The Book Corner: Descent, Alexander Hamilton & Dust that Falls from Dreams

Welcome to our most recent installment of The Book Corner, where we look to CK staff for some fantastic book recommendations. Kimberly Koppen, Clare Willis and Becky Ammerman share their picks.

descent Descent by Tim Johnston

Recommended by Kim Koppen

Descent is a literary thriller which focuses on a family who decides to vacation in the Colorado mountains the summer before 18-year-old daughter Caitlin is set to leave for college. Tragically, Caitlin goes missing during their stay and we are thrust into a story of a family attempting to cope with a confusing tragedy. Descent is a dark and suspenseful read as we are taken into the various perspectives of the family members as well as the harrowing experiences of Caitlin herself.

Recommended for those who enjoyed the tone of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places, Sharp Objects and Gone Girl.


hamiltonAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Recommended by Clare Willis

So you’ve been listening to the Hamilton cast recording non-stop (so non-stop that you recognized my reference to a song), and you find yourself with an insatiable appetite for all things Alexander Hamilton.  You’ve watched every interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda.  You read every article in Vulture’s week-long series celebrating Hamilton’s birthday.  You wish the ATM would give you $10 bills instead of $20’s.  If you’re as obsessed as I am (and several other members of the staff), then there is really only one thing that will satisfy you.  You have to read The Book.

According to now-famous Broadway lore, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was on vacation when he picked up Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton.  He was so convinced that it would make a great hip-hop musical that he thought someone must already have done it.  What’s the catch?  It’s 731 pages long.  For a biography of someone who died when he was 49 years old, that’s incredibly long.  It can be dry.  It is physically very heavy.  However, it is a fascinating story very well told.  And it will satisfy your desire for all things Hamilton provided, of course, that you can ever be satisfied.  And we have a copy in the library, so you won’t have to wait for it.

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieresdust

Recommended by Becky Ammerman.

Brimming with nostalgia but hardly sentimental, Louis de Bernieres’s The Dust that Falls from Dreams tells the story of an upper class (though tenuously so) British family before, during, and soon after World War I. Told in brief vignettes from the perspective of several main and supporting characters, the story moves from a peaceful London suburb to bloody battlefields and back again, exploring the ways in which the war re-shaped ideas about social class, religion and spiritualism, gender roles and expectations, and commerce and industry.

The often grisly depictions of warfare and its aftermath are balanced out by the dry humor and determination of the characters, who strive to create something new in the face of their heartbreaking losses.

Kim Koppen

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