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reading

December

abide

Abide with Me - Elizabeth Strout

In the late 1950s, in a small New England town, Reverend Tyler Caskey has suffered a terrible loss and finds it hard to be the person he once was. He struggles to find the right words in his sermons and in his conversations with those facing crises of their own, and to bring his five-year-old daughter, Katherine, out of the silence she has observed in the wake of the family’s tragedy. Tyler’s usually patient and kind congregation now questions his leadership and propriety, and accusations are born out of anger and gossip. Then, in Tyler’s darkest hour, a startling discovery will test his parish’s humanity—and his own will to endure the trials that sooner or later test us all.

Recommended by Annette

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finding

Finding Dorothy - Elizabeth Letts

This richly imagined novel tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud. Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband's masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank's passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book--because she's the only one left who knows its secrets. But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of "Over the Rainbow," Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story: from her youth as a suffragette's daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her--the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

Recommended by Gwen

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holidays

Home for the Holidays - DVD

Claudia Larson is a divorced single mom who just lost her job and now has to fly home for the traditional family Thanksgiving in Baltimore. From the plane, she calls for reinforcements--and her brother Tommy makes it down from Boston with a little surprise: a handsome friend named Leo. Between dropping the turkey in their sister's lap and a few fist fights on the front lawn, Claudia and Tommy recapture their childhood and Claudia and Leo explore the sweet possibility of romance.

Recommended by Jeff

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nightingale

The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah

Viann and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When World War II strikes and Antoine is sent off to fight, Viann and Isabelle's father sends Isabelle to help her older sister cope. As the war progresses, it's not only the sisters' relationship that is tested, but also their strength and their individual senses of right and wrong. With life as they know it changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Recommended by Vanessa

roan

The Secret of Roan Inish - DVD

A magical tale of a girl whose search for her missing brother brings an Irish legend to life.

Recommended by Chelsey

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serendipity

Serendipity - DVD

Is there really such a thing as a benevolent destiny that will eventually reunite true soul mates separated by time and distance? It begins at Christmastime in a New York department store, where two people meet by chance -- while shopping for their "significant others"--And are immediately attracted to each other. After spending a romantic evening together, they reluctantly part, secretly hoping that fate will reunite them some day.

Recommended by Becky

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severed

The Severed Wasp - Madeleine L'Engle

Retired pianist Katherine Forrester Vigneras is asked by her friend, the former Bishop of New York, to come out of retirement to perform a benefit concert.

Recommended by Jan

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