Martine’s Must-Reads January 2021

Looking for something to read? Try one of these suggestions from our BookRoom chair, Martine!


1-The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War  STEPHEN PULEO 

A Turning Point in American History, the Beating of U.S. Senator Charles Sumner and the Beginning of the War Over Slavery. Early in the afternoon of May 22, 1856, ardent pro-slavery Congressman Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina strode into the United States Senate Chamber in Washington, D.C., and began beating renowned anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner with a gold-topped walking cane. Brooks struck again and again. More than thirty times across Sumner’s head, face, and shoulders—until his cane splintered into pieces and the helpless Massachusetts senator, having nearly wrenched his desk from its fixed base, lay unconscious and covered in blood. It was a retaliatory attack. 

I definitely recommend this book because of what just happened on January 6 at the Capitol. One of the great U.S. History writers was interviewed and she mentioned this book and recommended it. 


2- Big Nate: The Gerbil Ate My Homework by LINCOLN PEIRCE

You’ve got to know where you stand to survive sixth grade, and Nate Wright’s found the perfect spot: right next to Sherman, the class gerbil. Can Nate’s furry friend bail him out of his latest homework jam with Mrs. Godfrey? Or will there be a paper trail leading straight to detention? Nate has no answers, but plenty of ideas. 

I recommend this comic book because my younger son who is in 6th grade is a fan of Big Nate’s books. He is always giggling when reading it after class. I think it is great for him and for any elementary and middle schoolers, especially after their virtual classes. 


3- One Fine Day: Overcoming Adversity and Embracing the New Normal with Grace and Gratitude by SAMEER BHIDE

One fine day, unimaginable tragedy happened to Sameer Bhide. His entire life came crashing down, starting with a life-changing, debilitating stroke, the loss of work, and a divorce. One Fine Day is the amazing story of his struggle to come back from the brink with the help of a diverse community of friends and caretakers, as well as an integration of Western medicine with Eastern holistic care. Sameer’s example of positivity, gratitude, and grace will help you accept a new normal- whatever it may be- as a gift. In sharing his personal story, experiences, ideas, approached, and suggestions, he hopes One Fine Day will help readers:

-build resilience to face any life change or adversity

-find positivity, express gratitude, and build perseverance in the healing process

-look at the unexpected benefits and find possibilities in any life change

-adjust to a new life that may not have been chosen

-supplement cutting-edge Western medicine with holistic Eastern medicine and care

I think this book will help lots of readers to cope with whatever difficulties they may be going through, especially during this current time of craziness.


4- The Things We Cannot Say By KELLY KIMMER

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century. 

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. 

This book is very interesting as it takes you somewhere else whenever you are reading it. It’s a lovely book I think you will enjoy.


5- The Secrets We Keep: A gripping emotional page turner By KATE HEWITT

When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children, it is an escape. The rental house may be a bit small – but it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…

However, their isolation is disrupted by the family from the big house next door. Three children and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems determined to invite Tessa into their lives.

Rebecca, however, is harbouring a dark secret. And when it becomes too much for her to bear, Tessa seems to be the only person she can turn to.

But as powerful bonds form between the two families, choices will be made that can never be undone. And as the summer comes to an end, nothing can keep everyone safe. And one family will pay the ultimate price…

This is a good novel recommended by a friend who enjoyed it and I think you will like it, too.