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Library Corner: Thrilling tales of politics and espionage — real and imagined

Shelly Mathis
GCLD Library Services Specialist

Whether you thrive on debate or avoid controversy at all costs, books are one way to inquire about all things political, whether real or imagined. Throughout the spring, the Grand County Library District’s Virtual Book Club reads books with a political theme.

Selected titles were as unique as their readers, including everything from true accounts of political figures to thrilling tales of espionage. Here are five of the club’s favorites:

• “Angelmaker” by Nick Harkaway — With typical British wit and humor, Harkaway breaks the conventional mold by combining science fiction and spy fiction into an engaging thriller about a gangster’s son who inadvertently activates a doomsday machine. “A touch early in the season for a beach book, though just the kind of thing to laugh at away from polite society. Top-notch,” (Kirkus Reviews 2012).

• “Resistance” by Jennifer A. Nielsen — In Nazi-occupied Poland, a 16-year-old executes perilous missions for the Jewish resistance. Action-packed, serious, and suspenseful. Librarian Emily Pedersen states, “I enjoyed reading this with my daughter, so we could discuss the heavy and intense topics together.”

• “Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America” by Jared Cohen — Cohen explores eight accidental presidencies and how these men radically changed America’s history. “The confrontation between the press and the presidential administration is very similar to the confrontation we have today between our press and president. This was a surprise to me because I expected the press to be more in line with those presidents,” (Melitta White, club member).

• “The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War” by Ben Macintyre — This is the true account of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent, who was a double agent for MI6 and whose methodical and painstaking efforts helped bring an end to the Cold War. “I was paralyzed with fright that it wouldn’t turn out right. A terrific suspense,” (Kate Nunn, club member).

• “The Secrets We Kept” by Lara Prescott — According to club member Janet Schayer, “I enjoyed the debut novel by Lara Prescott, which is a fictional account of a true plot by the CIA to introduce Boris Pasternak’s masterpiece Doctor Zhivago to the world. It was banned in the USSR and awakened the West to the conditions under which the Russian people lived during the Cold War. It makes one appreciate the freedoms we have as Americans.”

During summertime, the Virtual Book Club participates in GCLD’s Adult Summer Reading Program available at all five branches. It’s not too late to sign up. Adults complete a bingo-type sheet offering activities that promise to entertain. Finish, and you’ll have a chance to win a stand-up paddleboard.

To register, contact your local library branch. If you would like to receive weekly readers’ advisory tips virtually, call a librarian at the Kremmling Library at 970-724-9228 to join the book club’s private Facebook group.

Mark your calendars to celebrate completion with us (more details TBA):

• 6 p.m. Aug. 10 at Kremmling Library

• 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at Hot Sulphur Springs Library


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