The story of Irena Sendler, notably shared by Uniontown High School students in the play “Life in a Jar,” continues to be told. The new historical novel “Irena’s War” by James D. Shipman is based on her life. Sendler helped provide food to those in need, forged documents to allow Jews in the Warsaw ghetto to continue receiving government aid, and smuggled Jewish children out of the ghetto up until the time she was arrested by the Gestapo.
Word lovers should also love “The Liar’s Dictionary” by Eley Williams. Mallory is the sole remaining employee of “Swansby’s New Encyclopaedic Dictionary,” whose history goes back to the 19th century. Owner David Swansby gives her an assignment: find the “mountweazels” in the dictionary. These are fictitious words inserted in a dictionary, often for the purpose of identifying others infringing on their copyright. Alternate sections are about Peter Winceworth, an employee of Swansby’s in 1899 who begins generating mountweazels just because he likes making up words. Mallory in the present stumbles across some of Winceworth’s mountweazels and tries to identify who originated them.
Kristin Blair offers a charmer in “Agatha Arch Is Afraid of Everything.” Her fears, which include flies and beans, keep her mostly to herself. When she catches her husband in an affair, she really has only her kids left. Her antics from that point on include putting on “spy pants” to spy on her husband’s new home and lover, hesitantly making a new friend of her neighbor, helping a young woman who panhandles on the town’s busiest street, and trolling a neighborhood mom’s Facebook group.