Hope And Other Dangerous Pursuits   Laila Lalami   This is one of  my favorite books of 2011.    Two men, two women, and three children try to escape unemployment, domestic violence, shame, and poverty by crossing the Mediterranean at the Straits of Gibraltar between Tangier and Spain.  This is the story of what happened before they left, during the crossing and after.  I think Ms. Lalami is one of the best storytellers I ve ever read.  I will definitely be reading this one again and again.

Country Place  Ann Petry   Readers get to see below the surface of a small  Connecticut town shortly after WWII.  I liked the characters and wanted to find out what happened to them even though the story reminded me of Peyton Place or a soap opera.

The Great Train Robbery  Michael Crichton  This is the story of a gang of thieves and their elaborate plan to steal a payroll in nineteenth century England.

“Ark of Bones”  by Henry Dumas is a surreal short story about how the bones of African Americans and others killed by hate and violence are carefully gathered up and stored in a huge, mysterious ark.

A War Of Gifts  Orson Scott Card     If you like the character Ender Wiggin, you may enjoy this book.  This novella is a story about the children at the Battle School when Ender was a child.

Anything We Love Can Be Saved:  A Writer’s Activism  Alice Walker  Essays about love and life.

Elephants Can Remember  Agatha Christie  A Hercule Poirot who done it.

Xenocide   Orson Scott Card  Ender is middle-aged.  He and the planet Lusitania face a difficult moral dilemma.

The Street  Ann Petry  Written in 1946, it is a tragedy about an African American woman with an ironic twist.

Pirate Latitudes  Michael Crichton  Taken off his computer after his death, this book is full of sex, violence, and humor.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream  William Shakespeare  This is a play within a play about the serendipitous nature of love.

Journey To The Center Of The Earth   Jules Verne

The Haunted Hamburger And Other Ghostly Tales  David LaRochelle

Black Duck  Janet Taylor Lisle

The Secret Garden   Frances Hodgson Burnett

Escape To Witch Mountain   Alexander Key

Harry Potter  J.K. Rowling   (I/We read all of them)

Ben and Me  Robert Lawson

From Tortall And Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce.  “Student of Ostriches,” “Elder Brother,” “The Hidden Girl,” “Time of Proving,”and “Mimic.”

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