The Lennoxville Library’s incredible volunteers know books. Here are some of their recommendations.
From Donna Berwick: The Hangman’s Daughter series by Oliver Potzsch. “About the daughter of Hangman in Bavaria in 1659. This is semi biographical as the author is descended from the Kuisl family. The man also has a great deal of current medical knowledge.
“The family are also considered pariahs. Living outside of town and collecting garbage when not on the job. Assigned to torture a witch whom he believes is innocent, the hangman, his daughter and the local doctor go on a hunt for the real killer. Fascinating reading.”
At the biweekly Books and Brown Bags lunch gatherings (now on summer hiatus), readers tout their favorites. From Muriel Fitzsimmons, some of the books they’ve enjoyed:
• Travel Books by Bill Bryson, who writes with humour and includes a lot of historical material about the country or area he is writing about. We liked The Sunburnt Land about Australia.
• I liked the novel by Susan Isaacs titled As Husbands Go. It’s a mystery with a difference. Suzie, the lovely, fashion-plate mom, solves the murder of her husband.
• An excellent writer, Donna Morrissey, wrote Sylvanus Now, a story about Newfoundland.
• The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton was enjoyed. It is a historical novel set in New Zealand. It won the Mann Booker prize.
• A thriller called Inferno by Dan Brown was enjoyed.
• A delightful novel called My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget Asher was great fun.
And here’s a cult classic I enjoyed, that’s just been acquired by the Lennoxville Library. It’s nerd heroes Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s beloved Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophesies Of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990, re-issued in paperback in 2006). That’s “nice” as in 100 per cent true. She’s the only real prophet the world has ever known.
Nutter even predicted that her book would be published, and that she would sell zero copies, which would leave the world ignorant of her prophesies and powers. But she got a freebie for her descendants, tasked with tracking pre-ordained history.
If you can make fun of the Apocalypse, this book is for you. Because the world is scheduled to end next Saturday, just before dinner.
Except the Devil’s plans are in some disarray. Hell has lost the Antichrist, who was accidentally given to a British accountant and a housewife to raise. Little Damien was supposed to replace the newborn of a worldly and self-centred American diplomat and his spouse, but the Satanists got their wires crossed at the birthing hospital.
The wrong parents have settled on Adam as a name, instead of, say, Wormwood. That last one just didn’t have the right ring, the proud dad thought when the suggestion was planted. And the pair quietly disappeared into smalltown UK, installing proper values into their young’un.
Still, endless power can corrupt. Adam could turn to the dark side.
In the present day, two immortals — one from Heaven, the other fallen — are having a forbidden chat. The demon hopes to convince the angel to help stop the Apocalypse, forestalling the nirvana that will follow for those who are saved.
Perfection has its downside. Consider that all but two decent musicians belong to Hell: “Two. Elgar and Liszt. That’s all. We’ve got the rest. Beethoven, Brahms, all the Bachs, Mozart, the lot. Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?”
The angel winces. The demon senses he may have an ally.
Both have been on Earth since the beginning of time, and some of the good things in human life have rubbed off on them. Like sleep, adorable little French bistros, and bagels and cream cheese.
It all comes down to this forbidden alliance, and to the great-great-great-etc.-granddaughter of Agnes Nutter. Frothy fun.
BOOK ENDS: Do you want to recommend a Lennoxville Library book for this column? Email ebjourno at gmail.com , or leave a note at the front desk.
– Eleanor Brown, May 9, 2014