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<img src="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/files/santacruz/2012_Summer_Newsletter_... width="100" height="130" align="right">These recommendations were published in our <a href="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/2012-summer-newsletter">2012 Summer Newsletter</a>.
This is a story about personal languages: how we create them and miscommunicate them. Diffenbaugh’s lovely, clear-eyed prose gives us a story of the small things that shape our lives, the decisions that haunt us, and how we slowly, often painfully, yet worthily, begin to learn the languages of others.
This smart and compelling novel gave me a glimpse into a fascinating element of World War II—a group of young, seemingly ordinary women were highly trained in firearms, fighting, code breaking and parachuting, and then sent to work undercover in occupied Europe. Mawer’s fictional account follows one of these women, Marian Sutro, as she navigates a world of danger and intrigue. A highly realistic and well-researched novel that is addictive from first word to last.
Silver Sparrow is a quiet, impactful book, an almost meld of the writings of Alice Walker and Barbara Kingsolver. Set in Atlanta in the 1980s, it tells the story of Dana, the secret preteen daughter of James, who is married and has another family across town. Dana struggles with her shame and anger when she realizes that she is an illegitimate daughter. Dana becomes obsessed with her half-sister Chaurisse, who has no idea that Dana and her mother exist. And then one day, Dana and Chaurisse’s paths cross, and the secrets begin to unravel. The result is a disquieting novel that examines the bonds and the obligations that make up a family.
Get willingly lost in the Michigan backwoods as you join 16-year-old Margo Crane on her river odyssey. Running away from the violent death of her father at the hands of her extended family, she is forced to survive in the wild on her wits and her will. Yet enduring the harshness of the natural world is less difficult than surviving the intentions of some of the people she encounters. She’s a complex character, unashamedly sexual and yet somehow innocent, and her personal growth and self-realization make the novel a powerful piece of American literature.