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Growing Season by Sarah Frey

 This is an outstanding biography about a young entrepreneur from Southern Illinois who with a determination few have, built a multimillion dollar business that started with a small farm. This is her story about growing up on that poor farm. With a mind for math, when she was in her early twenties, she would make deals first and then figure out how to fulfill those deals through hard work.  I noticed the Frey farms sticker on the butternut squash I bought last week! I recommend this book!

Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

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  This is a book I didn't even know I had been waiting for! As usual Follett delivers the memorable characters, drama, and romance of long ago. In this prequel to his "Pillars of the Earth" we get to know how the tiny hamlet of Dreng's Ferry grew to become known as the town of Kingsbridge. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, I hope you will too, although you might need a pillow to support the book, it is quite the tome! 

Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie

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 Nori, a 4 year old biracial child of post WW II Japan, is left by her mother on the doorstep of her wealthy grandmother. She is banished to live in the attic and suffers other abuses at the hands of her grandmother until her half brother, who is a music prodigy, shows up. When her brother is away at school Nori is sold to a geisha house. An engaging story with an unexpected ending. 

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

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  This is a really interesting take on differing perspectives between the narrator and his Pakistani family and friends. They discuss subjects such as politics, religion, and immigration in America and how life is in Pakistan. Some have made a complete break and other cling to their homeland. Billed as a novel, this rings more like a memoir. 

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

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 I'm a fan of Kevin Kwan because his books are just plain fun to read. He doesn't disappoint in this story of the filthy rich Asians and their unabashed  consumerism. Full of name-dropping and fun little end notes explaining himself, the story moves right along as you follow the main character Lucie, about to make a horrible mistake by marrying the wrong man. It make you want to scream at her and say, "No, not that one!"  Enjoy.

Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals by Becky Mandelbaum

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Ariel's mom, Mona, runs an animal sanctuary outside a small town in Kansas. Ariel hasn't been back home in years but after she learns of a barn fire at the sanctuary, she makes the trip back home to see if she can help. A story about the family baggage we keep close, letting go, and going home again.   A good debut and a quick read.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

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 H ow much can true love endure? Can it endure alcoholism, mental illness, infidelity, cancer, disfigurement to name a few? Ask this question again after you read this engrossing novel. Very good.