Last night, the Utah Chapter of the AAUW (American Association of University Women) invited (in order of appearance) Klancy de Nevers, Ann Dee Ellis and Carolyn Jessop to speak on their books — The Colonel and the Pacifist, This Is What I Did, and Escape. While the books and their authors seemed wildly different at first glance, by the end of the evening it was clear they complemented each other perfectly.
Klancy de Nevers, speaking on the Japanese internment camps of World War II, not only offered insights into the plight of the Japanese Americans imprisoned there, but also drew our attention to the military mindset behind the creation of the camps. The rhetoric used (and later classified and denied) is frighteningly similar to rhetoric used in the War on Terror, making The Colonel and the Pacifist not only a good historical study but a timely reminder of the mistakes made on behalf of national security. Those readers who enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars will appreciate this one as well.
This Is What I Did is Ann Dee Ellis’s first novel, addressing issues of abuse, identity, and friendship for young adults. Ann Dee has nailed the teenage voice; her reading provoked laughter, nods of recognition, and appreciation from all of us. And, while the teen genre often seems split into the just-plain-fluffy or the just-plain-angsty, Ann Dee has found a balance that tempers the serious with the light-hearted. A great book for teachers and parents as well as young adults!
Escape needs little introduction — Carolyn has been on quite the media tour, from Larry King to the O’Reilly Factor to Oprah and who knows what else. The book is, last I checked, #11 on the New York Times Bestseller List and has been flying off our shelves at an astonishing rate. For someone so recently come to fame, Carolyn was down-to-earth and quietly endearing. The story of her escape from Colorado City and the FLDS is astonishing, and hearing her talk and read about it was a wonderful experience. This is a great holiday gift, and we have a stock of Signed First Editions for you to give (or to keep!).