Reading Recommendations:Defending Jacob, a novel, William LandayAndy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen year old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.Every paternal instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He's his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own, between loyalty and justice between truth and allegation, between a past he's tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis, a suspenseful character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.The reader will not be able to put this one aside!The Lost Saints of Tennessee, a novel, Amy Franklin-WillisWith enormous heart and dazzling agility, debut novelist Amy Franklin-Willis expertly mines the fault lines in one Southern working class family. Driven by the soulful and intrepid voices of forty-two year old Ezekiel Cooper and his mother, Lillian, The Lost Saints of Tennessee journeys from the 1940's to the 1980's as it follows Zeke's evolution from anointed son to honorable sibling to unhinged middle-aged man. After Zeke loses his twin brother in a mysterious drowning and his wife to divorce, only ghosts remain in his hometown of Clayton, Tennessee. Zeke makes the decision to leave Clayton in a final attempt to escape his pain, puts his two treasured possessions, a childhood copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tucker, his dead brother's ancient dog, into his truck and heads East. He leaves behind two adolescent daughters and his estranged mother, who reveals her own conflicting view of the Cooper family story in a vulnerable but spirited voice stricken by guilt over old sins as she clings to the hope that her family isn't beyond repair.When Zeke finds refuge with his sympathetic cousins in Virginia horse country, divine acts in the form of severe weather, illness, and a new romance collide, leading Zeke to a cross roads where he must decide the fate of his family, either by clinging to the way life was or moving toward what life might be.A story of a unique brotherhood and a moving consideration of the ways grief can first devastate and then restore.Travelers in Texas, 1761-1860, Marilyn McAdams SibleyHistory passed in review along the highways of texas in the century 1761-1860. This was the century of exploration and settlement for the big new land, and many thousands of people traveled its trails; traders, revolutionaries, missionaries, warriors, government agents, adventurers, refugees, gold seekers, prospective settlers, land speculators, army wives and filibusters. Their reasons for coming were many and varied. Political and industrial revolution, famine and depression drove settlers from many of the countries of Europe and many states of the United States. Some were displeased with what they found in Texas, but for many it was a haven, a land of renewed hope. So large was the migration of people to Texas that the land which was virtually unoccupied in 1761 numbered its population at 600,000 a century later.The author examines the Texas seen by the traveler-writer. Opening with a chapter about travel conditions in general (roads or trails, accommodations, food), she then proceeds to examine particular aspects of Texas life. The Indians, slavery, immigration, law enforcement, and the individualistic character of the people, all seen through the eyes of the traveler. The narrative includes some two hundred discussions of the travel accounts.From the Texas Bookshelves. See you at Rylander.