What to Read in January 2018: 6 Short Book Reviews | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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What to Read in January 2018: 6 Short Book Reviews

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For the first (and coldest) month of the year, here are some books to help pass the dark hours, warm your soul, and feed your mind.

The Train Ride to Bucharest

Lucia Chericiu
Sheep Meadow Press, 2017
$19.95



Dutchess Community College professor of English Lucia Chericiu's latest collection of poetry transports readers to other times and nostalgic places. Packed with over 100 poems, the Romanian-born poet's latest book is set up into sections that tell tales of childhood memories and friends who have passed on. Trips from Bucharest to America are referenced, as are universal experiences of parental love and self-doubt. Buy the book from our local partner, Oblong Books & Music.

Perpetuating Trouble

Chris Orcutt
Have Pen, Will Travel, 2017, $14.95

Chris Orcutt's witty memoir sheds light into the trials and tribulations of being a writer. Beginning with Orcutt as a teenager peering out his the window in his Millbrook home fascinated by a UFO, the opening chapter quickly jumps to the day he picks up two hitchhiking "alien girls," who inspire and encourage Orcutt to write this memoir. Written with candidness and a sense of self reflection, Perpetuating Trouble is an ideal read for any aspiring writer or individual desiring an inside look into the career. Buy the book from our local partner, Oblong Books & Music.

The Ballad of Sara and Thor

Andrew McCarron
Station Hill, 2017, $12.95

This novella begins with the declarative statement "Thor Wilson murdered Sara James." Told in the first person, McCarron's prose brings the story of Sara's death to life. Murder, suspense, and the coming-of age-college experience are intertwined. Set on a college campus in Upstate New York, eerily reminiscent of Bard College, this book is a quick, deep read. Buy the book from our local partner, Oblong Books & Music.

Edinburgh Twilight

Carole Lawrence
Thomas & Mercer, 2017, $10.79

The Chronogram Literary Fiction Award winner's latest mystery novel shows Edinburgh at the turn of the 19th century. The first installment in the Ian Hamilton Mystery series, Edinburgh Twilight follows orphan Hamilton as he investigates a strangling case that occurred in Holyrood Park. The culprit becomes known as the "Holyrood Strangler" as the body count rises and Hamilton must enlist the help of his aunt and George Pearson, a crime-fascinated librarian, to solve the case. Buy the book from our local partner, Oblong Books & Music.

Along the Valley Line: The Story of the Connecticut Valley Railroad

Max R. Miller
Wesleyan University Press, 2017, $24.95

The Connecticut Valley Railroad was completed in 1871. Piecing together historical documents, photos, and vignettes, Miller tells the story of the inspiration for the railroad, its operational details, and the changing transportation landscape. Twenty-two miles of the line are now run as a tourist railroad. A Valley Railroad veteran serving as a vice president and director of the line, Miller's passion for trains shines through in this historical read. Buy the book from our local partner, Oblong Books & Music.

Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer

Leslie Peter Wulff
Night Shade Books, 2017, $15.99

New Paltz-based Wulff's debut fantasy novel follows teen angst-ridden Walt as he moves in with his eccentric Uncle Brucker. Brucker trains Walt on the secret world of rats: how to kill them, the history of when they ruled the world, and the current outer dimensions in which they hide waiting to gain what is rightfully theirs. Once Brucker is taken on a governmental mission and fails to return, Walt travels to Rat Land to save him. An inspiring story of an adolescent and a brilliant weirdo and their quest to defeat and understand the most conventionally hated animal. Buy the book from our local partner, Oblong Books & Music.


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