Readers' picks

Monitor readers share the recent books they've enjoyed.

Readers' picks

America and Americans, a collection of John Steinbeck's essays and short stories, goes to the heart of many of the issues being debated in the battle over immigration. Of course, the immigrants Steinbeck wrote about were the "Okies" who came to work the California fields during the Dust Bowl days. But the parallels are both amazing and dismaying. – Pete Litterski, Longview, Tex.

I'm reading Traveling Blind: Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers, by Laura Fogg. It's a very engaging memoir of 30 years of teaching blind students in rural northern California. I've read the first 50 pages this morning, and already I've cried four times and laughed out loud more than that. I just want to give this book to everyone I know.– Marilyn Simpson, Ukiah, Calif.

The Terror by Dan Simmons is a historical survival (or nonsurvival?) novel, set in the unrecorded, final months of the real-life 1845 Franklin Expedition that sought a Northwest Passage through the Arctic. It's unrelentingly bleak but a terrific read in its own right. Those who like Patrick O'Brian's naval novels will enjoy it.– Ed Stackler, Alameda, Calif.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is a novel that captures historians' obsession with Dracula and their search for the "undead" vampires. Normally I don't read vampire books, but this one caught my eye and has truly been a treat. I recommend that teens with an imagination read this. It is a definite thriller. – Kali McKee, Medford, Ore.

Gutted by Lawrence LaRose is a true home-renovation tale by a Manhattan writer who buys an expensive Sag Harbor fixer-upper. Much more gripping than HGTV! – Joy Cartier, Indian Wells, Calif.


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