Best seller lists are always a hit or miss group of books that may or may not have what is interesting to you. The lists just guarantee what is selling. This summer there have been two books that this reviewer highly recommends and yes they have been best sellers for weeks.
It is not often when a debut author writes a book that can speak to everyone. Delia Owens has done just that with Where the Crawdads Sing. Owens; a wildlife scientist intertwines her love of nature with a coming of age story and an unsolved mystery. Kya is the youngest in a disfunctional family living in the marshlands of North Carolina. One by one her family find their way out until Kya realizes she has to make it on her own. Her appreciation and then love of the wildife and fauna of the marsh helps her manage this life on her own. The small town outside the marsh drifts in and out of her life in good ways and bad. Nature lovers will enjoy the beautiful descriptions of the birds, insects, and other wildlife. The story of Kya's loneliness and yearing for love is a sad but thought provoking story that is beautifully written and deserves all the critical acclaim it has earned.
Delia Owens and her husband; Mark, have published several non-fiction works about their studies in Africa and from 1986 to 1997 the Owenses developed the North Luangwa Conservation Project (NLCP) in Zambia, a multidimensional approach to wildlife conservation and resource development. When Mark and Delia arrived in North Luangwa, more than 100,000 elephants and several thousand black rhinos had already been slaughtered by poachers in the Luangwa Valley; each year 1,000 elephants were still being killed in the "North Park" alone. By 1997, elephant poaching was controlled in North Luangwa. The Eye of the Elephant, details their efforts to reclaim the North Luangwa wilderness from commercial ivory and meat poachers. (http://www.owens-foundation.org/docs/biograph2.htm) The library has two of the owens' books in ebooks that can be found at this link.
There is a Florida connection to the most current book by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award author Colson Whitehead. The Nickel Boys is a fictionalized story of the horrors of state-run Dozier School for Boys in the Panhandle town of Marianna. It was not until University of South Florida archeaeology student began finding bodies in a neglected graveyard. The school closed in 2011 and the archaeology dig began soon after and is still on-going. Whitehead not only brings to light the torture and mismanagemnt of the school but he intertwines the racial injustice passed down from father to father to father in a never ending line of brutality. Sure to be on award short lists, The Nickel Boys is a chapter Floridians would like to forget but will not. For more information on the Dozier School for boys, The Tampa Tribune has up to date reporting.
Whitehead's award winning book the Underground Railroad and his other works can be found at this link. An informative interview with Colson Whitehead from CBS This Sunday Morning is found below.