Lives and Deaths in Fiction

Cathy’s Hidden Gems features favorites & lesser known selections from the fiction shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (2017) starts with an interesting premise. Before you even begin the 866 pages, you get the gist on the inside cover: Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons … More Lives and Deaths in Fiction

After the War – Vietnam Veterans Fiction

Cathy’s Hidden Gems features favorites & lesser known selections from the fiction shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library. I recently finished reading the excellent non-fiction book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (2016) by Sebastian Junger, which explores the longing for connection of those suffering from PTSD, especially today’s veterans. The following challenges faced by Vietnam veterans and their … More After the War – Vietnam Veterans Fiction

Behind Bars – Jailers and the Jailed

Cathy’s Hidden Gems features favorites & lesser known selections from the fiction shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library. In an interview with NPR, Piper Kerman says the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black is “…actually very closely derived from what’s in the book and from my own life. But there are other parts of the show which are … More Behind Bars – Jailers and the Jailed

It’s All About Me: Fictional Autobiographies

Cathy’s Hidden Gems features favorites & lesser known selections from the fiction shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library. The fictional memoir Robinson Cruso by Daniel Defoe was controversial back 1719. Using the first person point of view, “Defoe crafted a story that isn’t nonfiction, yet feels as if it could be,” said Danny Heitman in the Wall Street Journal . … More It’s All About Me: Fictional Autobiographies

On The Spectrum: Autism in Fiction

Cathy’s Hidden Gems features favorites & lesser known selections from the fiction shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, now a Broadway play based on Mark Haddon’s book of the same name (2003), remains one of the best fictional accounts (at a time when many of us were still uneducated about … More On The Spectrum: Autism in Fiction

Climb Every Mountain

Fans of hiking and mountain climbing will enjoy these hidden gems. Have you read and seen Wild by Cheryl Strayed? The film is a great adaptation. In Anita Shreve‘s A Change in Altitude (2009), newlyweds Margaret, a photojournalist, and Patrick, a new doctor at the Nairobi Hospital, experience altitude and attitude adjustments as part of a climbing party … More Climb Every Mountain

Immigrant Fiction – Arrivals from Eastern Europe/Russia

Landing in both England and America over the last two centuries, from Russia, Albania, Hungary, Ukraine, these parents and grandparents have stories that are ready to be brought to light. A darkly comic novel with quirky characters,  A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (2005) is set in England. He has it all worked out. She … More Immigrant Fiction – Arrivals from Eastern Europe/Russia

Feasting on Fiction – Novels with Recipes

Cathy’s Hidden Gems features favorites & lesser known selections from the fiction shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library. By Cathy Okhuysen. In her debut 2013 novel, Recipe Box, Sandra Lee , host of shows on the Food Network and HGTV and author of many cookbooks, tells the story of a grandmother’s recipe box, which holds family history in the form of favorite … More Feasting on Fiction – Novels with Recipes

Letters from the War – Mothers, Brothers & Lovers

Cathy’s Hidden Gems features favorites & lesser known selections from the fiction shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library. By Cathy Okhuysen. Geraldine Brooks gives a voice to the beloved absent father from Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1868),  Mr. March, in her 2006 Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name:  March. She does this in part through letters he writes … More Letters from the War – Mothers, Brothers & Lovers

The Home Place – Fiction from the Farmlands

Barr Family Farm – Rodelia, KY Continuously Farmed Since 1835 Learn more at barrfarmsky.com. One Thing Leads to Another – Hidden Gems on the Fiction Shelves of the Portsmouth Public Library by Cathy Okhuysen Wendell Berry, poet, environmentalist, essayist and novelist, has published over 40 books. The most recent, Distant Neighbors, encompassing his correspondence with Gary Snyder, … More The Home Place – Fiction from the Farmlands