The end of the year is when we look at some books that left an impression.
In fiction, “Honor” by former Beacon Journal reporter Thrity Umrigar is a powerful book about love and sacrifice. “Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury” is Akron native Kinley Bryan’s admirable debut novel about the devastating storm on Lake Huron in 1913. “A Light Beyond the Trenches” by Akron author Alan Hlad presents the unusual perspective of a German soldier in the First World War , a Jew blinded in battle who learns to work with a guide dog.
Cuyahoga Falls author Karen J. Hasley concludes her excellent four-book A New Hope series of historical westerns with “A Glimpse and Gone Forever,” about the troubles of small-town Nebraska in the 1880s. Another historical novel, “The Doctor’s Daughter,” by Cleveland native Martha Conway, is about a persistent woman in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. Tallmadge author Amanda Flower moved away from romance with For I Could Not Stop for Death, in which Emily Dickinson and her maid solve a murder.
“Wayward Son” is the second in Steve Goble’s acclaimed series about a private detective based in northern Ohio; here, he is looking for a missing boy. Jason Kapcala’s Lodi debut noir novel “Lonely Town” has a dreary plot but unforgettable characters. “Razing Stakes” is the third in TG Wolff’s series about a Cleveland homicide detective with a messy personal life. Former Cuyahoga County coroner Lisa Black is launching a new crime series with “Red Flags,” about a Washington crime scene analyst. Linda Castillo’s “The Hidden One,” the 14th in the series about a police chief in a Holmes County town, takes Kate Burkholder to Pennsylvania to investigate the murder of an Amish bishop.
“Sleepwalk” by Dan Chaon of Cleveland Heights is a great, darkly funny odyssey. William Zink’s “North Hill” is a coming-of-age story set in Akron in the late 1960s.
In cozy mystery novels, “Evil Under the Tuscan Sun” is the third entry in the superb Tuscan Cooking School series by Shelley Costa, writing as Stephanie Cole. “Hot and Sour Suspects” is the eighth in Vivien Chien’s Cleveland-based noodle shop mystery series.
In nonfiction, “The Nineties” by former Beacon Journal reporter Chuck Klosterman puts the decade into perspective. Joyce Dyer provides an in-depth analysis of John Brown’s odyssey from the Hudson to Iowa, Kansas and Harpers Ferry in Pursuing John Brown. “Ten Days in a Madhouse” by Cleveland author Brad Ricca is a graphic novel abridgement of investigative reporter Nellie Bly’s 1887 series.
Daniel Stashower finds new insight into an old case in “American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper,” about the 1930s Cleveland serial killer. Former Cleveland resident Kristin Ohlson’s “Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in the Natural World” offers hope that nature can endure. Judy Orr James’ long-awaited “Akron Family Recipes: History and Traditions from Sauerkraut Dumplings to Sweet Potato Pie” fulfills its goal of preserving food history.
The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University collaborated with the Global Vaccine Poem Project to create “Dear Vaccine: Global Voices Talk to the Vaccine”. “Comeback Evolution: Selected Works of Walter K. Delbridge” is the work of an Akron poet neglected by life and circumstances.
“Color Capital of the World: Growing Up with the Legacy of a Crayon Company” is a memoir by John W. Kropf, whose family owned the American Crayon Company in Sandusky.
In sports, “Hebrew Hammer: Biography of Al Rosen, All Star Third Baseman” by Joseph Wancho is the first full-length biography of the Cleveland hitman. Vince Guerrieri’s “Strange Moments in Cleveland Sports: Bottlegate, Bed Bugs, Burying the Flag and More!” it is filled with peculiarities.
Juvenile fiction titles included “Children of Ragnarok,” a sweeping epic based on Norse mythology by Cinda Williams Chima. “The Last Laugh,” the chilling sequel to “The Initial Insult,” Mindy McGinnis’ Poe-inspired horror novel, is the darkest of the dark. More useful options include Wooster medievalist C. Dale Brittain’s The Short-Nosed Knight, a rousing comic novella based on a 12th-century epic poem, and Tricia Springstubb’s Finding Time, about two lonely pre-teens who bond over a mistreated dog.
For younger kids, “The $150,000 Rugelach” by Akron Allison and Wayne Marks is about two sixth graders who are paired up in a baking contest. “Ellis Island and Immigration for Kids: A History with 21 Activities” by Jean Daigneau of Kent is full of information and ideas. “It’s the End of the World and I’m in a Swimsuit” is a middle-grade comic by Justin A. Reynolds of Cleveland, in which a boy and his friends wander through their neighborhood during a power outage. A passage of message wisdom and tradition is “The More You Give,” a captivating storybook by Wooster author Marcy Campbell.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma-Powers branch, 6996 Powers Boulevard): Scarlett St. Clair (“King of Battle and Blood”) talks about “Queen of Myth and Monster,” the second book in her Adrian X Isolde vampire fantasy series, Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. Register at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Talk about the book:Unlikely friends bond over a dog in ‘Looking for True’