On the icebound planet Gethen, where the inhabitants have no fixed gender, two countries are poised on the brink of war. Can an ambassador and an exile withstand polar dangers and save the world? This swift-reading but multifaceted sci-fi classic layers in a deep, unflinching examination of gender, politics and violence while remaining a solid page-turner with intrigue, unexpected friendship, and survival against all odds.
This book has stayed with me for years. Walls impeccably recounts the story of growing up with her unique, nomadic family. Jeanette’s mother was an artist who encouraged the four Walls children to be independent, so she could focus on painting. Her father was an exceptionally brilliant man who taught them about physics, philosophy and geology, but became reckless and abusive when drinking. Thus, the Walls family would run away from their problems, always hoping to build a better life in their self-designed Glass Castle. At its core, this is a heartbreaking story of family and resilience.
From 1922-1954, Count Alex Rostov was confined to the Metropol Hotel in Communist Russia, due to his “disrespectful” poetry. I, also, was taken prisoner but to his chivalry, courtesy, honor, and humor. As he navigates his small world; his faith that “the smallest of one’s actions can restore some sense of order to the world”, becomes apparent. HISTORICAL, INTRIGUING, ROMANTIC!
Sherlock Holmes has met his equal and SHE is fifteen years old. It begins with a chance meeting when a retired Holmes is tending his beehives and Mary Russell is out for a reading/walking afternoon. In a very few moments the elder detective realizes that this outspoken youngster is not only clever beyond her years, but eager for knowledge. Thus begins King’s series about the famous Holmes and his protege. “The game’s afoot”. Great fun and wonderful dialogue.
Brilliantly horrifying, The Southern Reach trilogy will make your psyche cringe. Area X is a pristine wilderness that has defied all reason for thirty years. Expedition 12 follows four female scientists: the psychologist, the anthropologist, the surveyor, and our narrator, the biologist. You will undoubtedly see our world in a different light after traversing VanderMeer’s nightmarish world. A future science fiction classic.
Magic meets vinyl in 1988 Mexico City when teen outcasts Meche, Sebastian and Daniela discover they can cast spells using their favorite records. At first, Meche relishes the opportunity to improve her troubled life and exact revenge on those who have wronged her and her friends, but her newfound power threatens to fracture her relationships and put others in danger. Years later, can an adult Meche repair the damage done to those she cares for most?
Growing up in the storytelling culture of Nigeria, Arimah handily hones her skills within these pages. Each of her short stories opens with magic and intensity. Yet it is the wicked finish that 'packs a punch' every time! You'll despair, empathize and struggle along with mothers, fathers, lovers and children--and you'll love the tragedy of it all. What a gifted conjuror of words and worlds!
As adrenaline-fueled and hyperactively paced as its dynamic protagonist, The Warrior’s Apprentice is a fantastic character-driven space opera written by local author and winner of the most Hugo awards living today, Lois McMaster Bujold. The story follows the physically handicapped strategic genius Miles Vorkosigan as he careens through space, thwarting plots, possibly committing treason, and accidentally becoming the commander of an interstellar mercenary fleet. Great for fans of Ender’s Game.
Tess is a twentysomething who just landed a gig as a back waiter at one of Manhattan’s greatest restaurants. Join her for a year in her life as she develops her palate for truffles, champagne, lust, cocaine, and oysters. From a tumultuous affair with the bad boy waiter to her desperate need of Simone’s approval. Read with snack in hand and see how life can be both sweet and bitter.
Mary Roach does it again with her humorous journalistic writing style, this time about the science of keeping soldiers alive, sane, sanitary and parasite-free. From ruptured submarine simulations to dead chicken-launchers, Grunt offers readers a fascinating (albeit cringe-worthy) ride through the nerdy side of the military sciences. A magnificent book for mature readers with a good sense of humor and a love of all things weird!
Shaun Tan is a multifaceted artist surprising at every turn. Out of earthen clay and papier-mâché, Tan forms seventy-five beguiling narrative sculptures, shedding new light on fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Paging through the photographs of this book is akin to wandering an artist exhibition and gazing on an enchanted forest of collected ancient folklore--you might never imagine the golden locks of the young woman in the tower the same way again. You will want reach in and hold these storied figurines that fit the palm of a hand.
The Taj Mahal. A run-of-the-mill travel book will steer you towards such popular destinations, but there's an antidote to predictable travel in this very “Rumpian” guidebook. When traveling to India, why not also visit the Karni Mata Rat Temple (p. 131), where you may walk among 20,000 rats believed to be descendants of a reincarnated Hindu goddess? Teeming with quirky sightseeing recommendations, Atlas Obscura will inspire you whether you are actually traveling or living vicariously.
The Nix is a spirit from Norwegian mythology who takes what you love and makes it disappear. Eleven year old Samuel Andresen-Anderson’s mother disappears on a seemly ordinary day. She’s been planning it for some time, but the reason is a mystery that Samuel carries with him well into adulthood. When out of the blue his runaway mother is headlined in the news, Samuel feels that the time is right to get to the bottom of his personal mystery. Hill’s novel travels thru different decades from differing points of view. It’s a wild ride!
Finding the words of your own soul within the soul of another is a sacred and mysterious experience. Throughout her life and work as a poet, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Oliver has quietly spoken into the hearts of thousands, using her love of the natural world, as well as her love of literature, as muses. Upstream is a collection of beloved essays from her many books, carefully chosen to reflect upon her journey towards self discovery, and seen through the lenses of flora, fauna, and even Walt Whitman. A precious and beautiful memoir of musings, this novel is one to revisit again and again.
Pulitzer prize winner Michael Chabon has written his most ambitious and moving novel yet. Inspired by confessions from his grandfather’s deathbed, Moonglow is a fictionalized, dreamlike exploration of Chabon’s family history told from the perspective of one man’s long and event-filled life. The horrors of World War II, the strain of mental illness, long-kept family secrets, true love and loss, and even the high aspirations and secret dark side of the history of rocketry and space travel all factor into a narrative that condenses and pulls apart an entire lifetime.
Calling all children of the 80s! Cline delivers a fast-paced futuristic romp chock-full of hilarious 80s pop culture references, mainly set in a virtual reality. Everything about this book is pitch-perfect; it has heart, humor, and enough suspense to keep you turning pages late into the night as you follow its teenage protagonist on his virtual quest to solve a mystery worth millions. Read it before the movie comes out!
For adults who love a graphic treat, take a bite right out of this delicious graphic memoir. You will truly relish your time spent along with Lucy reading about her adventures in life, love, and the culinary arts. With recipes at the end of every chapter you won’t want to read this without a tasty treat by your side. It will pique your appetite and your funny bone. Bon Appétit!
Adventure; philosophy; war; romance — all of these elements combine to create the beatific opus that is Shantaram. In this fictionalized account of Gregory David Roberts’ life, the reader vigilantly toes the line between hope and reality, theory and experience, corruption and salvation. Roberts’ dedication to honesty, even in his most unflattering self-reflection, reveals the dark side of purity, the morality of crime and the malignancy of love.
Cape Ann is one of my favorite novels of all time; this is a prequel to that story. Both are set in the fictitious small town of Harvester, MN. Faith Sullivan’s newest book is about friendship, family, and the day to day challenges everyone faces. The central character, Nell Stillman, turns to P.G. Wodehouse at the many crossroads of her life. Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse is a tribute to reading as a means of dealing with sad times, happy times, and all the times in-between. Now to reread Cape Ann and a little Wodehouse.
This book brings to mind one thing: Quality. Starting with the design itself, with its reassuring heft and clean, uncomplicated layout, The Kaufmann Mercantile Guide is focused on the art of simple things done well. If you’re looking to learn how to fight off a crocodile or jump from a burning building, this is not the guide for you. But if you want to correctly fold a pocket square, grow a tomato, or make a perfectly poached egg, pick up a copy and master a new skill today!
In 1938, a U.S. Senator’s daughter is expected to swoon over her father’s choice of future husband, not sass back that she ‘could never respect a man who didn’t work’. That kind of talk infuriates the Senator, and quicker than she can spell proletariat, Miss Layla Beck is forced to accept a job with the Federal Writers’ Project in small town Macedonia, West Virginia! Annie Barrows is brilliant at writing about characters in this town riddled with secrets and lies. With heart and humor, Macedonia and all of its inhabitants become larger than life. Some of them are still gossiping quietly in my living room; I don’t want them to leave anytime soon.
The hundredth anniversary of The Best American Short Stories collection offers the opportunity for a victory lap, and a chance to remark upon the rude health of the short story in the US. This best-of-the-best anthology collects big hitters—Cheever, Paley, O’Connor and Hemingway (the selection here his first published story); oft-overlooked gems—Tillie Olsen’s ‘I Stand Here Ironing,’ and Donald Barthelme’s ‘The School’; and the work of those currently pushing the form forward—George Saunders and ZZ Packer, among others. Short essays from co-editor Heidi Pitlor put the selections in context, and an introduction from Lorrie Moore sets everything rolling.
Coralie and Eddie live in NYC in the early 1900’s however their lives couldn’t be more different. Coralie’s father owns a Coney Island museum where he amazes the public with his weird exhibits. Eddie has run away from his Jewish Orthodox upbringing and picks up a camera to photograph the streets of the city. As he accidentally captures the horrible Triangle Shirtwaist fire, Eddie becomes embroiled in the mystery of a missing young women. At the same time, Coralie is being transformed into a mermaid for exhibition. Coralie and Eddie’s lives run parallel until fate takes over. I loved these two characters and love Alice Hoffman for writing their stories.