magsy O’Gara, her husband killed in the war, plodded through her daily routine as a hospital cleaner, dedicating all her spare time to Beth, her genius daughter. Pursued by men who admired her great beauty, she was determined to remain a widow. Nothing was to divert her from her gruelling schedule. Her goal was simple: Beth would become a doctor.

Beth, however, wanted a normal life – a brother, a sister, a stepfather who might make her wonderful mother happy. So Beth was delighted when a personable man began to court Magsy.

Across, the road at number 1, Nellie Hulme, trapped in a world of silence, watched the other two Saturday girls. Deaf since infancy, Nellie had a secret so huge that it amused her. What would folk have thought had they known her true position in life? And why did she ‘hear’ in her dreams?

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What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

4 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read Brooklyn since I saw the movie...but Brighton Belle looks good, too.

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  2. Thank you for some great suggestions

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  3. Brooklyn is on my list. I just read Manhattan Beach - it takes place in the 40's during WW2 but I loved it. Also a Tree Grows in Brooklyn? I know it's not the 50's but ::sigh:: so wonderful/

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