Minnesota Seniors Online

Welcome to Dick & Linda's Book Picks.  Among many hobbies that people enjoy are picking up a good book!  The problem is picking the right book.  "A Good Book" is a very subjective thing, since people's interests are so varied.  Some prefer sci-fi, some like a good murder mystery, others like a good romance or historical novel, while others prefer non-fiction.  Here you will find some interesting titles complete with Dick's or Linda's reviews.  Then it's up to you to decide!

It's also our intention to make this section as interactive as possible for your reading enjoyment.  If you have a book you wish Dick or Linda to review or you have a review, click here to submit your suggestions to our webmaster.

  About Dick & Linda

About Dick:

Born and raised in Northeast Minneapolis,  Dick Solem went to Edison High for 2 years and transferred to Osseo High in Osseo, MN.

After graduating from high school, Dick went to the University of Minnesota.  Married right after graduating from the U, Dick and his new bride, Colleen, traveled to San Antonio, Texas to begin a 3 year tour of duty with the U.S. Air Force.  After a stint in Japan, Dick left the Air Force.  He and his wife returned to Minnesota where he started a 25 year career in the Life Insurance industry.  During that time, his family grew. His 3 children all have had successful careers.  After retiring from the Life Insurance industry, Dick assisted in establishing a successful advertising agency in the Twin Cities Metro area. 
Besides being an avid reader, Dick has spent a lifetime as a collector.  For the past 25 years, he's had a "love affair" with English Toby Jugs and his collection presently has over 450 pieces.

About Linda:

Linda is a neighbor and friend who loves to read.  She grew up near Cleveland, Ohio (go Browns???) She describes her childhood as the happiest one a girl could ever have.  Loving, wonderful parents, an older sis and two annoying brothers.  After high school she went to work in the Corporate Department of a Managing Agent for Iron Ore mining companies in the Iron Range in MN.  How ironic…Anyway, she then went to work for Buick Motor Division in Ohio, then Chicago and was recommended to become a District Manager calling on Buick dealers.  After training, her first assignment was Central MN in 1977.  She says they sent her here because it was so rural at the time, it was where she could do the least damage??  The good news is she met her life partner and are happily together after 41 years and considers MN her home and wouldn’t live anywhere else.  Of course, she does winter in FL... which is sorta cheating. 

Linda's passion for reading started in her pre-teens with the Nancy Drew mysteries.  She read everyone and to this day loves  a good mystery.


Linda's Featured Book Review:
Lilac Girls
By Martha Hall Kelly


I must admit this book was recommended to me more than once and I resisted reading it.  It was about the World War II.  I have read so many books about the war. But, finally a friend convinced me it was much more than another book about the war.

It's about three very different women and their stories which intersect in the course of the war. The story begins in 1939, with Caroline a wealthy New Yorker who volunteers her time working at the French Consulate organizing galas and other fund raising events to help French children and others affected by the war in Europe. Not an easy task as most Americans wanted to stay out of the war at that point. As the war goes on, she begins selling her families antique silver when France is occupied and no funds are contributed from Europe.

Then you'll meet Kasia a Polish teenager who is out with her friends on beautiful afternoon when German planes started circling their town and bombing the refugees who were digging potatoes and milking their cows. This was just the beginning of her harrowing, painful journey for many years.

The third woman is Herta.  A German medical student who is loyal to the Fuhrer and hoping to become a surgeon. Unfortunately, she believes Hitler's propaganda "This war will be over within weeks." When she has trouble finding a job as a physician, she finds an ad looking for a camp doctor at a "reeducation camp" for women named Ravensbruck.  On her first day she sees women being whipped, but is told any breach of security will lead to your family's imprisonment and possible death penalty for you. She soon becomes involved in horrendous acts, including experimental surgeries on young Polish girls.  They become known as the "Rabbits".

It became well known after the war, of the horrific acts of the Third Reich, but I really never thought about the aftermath of the war and how these victims tried to put their lives back together.  The book ends in 1959, so as you'll see the suffering was not over for many years.

This is a story you won't soon forget and it's true.  Again, a debut novel which is sometimes the best according to a dear friend.  Happy reading!