Spencer Tracy is the subject of a new biography from Jamie Curtis and he made movies up to the time he died. Impressive, but not as impressive as the Saint of Cabora, who rose from an illegitimate upbringing and death in her sleep to become a healer extraordinaire and a saint.
These are just two of the 10 new April titles at Fust Community Library for island readers. Check it out.
'A Fierce Radiance'
By Lauren Belfer
In 1941, just days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, "Life" magazine photojournalist Claire Shipley is dispatched to the Rockefeller Institute in New York, where scientists are developing a new miracle drug: penicillin.
Having lost her young daughter to septicemia, Shipley has a personal interest in the story-and in the attractive Dr. James Stanton, who administers the antibiotic trials and whose mycologist sister, Tia, is on the verge of a breakthrough.
Featured Fust titles at a glance
"A Fierce Radiance' by Lauren Bilfer
"Citizens of London" by Lynne Olson
Da Vinci's Ghost" by Toby Lester
"Human Traces" by Sebastain Faulks
"Spencer Tracy: A Biography" by James Curtis
"The Drop" by Michael Connelly
"The House I Loved" by Tatiana de Rosnay
"The Hummingbirds Daughter" by Luis Alberto Urrea
"The Passage" by Justin Cronin
"The Time in Between" by Mara Dueas
However, complications soon arise in the form of Claire's estranged father and a pharmaceutical company owner who will stop at nothing to protect his financial interests.
'Citizens of London'
By Lynne Olson
In "Citizens of London," Lynne Olson has written a work of World War II history even more relevant and revealing than her acclaimed "Troublesome Young Men." Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant.
Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.
The three - Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe; Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR's Lend-Lease program in London; and Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain - formed close ties with Winston Churchill and were drawn into Churchill's official and personal circles. So intense were their relationships with the Churchills that they all became romantically involved with members of the prime minister's family: Harriman and Murrow with Churchill's daughter-in-law, Pamela, and Winant with his favorite daughter, Sarah.
Others were honorary "citizens of London" as well, including the gregarious, fiercely ambitious Dwight D. Eisenhower, an obscure general who, as the first commander of American forces in Britain, was determined to do everything in his power to make the alliance a success, and Tommy Hitchcock, a world-famous polo player and World War I fighter pilot who helped save the Allied bombing campaign against Germany.
Citizens of London, however, is more than just the story of these Americans and the world leaders they aided and influenced. It's an engrossing account of the transformative power of personal diplomacy and, above all, a rich, panoramic tale of two cities: Washington, D.C., a lazy Southern town slowly growing into a hub of international power, and London, a class-conscious capital transformed by the Blitz into a model of stoic grace under violent pressure and deprivation. Deeply human, brilliantly researched, and beautifully written, Citizens of London is a new triumph from an author swiftly becoming one of the finest in her field.
'Human Trace '
By Sebastain Faulks
Sixteen-year-old Jacques Rebire is living a humble life in rural France, studying butterflies and frogs by candlelight in his bedroom.
Across the Channel in England, the playful Thomas Midwinter, also 16, is enjoying a life of ease and is resigned to follow his father's wishes and pursue a career in medicine.
A fateful seaside meeting four years later sets the two young men on a profound course of friendship and discovery. They become pioneers in the burgeoning field of psychiatry.
But when a female patient at the doctors' Austrian sanatorium becomes dangerously ill, the two men's conflicting diagnosis threatens to divide them - and to undermine all their professional achievements. From the bestselling author of "Birdsong" comes this masterful novel that ventures to answer challenging questions of consciousness and science, and what it means to be human.
'Spencer Tracy: A Biography'
By James Curtis
"The best goddamned actor I've ever seen!"
- George M. Cohan
His full name was Spencer Bonaventure Tracy. He was called "The Gray Fox" by Frank Sinatra; other actors called him the "The Pope."
Spencer Tracy's image on-screen was that of a self-reliant man whose sense of rectitude toward others was matched by his sense of humor toward himself. Whether he was Father Flanagan of "Boys Town," Clarence Darrow of "Inherit the Wind," or the crippled war veteran in "Bad Day at Black Rock," Tracy was forever seen as a pillar of strength.
In his several comedic roles opposite Katharine Hepburn ("Woman of the Year" and "Adam's Rib" among them) or in "Father of the Bride" with Elizabeth Taylor, Tracy was the sort of regular American guy one could depend on.
Now James Curtis, acclaimed biographer of Preston Sturges ("Definitive" -Variety), James Whale, and W. C. Fields ("By far the fullest, fairest, and most touching account we have yet had. Or are likely to have" - Richard Schickel, The New York Times Book Review, cover review), gives us the life of one of the most revered screen actors of his generation.
Curtis writes of Tracy's distinguished career, his deep Catholicism, his devoted relationship to his wife, his drinking that got him into so much trouble, and the 26-year bond with his partner on-screen and off, Katharine Hepburn. Drawing on Tracy's personal papers and writing with the full cooperation of Tracy's daughter, Curtis tells the rich story of the brilliant but haunted man at the heart of the legend.
We see him from his boyhood in Milwaukee given over to Dominican nuns ("They drill that religion in you"); his years struggling in regional shows and stock (Tracy had a photographic memory and an instinct for inhabiting a character from within); acting opposite his future wife, Louise Treadwell; and marrying and having two children, their son, John, born deaf.
We see Tracy's success on Broadway, his turning out mostly forgettable programmers with the Fox Film Corp., and going to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and getting the kinds of roles that had eluded him in the past - a streetwise priest opposite Clark Gable in "San Francisco;" a screwball comedy, "Libeled Lady;" Kipling's classic of the sea, "Captains Courageous." Three years after arriving at MGM, Tracy became America's top male star.
We see how Tracy embarked on a series of affairs with his co-stars . . . making "Northwest Passage" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," which brought Ingrid Bergman into his life. By the time the unhappy shoot was over, Tracy, looking to do a comedy, made "Woman of the Year." Its unlikely costar: Katharine Hepburn.
We see Hepburn making Tracy her life's project - protecting and sustaining him in the difficult job of being a top-tier movie star.
And we see Tracy's wife, Louise, devoting herself to studying how deaf children could be taught to communicate orally with the hearing and speaking world.
Curtis writes that Tracy was ready to retire when producer-director Stanley Kramer recruited him for "Inherit the Wind" - a collaboration that led to "Judgment at Nuremberg," "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World," and Tracy's final picture, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."
A rich, vibrant portrait-the most intimate and telling yet of this complex man considered by many to be the actor's actor.
By Justin Cronin
It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.
First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear - of darkness, of death and of a fate far worse.
As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary.
FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he's done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors.
But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey spanning miles and decades toward the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.
With "The Passage," award-winning author Justin Cronin has written a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.
USA Today has named The Passage as a must summer read: Booksellers across the country are buzzing about this novel, which features a jacket blurb by Stephen King. Film rights have been bought by Fox 2000 for Ridley and Tony Scott.
'The Time in Between'
By Mara Dueas
An internationally bestselling novel about a seamstress who becomes an undercover spy for the British Secret Service during World War II.
At age 12, Sira Quiroga swept the atelier floors. By 14, she began her apprenticeship as a seamstress, and within a few years was able to stitch fine fabric into breathtaking creations.
Now with the Spanish civil war brewing in Madrid, Sira says goodbye to her mother and follows her lover to Morocco, but soon finds herself abandoned, penniless and heartbroken.
Sira turns to her gift for creating exquisite clothes. As the great powers are pulled into a second world war, Sira returns to Madrid, where she assumes a new identity to embark upon a dangerous undertaking: becoming embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy, rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.
A runaway bestseller across Europe, "The Time in Between" is one of those rare, richly textured novels that enthralls down to the last page. Mara Dueas' debut reminds us how it feels to be swept away by the skill of a masterful storyteller.
'The House I Loved'
By Tatiana de Rosnay
From the New York Times bestselling author of "Sarah's Key" and "A Secret Kept" comes an absorbing new novel about one woman's resistance during an poque that shook Paris to its core.
Paris, France: 1860s. Hundreds of houses are being razed, whole neighborhoods reduced to ashes. By order of Emperor Napoleon III, Baron Haussman has set into motion a series of large-scale renovations that will permanently alter the face of old Paris, molding it into a "modern city." The reforms will erase generations of history - but in the midst of the tumult, one woman will take a stand.
Rose Bazelet is determined to fight against the destruction of her family home until the end; as others flee, she stakes her claim in the basement of the old house on rue Childebert, ignoring the sounds of change that come closer and closer each day. Attempting to overcome the loneliness of her daily life, she begins to write letters to Armand, her beloved late husband. And as she delves into the ritual of remembering, Rose is forced to come to terms with a secret that has been buried deep in her heart for 30 years. The House I Loved is a poignant story of one woman's indelible strength, and an ode to Paris, where houses harbor the joys and sorrows of their inhabitants, and secrets endure in the very walls.
'The Hummingbird's Daughter'
By Luis Alberto Urrea
The prizewinning writer Luis Alberto Urrea's long-awaited novel is an epic mystical drama of a young woman's sudden sainthood in late 19th-century Mexico.
It is 1889, and civil war is brewing in Mexico. A 16-year-old girl, Teresita, illegitimate but beloved daughter of the wealthy and powerful rancher Don Tomas Urrea, wakes from the strangest dream that she has died.
Only it was not a dream.
This passionate and rebellious young woman has arisen from death with a power to heal but it will take all her faith to endure the trials that await her and her family now that she has become the Saint of Cabora.
By Michael Connelly
Harry Bosch has been given three years before he must retire from the LAPD, and he wants cases more fiercely than ever. In one morning, he gets two.
DNA from a 1989 rape and murder matches a 29-year-old convicted rapist. Was he an eight-year-old killer or has something gone terribly wrong in the new Regional Crime Lab? The latter possibility could compromise all of the lab's DNA cases currently in court.
Then Bosch and his partner are called to a death scene fraught with internal politics. Councilman Irvin Irving's son jumped or was pushed from a window at the Chateau Marmont. Irving, Bosch's longtime nemesis, has demanded that Harry handle the investigation.
Relentlessly pursuing both cases, Bosch makes two chilling discoveries: a killer operating unknown in the city for as many as three decades, and a political conspiracy that goes back into the dark history of the police department.
By Toby Lester
Before The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci created what would become one of the most reproduced images in the world, known formally as Vitruvian Man.
A "man in a circle and a square," the image continues to be "deployed variously to celebrate all sorts of ideas," but it also represents da Vinci's particular preoccupations.
Da Vinci, writes Atlantic contributing editor Toby Lester, wanted to "to investigate the makeup and function of everything."
One of the great contributions of books like this is to keep the reader from taking for granted a familiar object. Lester's detective story has a satisfying number of insights such as Leonardo's drive to accurately represent the human body being grounded in a desire to find the location of the soul.
Lester "The Fourth Part of the World" also covers a broad swath of history, suggesting for instance, that Hildegard of Bingen was one of da Vinci's main precursors in believing the human body to be a microcosm of the world.
Lester braids intellectual threads - philosophy, anatomy, architecture, and art -together in a way that reaffirms Leonardo's genius and re-establishes the significance of historical context in understanding great works of art.