Dear Great Book Guru, This Sunday is the Sea Cliff Mini Mart and I hear that the Friends of the Library will be having a huge book sale on the Village Green . While I have scores of books on my Kindle, I always like to buy some interesting hardcovers to read and enjoy. Should I be looking out for anything special? Mini Mart Maven
Dear Mini Mart Maven, While many of my friends have lost their enthusiasm for the Mini Mart, it is still one of my favorite Sea Cliff events. My friend and neighbor Lou Ciampi agrees with me; in fact, he goes so far as to say after Christmas, it is probably his favorite holiday. But as you are looking over the huge selection of books Carol Poll and her Friends committee have amassed, you might want to look for HOUSE OF STONE by Anthony Shadid. Shadid chronicles the restoration of his family's abandoned home on the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon. Much more than a story of bricks and tiles, plumbing and landscaping, the book tells of the family who left this house to find lives in other countries but always carried with them a combined sense of loss for their past and gratitude for the present. He meticulously records the turmoil the village underwent as the landscape of the Middle East changed with the rise of new governments and old religions. As the book ends, Shadid predicts that the house will endure and be a source of joy for decades to come; however, we the readers know that while covering the Afghanistan war for the New York Times, Shadid died - just weeks before the book was published. He was forty-three years old. A disturbing read….