Lately, Maryland pride has been popular. Every time I walk into the big Weis on Belair Road, they have a big display of stuff with Maryland-themed products, from the state flag to t-shirts with crabs on the front. Route One Apparel, the company that makes Maryland pride products, has also really taken off in recent years. So here are 4 books by Maryland authors that we love.
1. Walking Through Fire, by Sherri Cook Woosley
When my friend Liz originally suggested Walking Through Fire by Sherri Cook Woosley to me, I was a little hesitant, but I am so glad I read it. It's a really good book- even the cat agreed and couldn't keep his paws off it. Rachel is taking her cancer-stricken preteen son to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore when there's a firestorm that destroys large swatches of the earth. The firestorm was actually ancient Mesopotamian gods being released to re-establish their power, and Rachel and Adam are caught in the middle. Desperate to stay away from the germ-ridden refugee center set up for people like Rachel and her son, the two flee to their cabin in the woods. I liked it because it was exciting; the cat liked it because he insists he's a god and could relate to the gods. He says they're his peers. (Feel free to insert an eye roll at Stan Lee's arrogance here.) New, $15.99. Buy here.
2. Hello, Darling, by Christine Higgins
In this beautifully written poetry collection, Christine Higgins explores the relationship of a mother and her daughter when the daughter struggles with mental illness and the grief parents feel when a child dies. Stan Lee sat it on Hello Darling shortly after it arrived and loved it so much he couldn't keep his paws off it. He was mum about why he liked it, but he's a bit of a poetry aficionado, so that probably has something to do with it. New, $12. Buy it here.
3. Lily of the Nile, by Stephanie Dray
I've been a historical fiction fan for years, so it's no surprise I loved Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray. It centers around what happens to Cleopatra's surviving children with Mark Antony after their parents commit suicide: twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios and their younger brother, Philadelphus. After Cleopatra dies, her kids are taken prisoner by Octavian and sent to Rome, where they're forced to march in a parade in chains, watch a gladiator match, and sent to live with, and be educated by, Octavian's sister. I liked Lily of the Nile partly because it was narrated in the first person by Cleopatra Selene; I love books written in first person, because it adds a more personal touch. I also liked Cleopatra Selene and her brothers and felt bad for them, even if Alexander Helios came across as more impulsive and a bit more impulsive than his sister. Used, $2.99. Buy it here.
4. The Underside of the Rainbow, by B.E. Burkhead
B.E. Burkhead takes to the underside of the rainbow and shows us what other people choose not to see: the grittiness and chaos. It also shows us that something good can come out of chaos. When The Underside of the Rainbow arrived several years ago, Stan Lee kept sitting on the package it was in and wouldn't let me open it up, so you know it's good. New, $12.95. Buy it here.