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FEATURED AUTHOR:  CLIVE CUSSLER

Clive Cussler, who is known as the Grand Master of Adventure, is a thriller writer and underwater explorer.  He has written or coauthored over eighty books and his adventure novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list over twenty times. He is definitely one of the top selling authors in the bookstore.
 
His most famous character, Dirk Pitt, was featured in his first three novels:  The Mediterranean Caper, Iceberg and Raising the Titanic!  Cussler blends high adventure, technology, evil villains, lost ships and sunken treasure.  Many of his Dirk Pitt novels take on an alternative history viewpoint.  Both Cussler and Pitt are classic car collectors. There are currently twenty-five novels in this series, the last eight published were co-written with Clive's son Dirk Cussler.  Since I read very few adventure novels I thought I would let my friend, Jean Downing, tell you why she is an avid Clive Cussler fan:
 
"Well I would love to give you my reasons and they start with the books he writes with his main character being Dirk Pitt.  I enjoy them because they are adventurous and I have come to know the characters after the number of years that he has been writing this series and I always enjoy the historical references that are intertwined with the storyline. He also sets the story a couple of years in advance and at the same time talks about a subject that interestingly enough becomes evident within that timeframe like he has a little vision of the future.  Dirk Pit is one of those characters you wish really existed so that you could sleep better at night knowing he's out there fighting the bad guys and saving the environment at the same time.  I also enjoy the other characters that comprise his team and how they interact with each other, always looking out to help one another and people in need worldwide."          Thank you Jean!
 
Another character, featured in thirteen of the Oregon Files series, is Juan Cabrillo.  Cabrillo is the chairman of The Corporation and is in charge of the Oregon, a high tech maritime vessel disguised as a heap of junk.  He is ex-CIA and takes many of his missions from his old CIA boss.  The first book in this series is Flood Tide.
 
There are also eleven books in the Isaac Bell series.  Bell is the head investigator for the Van Dorn Detective agency.  These novels are set in the early twentieth century and many of the technologies used are slightly ahead of their time.  The first book in this series is The Chase
 
There are sixteen books in yet another Cussler series, The NUMA Files, featuring Kurt Austin.  Austin is the head of the special assignment team at NUMA (National Underwater and Maritime Agency).  He travels worldwide to foil villainous characters who are exploiting the earth's resources. The first novel in this series is Serpent.  In real life Cussler is the founder of the National Underwater & Marine Agency, a non-profit dedicated to American maritime and naval history.  Cussler and his crew have discovered over sixty significant underwater wrecks including the C.S.S. Hunley, The Carpathia and the Manassas.  He has also written several non-fiction books about his underwater explorations and findings.
 
If you are interested in reading one of Clive Cussler's series then I would suggest going to fantasticfiction.com or stopyourekillingme.com for a comprehensive list of each series in the correct order. Writing this article has inspired me to give Cussler a try!
 
Jill B.

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A SERIOUS SUBJECT!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I read for pleasure.  I read fiction as opposed to nonfiction 98 percent of the time.  Within the fiction realm I lean toward mysteries.  I love to read a good page turner that keeps me guessing "who done it" until the final page.  One of the reasons I am in a book club is that it gets me out of my rut and I end up reading some wonderful more "serious" literature that I would have missed out on otherwise. 
 
Below you will find a list of my favorite literature Pulitzer Prize winners.  I do not always agree that the books rewarded are worthy of the prize but these are some of my favorites:
 
1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - my favorite of all our book club reads.
 
2. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley - thought this book was excellent
but haven't liked anything else that she has written!
 
3. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - a series of short stories strung together with an unlikeable protagonist that totally worked for me.
 
4.  The Shipping News by Annie Proulx - somewhat dark and atmospheric but very well written.
 
5.  The Color Purple by Alice Walker - short and easy to read and a wonder!
 
6.  The Fixer by Bernard Malamud - a little on the depressing side but I read this in college and it has stayed with me.
 
7.  The Road by Cormac McCarthy - a well written post-apocalyptic tale of the journey of a father and young son.
 
8.  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I am sure everyone is familiar with this classic book.
 
9.  All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren - a novel based on the life of populist Huey Long, a governor and Senator from Louisiana in the 1930ies.
 
10.  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - no self respecting southerner could miss this book!
 
 One example of a book that won the Pulitzer that had me scratching my head was Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  It might be a matter of taste but this is the only book chosen by my book club that I  couldn't finish. 

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