In the Garden of Beasts

In the garden of beastsIn the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha.

At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the "New Germany," she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home.

Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler's true character and ruthless ambition. Read a sample.

Unbroken

book jacket for unbrokenUnbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. Read a sample.

Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Scott McCloud, a twelve-time Harvey and Eisner Award nominee, uses a comic book to explain and analyze the medium of comic books themselves, showing how words, lines, colors, symbols, panels and pictures all come together to create a unique and one-of-a-kind storytelling experience. Looking back at the 3000 year history of the art form, McCloud shows how this unique genre is just as important and valid as film and prose in his own funny and profound manner.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

They knew their love couldn't last, but they gave it their best shot, anyway. Two teens try to make love work in 1986, struggling to stay together over the course of one school year. Read a sample.

After the War is Over

After the War is Over: A Novel by Jennifer Robson

After four years as a military nurse, Charlotte Brown is ready to leave behind the devastation of the Great War. The daughter of a vicar, she has always been determined to dedicate her life to helping others. Moving to busy Liverpool, she throws herself into her work with those most in need, only tearing herself away for the lively dinners she enjoys with the women at her boarding house. Just as Charlotte begins to settle into her new circumstances, two messages arrive that will change her life. Read a Sample.