Monday, May 16, 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

Spoiler Alert: There is no place called Little Dribbling.

Bill Bryson hits up plenty of other offbeat and just plain odd locales in his latest travelogue, though. Whether he’s railing against greedy real estate moguls who want to develop pristine countryside, reporting on the prevalence of cow attacks in the UK, or simply relating his misadventures ordering fast food, a new book by Bryson is always worth reading.

It’s been twenty years since Notes from a Small Island, his first book about touring Great Britain, was published. Since then, the world has changed. The Internet and the Great Recession have altered life everywhere – even in Merry Olde England. Bryson tells us about the loss of Old World charm in his habitually grumpy way. But, even if the old seaside resort town of Bognor Regis isn’t what it once was, Bryson has a good story about how it got its name.
Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp
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Monday, May 2, 2016

The Guest Room: a Novel by Chris Bohjalian

The Guest Room is a poignant novel that offers insight into the dark world of human trafficking, the complicated nature of human relationships, and the basics that drive human nature. The story, which reads like a crime thriller, makes one think about how quickly a bad decision, perhaps even a decision you weren’t completely involved in, can derail your life.          

 Richard Chapman and his wife open their home for, what they anticipate, will be a run-of-the-mill bachelor party. The night is anything but ordinary; however, ending with two dead Russian bodyguards on Richard’s living room floor and two Russian women on the run. How does Richard explain this to his wife and young daughter? What will his conservative employer think? How about his neighbors and friends? This multi-layered book offers suspense and intrigue and stirs heartfelt emotion. The numerous twists and turns along the way lead to a shocking ending. This book is not for the faint of heart, but would lead to interesting and thought-provoking questions for book clubs. 

Reviewed by Jennifer Harden
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