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February 23, 2007 Edition

The River Why, by David James Duncan, read by Dick Hill

Since its publication in the 80’s, this has become a coming-of-age classic for those who value fishing. Gus’s pursuit of steelhead trout in the Pacific Northwest cloaks his quest for the meaning of life, and while he is diligent about the fish, it takes a while before he realizes there’s more to life. Beautifully written, full of wisdom and subtle (and not so subtle) humor, this is a story to be savored.

The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre, by Dominic Smith, read by Stephen Hoye

Ten years after Daguerre’s invention, photography, changed the world, Daguerre begins suffering from the effects of the mercury used to set the photo plates. He becomes convinced that the world will end in a year, and he makes a list of 10 subjects that he must photograph before then. One of them is a woman whom he’s not seen in nearly half a century, and he enlists the help of the poet Baudelaire in finding her. Set against the turbulence of Paris in 1847, this is a beautiful look at an unrequited love through the prism of an unraveling mind.

The Keep, by Jennifer Egan, read by Jeff Gurner and Geneva Carr

Hailed for its fiendishly clever plot, this is the story of two adult cousins haunted by a teenage prank, a castle under renovation somewhere in Europe, and technology addiction. Or perhaps it is about Ray, the prison inmate trying to impress his writing teacher with a good gothic story. The two plots mean readers have to stay alert to catch the nuances, but it’s all worth it when Egan brings the two stories together in a stunning conclusion.

The Attack, by Yasmina Khadra, read by Stefan Rudnicki

What turns someone - son, daughter, husband, wife – into a suicide bomber? Arab-Israeli Amin Jaafari finds himself caught in the question after his wife’s body is found in the ruins of a local restaurant with evidence pointing to her as the bomber. He cannot believe it: they shared a comfortable, secular life in Israel, where his career as a surgeon helped them assimilate into Israeli society. Now, she is gone and the police are interrogating him as a collaborator. His quest to understand his wife leads him to uncover her secret life, and the discovery that he never really knew her at all.

The Terra-Cotta Dog, by Andrea Camilleri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli, read by Grover Gardner

Inspector Montalbano is confronted with two mysteries to solve at once: who is caching guns in the mountain cave, and, who are the two young lovers whose bodies have been entombed there since World War II, watched over by a terra-cotta dog? Stationed in Sicily, home of the mafia, Montalbano knows how to walk that fine line between law and crime and come out alive on the other end with everyone satisfied. He’s also a food lover extraordinaire, which means readers get a culinary, cultural, and geographical tour of Sicily in this internationally popular mystery.

The House in Amalfi, by Elizabeth Adler, read by Carrington MacDuffie

When Lamour Harrington was 17, her beloved father died in a boating accident in Italy. Now, widowed and looking for solace, she returns to the cottage on the Amalfi coast she had shared with her father during her happiest years. But what she finds are questions about her father’s death, several people who want to keep her in the dark, and not one, but two suitors.

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