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Martine’s Must-Reads, March 2021


1- When The Apricots Bloom By Gina Wilkinson 

Inspired by her own experiences stationed in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein’s rule, former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson’s evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium.

At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the Mukhabarat – the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenage son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own. 

Awesome!! This is a really great book. I recommend it to all readers. It is very interesting and educational. Everyone should read it. 


2- The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam By Barbara W. Tuchman 

Drawing on a comprehensive array of examples, from Montezuma’s senseless surrender of his empire in 1520 to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Barbara W. Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit by government of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives. In brilliant detail, Tuchman illuminates four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly: the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by the Renaissance popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain’s George III, and the United States’ own persistent mistakes in Vietnam. Throughout The March of Folly, Tuchman’s incomparable talent for animating the people, places, and events of history is on spectacular display.

Recommended by one of our wonderful AAFSW volunteers, Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos 


3- Wonder by R. J. Palacio 

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.  

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated like an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. 

This is a children’s book that my son has read many times, and I definitely recommend it for any age children and also parents. If you have not yet read it please do. It is very heartwarming.


4- Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton 

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity—and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution… 

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest—until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary… 

A very good book recommended by one of our wonderful AAFSW volunteers, Carol Sparhawk. 


5- IT by Stephen King

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them to reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers. 

Recommended by one of our fantastic AAFSW volunteers, Sarah McKee.