Every once in a while a book comes along that pays kindness, love and gentleness forward. My heart opened and filled and, at the same time, grew in faith that something somewhere is giving us all what we need when we need it.
I always enjoy a story that unravels within a story!
Current day: In Sofia, Bulgaria, a young American woman has a chance meeting with a family at a taxi and ends up with an urn in an ornate box engraved with a name. With only this to use, she enlists the help of the taxi driver to get the urn to the rightful owners. Along the way, history reveals itself and actually involves them in some danger!
Great setting! Great read!
Anne Lamott's latest book shows us how to make mercy a constant part of our lives; and, in effect, her words teach how having empathy and being kind to others can set us free. Lamott is at her best in Hallelujah Anyway, writing as candidly and openly as ever about her failings and her uphill battles, as well as how her experiences and family history have shaped her. Ultimately, it is a book to return to again and again, during challenging times, when resentment or detachment seem the only response.
This is a lovely and versatile cookbook for home cooks that features a huge variety of recipes for every occasion- from a small breakfast for yourself to larger gatherings with family and friends. The book happens to be largely gluten-free, but the focus remains on modern, wholesome and delicious dishes that can be useful any day of the year.
Of the course the names have been changed to protect the innocent, but this novel brings to light how the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of the 90's could have happened. The Widow of Wall Street explores the workings behind a "legitimate" brokerage house, and the shandy under doing of the 37th floor private "Club" that was exclusive to only those who had money to invest and were too naive to ask about double digits on their investments.....until the bottom dropped out! The book shows the ramifications of this "Club" on family members, and close friends. Jake may have thought he had the brilliant mind, but it was his loving, ever faithful wife that took the brunt of the fall. A very interesting read that sheds light and details on how these illegal schemes come about.
— Jan B
Tess and Gus first cross paths in Florence, as 18-year-olds with their futures stretching ahead of them. Back in England, they live their lives oblivious to all the near misses and chances they have to encounter one another again. The meandering way their lives circle each other is charming rather than frustrating, but the heart of this book lies in the choices Tess and Gus each make as their lives unfold in ways neither anticipated.
Exceptionally poignant and filled with relatable and deeply human characters, this is a thoughtful book about how you can never quite guess what life has in store for you, and maybe that's for the best.
Told in alternating points of view, Brimstone is the story of Alice, a young clairvoyant moving to a town of clairvoyants in Cassadaga, Florida to learn, and Tomas, a solider home from WW 1 only to find his wife has died of the flu while he was away. Dreams of fire, and actual fires, connect the two until they meet and must fight in a battle of good vs. evil together with the town of Cassadaga.
There is something about Cherie Priest’s writing that immediately pulls me in, every single time. From the moment I was introduced to insecure, but brave, Alice and depressed, but determined, Tomas… I had no trouble flying through the book to find out the rest of their story. Simple, but beautifully written, I loved this book. Cherie presents the small town in bursts of color and character. I could see Cassadaga and its residents just as clearly as I could see Alice and Tomas and Felipe (how could I forget the adorable dog Felipe?)!
Sarat is the ultimate rebel, loyal and dedicated to the Southern territories in the U.S. Second Civil War. Set just 60 years in the future, the North and the South battle over outlawed oil. From caretaker of family after the slaughter of their refugee camp, to prisoner of war, and finally, martyr, Sarat is a Southern rebel soldier thru and thru. The idea that this extraordinary – and plausible! - debut novel is set only 60-years in the future is terrifying.
Do you want to sit down and laugh out loud while you read a tale that offers mystery, romance and familial craziness? Lipman's dialog will pull you right in. Stuck in a boring job in a private school, Faith is engaged to a bizarre loser, buys a fixer upper that harbors a possible murder mystery, and finds a potential new love all the while her parents marriage is falling apart. Every conversation and observation is hilarious.
What an engaging little book with a big story! On New Year's Eve in 1984, eighty-four-year-old Lillian decides to take a walk within the Manhattan haunts of her past career as the highest paid female advertising writer in the USA in the 1930's and 40's. Her memories flood back as she walks and her life as a mother, a wife and a poet is told. Lillian is acerbic, brilliant and heartfelt in her journey. A lovely book.
This is a triumphant book about human kindness and forgiveness. The story follows three amazing German women – all with very different backgrounds – who share secrets about their involvement in the resistance during World War II. If you love historical novels as much as I do, this heart-wrenching story will keep you caring about the women in this castle long after you’ve read the last page.
Lola is the battle-weary secret leader of a South Central gang capable of being both vicious and loving, as circumstances dictate, particularly when it comes to family and a little girl whose mother pimps her out for drugs. When she becomes entangled in an impossible situation with the cartel, rival dealers, a corrupt prosecutor and police after attempting a major drug deal rip-off, will she survive and live to fight another day?
Samuel Hawley has been shot twelve times over the course of his life as a criminal. Alternating between the stories behind each of those twelve bullets and Samuel’s present day life as a father raising a teenage daughter, Hannah Tinti tells a story that is both tender and intense. This is an excellent literary thriller with a relentlessly-paced plot, complicated characters you can’t help but root for, and a dynamite ending.
Two young boys' journey that begins as a supposed new start in life and quickly becomes a premature coming of age as the brothers face the emotional and physical abuse of their father. A dark, emotional, concise yet elegantly crafted page-turner that offers haunting perspectives of family, addiction, macsculinity, and identity of both the abuser and the abused.
This slim volume delivers a message meant to be both personal and universal. With practical suggestions and relatable examples for raising a daughter to be feminist in today's world, the author speaks also to anyone looking to foster a greater sense of gender equality every day. Wonderfully written with a great sense of wit and a tone that is ultimately hopeful, this is a great read for feminists of any age!
I can’t rave enough about this magnificent debut novel. The author deftly drew me into Mulderrig, an insular rural Irish village in the 1970’s. Mahoney (himself), left orphaned as a babe in the woods, comes back from Dublin to find out what happened to his teen mother. The village and forest are filled with secrets and hints, even some from the dead. Mahoney is an appealing and unforgettable character, and in addition the characters in the village are both captivating and repellant.
I was mesmerized by the luminous prose, with just the right touches of magic realism, and will anxiously await Ms. Kidd’s future work.
Andrea finds herself making her way through her 30's, surrounded by people who want different things for her than she wants for herself. As she deals with her lost dreams of being an artist and her painful family history, she finds herself in a variety of messy, honest and frequently hilarious situations. Told in vignettes through over a decade of Andrea's reluctant adulthood, Jami Attenberg's newest work is smart, insightful and relatably rough around the edges.
With her original, quirky humor and beautiful drawings, Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) has created a completely original, wonderful book. It is a coloring book, a self-help book, a humor book and more. Seek the messages hidden in the drawings, color the pages, take the book apart (perforated pages!), draw your own designs at the end, or read it and leave it as is. This book is yours. You Are Here.
Relevant, profound, and exquisitely written, Exit West is the story of two young students who fall in love in an unnamed city on the brink of civil war. It's a timeless and powerful epic that takes the form of a page-turner, centered around two intoxicating and immensely relatable characters. Their story is beautiful, haunting, subtly forceful and will remain with you as a very human story reflective of circumstances we've seen, experienced, have yet to experience and those we hope to avoid.
Want to know what really goes on at Boy Scout camp? Apparently a fair amount of bullying and other antics that aren't so innocent. Thank goodness there are real heroes in this story and wonderful depictions of lives and generations that intersect deep in the woods of Wisconsin. Camp Chippewa builds character, changes the course of lives and sets many on a path that will lead them back to camp time and again for adventure and heartbreak.
— Mary T
You’re going to be shocked when you find out what’s happening beneath the surface of our Great Lakes (hint: it’s not good), and by the time you finish this book you’ll want to join the scientists currently racing to engineer a solution to save the most important bodies of freshwater on the planet.
All manner of invasive species have wreaked havoc on the lakes’ ecosystems for decades; two centuries of poorly regulated American industry are responsible for a staggering amount of pollution; and don’t even get me started on the toxic algae. Dan Egan has given us a vitally important book—and one whose warning we would be wise to heed…before it’s too late.
This dark, mesmerizing crime novel is chock full of psychological suspense and puzzling characters. Spinning round and round in the spiral of dread is Dustin, a psychologist who once testified against his own adopted brother, a brother who was accused of murdering four relatives. Complicating Dustin's life even further, a patient with a theory about a serial killer- a killer who seems to draw ever closer to Dustin and his family.
— Mary T
I had to laugh when I turned the last page - the author really got me good! I don't think Hitchcock himself could have concocted a better twist. Now that being said, DON'T peak at the ending of this mystery. It's so much better to let the author play her little game and use you as a pawn.
— Mary T
How would insomniacs classify the hours when the rest of their time zone is sleeping; late hours or early hours? When Bill Hayes moved from California to NYC, he took to roaming the streets when he couldn’t sleep. He observed, photographed, and wrote about others he encountered during these times which is part of this new book. Bill then took one step deeper into his personal life and shared details about his relationship with Oliver Sacks. What an intimate glimpse into both of these worlds. I felt the city, with all its personality, as I read each word of this beautiful memoir.
A good 'woman in peril' novel in the tradition of The Girl on the Train and the author's own I Let You Go. Mysterious adverts with pictures of anonymous women appear to be related to crimes against these same women all over London. I See You has a creepy, paranoid atmosphere and a plot line that really keeps you guessing to the end. Makes you wonder about the strangers you meet every day, and the possibility that they may know more about you than you think. A bit chilling from start to finish.
— Mary T
With a sly adjustment of a pin on a Pachinko table, the gambler's fate is changed. And so Min Jin Lee plays with the fates of her deeply felt characters as we follow them through generations in Korea, north and south, to Japan. Epic yet intimate, sweeping yet close to home.
The tales of gods you may know – Odin, Thor, Loki – and gods and goddesses you may not yet know – Freya, Baldor, Tyr – are all gloriously told by master storyteller Neil Gaiman in an accessible, fun, sad, beautiful way.
Each story is roughly 10 pages or less, making this a quick read that can be devoured, or read more slowly if you prefer. This book is fascinating, entertaining and a great start to learning more about Norse gods and goddesses. Also a great book to read before diving into (or re-reading) Gaiman’s American Gods!
Sometimes you just need a book like this. Sometimes you need to escape and lose yourself in the twists and turns of a clever novel set in another time and place. The British tale is told through letters and diary entries, and covers the first seven months of WWII in the charming village of Chilbury. A veritable soap opera of spies, intrigue, love affairs and the first bombs to fall on Britain, this is a book to cozy up with and let every other care just fall away, enjoy every entertaining moment!
A vivid work of historical fiction, bringing to life the stories of two real, strong, remarkable women. Adele Bloch-Bauer was a friend, rumored lover and important patron of Gustav Klimt, and vibrant 1900s Vienna sets a thrilling backdrop to her position in both society and the modern art movement blossoming in Austria.
Decades later, her niece Maria Altmann will be forced to flee the same city, leaving a priceless portrait of her aunt (and one of Klimt's most important works) behind in the hands of Nazis. Both women fight through heartbreaking struggles, but never give up on fighting for themselves or for each other.
Imagine that the Future we dreamed up in the 1950’s came true. Flying cars, clothing that can change with the press of a button… that’s the world that Tom lives in. At least until he enters his father’s new invention: a time machine. Things go so wrong in the past that when he comes back, Tom is now in OUR 2016 instead of his and has to figure out a way to fix his mistake.
The slightly slow build-up is worth it for a couple great reveals and a fantastic second half. A coming-of-age story for a 30 something who floated through life and a wonderful love story, mixed with fun science fiction and leaves you pondering “what would I do.”
Contemplative and mesmerizing, this novel somehow manages to be both quickly flowing and slowly burning. At times, the narrator seems unsettlingly removed form the circumstances that have brought her to Greece to seek out her estranged husband, but she maintains a sharp sense of observation and imagination throughout. Her many digressions infuse the story with insight, enriching her thoughts on intimacy, infidelity, the nature of relationships, and her crumbling marriage. The smooth, seamless prose will enchant you, until you feel as though you are experiencing events firsthand.
If you're looking for something a bit cerebral, try this travel writer's sublime new work of fiction. He conjures up a smoldering fire in the basement of an apartment building which houses an eclectic group of tenants. In the haze and heat, each tenant's memories are examined and while some converge and others barely intersect, each is fascinating in its own right.
— Mary T
Surpassing the descriptor of "dreamlike," Emily Ruskovich's Idaho feels more akin to the sensation of having recently woken from a nightmare. The reader is reminded of those brief moments in which one lies confused, awash in sweat, struggling to separate the events of the dream from reality. This disjointed narrative invites the reader to not only witness the rapid deterioration of the principal character’s mental state, but to viscerally experience it. The stark landscape of rural Idaho, coupled with prose that is both dark and poetic, lends a sense of true isolation to this "Western Gothic."
Well written, very readable story of one of histories most impactful women. Victoria ascended the throne as a 5ft tall girl of 18 and spent her life learning to govern with compassion and intelligence. She married the love of her life (unusual for a queen), had 9 children and virtually populated the ruling houses of Europe with her descendants.
Most fascinating is the story of Victoria, the woman, and how she handled her duties as monarch while also living the separate life of a human being. Fascinating insight - maybe being a Queen is harder than we think. Loved it!
It makes me feel good that there are still completely unexplored regions of the world that contain the ruins of ancient, incredible cities. Join the team of intrepid explorers as they as they uncover the mythical lost city, braving venomous snakes, crippling disease, biting insects, and jaguars. This is real life Indiana Jones.
I can’t stop thinking about this book, and am reminded yet again how reading changes your life by opening your heart and mind. Narrated in first person by Thomas McNulty who lost his family in the Irish Potato Famine, then comes to the United States at 17 with nothing. His story about fighting in the Indian wars and the Civil war is violent, harrowing and heartbreaking, however he has some happiness by making a family of sorts with his brother in arms and an orphaned Sioux girl. I wept at the transcendent beauty and humanity in this magnificent work.
This is a coming-of-age story unlike any other about two brothers equally good at India's national pastime, Cricket, but disproportionally passionate about it. Each brother must face their domineering, success-obsessed father as they struggle to define themselves or let the world dictate who they are to become.
Selection Day is a heartbreaking but ultimately poignant look into contemporary Indian sports and, arguably, India as a whole. Adiga successfully weaves together cultural archetypes and blends them with unforgettable characters that make his second novel a modern day classic.
Funny, charming, fast-paced - fans of This is Where I Leave You, this book is for you as a must read! Set with another family full of dysfunctional members, I couldn’t help laughing out loud at times. Just when I thought it wouldn’t be more absurd, I turned the page. What a pleasure to take a break from my everyday pressures and tumble along with this family’s journey—ever hopeful to figure it out. Enjoy!
This book defies classification. It’s not purely a psychological thriller, but it’s psychologically thrilling throughout. Yes, it’s literary, but I would not describe it as ”literary fiction.” And while it’s about Linda’s coming-of-age, it’s unlike any coming-of-age novel I’ve ever read. Boiling with tension from the first page, this one is a must-read.
Immediately engaging, this is the powerful story of 18-year-old Rachel returning to her father's farm in 1952 Kenya, where things have changed dramatically: the tension of the Mau Mau uprising, native friends being driven off of their land, a forbidden relationship, an intolerant woman influencing her father. Reading this book almost felt like watching a really good movie. I love being transported to another time and culture, and this book did just that!
T.C. Boyle has vividly and minutely imagined an Ecosphere where four men and four women have been selected to live for two years as preparation for life on another planet. The Terranauts combines science, survival and sex.
The motivations, jealousies and resentments of the three narrators are probed and dissected for the reader; and Boyle, as always, creates a story which is intriguing from start to finish. Not just for sci-fi readers as there are great bits about commercialism and marketing for today's society.
— Mary T
I don't know how much is true and how much is made up, but it doesn't matter because it's simply great storytelling. Michael Chabon's grandfather is a larger than life kind of guy with an intelligence, a curiosity and a temperament that leads him into one tragicomic adventure after another. There are many juicy bits, and Chabon's turns of phrase are a joy to chew even if you can't swallow the whole thing!
— Mary T
A terrific addition to your cookbook collection, and one of Ina Garten’s best. This will appeal to cooks of every level. Cooking for Jeffrey has an array of recipes from casual, everyday meals to elegant dinners for special occasions. Along the way, Garten, known as the ‘Barefoot Contessa,’ shares sweet thoughts about cooking for her husband of nearly 50-years. Don’t miss the recipes for Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken and Filet Mignon with Mustard & Mushrooms!
Zadie Smith's newest novel brings two young girls together through circumstance and their mutual love of dance, fostered by the musicals and music videos they grow up watching. Covering decades of their diverging lives, the novel jumps from London to West Africa to New York, all while exploring ideas of cultural appropriation, freedom and belonging. Throughout all these years, the complicated bonds of the girls' childhood friendship is present. Smith's characters are flawed and real, and her writing has a resonating humanity.
In her remarkable and insightful new collection of short stories, Roxane Gay makes it clear that being a "difficult" woman carries no shame. Her characters are painted as complicated, strong, beautiful, flawed and very, very real. Hauntingly raw and powerfully written, the stories range from realistic to fantastic, but are all unfailingly rooted in a relatable humanity. An engineer tries to find her place in foreign and frigid Upper Michigan. A woman made of glass struggles with her husband's careful version of love. A mother is separated from her son after a new civil war divides America. These women struggle with pain, forgiveness, grief, love, and acceptance, and they have stayed with me long after I finished reading.
No, it’s not about home renovation. It is somewhat about entrepreneurism and the thrill and agony of it. But at its heart, this book is about following your calling, and even more so, about marriage. Chip and Joanna Gaines, the affable couple who host the hit HGTV series, “Fixer Upper,” have the kind of blessed marriage that makes each of them a stronger, more fully realized individual.
For Jo, that means quitting a secure job at her father’s tire store to become a wildly successful interior designer—despite having no formal training. For Chip, that means building on his early successes as a small business owner who has a dream that needs his wife’s considerable talents to come true. Along the way, they pick each other up during the many lean, challenging times—and then, when a TV producer discovers Joanna on a design blog, the rest, as they say, is history.
Twin Peaks fans rejoice! With the show returning to TV in 2017, this book is the perfect bridge between the old series and the new one. Written by one of the shows creators, The Secret History of Twin Peaks is all new information. A necessity for all Twin Peaks fans.
From simple butter cookies to a redcurrant meringue torte, this cookbook is a wonderful resource for traditional German baking recipes. Covering breads, cookies, cakes, strudels, savories and Christmas favorites, you won't soon run out of delicious options to try. A beautiful and comprehensive look at the importance of baking in German culture.
I never get tired of being totally absorbed by page one! Michael Connelly is a master, and The Wrong Side of Goodbye is one of his very best. Great characters, smart writing, clever mystery, and pure perfection for any reader.
Patisserie at Home is a beautifully illustrated road map for all thing pastry. Much more than recipes, the goal of this book is to understand, learn and master the components that can be assembled into elegant and tasty treats. The attention given to each basic element will give any home baker the confidence to put their new knowledge to delicious use!
Forget Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide - a few decades later Sasha Petraske has published a book that shares a vision, for the modern era. This is a charming, informative and personal book featuring tips beyond how to make a good cocktail. Regarding Cocktails focuses on the idea that bars are now more than a "shot and a beer" - they are the new 5 star restaurants! Pick up a copy to enjoy that same experience in your own home.
— Jan B
On an icy winter night, two teenagers are in a car accident. One ends up unable to move or talk, the other – Shelby – feels so guilty she falls into a deep depression. Shelby’s rollercoaster pather to redemption involves heartbreak, dogs, theft, unopened fortune cookies, advice from friends, advice from strangers, loss, hope and love in all its forms. Inspirational, heart-wrenching and exquisite! I loved this book and all of the characters in it.
I loved this incredibly touching story! Backman describes a grandfather's struggle with memory loss ...often, at times, confusing to his son and grandson. One of my favorite quotes in describing his grandson Noah - "....when a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it." Great for all ages.