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Staff blog

Embrace the Ordinary

This week’s #FridayReads feature three titles that may look ordinary on the outside but contain extraordinary stories within. 

The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel

Set in rural Colorado during World War II, twenty-four year old Olivia Dunne finds herself in an unfortunate situation – she’s pregnant with an officer’s child.  To make an honest woman of his daughter, Livvy’s puritanical father arranges a marriage of convenience for her with a farmer named Ray Singleton.  Having to leave her passions and dreams behind, Livvy eventually embraces pastoral life and her relationship with Ray, who is devoted and loving towards his wife.  There are, however, times that Livvy suffers from disappointment and loneliness.  She eventually befriends Rose and Lorelei, Japanese-American sisters living at a nearby internment camp, and the three women quickly get involved with Germans from the nearby POW camp.  Based on actual events, Creel’s historical fiction is both informative and touching, confronting the power of love and trust.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Now middle-aged, Frank Drum reflects on the summer of his thirteenth year – the summer of death.  The year was 1961, and Frank lived in New Breman, Minnesota, a small town in the Minnesota River Valley.  The tragedies all started with the death of Frank’s friend Bobby Cole who was struck by an oncoming train.  No one knows if he fell, was pushed, or was standing on the tracks when the locomotive struck, but it was only the outset of four more deaths to follow.  Opening up long lost secrets of adultery and betrayal, everyone in New Bremen is affected and must come to terms with adversity.  Krueger’s standalone novel features a coming of age story that beautifully intertwines both mystery and meditation.  

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

During dinner at a London restaurant, climatologist Adam Kindered strikes up a conversation with Dr. Philip Wang, the gentleman sitting at the adjacent table.  When Dr. Wang leaves, Adam notices that he left his briefcase behind and sets out to return it.  Adam, who feels great about the future, quickly loses everything – his family, friends, home, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, and mobile phone – in a series of unfortunate events.  When Adam went to return Dr. Wang’s home, he stumbled upon the immunologist’s murder.  Now, as he is being sought after by the police and an assassin, Adam takes to the London underground until he figures out what happened and what to do.  Highlighting the underbelly of modern society, Ordinary Thunderstorms is a thrilling tale of fate and circumstance with tie-ins to corporate greed and big government.



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