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Original Essays | August 20, 2014

Julie Schumacher: IMG Dear Professor Fitger



Saint Paul, August 2014 Dear Professor Fitger, I've been asked to say a few words about you for Powells.com. Having dreamed you up with a ball-point... Continue »
  1. $16.07 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Dear Committee Members

    Julie Schumacher 9780385538138

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Customer Comments

Rachel Coker has commented on (58) products.

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
Love and Treasure

Rachel Coker, August 11, 2014

This book could be described in several ways: It's historical fiction. It's a romance novel. It's a Holocaust book. In this case, happily, the book is more than the sum of its parts. It's all of those things, blended together in a satisfying, challenging package. Ayelet Waldman does a phenomenal job taking her reader inside not only the lives but even the minds of a well-meaning Army officer in post-war Austria, a modern-day American Jewish woman contemplating the wreck of her marriage and a rebellious suffragette in 1913 Budapest. The item linking their stories -- a beautiful jeweled locket -- gives Waldman room to explore the famous Hungarian Gold Train and other aspects of WWII history in a surprisingly personal way. Even if you have read widely about the Holocaust, this book has something new to show you. It would be an excellent book club selection.
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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Rachel Coker, May 12, 2014

"We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" is complicated, smart and compelling. Its timeline is all mashed up, but the author does so with purpose rather than with irritating flourish. I don't want to say too much about the plot for fear of giving away a key revelation about the book. I will say that if you're interested in scientific research, particularly in psychology, this novel will have added appeal. Note to readers who are looking at this book because they've read Karen Joy Fowler's "Jane Austen Book Club:" This novel operates at another level entirely. It's far more challenging and deep. I enjoyed the earlier book as a fine bit of chick lit, pretty good but by no means life-changing. This book is real literature.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Rachel Coker, April 4, 2014

Such fun! This fantastic novel blends crime, comedy and a spin through 20th century geopolitics. It reminded me a bit of the Woody Allen movie "Zelig" combined with the storytelling concept that makes "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" work. Bright writing and a clever plot held my attention all the way through. Highly recommended.
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Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1) by Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1)

Rachel Coker, March 2, 2014

I love a good post-apocalyptic, dystopian teen drama. And if it features a female heroine who's both tough and smart? All the better. "Divergent" hits a literary sweet spot for me, just as "The Hunger Games" and "The Age of Miracles" did before it. I'd say Veronica Roth's "Divergent" is not quite as smart as Karen Thompson Walker's "Miracles" and does not represent quite as fully formed a vision as "The Hunger Games," but it's absolutely absorbing. Roth provides a good mix of philosophy, violence and cultural commentary. She also does an admirable job describing a future Chicago in which Lake Michigan is a marsh, emergency generators keep the elevators running at the Hancock Center and the Navy Pier is a wasteland. I finished "Divergent" in a couple of days, skipping most of a night's sleep so I could find out what would happen. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in this series.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You

Rachel Coker, February 12, 2014

"Me Before You" is one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let go. I blame this novel for a terrible night's sleep, and by that I mean that I stayed up until 3 a.m. so I could see what was going to happen to the two main characters.

Moyes' novel challenges you to think more deeply about disability, what makes life worth living, romantic love and physician-assisted suicide. And, somehow, even with all that packed in, it's never preachy or boring. This would make an excellent book club selection. I assume a movie is in the works or will be soon.
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