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Off the ice and into the flames. How’s that for turnabout? Truth is, I’ve wondered about your book choices these several months. We explored the courage and promise of the underground railroad for human beings suffering the yoke of slavery that was enabled by unlimited hubris of owners; then the killing terrors of arctic winters for those whose hubris blinds them to possibility of survival; now we delve into lives threatened by burning destruction due to the hubris of the ultra-rich. Perhaps, my dear ones, there is some quest here to understand the role of our human over-reach in these extreme times? We’ll see what is said when we meet in September. I’m not recommending any flaming drinks at this time of year but I’ll be looking forward to a cool evening when I will very much enjoy an Armagnac warmed over a low candle flame. Till then, I leave you to it... NOTHING TO SEE HERE by Kevin Wilson, 2019. 272 pages. “The 10-year-old twins at the center ... burst into actual flames whenever they get angry or agitated. ... Paradoxically light and melancholy, it hews to the border of fantasy but stays in the land of realism. ... The narrator is Lillian ... without romantic or professional prospects. ... Lillian receives a mysterious letter from Madison. Since high school, her old friend’s life has only grown more fabulous. Still impossibly beautiful, Madison is now the mother of a small boy, and she’s married to a U.S. senator in Tennessee. The only problem is the senator’s 10-year-old twins, Roland and Bessie, left motherless after the death of his former wife. ...Would Lillian mind coming to their vast estate and working as the twins’ nanny?... Once Lillian arrives at the mansion but before she sees the children, Madison says, ‘They have a unique — I don’t know what to call it — kind of affliction ... They get really overheated.’ By the time Lillian understands what that means, she’s already committed to the job. ... focused on its smoldering emotional issues, particularly the feelings that develop between this reluctant nanny and these two odd children. ... offers a brutal critique of American aristocrats and especially the distortion field around them that makes their selfishness look like duty to a higher cause. ...he’s managed to capture the poignant paradox of loving troubled children. “You take care of people,” Lillian says, “by not letting them know how badly you wanted your life to be different,” ... Considering the grim future awaiting these twins, Lillian thinks, “I had to write a better story for them, for me, for everyone.” That’s what Wilson has done.” (The Washington Post) https://www.startribune.com/review-nothing-to-see-here-by-kevin-wilson/564218692/?refresh=true Audio book and ebook available online as well as low-cost hard copies. New Orleans Public Library and Jefferson Parish Library both have all three versions. Please only RSVP yes if you honestly plan to read the book and participate! Wildly guessing here but I suspect we will be meeting in our Zoom world. Information will be sent to those who respond. Note also that the 1st Presidential debate starts this same evening, at 8pm Central. Sincerely hoping that October will find us toasting at The Columns for our October 27 selection, suitably for a pre-Halloween conclave, MOSTLY DEAD THINGS by Kristen Arnett, 2019. 362 pages. Candy corn and spiked cider!