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Fiction

 

 

The Hakawati Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307386274
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - June 2nd, 2009

While the central plot follows a Lebanese expat returning to Beruit to support his dying father, this epic spans generations and worlds to tell the story of the main character’s family. Peppered with Middle Eastern folklore, this is a captivating tale told in the tradition of the greatest hakawati (storyteller). Listen. You’ll be enchanted.

Recommended by Karen M. (April 2016)


Other Voices, Other Rooms Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679745648
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 1st, 1994

This is Capote’s first published novel. It is squarely in the southern gothic genre, with lyrical writing, fantastic flights of fancy, and a cast of characters expertly drawn. The book is distinctly autobiographical and follows Joel Knox, who is 13 and has just lost his mother. Joel is meeting his father for the first time since he was abandoned as an infant.

Recommended by John (April 2016)


The Comedians Cover Image
By Graham Greene, Paul Theroux (Introduction by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143039198
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Books - February 1st, 2005

Once again, the setting is in a hot, poverty-stricken country. Haiti in the 60’s is under the repressive, murderous rule of Francois Duvalier and his ton ton macoute militia. Our protagonist is, again, an urbane privileged Anglo in a place as an outsider/loner/transient. There is, again, and extra marital affair that ends with a whimper. These are all Greene ingredients and against the backdrop of political unrest and intrigue, they deliver a wonderful read. 

Recommended by John (March 2016)


Breakfast at Tiffany's: And Three Stories Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780679745655
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - September 28th, 1993

The novella and three stories are beautifully written. Capote’s rhythm and language contribute to a masterful book. DO NOT compare this to the movie. The tone is quite different. One could go so far as to say that Holly Golightly is a tragic figure. Capote is to have said that Holly is the favorite character he ever wrote. 

Recommended by John (March 2016)


Glow Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780804172165
Availability: Special Order
Published: Vintage - January 26th, 2016

I picked up Glow on a whim; initially draw in by the cover and mysterious blurb. Glow exceeded my expectations, an exciting and fast read that grabbed me by its fascinating characters and unrelenting pace. The writer quickly jumped to the top of my favorite writers list, along with his two other novels (The Teleportation Accident and Boxer Beetle). 

Recommended by TJ (March 2016)


Before We Were Strangers: A Love Story Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501105777
Availability: Special Order
Published: Atria Books - August 18th, 2015

This is a beautifully written novel about one man’s journey to reconnect with a past love. This novel is filled with enough humor that it reads like a rom-com movie while retaining just the right amount of sappy romance. I recommend this to all readers, even if love stories are not your favorite topic. 

Recommended by Mycah Lewis (March 2016)


City on Fire Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780385353779
Availability: Not Available
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - October 13th, 2015

Don’t be intimidated by its size! I loved this immersive, ambitious novel. Its 150 pg. The climax in particular – set during a city-wide blackout that brings characters crashing together – is an astonishing feat. 

Recommended by Jordan (March 2016)


The Idiot Cover Image
By Fyodor Dostoyevsky, David McDuff (Translator), William Mills Todd (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780140447927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 31st, 2004

Dostoyevksy. What can I say? This is like Age of Innocence or Henry James on Quaaludes. A master work. This is a novel of manners, but Russian. Everybody is either suicidal, drunk, insane, depressed, or a fool. Prince Myshkin is the author’s “good man” surrounded by inauthenticity, evil, intrigues and chaos. 

Recommended by John (March 2016)


The Hotel New Hampshire Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345417954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - June 23rd, 1997

Maybe I’m biased because I hail from New Hampshire, but I love this book. Reminiscent of a darker Cheaper By the Dozen, you’ll find yourself deeply involved in the twists and turns that fate deals this family – from sorrow to bears, motorcycles to bombs, this is a story you won’t soon forget. 

Recommended by Karen M. (March 2016)


The Raw Shark Texts Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781847671745
Availability: Special Order
Published: Canongate Us - April 1st, 2008

Have you ever wished you could start over? Be a completely different person without your old painful memories? This is exactly what happens to Eric – but he decides to chase down his past self. Will he beat the conceptual shark that’s pursuing him and discover the secrets he’s been running from?

Recommended by Karen M. (March 2016)


What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594634635
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - March 8th, 2016

If you share traits with the average, or even above-average reader, you enjoy disappearing into the landscapes of the stores you read, and moving with the characters through their days. You enjoy the buoyancy of suspending your disbelief when the author can manage that trick.

You are also, “not really into short stories.” But, remember: brevity is the soul of wit. If you would allow for it, this collection of little worlds could change your mind about the format entirely.

Oyeyemi writes about that time a goddess was invoked to deal with the bad behavior of a pop-singer, or what happens when puppets have opinions about the manipulative behavior of puppeteers. Within these pages, a secret garden unites a pair of liars who find they can tell each other only the truth…and there’s more, with humor, seriousness, and eerie beauty shimmering throughout.  This is a bargain of a treasure chest. Take it home. 

Recommended by Sarah B. (March 2016)


Purity Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374239213
Availability: Special Order
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 1st, 2015

Franzen’s fifth novel is a complex, controlled epic, expansive, brainy and inviting. The main protagonist “Pip Taylor” (whose real name is Purity) searching for her father is confused yet confident weaving in and out of trouble on her journey through contemporary American dystopia. The overall theme of this book is purity and how those who claim to be pure are not. Franzen’s book “The Corrections” is his best and one I highly recommend as well as this one. It’s powerful, intelligent and relevant. 

Recommended by Guy (Jan. 2016)


The Casual Vacancy Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316228589
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - July 23rd, 2013

Pagford is a picturesque English village, the sort of place where you might set a cozy BBC show, and the last place you might imagine the unfolding of political drama. However, when a sudden vacancy appears on the town council, the election process soon reveals fractures beneath the town’s idyllic veneer. Rowling’s authorial voice, humor, and compassion shine through but “Casual Vacancy” has a tone very different from her most well-known work. What comes to the fore, then, is the value of small mercies – the heroism of the relief found in moments of silence while holding someone’s hand, or cracking the most inappropriate joke to install bravery in your friends. “The Casual Vacancy” is about the unexpected impact of all the things that ‘don’t-ever-seem-to’ by ‘always-really’ matter.'

Recommended by Sarah B


Last Bus to Wisdom Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9781594632020
Availability: Special Order
Published: Riverhead Books - August 18th, 2015

Our Narrator is Donal, an 11 year old orphan, in this picaresque novel. The story begins on the ranch where he lives with his grandma. Donal is sent to her sister’s for the summer. Acrimony ensues, the upshot of which sends Donal back to Montana prematurely. And that’s when the real adventures begin. 

Recommended by John


Eileen Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781594206627
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Press - August 18th, 2015

Eilleen Dunlop, 24, works in a juvenile detention center, cares for her mentally ill father (who is slowly slipping into dementia), and she is socially awkward. Quietly disturbed as she plans her escape from the painful rituals of her daily existence. That is until she meets Rebecca (A new employee) pulls her into a crime and into a new life. Atmospheric, cold, claustrophobic contemporary literary noir with a twist. A bit of Hitchcock, Patricia Highsmith & James M. Cain. 

Recommended by Guy


The Stories of John Cheever Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780375724428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - May 9th, 2000

You are right, I did not read every story. I read enough to see that his themes are post WWII American suburbia and the degradation of society. Cheever does this skewering of the modern middle class with humor, empathy and beautiful writing. He is a master of this form. 

Recommended by John


White Oleander Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316284950
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - May 1st, 2000

I tore through this book in 3 days. The story centers on an adolescent girl abandoned to Los Angeles’ foster home “jungle” because of the incarceration of her single mom for murder. Beautifully written and evocative of the wonderful city where we live. There is violence and sexual content and none of it is gratuitous. The mom’s character is not written to engender empathy or sympathy. This is a provocative book in all the best connotations of the word. 

Recommended by John


The Cider House Rules Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780345417947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - June 23rd, 1997

Early 20th century orphanage in Main is the setting. Irving’s language is impeccable. His characters are thoroughly and wonderfully drawn. There is laugh out loud humor woven throughout. The cadence of plot is one of my favorite things with this author. Irving’s political, social and religious commentary remains very evident in this book. Rich is the word I think best describes his books. 

Recommended by John


The General in His Labyrinth Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781400034703
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 7th, 2003

Simon Bolivar dreamed of a united Latin America. This novel is a journey into why unity was so elusive. Although events are dramatized, Marquez did substantial archival research to maintain accuracy. 

Recommended by Rafael


Here's to You, Jesusa! Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780142001226
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - November 26th, 2002

Jesusa represents the battles women fought during the Mexican Revolution. As women achieved more equality, Jesusa gains more equality. Not everything in Jesusa’s life goes according to plan, but one must admire Jesusa’s strength as she screams! Ya Basta!

Recommended by Rafael 


The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure Cover Image
$8.95
ISBN: 9780156035217
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 8th, 2007

Absolutely my favorite book in the whole world, and one I never tire of recommending! True love, battles to the death, daring chases, sword fights, wrestling giants, pirates, killer spiders -- this book is non-stop action, and extremely funny to boot. The movie is entertaining, but the novel is far superior. Not to love it is . . . inconceivable.

Recommended by Anne


To the Lighthouse Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780156907392
Availability: Special Order
Published: Harvest Books - December 27th, 1989

This striking, daunting classic of stream of consciousness fiction will instill an appreciation for the expressive force of the written word, and make you want to pull your hair out. The secret, however, is to just go with the flow – don’t try to understand every facet of every sentence. That’s what the second (maybe third?) reading is for. 

Recommended by Ed (Feb. 2016)


A Farewell to Arms Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780684801469
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner Book Company - June 1st, 1995

An American ambulance driver and an English nurse live, love, and lose on the Italian front at the height of the Great War. In this bleak and semi-autobiographical classic, Hemmingway’s pithy minimalistic sentences illuminate the terrible source of the Lost Generation’s profound disillusionment. 

Recommended by Ed (Feb. 2016)


The House on Mango Street Cover Image
$11.95
ISBN: 9780679734772
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - April 3rd, 1991

Cisneros gives us portraits of the gritty city. Her neighborhood is “All brown around, we are safe”. Esperanza grows up on the streets playing jump rope, getting a ride in a stolen car, talking to bums and has a “Papa who wakes up tired in the dark”.


Recommended by John


A Tale for the Time Being Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143124870
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 31st, 2013

What or who is a Time Being? Ozeki’s beautifully written novel flows between Nao, a Japanese teenager and Ruth in British Columbia. Every page is fascinating and never simple. Zen Buddhism, teenage bullying, WWII Kamikaze, Quantum Physics, Ghosts.

Recommended by Susan G.


Black Swan Green Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812974010
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - February 27th, 2007

Thinly veiled autobiographical novel written with 13-year-old Jason as narrator, this is Mitchell’s most accessible and conventional novel. The writing is excellent, the humor is subtle and the characters are plausible and sharply drawn.

Recommended by John


The Handmaid's Tale Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 13th, 1998

The Republic of Gilead is a monotheocratic post-American dystopia in which reading is banned along with most other freedoms for all women and a vast majority of the men. People’s roles in this society are determined by their reproductive viability, so it is fair to say: things have gotten weird. For Offred, life before becoming a handmaid was not so long ago and as she is left with only her memories to pass the long hours she must decide whether he will resign herself to her new circumstances or develop the courage to resist. I found this well-written story to be relevant, believable and (surprisingly, given the subject) easy-to-read.

Recommended by Sarah


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780451163967
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley Books -

At once both a stunning critique of the institutional process, and an affirmation of the human spirit, this book is laden with a poetic power and intensity unlike no other. The first time I read it, I felt changed and like a part of me made it “out” with “Chief Bromden.” A “10” of a book. SUPER CLASSIC!

Recommended by Jerry

 


The Catcher in the Rye Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780316769488
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - May 1st, 1991


Your first introduction to this book may have been as “required reading” for a high school English class with a teacher who – try as he/she might – failed to convey the humor and poignancy of the story. The language may be a bit dated (all slang goes the way of the dodo, eventually) but the relevance of the subject matter endures. My vote is that you give it a[nother] chance, it may surprise you! Because...

Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know” – J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Recommended by Sarah


Never Let Me Go Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400078776
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 14th, 2006

Not quite an easy book to read, but quite worthy of the time that you invest in doing so. The difficulty has less to do with the writing and more to do with the plight of the characters – and the ready self-examination which their troubles inspire. In this story you will find “knotted tension” and “anguish”, to be sure. You will also find mystery, adventure, and true heart. It is rare to meet fictional people that you will care about so deeply that your life will seem bigger for reading their story.

Recommended by Sarah


That Old Cape Magic Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781400030910
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - June 1st, 2010

Acerbic, dry wit with a few out loud laughs. Typical Russo. Husband/wife push and pull. Trashy LA versus back east Ivy League snobbery. And an overriding dose of aging parents intruding themselves both before and after they pass. All tongue firmly in cheek.

Recommended by John