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Sharon's Picks

The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544483873
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 5th, 2015

Think about it---build the first U.S. bomber plant from scratch, one that could produce one bomber per hour, and do it in record time. All those who opposed Hitler knew the need was great and the clock was ticking.

Here is the fascinating backstory of how, in a field east of Ypsilanti, Michigan, the Willow Run bomber plant was built and became the largest airplane factory in history and the linchpin in America's arsenal of democracy.  Baime presents an insightful blend of events giving equal time to the political, cultural and international forces of the time as well as to the personal dynamics of the individuals who rose to meet the formidable challenge.

A very interesting, informative book that at times is a real page-turner!


The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616204518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - December 2nd, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is an engaging novel about a cantankerous bookstore owner who prefers to be left alone but whose life is turned upside down by the appearance of an unexpected arrival.  Although I particularly enjoyed the author's descriptions of the inner workings of a bookstore, it is the artful mixture of humor, suspense & tenderness,along with a variety of appealing characters,that makes this story both moving and entertaining.

Angels of Detroit Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632863638
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - July 5th, 2016

Angels of Detroit    Christopher Hebert

Christopher Hebert’s remarkable intersecting stories of those who still “live” in what remains of a once thriving city is set just outside of Detroit's revitalized city center and midtown area. Deteriorating buildings hold secrets and desires. Vacant, dimly lit blocks remain a constant reminder of yesterday, frustration and loss.  

Built on the bones of Detroit’s history Hebert weaves an extraordinary fictional story of women and men who do what they can to retain or regain control of at least some part of their lives. Some make the best of what remains, others can not accept the loss. Throughout, the scarred physical landscape looms large as a decisive underlying influence in their decisions.

It’s a challenge to summarize this engaging,expansive,multi-character novel without revealing the plot but there is much to recommend. There’s an ease and clarity to Hebert’s writing and the characters’ voices ring believably true. He carefully builds the individual story lines and in unexpected ways gradually ties most together adding a sense of urgency and suspense to the story.  And for me, the Angels of the novel may be the female characters who with few exceptions are strong, resolute survivors. Perhaps these women, like the 2 women who stand side by side on the original seal of Detroit, represent the hope that the city will rise once again.

     “The seal in the middle of the flag represents the fire that destroyed the city in 1805.   

     Two women stand in the foreground while the city burns in the background.  The

     woman on the left weeps over the destruction, while the woman on the right consoles

     her by gesturing to a new city that will rise in its place.”