Linda Sullivan recommends burned books and tobacco

Susan EspirituOur Town Readers

I enjoy reading historical fiction, because the stories provide an engaging reading experience combined with a unique way of learning about factual historical events with a backdrop of an entertaining fictional narrative.

Two of my rather ancient favorites are The Good Earth, by Pulitzer Prize novelist, Pearl S. Buck, that dramatizes family life in a Chinese village and Madeleine L Engle’s The Other Side of the Sun, a novel set in the American south after the Civil War.

Linda Sullivan, our book whisperer, brings more current recommendations from authors Brianna Labuskes and Adele Myers’ historical fiction writings.

Linda’s first book for this week is The Librarian of Burned Books by Brianna Labuskes.

Brianna Labuskes is an American author of crime thrillers and historical romance novels who has worked as an editor for both national media companies as well as small-town newspapers.

The Librarian of Burned Books is a novel Inspired by the fascinating real story of a little-known World War II-era group of three women whose fates intertwine and who believe in the power of books.

Yesterday I wrote about our Girl Scouts delivering thousands of cookie boxes to our military.

Today, Linda asks us, “Do you know about the Armed Service Editions, portable paperbacks shipped to soldiers overseas during WWII. These books were treasured by our service men.”

Did they get to keep them and did the practice continue? We find out more to this story in the book.

Linda reminds us: “We are told often that history will repeat itself. Well…maybe not repeat exactly, but if we aren’t paying attention, it will rhyme. This story reminds us to pay attention & take action.”

Linda couldn’t resist sharing a quote from the book sending me straight to the book.

Few people have to watch their countries die. I have had that dubious privilege, and I can tell you that it comes not as a rebel shout but as a sly whisper. The cracks creep in, insidious as anything I’ve ever seen. It can start with rumblings about an unreliable press and rumors about political enemies that will threaten your family, your children. It can deepen with each disdainful remark about science and art and literature in a pub on a Friday night. It comes cloaked in patriotism and love of country, and uses that as armor against any criticism.

Linda says The Librarian of Burned Books is a definite must read.

Linda’s second book for this week is The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers, which captured Linda’s attention because of the title, Tobacco.

Myers grew up in North Carolina, the tobacco state known as one of the centers of the U.S. tobacco industry as every stage of production of tobacco is located in North Carolina and thus inspired the theme of the history side of the book.

Why did the title capture Linda’s attention? She says, “Tobacco! I come from a family of tobacco farmers, and money from raising tobacco provided many extras in my life including my college education. I had to read this one, and the story didn’t disappoint.”

Linda’s teaser sets it up: “It is set in 1946 North Carolina. You’ll meet Maddie, a young seamstress, who designs and sews gorgeous gowns for the wealthy ‘Bright Leaf Tobacco’ wives. As she grows closer to these women, she’ll discover secrets that force her to make hard choices.”

Linda praises Myers images, “If you like fashion, this one is for you, too. Myers’ descriptions are beautiful.”

Remember: Knox County Online Library. My hold list if filling up with Linda’s recommendations with an audio and kindle book going at the same time!

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