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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Take Ten: Gemini - Twins

Today it is Ally's turn.  She had a great idea.  What if library staff got together and made a rotating monthly display to change with the signs of the zodiac.  Using the symbol for the month as inspiration, you could come up with a display.  Her idea included a book talk to be given the night before a new zodiac display went up, highlighting some of the titles.

Since she is a Gemini, Ally tackled that symbol with her 10 book list of a wide range of books featuring twins.  Enjoy.

Gemini - Twins
May 21 – June 21
In My Brother’s Image by Eugene L. Pogany. 2000. 322 pages.  This non-fiction account details the lives of twins Gyorgy (later George) and Miklos.  Born in Hungary to Jewish parents, the family later converted to Catholicism when the boys were still young.  Gyorgy went on to become a priest and find sanctuary in a Catholic monastery during World War II.  Miklos was interned at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.  This true story gives the perspective of both brothers, as well as other members of the Pogany family from World War I, through World War II and into the 1990’s.  It’s a richly detailed, remarkable tale of twins whose special, mysterious bond is destroyed by war and religion.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. 2009. 534 pages. 1954—Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Marion and Shiva Praise Stone, are born to an Indian nun and a British surgeon.  This lyrically descriptive and compelling saga follows the twins’ initial separation (they were born connected at the skull), through their boyhood (where they are nearly inseparable), their emotional separation as young adults and their final connection as middle-aged adults.  This richly and lusciously description of Ethiopia on the brink of revolution is also a haunting and moving family saga that has many of the same appeals as The Kite Runner.

Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss. 2000. 321 pages.  This compelling and richly detailed fictionalized account of the famous Siamese twins is told through Eng’s perspective. Though most people know of the twins made famous in P.T. Barnum’s travelling circus, not many know what happened to them after they left the circus.  Though fictionalized, this novel, allow people to feel emotionally connected to the twins and gives insight to what it may have been like for the physically connected, though emotionally separated, men.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. 1989. 347 pages.
This picaresque novel full of black humor questions our notions of what is normal and what is freakish.  The Binewskis are a carny family who, through the use of various drugs, insecticides and radioactivity, breed their own “circus freaks”. Publishers Weekly calls it a “raw, shocking view of the human condition, a glimpse of the tormented people who live on the fringe, makes readers confront the dark, mad elements in every society. …a brilliant, suspenseful, heartbreaking tour de force.”

The Butcher of Beverly Hills by Jennifer Colt. 2005. 344 pages. Red-headed identical twins Kerry and Terry McAfee have nothing in common besides their looks and their profession – private investigators.  What starts off as a seemingly simple case of finding a 70 year old socialite’s 28 year old runaway husband quickly becomes a much more dangerous and complicated matter.  This is a quick, fun mystery with snappy dialog and humorous insight to the very wealthy older ladies in Beverly Hills. Not to mention there is a very hunky detective!

Thursday’s Child by Sandra Brown. 1985. 209 pages.  Besides their looks, identical twins Alison and Ann are completely different from each other.  Although they used to switch roles all the time growing up, trouble ensues when Ann’s fiancé’s best friend, Spencer, falls for Alison who is pretending to be Ann.  But will Spencer still feel the same way about her when he finds out Alison is actually nerdy scientist Alison?  This is a feel good, light-hearted steamy read with a happy ending, sure to please readers who “delight in lovers and their uneven pursuit of mutual fulfillment and happiness” (from the author’s note).

Full Moon Rising by Keri Author. 2006. 291 pages.  This steamy, suspenseful urban fantasy, the first in a series, centers around half vampire/half werewolf Riley as she searches for her twin brother, Rhoan.  The twins both work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization that polices the supernatural races and when Rhoan, an assassin, is kidnapped, Riley sets out to find her brother. This all happens during the moon heat, which is the weeklong period before the full moon when werewolves are at their most sensual.  Though she has two partners ready to fulfill her needs, Riley meets her match in sexy vampire Quinn. Between the moon heat and some dangerous cloning masterminds after her and Rhoan, will Riley be able to save her twin?

The Dark Half by Stephen King. 1989. 431 pages. Author Thad Beaumont “kills off” his alter ego after it is discovered it is actually Thad writing the grisly novels, not George Stark, Thad’s pen name.  After a spread in People in which Thad and his wife stand over the fake grave stone of George Stark (whose epitaph reads “Not a Very Nice Guy”), people connected to Thad/George Stark are gruesomely murdered.  All clues point to Thad, but it can’t be him…could it really be his alter ego? This grisly, menacing, character driven horror story is a fast-paced read sure to creep out lots of horror fans.

Whatever it Takes by Gwynne Forster. 2005. 272 pages.  Lacette and Kellie are identical twins that have very unidentical personalities.  Lacette has her life together and is a respectable young lady.  Kellie, on the other hand, is morally inept and leads a rather questionable, less than noble life. She’s always wanted everything that Lacette has worked so hard to get, taking everything from toys to boys from Lacette. But now that they are 33 years old the stakes are higher (a good man in fiancé Rawlins) and Lacette’s life is on the line, will Kellie step up and finally do what’s right or will she finally get everything she wants? Many lessons are learned in this old fashioned values centered novel that will bring up lots of discussion points—it also includes a discussion guide at the end.

The Last Child by John Hart.  2009. 373 pages.  Twins Johnny and Alyssa shared a special sense of belonging that only they understood.  But then, mysteriously, Alyssa disappeared and the perfect family with the warm home is destroyed.  With his father gone and his mom taking up with an abuse sleaze, Johnny sets out to uncover the mystery of what happened to his family. Edgar-winning author Hart’s intricately plotted, fast-paced psychological thriller is a bit gritty, but moving and dramatic. Received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Kirkus.

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