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The Archivist by Martha Cooley

A young woman's impassioned pursuit of a sealed cache of T. S. Eliot's letters lies at the heart of this emotionally charged novel -- a story of marriage and madness, of faith and desire, of jazz-age New York and Europe in the shadow of the Holocaust. The archivist, Matthias Lane, struggles to reconcile with his decisions regarding the madness of his wife. His struggles are spurred on by request of grad student and poet Roberta Spire. She, in turn, tries to understand the Holocaust revelations made by her parents by seeking access to T.S. Eliot's letters. The Archivist was a word-of-mouth bestseller and one of the most jubilantly acclaimed first novels of recent years.- FICTION

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England, Brock Clarke

A lot of remarkable things have happened to Sam Pulsifer beginning with the ten years he spent in prison for accidentally burning down Emily Dickinson's house and unwittingly killing two people. Emerging at the age of 28, he creates a new life as a husband and father. But when the homes of other famous writers go up in smoke, he must prove his innocence by uncovering the identity of this literary-minded arsonist. (from the back cover) - FICTION

Atonement, Ian McEwan

On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia's childhood friend. But Briony's incomplete grasp of adult motives; together with her precocious literary gifts;brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime's repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.
[Excerpted from Anchorbooks.com
] - FICTION

Back When We Were Grownups, Anne Tyler

After presiding over a disastrous family picnic in Baltimore, fifty-three-year-old Rebecca Davitch suddenly begins to question who she is...and how she has turned into someone other than herself. The story of how she answers this question is beguiling, funny, and deeply moving.
[Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - FICTION

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Sijie Dai

In 1971, as Mao's Cultural Revolution swept over China, shutting down universities and banishing "reactionary intellectuals" to the countryside, two teenage boys are sent to live on the remote and unforgiving mountain known as Phoenix in the Sky. Even though the knowledge the narrator and his best friend Luo had acquired in middle school was "precisely nil," they are nevertheless considered dangerous intellectuals and forced to spend their days carrying buckets of excrement up and down the mountain to fertilize the fields. But when they bargain their way into obtaining a forbidden Balzac novel from their friend Four Eyes, a new and dizzyingly vast world opens up to them. And when Luo falls in love with the beautiful Little Seamstress, life and literature come together in a passionate romance. Luo and the narrator plot to steal Four Eyes' suitcase full of books both for their own pleasure and to transform the seamstress from a simple peasant into a sophisticated woman. Their success in doing so, and the unexpected consequences that follow, drive the novel to its stunning, heart-wrenching conclusion.
[Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - FICTION

Beautiful Boy, David Sheff

"David Sheff tells the true story of his son's crippling drug addiction. His "Beautiful Boy" rode a downward spiral from a promising, capable and charming young person to a debilitated and broken individual. This is a candid presentation of the pain and betrayal experienced by his family and all who tried to help him. It relates the professional measures that are available on the pervasive hard road to recovery. The book shows the enduring love of a father for his child and the terrible toll addiction takes on everyone."
Prepared by Shirley Seipel
- NON-FICTION

Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DiCamillo (Juvenile title)

Pair lost human souls with one lost canine soul, and the result is an inspiring tale of resilience and resolve. India Opal Buloni moves to Naomi, Florida, when her father, the Preacher, is called to lead the Open Arms Baptist Church of Naomi. Opal knows no one and feels sad and lonely at having left her friends behind. The characters she meets along the way as a result of her new best friend, Winn-Dixie, prove that family is only as far as your nearest friend. - FICTION

Bee Season, Myla Goldberg

Saul Naumann and his wife, Miriam, appear to have an unremarkable marriage. He works in the temple, and she is a compulsive lawyer. Of their two children, Aaron seems destined to become a rabbi, while Eliza is an underachiever. Suddenly, Eliza demonstrates a talent for spelling, and everyone's life is transformed. After finishing second in a national spelling bee, she becomes her father's pet project. Convinced that she has a gift that will allow her to receive shefa, a concept developed by a Jewish mystic named Abraham Abulafia in 1280, he begins daily study sessions with her that eclipse everything else in their lives. Saul fails to notice Aaron's growing disaffection and clandestine immersion in Hare Krishna. Miriam's behavior also becomes more distant and aberrant. Eventually, a family crisis ensues.
-Library Journal - FICTION

The Black Madonna, Louisa Ermelino

Vibrant, dark-souled creatures who get their way, control their lives, and pass on arcane knowledge like family heirlooms from generation to generation, Teresa, Magdalena, and Antoinette, with their intersecting lives, take center stage in The Black Madonna. This is an exploration of how each woman, and her beloved son, is forever changed by the Madonna of Viggiano. Louisa Ermelino's wonderful novel reveals a delicious truth: that it is the Italian-American women who hold the secrets -- and the power -- from the "other side," and that they know how to use them.
[Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - FICTION


Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya

Bless Me, Ultima is a coming-of-age novel about a young boy's loss of innocence and approach to maturity. But it also deals with tradition and education, faith and doubt, and good and evil. And if Antonio doesn't find an absolute truth in his search, he still comes to believe with his father that "sometimes it takes a lifetime to acquire understanding, because in the end understanding simply means having a sympathy for people."
[Excerpted from NEA The Big Read] - FICTION

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

"The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove - a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others - who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment." - FICTION

Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe

The story is a drama about ambition, racism, and greed in 1980s New York City, and centers on three main characters: the successful, arrogant, and very self-conscious bond trader Sherman McCoy, Jewish Assistant District Attorney Larry Kramer, and British expatriate journalist Peter Fallow. [Wikipedia] - FICTION

The Book of Flying, Keith Miller

"Pico is the librarian in his city by the sea: a humble, gentle man, a collector of books, a guardian and caretaker of the stories that are his breath and his life. One fateful day, he falls in love with Sisi, a beautiful, winged girl who cannot truly love a wingless creature like him. So Pico sets off to find Morning Town, where legend says he will find the Book of Flying and get his wings. On the way he has fabulous adventures and meets astonishing people, each of whom provides a gateway to learning something important about himself." -Booklist - FICTION


The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak

This is a book that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel...from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family..[a]cross the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s.... Liesel [the titled Book Thief]...as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayor's reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines... Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesel's story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative. (School Library Journal, March 2006, p. 552) - FICTION

The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller

"When Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca Johnson's farm lane looking for directions, the world-class photographer and the Iowa farm wife are joined in an experience of uncommon truth and stunning beauty that will haunt them forever." - Amazon.com - FICTION

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize
Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fuku - a curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, following them on their epic journey from the Dominican Republic to the United States and back again. - FICTION

Case Histories, Kate Atkinson

Employing the conventions of the detective novel while also sending them up, Atkinson introduces us to private detective Jackson Brodie. He simultaneously takes on three cold cases that occurred in and around London while attempting to salvage his relationship with his young daughter despite his ex-wife's subterfuge. One of his cases involves sisters and secrets. Another case concerns a father out to protect his grown daughter. The third case concerns an ax murder. Playful humor, an impressive writing style, and an offbeat detective are the most obvious pleasures of a page-turner that succeeds in being both brainy and thoroughly entertaining. - FICTION

Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

"This collection of 101 stories is based on the belief that true testimonies of goodness and loving transformations can nourish us to the bone and heal the cynicism in our hearts. Some of the authors are famous, such as Dan Millman, who writes an exquisite vignette on "Courage," and Gloria Steinem, who writes of "The Royal Knights of Harlem." Many, however, have a short, simple story to tell about an event, a person, an everyday miracle that exemplifies the best of the human spirit." -Gail Hudson, Amazon.com - NON-FICTION

 

Coast Road, Barbara Delinsky

Coast Road celebrates those things in life that matter most -- the kinship of neighbors, the companionship of friends, and the irreplaceable time spent with children and family. In this masterful novel, Barbara Delinsky depicts with exquisite accuracy the ties that bind each of us to those people and places we hold most dear.
[Excerpted from bookbrowse.com] - FICTION

 

Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier

The Civil War is wearily entering its last, grisly year. Inman, a veteran of the Petersburg and Fredericksburg campaigns, recovering from his wounds in a Confederate hospital, decides he has had enough of the pointless slaughter and walks out, heading across the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina toward Cold Mountain, where he hopes to reclaim his spiritual homeland and Ada, the woman he loves. It is to be an unforgettable odyssey through the soon-to-be-defeated South, with Inman pursued by relentless Home Guard troops whose task it is to hunt out deserters. Interwoven with Inman's heart-stopping adventures is the story of Ada's own internal journey.

Charles Frazier writes about his native territory with the eye of a lifelong countryman and the voice of a poet. Cold Mountain is a saga of discovery, terror, and knowledge that is epic in its passion and mythic in scope. [Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - FICTION

The Color of Water, James McBride

The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. -Amazon.com - NON-FICTION


Consumption, Kevin Patterson

Born in the 1950's, Victoria knows nothing but the nomadic life of the Inuit until, at age ten, she is sent to a sanitarium to recover from tuberculosis. Six years later, she returns to a radically different world, a stranger to her family and culture. She marries a non-Inuit, Robertson; as their children gravitate toward the pop culture of the mainland, and as her husband exploits the economic opportunities that the Arctic offers, Victoria is torn between her family and her ancestors, between the communal life of the North and the material life of the "South".
-
from the back cover - FICTION

Crossing the Mangrove, Maryse Condé

A gripping story imbued with all the nuances and traditions of Caribbean culture. Francis Sancher; a handsome outsider, loved by some and reviled by others; is found dead on a path outside a small village in Guadeloupe. None of the villagers are particularly surprised, since Sancher, a secretive and melancholy man, had often predicted an unnatural death for himself. As the villagers come to pay their respects they each reveal another piece of the mystery behind Sancher's life and death. Like pieces of an elaborate puzzle, their memories interlock to create a rich and intriguing portrait of a man and a community.- FICTION

Crow Lake, Mary Lawson

For generations, learning has been the valued goal in Kate's family, but when her parents die, oldest brother Luke's college acceptance must be put aside so that he can keep the family together. Real help comes from their community in rural northern Canada, and the initial efforts of the two oldest brothers make it possible for the younger children, including seven-year-old Kate, to remain in a household filled with love and humor. As an adult, however, Kate, a professor of environmental science in Toronto, looks back with a sense of tragedy and loss, not so much for her parents, but for her brother Matt. The reader knows that something terrible is going to happen, although which of the dire events is deemed worst is based on the child Kate's values and judgment. Lawson achieves a breathless anticipatory quality in her surprisingly adept first novel, in which a child tells the story, but tells it very well indeed.
-Booklist - FICTION

Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather

Willa Cather's novel, published in 1927 is based on the lives of Bishop Jean Baptiste L'Amy and his vicar Father Joseph Machebeut and is considered emblematic of the author's moral and spiritual concerns. Death Comes for the Archbishop traces the friendship and adventures of Bishop Jean Latour and vicar Father Joseph Vaillant as they organize the new Roman Catholic diocese of New Mexico. Latour is patrician, intellectual, introverted; Vaillant, practical, outgoing, sanguine. Friends since their childhood in France, the clerics triumph over corrupt Spanish priests, natural adversity, and the indifference of the Hopi and Navajo to establish their church and build a cathedral in the wilderness. The novel, essentially a study of character, explores Latour's inner conflicts and his relationship with the land, which through the author's powerful description becomes an imposing character in its own right.
-- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature - FICTION

The Defining Moment, Jonathan Alter

Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in March of 1933 as America suffered from the Great Depression. Alter shows us how a snobbish and apparently lightweight young aristocrat was forged into an incandescent leader by his domineering mother; his independent wife; his eccentric top adviser, Louis Howe; his polio, and his ally-turned-bitter-rival, Al Smith. As he moved both right and left, Roosevelt's insistence on "action now" did little to cure the Depression, but he began to rewrite the nation's social contract and lay the groundwork for his most ambitious achievements, including Social Security. - NON-FICTION


Desirable Daughters, Bharati Mukherjee

Desirable Daughters is a portrait of a traditional Brahmin family on the brink of dissolution. Tara, the novel's narrator, divorced from the husband she wed in an arranged marriage and transplanted to San Francisco, struggles to reconcile the ancient traditions of her past with the modern demands of her new life.
Though separated by geography and radically different lifestyles, Tara and her sisters-the "desirable daughters" of the book's title-remain close. When danger befalls Tara, she turns to her sisters and ex-husband for comfort and for help in resolving the mystery that threatens to destroy her and her family. - FICTION

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America - Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson's spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men--the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair, striving to secure America’s place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.
-Amazon.com - NON-FICTION


The Drowning Tree, Carol Goodman

Juno McKay is thrilled when her best friend Christine returns to their upstate New York college, Penrose, to give a lecture about the stained-glass window Juno will be restoring.
Christine shocks her audience when she theorizes that Augustus Penrose, the college's founder, depicted his sister-in-law, Clare, not his wife, Eugenie, in the window.
Christine disappears and is found drowned. Heartbroken by her friend's death, which appears to be a suicide, Juno tries to find out what could have driven her over the edge. The search leads Juno in unexpected directions, Goodman is spot-on at developing a creepy, gothic atmosphere and delivering a compelling, tightly plotted mystery. - FICTION

Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons

Ellen Foster is an 11-year-old who has been dealt a rotten hand in life. Her early childhood is spent with a sickly mother and an alcoholic and abusive father. After her mother commits suicide (or is it murder?), Ellen goes to live alone with her father, doing the best she can to avoid being raped or abused. When the courts finally take action, she is sent to live with her grandmother, a bitter and spiteful woman. Yet when her grandmother dies, Ellen manages to take charge of her own life. This beautifully written story, compelling in its innocence, is sweet, funny, and sad.
-Library Journal - FICTION

Empire Falls, Richard Russo

Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it’s Janine, Miles’ soon-to-be ex-wife, who’s taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it’s the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town–and seems to believe that “everything” includes Miles himself.
- FICTION

Enemy Women, Paulette Jiles

"From critically acclaimed, award-winning poet and memoirist Paulette Jiles comes a story of survival and love in the midst of a torn nation's bitter agony. For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War Between the States is a plague that threatens devastation despite the family's avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare seen at its most terrible on the day the Union Militia arrives to set her house on fire, driving her brother into hiding and dragging her widowed father away, beaten and bloodied. Left to care for two young sisters, Adair sees no road but the one that leads away, as they start out on foot into the winter mountains in search of a safe haven. Even the least of hopes is doomed, however, in a world forever changed, as the treachery of a fellow traveler brings about Adair's arrest on charges of "enemy collaboration." Torn from her terrified sisters, the girl suddenly finds herself consigned to a filthy women's prison in St. Louis. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and she finds herself returning her feelings despite herself. Before he returns to war, he leaves her with a last precious gift: freedom. Weakened in body but not in spirit, Adair must now travel alone through dangerous, unknown territory an escaped "enemy woman" surrounded by perils and misery on all sides. She makes her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise, seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory." - FICTION

Ex Libris, Anne Fadiman

"This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family. As someone who played at blocks with her father's 22-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marrying Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proofreading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud. There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony--Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners." - NON-FICTION

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

The temperature at which all books catch fire and burn;
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames ...never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think...and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do! - FICTION

Fierce Attachments, Vivian Gornick

Publisher Comments: In this deeply etched and haunting memoir, Vivian Gornick tells the story of her lifelong battle with her mother for independence. There have been numerous books about mother and daughter, but none has dealt with this closest of filial relations as directly or as ruthlessly. Gornick's groundbreaking book confronts what Edna O'Brien has called "the principal crux of female despair": the unacknowledged Oedipal nature of the mother-daughter bond. Born and raised in the Bronx, the daughter of "urban peasants," Gornick grows up in a household dominated by her intelligent but uneducated mother's romantic depression over the early death of her husband. Next door lives Nettie, an attractive widow whose calculating sensuality appeals greatly to Vivian. These women with their opposing models of femininity continue, well into adulthood, to affect Gornick's struggle to find herself in love and in work. As Gornick walks with her aged mother through the streets of New York, arguing and remembering the past, each wins the reader's admiration: the caustic and clear-thinking daughter, for her courage and tenacity in really talking to her mother about the most basic issues of their lives, and the still powerful and intuitively-wise old woman, who again and again proves herself her daughter's mother. - NON-FICTION

Founding Brothers - The Revolutionary Generation, Joseph J. Ellis

This is an illuminating book about the men who were influential in forming a country in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War and the tremendous problems they faced. It deals with their strong personalities and diverse opinions regarding the role of government, slavery, states' rights, European interaction and the compromises that had to be made to keep the fledgling nation together. Ellis presents the men and their conflicts with all their flaws and prejudices. It is a book to be savored and appreciated by anyone interested in understanding our great American history. - NON-FICTION

Four Spirits, Sena Jeter Naslund

During the civil rights conflict, Birmingham, Ala., was notorious for the ferocity of its racial bigotry: peaceful demonstrators attacked with fire hoses and dogs by police chief Bull Connor; the Klan-set explosion at a black church that killed four little girls. The four victims are only background figures in Naslund's faithful and moving evocation of the city and the era, but they appear to several characters in the form of spirits who promise the reconciliation to come. The novel is constructed as a series of vignettes that follow a dozen or so characters whose lives finally intersect in entirely credible ways, and who serve as emblems of the divided citizens of Birmingham, some who bitterly fought integration and others who persevered in their struggle for equality.
-Publishers Weekly - FICTION

Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

Patty, a Westchester County high-school basketball star, should have been a golden girl. Instead, her ambitious parents betray her, doing her grievous psychic harm. Hardworking Minnesotan Walter wants to be Patty's hero, and she tries to be a stellar wife and a supermom to Joey and Jessica, their alarmingly self-possessed children, but all goes poisonously wrong. Patty longs for Richard, Walter's savagely sexy musician friend. Walter's environmental convictions turn perverse once he gets involved in a diabolical scheme that ties protection of the imperiled cerulean warbler to mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia. Richard is traumatized by both obscurity and fame. Joey runs amok in his erotic attachment to the intense girl-next-door and in a corrupt entrepreneurial venture connected to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The intricacies of sexual desire, marriage, and ethnic and family inheritance as well as competition and envy, beauty and greed, nature and art versus profit and status, truth and lies-all are perceptively, generously, and boldly dramatized in Franzen's first novel since the National Book Award-winning The Corrections (2001). Passionately imagined, psychologically exacting, and shrewdly satirical, Franzen's spiraling epic exposes the toxic ironies embedded in American middle-class life and reveals just how destructive our muddled notions of entitlement and freedom are and how obliviously we squander life and love.
- Excerpt from Booklist - FICTION

Gap Creek, Robert Morgan

"There is a most unusual woman living in Gap Creek. Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man," they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop. People depend on her to slaughter the hogs and nurse the dying. People are weak, and there is so much to do. She is just a teenager when her little brother dies in her arms. That same year she marries and moves down into the valley where floods and fire and visions visit themselves on her, and con men and drunks and lawyers come calling. Julie and her husband discover that the modern world is complex and that it grinds ever on without pause or concern for their hard work. To survive, they must find out whether love can keep chaos and madness at bay." - FICTION

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson

In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War," then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son. This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten. (2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction & 2004 National Book Critics Circle Winner:) - FICTION


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. - FICTION

Go With Me, Castle Freeman Jr.

The Vermont hill country is the stark, vivid setting for this gripping and entertaining story of bold determination. The local villain, Blackway, is making life hellish for Lillian, a young woman from parts elsewhere. Her boyfriend has fled the state in fear; and local law enforcement can do nothing to protect her. She resolves, however, to stand her ground, and to fight back. A pair of unlikely allies; Lester, a crafty old-timer; and Nate, a powerful but naive youth; join her cause, understanding that there is no point in taking up the challenge unless you're willing to "go through". In this modern-day drama, a kind of Greek chorus; wry, witty, digressive; obsessively, amusingly reminiscent; skeptical, opinionated, and not always entirely sober; enriches the telling of this unforgettable tale as the reader follows the threesome's progress on their dangerous, suspenseful quest. -Publisher - FICTION


Grace, Richard Paul Evans

Told by an older and wiser narrator looking back over the years to his first love, the tragedy that followed, and discovering the purpose for his life. Grace is the story of a young runaway girl and the boy who hides her from a frightening world too large and unfathomable for him to comprehend. It is about two brothers and the love that binds them together through difficult times. It is a tale told during the conflicting times of the early sixties. - FICTION


The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby may be the most popular classic in modern American fiction. Since its publication in 1925, Fitzgerald's masterpiece has become a touchstone for generations of readers and writers, many of whom reread it every few years as a ritual of imaginative renewal. The story of Jay Gatsby's desperate quest to win back his first love reverberates with themes at once characteristically American and universally human, among them the importance of honesty, the temptations of wealth, and the struggle to escape the past. Though The Great Gatsby runs to fewer than two hundred pages, there is no bigger read in American literature. - FICTION

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
- from Random House - FICTION

Half-Past Nowhere, Joseph Cavano

Patterned after Ernest Hemingway's seminal collection of short stories, "In Our Time," Joseph Cavano's acclaimed collection, "Half-Past Nowhere," chronicles the life of a young hero as he moves from "innocence to experience." Most of the stories take place in and around the Hudson Valley, and long-time residents are likely to recognize many local spots. Born into a close knit Italian American family dominated by a loving but alcoholic father, young Joey Fusaro is eventually able to free himself from the insulated life his father has planned for him and escape into a world much richer than he ever imagined. His freedom, however, comes with a price, as he is forced to struggle with his own prejudice, the joys and pains of first love, a crisis of faith and, finally, the kind of freedom that comes only with self awareness. If you were ever young, you may find yourself inside. - FICTION

The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood

In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the mono theocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: "of Fred"), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be.
-Library Journal - FICTION

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by JK Rowling (Young Adult title)

"Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny." - FICTION

Healthy Children - Healthy Planet, Northwest Earth Institute

Healthy Children - Healthy Planet is a seven-session course addressing how the pervasive effects of advertising, media, and our consumer culture can influence a child's view of the world.

NWEI discussion course study guides are manuals for a self-facilitated course experience, taken informally by small groups.
[Excerpted from http://nwei.org/] - NON-FICTION

Heart of a Woman, by Maya Angelou

"This engaging book chronicles the changes in Maya Angelou's life as she enters the hub of activity that is New York. There, at the Harlem Writers Guild, she rededicates herself to writing, and finds love at an unexpected moment. Reflecting on her many roles - from northern coordinator of Martin Luther King's history-making quest to mother of a rebellious teenage son - Angelou eloquently speaks to an awareness of the heart within us all." - NON-FICTION

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

Set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962, this novel uses the voices and experiences of three women to explore the social, political and moral issues of the segregated south. Skeeter, a young white woman, convinces Abilene and Minnie, two black maids to join her in telling the complex stories of the relationships between the maids, their mistresses and their children. The tension caused by the personal and political changes of that era is captured by the author and engages readers with this authentic and deeply moving story. - FICTION

Here on Earth, by Alice Hoffmann

As this novel opens, March Murray Cooper returns to her hometown, ostensibly to bury the woman who raised her but needing to resolve the unfinished business of her youthful love for Hollis, from whom she has been separated for years. Hollis has now grown into a man embittered by loneliness. He has learned neither to forgive nor to forget, and March must discover whether he can ever learn to love. -Library Journal - FICTION


The History of Love, Nicole Krauss

A long-lost book reappears, mysteriously connecting an old man searching for his son and a girl seeking a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness.

This extraordinary book was inspired by the author's four grandparents and by a pantheon of authors whose work is haunted by loss-Bruno Schulz, Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, and more. It is truly a history of love: a tale brimming with laughter, irony, passion, and soaring imaginative power.
(From the publisher.) - FICTION

Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris

David Sedaris' darkly playful humor is common thread through the book, worming its way through "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" a chipper suburban Christmas letter that spirals dizzily out of control, and "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol," a vicious theatrical review of children's Christmas pageants. As always, Sedaris's best work is his sharply observed nonfiction, notably in "Dinah, the Christmas Whore," the tale of a memorable Christmas during which the young Sedaris learns to see his family in a new light. Worth the price of the book alone is the hilarious "SantaLand Diaries," Sedaris's chronicle of his time working as an elf at Macy's, covering everything from the preliminary group lectures to the perils of inter-elf flirtation. Along the way, he paints a funny and sad portrait of the way the countless parents who pass through SantaLand are too busy creating an Experience to really pay attention to their children. In a sly way, it carries a holiday message all its own. -Amazon.com - FICTION

The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans

A terrible riding accident leaves 13-year old Grace and her horse, Pilgrim, physically and emotionally damaged.
Grace's mother, Annie, takes them all the way from New York to Montana to see the horse whisperer. Surrounded by the serene magnificence of the mountains, the girl, the horse, and the mother fall under the gentle, healing spell of Tom Booker, the horse whisperer.
[Excerpted from penguinreaders.com] - FICTION

The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton

Launched into society at a glorious and very expensive debutante ball, Lily sees a world of unlimited possibility before her. But her father's announcement that he is financially ruined, followed quickly by his death, leave Lily and her mother with only one "asset"-Lily's extraordinary beauty and charm. At the age of 29, now orphaned, Lily lives with an aunt who offers minimum, often grudging, hospitality and financial support. In a chronicle that richly details the follies of shallowness, and cruelties of society as it illuminates Lily's own ambivalence about who and what she wants, Wharton traces her heroine's decline. [Excerpt taken from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - FICTION

 

House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III

In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Colonel Behrani, once a wealthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant willing to bet everything he has to restore his family's dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman whose house is all she has left, and who refuses to let her hard-won stability slip away from her. Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who finds himself falling in love with Kathy, becomes obsessed with helping her fight for justice. - FICTION

Impulse, Frederick Ramsay

Frank Smith, famed writer of murder mysteries, travels from Phoenix to Baltimore for his 50th class reunion at Scott Academy, leaving behind him the highly suspicious disappearance of his wife and the officer that is convinced that Smith has killed her and buried the body in the desert. But at the Academy a 25-year old mystery awaits him: a group of young boys walked from campus into the woods and disappeared. Frank is talked into looking into the mystery along with his long-lost friend and new love interest, Rosemary. Both are "pushing seventy" but try to solve the various mysteries with the style, audacity and intelligence of a Sun City version of Nick and Nora Charles.
[Excerpted from Poisoned Pen Press and Publishers Weekly] - FICTION

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

Capote's nonfiction novel retraces the murder of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and the subsequent capture and execution of the killers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. - NON-FICTION

Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer

"God, he was a smart kid.." So why did Christopher McCandless trade a bright future--a college education, material comfort, uncommon ability and charm--for death by starvation in an abandoned bus in the woods of Alaska? This is the question that Jon Krakauer's book tries to answer. -Amazon.com - NON-FICTION


Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man, first published in 1952, is a classic study about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators. As he journeys from the Deep South to Harlem, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist creates a parallel universe-suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white. Invisible Man is considered one of the most audacious novels of the 20th century. - FICTION

Jewel, Bret Lott

The year is 1943 and life is good for Jewel Hilburn, her husband, Leston, and their five children. Although there's a war on, the Mississippi economy is booming, providing plenty of business for the hardworking family. And even the news that eldest son James has enlisted is mitigated by the fact that Jewel, now pushing 40, is pregnant with one last child. Her joy is slightly clouded, however, when her childhood friend Cathedral arrives at the door with a troubling prophecy: "I say unto you that the baby you be carrying be yo' hardship, be yo' test in this world.
]Excerpted from Amazon.com] - FICTION

The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara

"In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation's history, two armies fought for two dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Shattered futures, forgotten innocence, and crippled beauty were also the casualties of war. Unique, sweeping, an unforgettable, THE KILLER ANGELS is a dramatic re-creation of the battleground for America's destiny." (Winner of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for fiction) - FICTION

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hossein

Hosseini's debut novel opens in Kabul in the mid-1970s. Amir is the son of a wealthy man, but his best friend is Hassan, the son of one of his father's servants. His father encourages the friendship and dotes on Hassan, who worships the ground Amir walks on. But Amir is envious of Hassan and his own father's apparent affection for the boy. Amir is not nearly as loyal to Hassan, and one day, when he comes across a group of local bullies raping Hassan, he does nothing. Shamed by his own inaction, Amir pushes Hassan away, even going so far as to accuse him of stealing. Eventually, Hassan and his father are forced to leave. Years later, Amir, now living in America, receives a visit from an old family friend who gives him an opportunity to make amends for his treatment of Hassan.
-Booklist - FICTION

The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver

A work of historical fiction that vividly describes the protagonist Harrison Shepherd's search for identity against the backdrop of Mexico in a world populated by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Lev Trotsky and America with FDR, J. Edgar Hoover and the House Un-American Activities Committee. The story is told through diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings and engages the reader with Shepherd's struggle to overcome the breach between truth and public presumption.

The Ladies of Garrison Gardens, Louise Shaffer

Charles Valley’s legendary dowagers, the three Miss Margaret's, have lost one of their own: Peggy Garrison, who married into a huge fortune but was constantly overshadowed by the legacy her husband’s first wife, the great Myrtis Garrison. When Peggy’s will is read, the news of who will take over the Garrison fortune shakes the town to its core. To everyone’s shock, Peggy has left all of the Garrison holdings–the world-famous botanical gardens, the massive resort, and the lovely Garrison “Cottage,” where FDR once visited–to the town’s down-and-out wild child, Laurel Selene McCready. [Excerpted from Random House] - FICTION

 

The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier

A set of bewitching medieval tapestries hangs today in a protected chamber in Paris. They appear to portray a woman's seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making is unknown-until now. In The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier weaves fact and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry-an extraordinary story exquisitely told.
[Excerpted from Dutton Publishing] - FICTION

The Laramie Project, Moises Kaufman

On October 7, 1998, a young man was discovered bound to a fence in the hills outside of Laramie, Wyoming, savagely beaten and left to die in an act of brutality and hate that shocked a nation. Matthew Shepard's death became a national symbol of intolerance, but for the people of Laramie the event was deeply personal, and it is their voices we hear in this stunningly effective theater piece.- NON-FICTION

The Lemon Jelly Cake, Madeline Babcock Smith

The year is 1900, and the seemingly sleepy little town of Tory, Illinois is alive and well with underlying secrets, illicit romance and, of course, plenty of food. Seen through the eyes of young Helene, known to the town as "Doc's little girl," this delightful story shows how simple stories about ordinary lives are sometimes the most complex. Just like the layers of a lemon jelly cake. A great pick if your group is looking for something light, charming and quick.- FICTION

Little Bee, Chris Cleave

We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn't. And it's what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
(from the back cover) - FICTION


Love Songs in Minor Keys, Joseph Cavano

This tightly written collection of short stories takes a close look at love broadly defined. A jazz pianist, the author knows well the power of minor keys. At times exotic, often surprising, they are most powerful when combined with other more familiar sounds; which is what he has done here. The new and the familiar. The dark and the bright. Each blended in such a way as to create a most interesting music.
Joseph Cavano was born in Kingston, New York and attended elementary and secondary school there. He has a B.A. in English from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. - FICTION

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

Sebold offers a powerful first novel, narrated by Susie Salmon, in heaven. Brutally raped and murdered by a deceptively mild-mannered neighbor, Susie begins with a compelling description of her death. During the next ten years, she watches over her family and friends as they struggle to cope with her murder. She observes their disintegrating lives with compassion and occasionally attempts, sometimes successfully, to communicate her love to them. Although the lives of all who knew her well are shaped by her tragic death, eventually her family and friends survive their pain and grief.
-Library Journal- FICTION

Lucia, Lucia, Adriana Trigiani

It is 1950 in glittering, vibrant New York City. Lucia Sartori is the beautiful twenty-five-year-old daughter of a prosperous Italian grocer in Greenwich Village. The postwar boom is ripe with opportunities for talented girls with ambition, and Lucia becomes an apprentice to an up-and-coming designer at chic B. Altman’s department store on Fifth Avenue. Engaged to her childhood sweetheart, the steadfast Dante DeMartino, Lucia is torn when she meets a handsome stranger who promises a life of uptown luxury that career girls like her only read about in the society pages. Forced to choose between duty to her family and her own dreams, Lucia finds herself in the midst of a sizzling scandal in which secrets are revealed, her beloved career is jeopardized, and the Sartoris’ honor is tested.
[Excerpted from RandomHouse.com]- FICTION



The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado

Lucette Lagnado, senior writer for the Wall Street Journal, revisits her family’s comfortable, cosmopolitan life in Cairo’s vibrant Jewish community prior to Gamal Abdel Nasser’s rising dictatorship in Egypt and then contrasts this time with subsequent life in the New World. When the Egyptian government nationalized the Suez Canal, the Lagnados were caught in a downward financial spiral, and were forced to relocate first to Paris and then to New York in the mid 1960s.

From her vivid childhood memories and later extensive research, Lagnado breathes new life into her deceased but beloved father Leon Lagnado and recreates his earlier life in their Eqyptian homeland. A successful businessman, a dandy and womanizer, a religious man, yet an active participant in the vibrant nightlife of Cairo, Leon Lagnado is an absent but committed provider for his family while his young, beautiful, cultured wife Edith remains at their Malaka Nazli home to care for their four children. As Nasser consolidates his powers Leon Lagnado decides the family must leave Egypt and seek haven wherever they are welcomed. They arrive, penniless and dispirited, first in Paris and then make their way to a Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York a year later. Older, unwell, Leon finds work as a street peddler of neckties, a job that cannot provide a decent life for his wife and children, yet as he remembers his past life, Leon Lagnado is unable to change. Edith quietly supports her husband’s sense of self-worth while letting go of her own dreams and opportunities. She sacrifices much to give their children a fresh start in a new community.

This unusual memoir depicting immigrant lives changed from prosperity to poverty and poignantly told by the family’s youngest survivor is the winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.- NON-FICTION

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

"The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history - the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to the 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild, twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.

At the very center of this story is John Wilkes Booth, America's notorious villain. A Confederate sympathizer and a member of a celebrated acting family, Booth threw away his fame, wealth, and promise for a chance to avenge the South's defeat. For almost two weeks, he confounded the manhunters, slipping away from their every move and denying them the justice they sought.

Based on rare archival materials, obscure trial transcripts, and Lincoln's own blood relics, Manhunt is a fully-documented work, but it is also a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you've never read it before."
[From http://www.jameslswanson.com/] - NON-FICTION

Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris

In this collection of 27 fairly short essays, some of which appeared in Esquire and The New Yorker, Sedaris gives the impression of ease and naturalness. Whether he is writing about overcoming a lisp, learning to play the guitar, trying to master French, or taking an IQ test, whether the locales are North Carolina, New York, or France, the author is both amused and amusing. Call what he writes essays, sketches, minor discourses, whimsicalities, reminiscences, curiosities, vignettes, chronicles, orbits of narrative no convenient blanket phrase covers them all it is a testimony to his talent that he manages to infect the pieces with his geniality. They are all based on the author's own experiences and are all nicely constructed, cheerful, and absolutely not taxing on the brain.
-Library Journal - NON-FICTION

The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards

David Henry leads the perfect life; he's an orthopedic surgeon married to a wonderful, beautiful woman. It is 1964, and there's a terrible snowstorm in Lexington, KY, when his wife goes into labor. The bad weather keeps Norah's ob/gyn from making it to the hospital, so her husband, along with his nurse, Caroline Gill, decides to deliver the baby in his clinic. Under sedation, Norah gives birth to a healthy boy. As David is thrilled by the birth of his son, Norah starts to have more contractions. He quickly sedates her again, and she gives birth to a girl with Down syndrome. Wanting to protect Norah and feeling she would not be able to cope with a mentally challenged child, David gives the baby to Caroline and asks her to place her in an institution and never reveal their secret.
-Library Journal- FICTION


Murder Off the Books, Evelyn David

Recently divorced Rachel Brenner meets Mackenzie 'Mac' Sullivan, a private investigator who is staking out her house and following her to her new job at a funeral home. Always accompanied by Whiskey, a charming Irish wolfhound, Mac is looking for Rachel's brother, who is a suspect in a murder investigation. Rachel begins to enjoy the single life, and finds herself able to cope in ways she never suspected, when she joins forces with the attractive Mac and his charming assistant, Whiskey, to find the real killer and prove her brother's innocence.- FICTION

My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of pre implantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged ...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
[Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com]
- FICTION

The Night Birds, Thomas Maltman

The intertwining story of three generations of German immigrants to the Midwest : their clashes with slaveholders, their journey west to Minnesota, the impact of the Great Sioux War of 1862 and its aftermath - seen through the eyes of young Asa Senger as he learns that violence will not stay buried, that the past is as close as his own heartbeat. - From the back cover- FICTION

This Night's Foul Work, Fred Vargas

On the edge of Paris two small-time drug dealers have had their throats cut in a peculiar fashion. Setting out on the trail of the shadowy killer, Commissaire Adamsberg and his detectives travel between Paris and the Normandy countryside. Adamsberg's investigation into these horrible deaths brings him into contact with the attractive Ariane Lagarde -a pathologist who caused him professional grief some twenty-five years ago. There's also a new lieutenant on the scene, whose ties to Adamsberg's past create tension and hostility in his present.
From Randomhouse.ca - FICTION

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith

This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to "help people with problems in their lives." Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.[Excerpted from Random House]- FICTION

 

Northern Borders, Howard Frank Mosher

Told through the eyes of the grandson, Austen Kittredge III, the story begins when the six-year old Austen is sent to live with his grandparents in "the Northern Kingdom". The book, by Howard Frank Mosher, is by turns hilarious, touching, and dramatic. In addition to the highly eccentric Gram and Gramps, the book is filled with unforgettable characters such as Cousin Whiskeyjack Kittredge, the Big and Little Aunts, the housekeeper Josey who isn't allowed to keep house, and a series of unsuitable schoolteachers who leave indelible impressions in the minds of their young charges.- FICTION
Nory Ryan's Song, Patricia Reilly Giff (Young Adult title)

"The story of 12-year-old Nory Ryan, who finds courage and strength through love, friendship, and song to help her family survive the potato famine in 1845 Ireland." - FICTION

On Beauty, Zadie Smith

"Howard Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering professor at Wellington, a liberal New England arts college. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer resembles the sexy activist she once was. Their three children passionately pursue their own paths: Levi quests after authentic blackness, Zora believes that intellectuals can redeem everybody, and Jerome struggles to be a believer in a family of strict atheists. Faced with the oppressive enthusiasms of his children, Howard feels that the first two acts of his life are over and he has no clear plans for the finale. Or the encore. Then Jerome, Howard's older son, falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing icon Monty Kipps, and the two families find themselves thrown together in a beautiful corner of America, enacting a cultural and personal war against the background of real wars that they barely register. An infidelity, a death, and a legacy set in motion a chain of events that sees all parties forced to examine the unarticulated assumptions which underpin their lives. How do you choose the work on which to spend your life? Why do you love the people you love? Do you really believe what you claim to? And what is the beautiful thing, and how far will you go to get it? Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Zadie Smith's third novel is a brilliant analysis of family life, the institution of marriage, intersections of the personal and political, and an honest look at people's deceptions." - FICTION

The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession - "The thief in question and offbeat genesis for New Yorker writer Orlean's book is ever-quotable eccentric John Laroche, whose craving for the rare orchid eventually lands him and three Indian accomplices in a Florida courtroom--and allows Orlean to write her appreciative and lyrically funny profile of obsession and Florida."
-Library Journal - NON-FICTION

A Painted House, John Grisham

It's September 1952 in rural Arkansas when young narrator Luke Chandler notes that "the hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day." These folk are in Black Oak for the annual harvest of the cotton grown on the 80 acres that the Chandlers rent. The three generations of the Chandler family treat their workers more kindly than most farmers do, including engaging in the local obsession playing baseball--with them, but serious trouble arises among the harvesters nonetheless.
[Excerpted from Amazon.com] - FICTION


Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

If a book can be a prescription for what ails you, then the 1917 Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley, is your cure from modern day stress. Enjoy a truly delightful yarn as you see what unfolds when a middle-aged woman - more or less invisible to her self-centered brother - impulsively buys a bookshop-on-wheels from a firecracker of a gentleman seeking to retire from the book selling business. In this memorable little charmer, you'll be sitting right alongside Helen McGill as she takes her long-overdue adventure. - FICTION

Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea, Sebastian Junger

"The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that will leave readers with the taste of salt air on their tongues and a sense of what it feels like to be caught, helpless, in the grip of a savage force of nature." -W.W. Norton & Co. - NON-FICTION

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

An adult, full-length graphic novel, whose film adaptation was the winner of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize. Persepolis is the story of the authors "unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution....It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the controversial trials and joys of growing up."(from the publisher) - NON-FICTION

The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett

An epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth
tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect-a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.- FICTION

The Pilot's Wife, Anita Shreve

"Being married to a pilot has taught Kathryn Lyons to be ready for an emergency, but nothing has prepared her for the late-night knock on her door and the news of her husband's fatal crash. As Kathryn struggles through her grief, a bizarre mystery swims into focus, and she is forced to confront disturbing rumors about the man she loved and the life that she took for granted." - Oprah's Book Club - FICTION

Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver

"Barbara Kingsolver's fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel's intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place." - FICTION


Queenmaker: A Novel of King David's Queen, India Edghill

For over forty years, Michal lived and reigned in David's court. She was the beautiful and proud daughter of King Saul and the prize David would risk his kingdom to win. Behind the palace doors, beneath the burning sun of the desert, or fleeing from Absalom';s warriors, Michal was at the center of court intrigues. As a sister, a wife, a mother, a lover, a woman both scorned and worshipped, and above all, as a friend to David's other women, Queen Michal uses courage and wit to weave her own life; and reveals the court of the kings as only a woman could see it.- FICTION

Rainmaker, John Grisham

"Rudy Baylor, a new law school graduate, once dreamed of the good life as a corporate attorney. Now he faces joblessness and bankruptcy--unless he can win an insurance case against a heavyweight team of lawyers, a case that starts small but mushrooms into a frightening war of nerve and legal skill that could cost Rudy not only his future, but also his life." - Amazon.com - FICTION

The Reader, by Bernard Schlink

"When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover--then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder." - FICTION

Redemption, Julie Chibbaro (Young Adult title)

Gr. 9-12. Set in the early sixteenth century before colonists settled in North America, this ambitious first novel tells the story of Lily, 12, who flees religious persecution in England. She boards a ship to follow her banished father to the New World, where eventually she finds home and family with an Indian tribe in the northeast forests. Chibbaro works in a huge amount of historical background that will be new to most readers, but Lily's immediate present-tense narrative makes the drama personal: the religious conflict and betrayal that drove her beloved father from England; the horror of the voyage (including the sexual abuse of her mother); the shipwreck and landing in the New World, where she finds both kindness and unspeakable savagery among Indians and whites. From survival adventure to classical father quest, there's too much coincidence. It's the exciting nonstop action and Lily's spiritual battle with her own guilt and with God that draw readers along. Lily's discovery of a religious community is a powerful climax. -Hazel Rochman, Booklist - FICTION

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

"A post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf in The Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. In The Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith. -Dennis Lehane - FICTION


The Saffron Kitchen, Yasmin Crowther

In a powerful debut novel that moves between the crowded streets of London and the desolate mountains of Iran, Yasmin Crowther paints a stirring portrait of a family shaken by events from decades ago and worlds away. On a rainy day in London the dark secrets and troubled past of Maryam Mazar surface violently, with tragic consequences for her daughter, Sara, and her newly orphaned nephew. Maryam leaves her English husband and family and returns to the remote Iranian village where her story began. In a quest to piece their life back together, Sara follows her mother and finally learns the terrible price Maryam once had to pay for her freedom, and of the love she left behind. Set against the breathtaking beauty of two very different places, this stunning family drama transcends culture and is, at its core, a rich and haunting narrative about mothers and daughters. Penguin Group - FICTION

Scarlet Feather, Maeve Binchy

From New Year's Eve to New Year's Eve, readers will meet Tom Feather and Cathy Scarlet, their extended families, their many friends, and learn of the heartaches and triumphs, disappointments and joys, loves, losses, that can happen in time.
[Excerpted from bookbrowse.com] - FICTION

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter, written in 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a story constructed around the worldwide theme of good versus evil. Hester Prynne is publicly admonished by the strict rulers of the Puritan church and made to wear an "A" on her clothing signifying her sin of adultery.
The shunning results in Hester and her beautiful daughter Pearl living outside of the Puritan community both physically and emotionally. Hester's refusal to implicate the father of her child further complicates the plot.
The story, filled with irony, highlights the Puritan religion. The fact that the uncompromising group left England to avoid persecution and then shuts out one of its own, seems in itself, cynical. The book is also testimony to a woman's strength. - FICTION

 

Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand

Seabiscuit was an unlikely champion. For two years he floundered at the lowest level of racing, before his dormant talent was discovered by three men. One was Tom Smith, an arthritic old mustang breaker. The second was Red Pollard, a half-blind jockey. The third was Charles Howard, a former bicycle repairman who made a fortune by introducing the automobile to the American West. Bought for a bargain-basement price by Howard and rehabilitated by Smith and Pollard, Seabiscuit overcame a phenomenal run of bad fortune to become one of the most spectacular, charismatic performers in the history of sports. [Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - NON-FICTION

Shipping News, Annie Proulx

In this touching and atmospheric novel set among the fishermen of Newfoundland, Proulx tells the story of Quoyle. From all outward appearances, Quoyle has gone through his first 36 years on earth as a big schlump of a loser. He's not attractive, he's not brilliant or witty or talented, and he's not the kind of person who typically assumes the central position in a novel. But Proulx creates a simple and compelling tale of Quoyle's psychological and spiritual growth. Along the way, we get to look in on the maritime beauty of what is probably a disappearing way of life. -Amazon.com - FICTION

Silk, Alessandro Baricco

This startling, sensual, hypnotically compelling novel tells a story of adventure, sexual enthrallment, and a love so powerful that it unhinges a man's life. Set in 1861, Herve Joncour is a French merchant of silkworms, who travels to Japan, legendary for the quality of its silk and its implacable hostility to foreigners. There he meets a woman. They do not touch; they do not even speak, but Joncour is possessed. This book has the compression of a fable, the evocative detail of the greatest historical fiction, and the devastating erotic force of a dream. [excerpted from Vintage International] - FICTION

Sleeping Arrangements, Laura Shaine Cunningham

This is the magical memoir of Lily Shaine, an orphan brought up by her two eccentric bachelor uncles in New York in the 1950s. Uncle Len is a six-foot-six-inch private investigator, a trench-coated cross between Abraham Lincoln and Sam Spade. Uncle Gabe, a librarian, is a confirmed dreamer who writes gospel songs in his spare time. With these two men as mentors, the human jungle of the Bronx as her playground, the schoolroom as her torture chamber and very knowing little girls as her playmates, Lily learns the secrets of life, sex, death and, above all, family love. A wry, funny and deeply affectionate portrait of the most unlikely of happy families, Sleeping Arrangements is a modern classic. - Bloomsbury.com - NON-FICTION

Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, Robert James Waller

Michael Tillman, a tenured economics professor enjoying his role of academic maverick, feels an immediate attraction to Jellie Braden when she walks into a dean's reception with her husband. Their common past experiences in India provide a basis for friendship, which develops into a spiritual link; Michael realizes that he has waited a lifetime to meet Jellie. Within a year, their love intensifies, and the affair is consummated. Yet there is much Michael doesn't know about Jellie, and her sudden, unannounced visit to India prompts his quest for the secret of her past.
- Library Journal - FICTION

Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson

"Set on an island in the straits north of Puget Sound, in Washington, where everyone is either a fisherman or a berry farmer, the story is nominally about a murder trial. But since it's set in the 1950s, lingering memories of World War II, internment camps and racism helps fuel suspicion of a Japanese-American fisherman, a lifelong resident of the islands." - Amazon.com - FICTION

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See

Set in nineteenth-century China, Lily is the daughter of a farmer in Puwei Village, and Snow Flower is the daughter of a respectable family from Tongkou, and though the two girls have very different backgrounds, Madame Wang pairs the two as laotong, or "old sames," a bond that will last them a lifetime. The two begin to exchange messages in nu shu, a secret language known only to women. Their friendship is cemented during their youth and then put to the test when the girls prepare for marriage and Lily discovers a startling secret about Snow Flower's family. As Lily solidifies her place in her new family, Snow Flower suffers in her marriage, and the two grow apart as Lily's pride in her position swells.
-Booklist - FICTION


Someone Knows My Name, Lawrence Hill

An eighteen century historical fiction scanning six decades over three continents- Africa, North America, and Europe. This is about Aminata Diallo and the freedom she so desperately seeks. Aminata's story is a devastating journey of a young girl from a stolen childhood, thrown into slavery and then the chaos of the Revolutionary War. Seeing her continue the saga into old age, her spirit undaunted in spite of those who would own or use her. - FICTION

Stones From the River, by Ursula Hegi

Trudi Montag, a dwarf born in Germany during World War I, narrates her life story from her earliest memories through post-World War II. Being different sometimes renders Trudi almost invisible to those around her, allowing her to eavesdrop on the daily dramas of her neighbors' adultery, cowardice, heroism, insanity, and Jewish persecution.
-Library Journal - FICTION


Suite Française, Irène Némirovsky

Irene Nemirovsky began working on Suite Francaise when she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. She was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For 64 years, this novel remained hidden and unknown. Suite Francaise begins in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940 and tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy – in their town, their homes, even in their hearts
-Back Cover of Suite Francaise - FICTION

The Tale of Despereaux
By Kate DiCamillo
(Juvenile title)


Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. And what happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: "Reader, it is your destiny to find out." - FICTION

Tara Road, by Maeve Binchy

"Ria lived on Tara Road in Dublin with her dashing husband, Danny, and their two children. She fully believed she was happily married, right up until the day Danny told her he was leaving her to be with his young, pregnant girlfriend." - FICTION

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea is the true story of one of the most extraordinary humanitarian missions of our time. In 1993, a young American mountain climber named Greg Mortenson stumbles into a tiny village high in Pakistan';s beautiful and desperately poor Karakoram Himalaya region. Sick, exhausted, and depressed after a failing to scale the summit of K2, Mortenson regains his strength and his will to live thanks to the generosity of the people of the village of Korphe. Before he leaves, Mortenson makes a vow that will profoundly change both the villagers' lives and his own; he will return and build them a school.
-Penguin Reading Guides - NON-FICTION

Three Weeks with My Brother, Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

In January 2003, Nicholas Sparks and his brother, Micah, set off on a three-week trip around the globe. Set against the backdrop of the wonders of the world and often overtaken by their feelings, daredevil Micah and the more serious, introspective Nicholas recalled their rambunctious childhood adventures and the tragedies that tested their faith. And in the process, they discovered startling truths about loss, love and hope. Narrated with irrepressible humor and rare candor, and including personal photographs, Three Weeks with my Brother reminds us to embrace life with all its uncertainties. . . and most of all, to cherish the joyful times, both small and momentous, and the wonderful people who make them possible.
-Nicholas Sparks official website - NON-FICTION

Totally Killer, Greg Olear

Conspiracy and pop culture collide in 1991 New York in this dark debut from Greg Olear.

Taylor Schmidt- twenty-three, single and jobless - arrives in the Big Apple desperate for work and hungry for love. Through the Quid Pro Quo Employment Agency she finds the perfect job and the perfect boyfriend… but perfection has its price.

Part thriller, part satire, part period piece, Totally Killer is a total page turner. - FICTION

The Turtle Warrior, Mary Relindes Ellis

The story of the Lucas family, who live in a beautiful and remote part of Wisconsin inhabited by working-class European immigrants and the Ojibwe. By 1967 the Lucas farm has fallen into disrepair, thanks to the hard drinking of John Lucas, who brutalizes his wife and two sons. When the eldest, James, escapes by enlisting to fight in Vietnam, he leaves young Bill alone to protect his mother with only his own will and the spirit of his brother to guide him. Beautifully written and deeply felt, The Turtle Warrior takes readers from the heartland of America to the battlefields of World War II and Vietnam weaving a haunting tale of an unforgettable world where the physical and spiritual, the past and the present, merge. [Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - FICTION

Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

Bella Swan moves to Forks Washington to live with her father. She is sure that things will remain dull in this rainy little town. But then Bella meets the mysterious & handsome Edward Cullen. Bella is immediately drawn to Edward, as he is to her. Eventually, the attraction between the two of them deepens & a secret kept hidden about Edward & his family is soon revealed. Yet, a dangerous adventure is ahead for Bella & Edward when a group of blood thirsty vampires arrive in Forks - and the leader sets his sights on Bella. Soon these two unlikely lovers are forced into a deadly & uncertain battle where they must determine how much they are willing to sacrifice for each other.
- FICTION

Vinegar Hill, by A. Manette Ansay

Set a decade ago, this novel is about gritty small-town life in Wisconsin. Ellen along with her unemployed husband, James, and their two young children, Amy and Herbert, have returned to live with her in-laws, a bitter and narrow-minded couple, irascible and tough as the farm life they've endured, carefully cloaking their dark secrets. For Ellen, the pressures of her teaching job and raising a family often collide with life in this morbid household, and her marriage to a distant man, still under his father's thumb, is crumbling. It doesn't help that when James does find a job, it is as a salesman of out-of-date farm machinery, which keeps him on the road. But in the end, Ellen triumphs over a multitude of domestic and marital problems to grasp her emerging sense of self.
-Booklist - FICTION

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell.
[excerpted from saragruen.com] - FICTION


Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris

This wickedly funny, big-hearted novel about life in the office signals the arrival of a gloriously talented new writer. The characters in Then We Came to the End cope with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, secret romance, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. By day they compete for the best office furniture left behind and try to make sense of the mysterious pro-bono ad campaign that is their only remaining "work." by Syndetic Solutions, LLC - FICTION

We Were the Mulvaneys, Joyce Carol Oates

The Mulvaneys are blessed by all that makes life sweet—a hardworking father, a loving mother, three fine sons and a bright, pretty daughter. They are confident in their love for each other and their position in the rural community of Mt. Ephraim, New York. But something happens on Valentine's Day, 1976: an incident that is hushed up in the town and never spoken of in the Mulvaney home. -Oprah.com - FICTION

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Peter Hedges

Grape is 24 and stuck in a rut. Trapped by feelings of responsibility to his eccentric family, he works bagging groceries in their small Iowa town. And what a family! At its core lies his beached whale of a mother; she never leaves her TV chair and clamors constantly for more food and cigarettes. There is Ellen, his maddeningly pubescent sister; 17-year-old retarded brother Arnie, whom Gilbert loves dearly; and his older sister Amy who devotes herself to keeping everyone happy. Gilbert is saved by a beautiful and strange girl who startles him into life.
-Library Journal - FICTION

While I Was Gone, Sue Miller

In expert strokes, Sue Miller captures the precariousness of even the strongest ties, the ease with which we abandon each other, and our need to be forgiven. An extraordinary book, her best, from a beloved American writer. -Oprah.com - FICTION

 

White Oleander, Janet Fitch

Everywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes--has its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned--becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery. [Excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.com] - FICTION

White Teeth, Zadie Smith

An epic tale of two interconnected families. It begins with the suicide attempt of hapless, coin-flipping Archibald Jones on New Year's Day, 1975, and ends, after a 100-year ramble back and forth through time, on New Year's Eve, 1992, with his accidental (or preordained?) release of a poor mutant mouse programmed to do away with the randomness of creation. Smith's characters are tossed about by decisions made deliberately, rashly, or by the flip of a coin. As Smith pieces together this story with bits of fabric from different times and places, the reader must contemplate whether our choices determine our future or whether fate leads us to an inevitable destiny.
-Library Journal - FICTION

Wicked, Gregory Maguire

"When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?" - FICTION

The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan

Egan tells an extraordinary tale in this visceral account of how America's great, grassy plains turned to dust, and how the ferocious plains winds stirred up an endless series of "black blizzards" that were like a biblical plague: "Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains" in what became known as the Dust Bowl. But the plague was man-made, as Egan shows: the plains weren't suited to farming, and plowing up the grass to plant wheat, along with a confluence of economic disaster; the Depression;and natural disaster "eight years of drought" resulted in an ecological and human catastrophe that Egan details with stunning specificity. He grounds his tale in portraits of the people who settled the plains: hardy Americans and immigrants desperate for a piece of land to call their own and lured by the lies of promoters who said the ground was arable. Egan's interviews with survivors produce tales of courage and suffering: Hazel Lucas, for instance, dared to give birth in the midst of the blight only to see her baby die of "dust pneumonia" when her lungs clogged with the airborne dirt. With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan's powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers' mind. - NON-FICTION


In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, Bette Bao Lord (Juvenile title)

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends. Then a miracle happens: baseball. It is 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is everyone's hero. Jackie Robinson is proving that a black man, the grandson of a slave, can make a difference in America. And for Shirley as well, on the ball field and off, America becomes the land of opportunity. - FICTION

You Kill Me, Alison Gaylin

Post-9/11 Manhattan is the ominous setting for Gaylin's deliciously chilling second thriller (after Hide Your Eyes), in which preschool teacher Samantha Leiffer is still recovering from her brush with a murderer a year earlier. Her live-in cop boyfriend, John Krull, has suddenly gone emotionally (and sometimes physically) AWOL, so after a mysterious visitor leaves Samantha a series of warning notes about her safety, she's forced to grapple alone with what they could mean, if anything at all. As if on cue, people around Samantha start to die, beginning with the woman who lived in Samantha's old apartment, gorily murdered. If the signs point where Samantha thinks they're pointing, maybe she'd rather be in the dark.
-Publisher's Weekly - FICTION

last updated: 5.3.11

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