If Franz Kafka and M. Night Shyamalan decided to write a book together, Foe would be the result. As creepy and chilling as his excellent 2016 debut I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Foe is a true mind-bender. Reid builds suspense slowly and reveals answers even more slowly, which is sure to frustrate readers looking for one simple answer and reward readers looking to draw a few conclusions of their own. Warning: rapid page-turning may result in paper cuts.
Meet the Bogle family from Oregon, currently of the federal prison system. This fascinating and ultimately enlightening book explores the dark legacy of multi-generations of a family awash in crime. Since the family culture is permeated with the normalization of criminal activity, it’s hard to imagine how some might find the resolve to break away and live a normal life.
What is a woman's role in her family? In her own life? Three generations of women explore the challenges and heartbreaks of keeping their dysfunctional family together in this relatable, resilient, and at times racy, novel.
This is the intriguing story of Ada Baumgarten, a violin prodigy born in 1918 Berlin, and Gabriella Vincenzo of Pienza, Italy, 2017. The author of Once We Were Brothers brings Catherine and Liam to the aid of a woman about to be evicted from her home and prized vineyards. Once again, I was swept away by the suspense, the colorful characters, and the desire for justice!
This book had me yelling at the characters while I grasped at its pages waiting to see what would become of Jessie Sloan as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life and discover who she really is. A magnificently written thriller with a plot that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat. A must-read for the mystery/thriller fan!
Layered and spirited, this is a spy novel unlike any I'm familiar with. Juliet is a relatable young woman in the service of MI5, filled with witty thoughts and wry observations as she suffers through what begins as a truly boring wartime assignment. Atkinson raises the stakes of Juliet's circumstances to tremendous effect, poignantly displaying the repercussions that one's actions may have, both predictable and not. Another brilliant work by a groundbreaking author.
Have you ever wondered how basketball began? Go beyond today's hype to what really happened in this dynamic, insightful history. A MUST READ for anyone who loves the game!
Ashe lead two lives, one as a champion tennis player, and the other as a champion of human rights. If I had to choose, I think Ashe most relished his accomplishments in the civil rights and HIV arenas. His athletic stamina, grit, and mental stability made many winning cross-court shoots possible, and also helped serve as a platform for Ashe’s humanitarian causes. An inspirational read.
If you liked the book The Help, here’s a memoir that is similar but has more guns, booze, and action! Tena Clark was raised in Mississippi during the Civil Rights era and was able to create her own path and future from the care and guidance of her black nanny. I love reading these types of memoirs---strong characters and sharp!
Picoult demands her readers to question their own beliefs, to ask themselves: How do I REALLY feel about this issue? Her latest examines both sides of the pro-choice dilemma. It opens with elevated drama and then works backward to cleverly illustrate each character's motivation. A brilliant narrative on a controversial topic, you may be surprised to find yourself understanding the other side.
What I admire most about this read is that it is true. While Harrison’s efforts have improved the lives of thousands with clean water, his journey to do so was day-by-day. Harrison’s story serves as a model to me of how a person’s true redemption, generosity, and humility can and does better the lives of others, and your own life. I will be buying this book as a gift for family and friends.
Exploring fame, social media, and how humans relate to each other, Hank Green’s debut is a must-read that I couldn’t put down. When April stumbles upon a giant samurai sculpture in the early morning hours of course she calls her best friend with a YouTube channel to record a short, humorous take on it. Then she goes to sleep… and when she wakes up their video has gone viral.
Green’s book is about our addiction to the internet and preoccupation with being "first." It's about how we tend to divide ourselves when we should actually be coming together. A remarkable read that made me think, and made me want to talk about all the things I’d absorbed.
Lepore is both a provoking historian & modern-day political journalist in These Truths. She identifies the Constitutional framers’ standards of “political equality,” “natural rights,” and “sovereignty of the people,” then she investigates how these ideas measure up before Washington crossed the Delaware, over the Mason/Dixon line, and into the Trump White House. Lepore offers us more than U.S. history; she explores America’s ever-evolving political landscape, while questioning our Constitution.
Another excellent story from Grady Hendrix. If you have a connection to music, this book is for you – music absolutely flows through Kris’s journey. Enduring tragedy and pain along the way, Kris goes from a washed up, former guitarist in a metal band to traveling across the country seeking out former band members on a mission to fix something she knows is broken, even if she doesn’t at first know what or how. An absolute page turner and so much fun to read.
I love spy novels, so getting inside the heart and mind of the greatest KGB spy was intriguing. But then I realized this is Vladmir Putin's KGB; their tactics for coercing co-operation are uncomfortably familiar. In this little-known yet important piece of history, a loyal spy turned traitor will inspire you, keep you turning pages, and leave you wondering "what if?"
This is unquestionably my favorite book in years! The Shadow of the Wind was Zafon's first book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. This new incredible story takes place in dark and turbulent Barcelona between 1938 and 1960, and pulls all of the characters together on its own. It's both a detective story with nail-biting suspense, corruption and revenge, and a loving story about a family of booksellers and writers. You will savor every second of this brilliantly written tale!
The discovery of this memoir, published posthumously, is a gift to the world of fashion. Bill Cunningham became an iconic presence in New York City by the end of his life, and here he details the early years of his career with a charming flair and an infectious joie de vivre. Riotous stories share space with philosophical thoughts on the role of the fashion industry in the world, and every page is a sheer delight to experience.
In heartfelt prose, gorgeously illustrated, Khaled Hosseini transplanted me into the world of a refugee. More than any other book on the topic I’ve read this year, this one instantly made me feel the nostalgia for what’s lost and the hope and heartbreak of what’s to come. Note: The author’s profits go to fund refugee relief worldwide.
This is the political thriller of 2018, and it has nothing to do with Pres. Trump. Judge Starr plays True Grit rattling the Bill Clinton Whitehouse while deftly investigating the “Whitewater” scandal. Contempt is also an extremely timely read as dramatic calls for impeachment and presidential immunity are now daily news. It doesn’t matter whether you voted for Bill, Hillary, or the Donald. Starr’s memoir is a political expose like no other I have ever read.
Yumiko Higuchi is an incredible artist, and a master of elegant and organic design. Her new book features the perfect embroidery motifs for every month of the year, each using only a handful of different stitches to produce stunning results.
The useful charts and instructions make this a wonderful gift for embroiderers of all levels, and Higuchi's finished projects are sure to inspire anyone who picks this gorgeous book up!
What did I just read?! This exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I’ll read anything about a screwed up family, but these characters really take the cake -- drunken affairs, faking cancer, mental abuse, and even murder surrounds Emily, her Fiancé Adam, and his lovely mother Pammie. A psychological thriller at its finest, this is a great book for those who enjoyed The Wife Between Us.
Smashed by the weight of SEC investigations, a crumbling marriage, and an autistic son, Barry Cohen does what any self-centered, self-deluded hedge fund millionaire would do -- drunkenly boards a Greyhound bus in search of America. Set against the 2016 presidential race, Lake Success is a scorching road story told in Shteyngart's distinctive voice. Hilarious, heartbreaking, a hit for me!
I have read so many WWII books that you would think, at this point, I couldn’t read any others, but I simply could not resist this remarkable story. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the journey of the prisoner who tattooed incoming prisoners at Auschwitz. Hopeful, heart-wrenching, and romantic, this is a beautiful story that any historical fiction fan will fall for quickly.
The Overstory is unlike anything I've ever read before, almost like The Hidden Life of Trees meets environmental fiction. Powerfully written, it really opened my eyes to the diversity of trees and the role they play in our environment, as well as the lengths to which people will go to protect our planet. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for something different and unique.
An epic read rich in details for fans of House of Names and Circe. This is a haunting retelling of the familiar decades long war waged over, of all things, a woman. The story of Briseis, a voice that has gone unheard until now, brings to light the behind-the-scenes happenings of the Trojan War and the parallel events that almost lost the war for the Greeks.
In this darkly fun and quirky novel, a charismatic widow and her (somewhat useless) adult son face scandalous financial ruin and flee from New York to Paris. Both the journey and destination deliver optimal hilarity, topped only by a revelation relating to their aging cat, Small Frank. A perfect read for fans of Arrested Development!
His Favorites is a short but impactful story about a teenage girl's story told from the point-of-view of her adult self. After experiencing a traumatic accident in which her best friend is killed, Jo is sent away to a boarding school where she forms a “favorite student” relationship with her 34-year-old English teacher. In a way, he offers her a form of support she has yet to find, but it's also not okay. The ending left me wanting to know more about the characters as we're left with a haunting picture of the realities of the #metoo movement. Executed with precision, this book has a truly unique voice!
A smart and scarily plausible apocalyptic novel, Severance takes a sharp, satirical look at capitalism and nostalgia, with plenty of wit and heart to cushion its blunt edges. Candace is a protagonist that any millennial will find relatable, dissatisfied with her job but unable to escape its banalities even as a pandemic begins to empty New York City. Both brutal and low-key in turn, this is an impressive debut novel that I could not get enough of.
In this polished and unpredictable debut, two brothers in 1970s Texas steal a car and head to Mexico to recover some stolen money. Things get complicated when they discover a young girl hiding under the backseat. Kennedy takes his time telling the story of this mismatched trio, but it’s a ride worth taking if you’re looking for a smart, thoughtful character study.
Most might consider Omarosa just another disgruntled government employee who decided to “spill the tea” with a tell-all book, but to me this book confirmed everything I’ve been thinking since 2016. While the information in the book isn’t all brand new, it’s still enlightening considering the author is not only a White House insider but also a Trump family insider. While she may not be America’s favorite person, she has been there alongside Trump since 2003 and I think we should all take to the time to listen to what she has to say.
Return to the bucolic small town of Guthrie, Vermont in Miller's second charming novel filled with family closeness and conflict, mysterious treasures found in the forest, and the I-can-taste-and-smell-it narrative of cakes, grilled goodies, and tales of The Miss Guthrie Diner. This is a lovely and delightful book to tuck into and escape.
You sense the unraveling that is about to happen right from the start. One photograph taken and shared on social media sparks a chain reaction, affecting families, friendships, and ultimately Nina & Kirk's marriage. Faced with what appears to be a very bad decision made by their teenage son, Nina and Kirk, who seem to “have it all," have very different opinions on how to make this wrong a right. Each chapter is told from a different perspective, giving the reader an inside look at how one action can expose many different types of reactions and moral implications.
I love trees and I love intriguing characters so I was enchanted to climb with Harry and to adventure with lovely Oriana! And since I also love libraries, I was touched by the pivotal role that books and the Pratt Library played in the story. A modern version of a Grimm’s fairy tale all the way to the end.
As good or better than any entry in Cormac McCarthy's near-perfect Border Trilogy, this thrilling debut novel breathes new life into the Western genre. It's bighearted and heartbreaking, tender and brutal, meditative and action-packed -- it's everything an American adventure novel should be and more. Jessilyn is an unforgettable and wholly unique heroine whose spirit, bravery, and voice will stay with you long after the sun has set on her incredible journey.
A remarkable debut, this novel vibrates with heart and conflict. Will loves Phoebe deeply, even in the face of her increasingly dangerous ties to an extremist cult, in which she tries to find the solutions to her grief. The familiarity and depth of their fears, desires, and regrets touched me profoundly as the effects of loss, faith, and violence impacted their lives in increasingly stunning ways. A powerful and brilliant work.
An absolutely fascinating memoir that combines a personal family account with one of America's most recognizable foods. Seamlessly exploring the foundation of her family's wealth and the seemingly cursed lives of three generations of women, Rowbottom has written a page-turning cultural history that hits on both the nostalgia many associate with Jell-O and the societal forces that propelled the brand.
Although this mystery starts out quiet, even a little slow, the writing was compelling and kept me reading. And once I got going, next thing I knew I was done with the book. I’m a huge fan of detective movies from the 1940s and Osborne has captured that style while keeping the story fresh. Follow Philip Marlowe to Mexico as he hunts for the truth for an insurance agency and gets tangled in more than even he--a seasoned investigator--expected.
By every psychological standard Hallowell's childhood should have relegated him to a disaster of a life and yet somehow he survived and with great success. His story tells us how he endured what he calls his WASP triad of familial mental illness, alcoholism and politeness. A compelling read and a completely absorbing journey.
A delightful tale of a solicitous, middle-aged woman who takes a journey of self-discovery after living her life in the shadow of others. An unexpected call from a stranger leads Willa Drake to venture across the country to care for an injured woman and her precocious 9-year-old daughter to whom she is not related. This fun and uplifting story is filled with wonderful, quirky characters that only Anne Tyler could create, who help Willa follow her heart for the first time in her life.
Utilizing an array of pharmaceuticals and an unprecedentedly irresponsible psychiatrist to escape into a year-long hibernation may seem like a terrible idea, but Ottessa Moshfegh has masterfully turned that very premise into one of my absolute favorite recent novels. Original, dark, funny, and alluring, I devoured the pages of this book much the way the unnamed narrator consumes hours of Whoopi Goldberg movies on VHS.