“The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another” by Cindy Champnella
Non-fiction memoir; published 2003
Drawn to the photo of a forlorn-looking Chinese girl named Lou Jiao on a waiting child web site, Cindy Champnella and her husband decide to adopt again. However, their previous adoptive experience does not prepare them for the dynamic, exhausting energy of the traumatized four-year-old Lou Jiao, whom they name Jaclyn. While adjusting to family life, Jaclyn struggles with relentless grief for Xiao Mei Mei, a young boy she cared for at her Chinese orphanage and who remains there in harsh conditions. The exhausted and financially strained Champnellas face a choice: begin a rescue mission and attempt a nearly impossible identified adoption of Xiao Mei Mei, or live with the knowledge of a young boy’s suffering and face their daughter’s continued grief. This book is an inspirational and honest exploration of older child adoption. Keep the tissue box handy as you read this emotional, uplifting story.
Picked by: Betsy Romeo
“Disquiet” by Julia Leigh
Fiction; published 2008
What this author does in this gorgeously written short novel is nothing short of astounding. This is the creepy story of an abused mother returning to her childhood chateau in France. It details her struggle to understand the behavior of her sister-in-law after the birth of a stillborn child and also examines her own abusive marriage. You will read this once for the story and again to appreciate the author’s use of language and structure. This is a good bet for book groups.
Picked by: Robin Beerbower
“The Man Who Loved Books Too Much” by Allison Hover Bartlett
Non-fiction; published 2009
Approaching her true crime story from both ends, the author gives readers a view into the mind of John Gilkey, who stole over $100,000 worth of rare books from dealers and libraries. She also lets us get to know Ken Sanders, the Salt Lake City book dealer who worked obsessively to stop Gilkey. This is not just a well-crafted true crime narrative. It has the added glamour of being set in the rarified world of scholars and connoisseurs. Anyone who loves books as physical objects will find this book a great read.
Picked by: Wendell Buck
“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
Fiction; published 2009
This wildly popular book shines a light on the lives of black Southern maids in the 1960s, where white households intimately involve servants who are also the focus of deep-seeded racism and distrust, and where the black servants are aware of the injustice, but trapped by necessity. It’s a vividly written, engaging story that offers extensive fodder for conversation.
Picked by: Sonja Somerville