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Rockport Public Library

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Rockport Public Library ...

    Rockport Public Library and Toad Hall Bookstore

    Summer Reading for Grown-Ups

    Fiction Reading Suggestions

    2009

The List is divided into sections by type(genre) of book. There is also a list of” Previews of Coming Attractions”,

    books that are not published yet but will be during the summer. The last list contains Popular Series” which gives the most current title published in the series.

    Genre Key: L Literary H History M&T Mystery & Thriller P Popular SF Science Fiction Copies of all the titles listed are available at Rockport Public Library and Toad Hall Bookstore.

    Additional selections by noted critics can be found in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (ed. Peter Boxall, 011.73 ONE) with titles and summaries including graphics of authors’ original artwork and book covers.

Contemporary Fiction

    Author Title Genre

    Between Assassinations (prequel L, M&T (White Tiger - 2008 Adiga, Aravind to White Tiger) Booker Prize Winner) This is the prequel to “White Tiger”. It is a collection of stories that takes place in the fictional Indian town of Kittur

    over the seven year period, 1984-1991, between the assassinations of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son

    Rajiv. The plot is loosely based on a tourist itinerary of the town. Wandering through the town we meet the

    overlapping lives of some of the residents. The residents are mélange of Hindu, Muslim, and Christian and come

    from all walks of life. We meet a variety of characters: an illiterate Muslim boy working at the train station finds himself tempted by an Islamic terrorist; a bookseller is arrested for selling a copy of "The Satanic Verses"; a rich,

    spoiled, half-caste student decides to explode a bomb in school; a sexologist has to find a cure for a young boy who

    may have AIDS. What emerge are the moral biography of a town and a group portrait of its people during a period of

    transformation in India.

Ali, Monica In the Kitchen L

    The author of “Brick Lane”, Ali’s latest book is about Gabriel Lightfoot who is the executive chef of the formerly posh Imperial Hotel. He dreams of owning his own restaurant but must first contend with kitchen crew who are made up of

    people from every culture and class in London. His life becomes even more complicated when the body of a

    Hungarian porter is found dead in a storeroom. Still, restaurant troubles are nothing when compared with his

    personal life. His girlfriend is pressuring him about marriage, unaware that he's sleeping with a Russian kitchen girl,

    and his ever-difficult father is dying of cancer. Gabe's two stories entwine, the pressure mounts, and, finally, he loses his bearings.

    L Gourmet Rhapsody Prequel Barbery, Muriel Elegance of the Hedgehog Pub Aug 25 An international bestseller, a satire about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen

    through the eyes of a 54-year old French concierge, Renee Michael, and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl, Paloma Josse. Having grasped life's futility early on, Paloma plans to commit suicide on her 13th birthday. The arrival of a new tenant, Kakuro Ozu, who befriends both the young pessimist and the concierge alike, brings them together to discover they are kindred spirits. A moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the

    inconspicuous among us.

Barry, Sebastian The Secret Scripture L

    Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, this is an epic story of love, betrayal, and unavoidable tragedy, and a

    vivid reminder of the stranglehold that the Catholic Church had on individual lives for much of the 20th century.

Berg, Elizabeth Home Safe L

    Helen is a novelist. Her husband, Dan, died a year ago and she’s been unable to write. She is troubled after a

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    disastrous performance at a public speaking engagement which leaves her wondering if her writing career will be another permanent loss. Her daughter, Tessa, longs for distance and some independence, but Helen is unable to

    run her suburban Chicago home without continually calling on Tessa to perform the handyman chores that Dad did.

    Then Helen discovers Dan had withdrawn a huge chunk of their retirement money and Helen's quest to find out

    what happened turns into a journey of self-discovery and hard-won healing. Berg gracefully renders, in tragic and comic detail, the notions that every life-however blessed-has its share of awful loss, and that even crushed, defeated

    hearts can be revived.

    Bloom, Amy Away L This is the epic story of young Lillian Leys, an innocent and accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a

    Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes

    that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the

    Yiddish theater on New York’s Lower East Side, to Seattle’s Jazz District, and up to Alaska, along the fabled

    Telegraph Trail toward Siberia.

    Boyle, T.C. The Women L Having brought to life eccentric cereal king John Harvey Kellogg in "The Road to Wellville" and sex researcher

    Alfred Kinsey in "The Inner Circle," Boyle now turns his fictional sights on an even more colorful character the great

    American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Boyle presents Wright’s story with the four distinct women that permeated his life, career, and heart. It is interesting to compare Boyle’s treatment of Wright and his loves with Nancy Horan’s

    well researched and written Loving Frank.

    Brennert, Alan Honolulu L From the bestselling author of the dazzling historical saga (Washington Post) "Moloka'i" comes the irresistible story

    of a young immigrant bride in a ramshackle town that becomes a great modern city.

    Brooks, Geraldine People of the Book L Late one night in the city of Sydney, Hanna Heath, a rare book conservator, gets a phone call. The Sarajevo

    Haggadah, which disappeared during the siege in 1992, has been found, and Hanna has been invited by the U.N. to

    report on its condition. Missing documents and art works are endlessly appealing, and from this inviting premise

    Brooks spins her story in two directions. In the present, we follow the resolutely independent Hanna through her

    thrilling first encounter with the beautifully illustrated codex and her discovery of its provenance. Along with the book

    she also meets its savior, a Muslim librarian named Karaman. Their romance offers both predictable pleasures and

    genuine surprises. The history of the book ranges from Seville in 1480 to Sarajevo in 1940 and the worlds, people

    and intrigues it encompasses.

    Caldwell, Joseph The Pig Did It L Unhappy in love, New York creative writing instructor Aaron McCloud, 32, arrives in Western Ireland's County Kerry

    to suffer amid its natural beauty. Aaron's wallow in self-pity is interrupted by a lost pig that attaches itself to him.

    When the pig digs up a human skeleton buried in the backyard, the remains are identified as the missing Declan

    Tovey. The pig’s owner is tracked down. But the pig’s owner won't admit to owning the pig, let alone killing Declan.

    The stage is set for an Irish country comedy of manners.

    Canin, Ethan America America L A stunning novel, set in a small town during the Nixon era and today. It is an engaging story about America, family,

    politics and tragedy, and the impact of fate on a young man's life. The central theme is the rupture of the American

    dream and in that respect is reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby”.

    An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’

    Clarke, Brooke Homes in New England L, M&T It may not have been Sam Pulsifer's intention to torch the Emily Dickinson House, but he served ten years in prison

    for his crime. After his release, the past comes crashing through his front door as the homes of Robert Frost, Edith

    Wharton, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne go up in smoke.

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    L (Newest: The Winner Stands Coelho, Paul The Alchemist Alone)

    This is the tale of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who dreams of seeing the world. The story is compelling in its own right, but gains resonance through the many lessons Santiago learns during his adventures. He journeys from Spain

    to Morocco in search of worldly success, and eventually to Egypt, where a fateful encounter with an alchemist brings

    him at last to self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment. The story is told with comic charm, dramatic tension, psychological intensity and a fairy tale quality. But wisdom also shines through, the wisdom about becoming self-empowered, overcoming depression, and believing in dreams.

    Conroy, Pat South of Broad L ( Pub August 11) Pat Conroy returns with a story about friendship that takes place in Charleston, South Carolina. Leopold Bloom King is the narrator. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the

    shattering effects of his death. Leo becomes lonely and isolated and searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors. The group remains friends along with an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The ties among them endure for years, surviving

    marriages, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns. This is the long-awaited novel from one of American’s finest writers.

Dallas, Sandra Prayers for Sale L

    The story takes place in 1936 in an isolated mining town of Middle Swan, Colo. An unlikey friendship is formed

    between a long time resident 86 year-old, Hennie Comfort, and newly married newcomer 17 year-old, Nit Spindle. Hennie is a natural storyteller and recognizes her younger self in Nit. The two become close as Hennie regales Nit

    with the stories of her life and the town which reveal tragedies and secrets. The oral history of the town emerges as

    a place where the women ran the town while the men where out chasing their dreams of gold. Hennie nutures and guides Nit in this wonderful story of the redemptive power of women's friendship.

Dyer, Geoff Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi L

    These two stories are presumably about the same jaded 40-ish London journalist, Jeff Atman, and the different

    experiences he has in Venice and Varanasi. It is vivid trip to a pair of exotic cities and provocative meditation about art, love and life. Are the two stories one story?

Forman, Gayle If I Stay L

    A sophisticated, layered, and heart achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all

    make, and the ultimate choice one teenage girl commands, this emotionally arresting novel.

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and

    Ford, Jamie Sweet L

    The book has a front and back story taking place between the1940s and 1986. Henry Lee is a Chinese-American living in Seattle. He hears that the belongings of Japanese immigrants interned during WWII have been found in the basement of the Panama Hotel. Henry recalls the difficulties of life in America during WWII, when he and his

    Japanese-American school friend, Keiko, wandered through wartime Seattle. Keiko and her family are later interned

    in a camp. Henry is horrified by America's anti-Japanese hysteria, is further conflicted because of his Chinese

    father's anti-Japanese sentiment.

Galloway, Steven The Cellist of Sarajevo L

    This book is inspired by a true story about the endurance of the human spirit and the subtle ways individuals reclaim their humanity in a city ravaged by war. In a city under siege a musician sees from his window twenty-two of his friends and neighbors who are waiting in a breadline killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello, endangers himself and decides to play at the site of the shelling for twenty-two days. The book explores how war can change one’s definition of humanity, the effect of music on our emotional endurance, and how

    a romance with the rituals of daily life can itself be a form of resistance.

Genova, Lisa Still Alice L

    This is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman, Alice Howland, who is a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard. Alice is a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown

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    children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's disease changes her life. As the inevitable descent into dementia strips away her sense of self, fiercely independent Alice struggles to live in the moment. While she once placed her worth and identity in her celebrated and respected

    academic life, now she must reevaluate her relationships with her husband and children as well as her ideas about herself and her place in the world.

Ghosh, Amitav Sea of Poppies L

    At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the "Ibis," whose destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian

    Ocean, and whose purpose is to fight China's vicious 19th-century Opium Wars. This adventure spans landscapes from the lush poppy fields of the Ganges to the exotic backstreets of Canton.

Glass, Julia I See You Everywhere L

    From the author of the bestselling "Three Junes" comes a richly nuanced tale about the intertwined lives of two sisters. Alternating between the women's voices, "I See You Everywhere" unfolds across 25 years, offering a candid

    double portrait that reveals the very nature of sisterhood.

    Gloss, Molly The Hearts of Horses L,H Set in 1917, the is a story about a taciturn tomboy, Martha Lessen, who finds her place in rural Oregon breaking horses while the men who owned the are away fighting the war. She leaves home and winds up in small town Shelby, where farmers, George and Louise Bliss, convince her to stay the winter with them after she domesticates

    their broncos with soft words and songs instead of lariats and hobbles. Martha meets a cast of characters that include a slovenly drunk, a clan of Western European immigrants, and two unmarried sisters running a ranch with the help of an awkward teenager. Louise tries her hand at socializing her, but Martha chafes at town dances, social

    outings she goes to in Louise's hand-me-down church dresses. It is a story about people and animals and how they

    find one another in unexpected ways.

Gold, Glen David Sunnyside L

    Gold presents a novel that captures the moment when American capitalism, a world at war, and the emerging

    mecca of Hollywood intersect to spawn an enduring culture of celebrity. The narrative is expansive with a dazzling roster of both real and fictional characters: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Adolph Zukor, Charlie Chaplin, a

    thieving Girl Scout, the Secretary of the Treasury, a lovesick film theorist, three Russian princesses, a crew of fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants moviemakers, and legions of star- struck fans.

Goodman, Allegra Kaaterskill Falls L

    In the summer of ’76, the Shulmans and the Melishes migrate to Kaaterskill, the tiny town in upstate New York

    where Orthodox Jews and Yankee year-rounders live side by side from June through August. Elizabeth Shulman, a

    devout follower of Rav Elijah Kirshner and the mother of five daughters, is restless. She needs a project of her own,

    outside her family and her cloistered community.

Hall, Brian Fall of Frost L

    Acclaimed novelist Brian Hall presents a fascinating and exquisitely written novel about the art and life of Robert

    Frost.

    Hemon, Aleksandar The Lazarus Project L, M&T A beautifully rendered reevaluation of a previously misunderstood chapter in the history of immigration to America--which is to say, in the history of America itself. Hemon's work describes and defines what it means to be a new

    citizen in this land.

Hensher, Philip The Northern Clemency L

    Hensher was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize; this suburban drama is set in Sheffield. The story spans 20 years in the lives of two neighboring families: the Sellers and the Glovers. It is also the story about Margaret Thatcher's England, the impact of the 1984 miner's strike and the subsequent privatization of the industry. But the novel's main focus remains on domestic drama detailing the unease and desperation of adolescence and the seemingly

    unbridgeable distances between parents, children, siblings and spouses.

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    Hoffman, Alice The Story Sisters L, M&T The lives of three sisters, Elv, Claire, and Meg are portrayed. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a

    country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who

    falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart's desire, and a demon who will not let go. What does a

    mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others?

    How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? It is a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story.

Hoffman, Eva Appasionata L

    In this story of contemporary love and conflict, Hoffman illuminates the currents and undercurrents of modern times,

    as she explores the luminous and dark faces of romanticism.

    Houghteling, Sara Pictures at an Exhibition L, M&T Set in a Paris darkened by World War II, Houghteling's sensuous and bracing debut novel tells the story of a son's

    quest to recover his family's lost masterpieces, looted by the Nazis during the occupation.

    The Physick Book of Deliverance

    Howe, Katherine Dane L

    The story travels seamlessly between the Salem witch trials in the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery

    and discovery. Connie Goodwin is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard. While cleaning out her grandmother's house in Marblehead, MA in the summer of 1991, Connie discovers an old key along with a fragment of paper

    bearing only the words Deliverance Dane. At the urging of her adviser, Connie embarks upon a frenzy of research in

    local archives. Evidence mounts that Deliverance was a local herbalist and wise woman who became a victim of the Salem witch trials. Finding Deliverance's "physick book" of recipes becomes a priority for Connie, particularly when

    she realizes that it may hold the key to curing her new boyfriend of his mysterious ailment. Howe inserts short

    interludes featuring Deliverance and her descendants, adding depth to the story. Howe's own connection to Salem

    (two of her ancestors were accused of witchcraft) adds a personal touch.

James, Tania Atlas of Unknowns L

    Two sisters are raised in Kerala, India by their father after their mother’s death. Anju wins a scholarship to a

    prestigious school in America Anju and is plunged into the elite world of her Hindu American host family. She is overwhelmed and runs away. In Kerala, Linno rejects an arranged marriage the wealthy blind suitor. Linno comes up with a scheme to procure a visa so that she can travel to America to search for her vanished sister. The book is about sisterhood, the tantalizing dream of America, and the secret histories and hilarious eccentricities of families everywhere.

Jordan, Hillary Mudbound L

    Laura McAllan, a college-educated Memphis schoolteacher, becomes a reluctant farmer's wife when her husband buys a farm on the Mississippi Delta. She aptly nicknames the farm Mudbound. Laura has difficulty adjusting to rural life without the basic amenities and living with her misogynous, racist, father-in-law. Her days become easier after

    Florence, the wife one of their black tenants, becomes more of a companion to Laura rather than hired help. Catastrophe is inevitable when two young WWII veterans come back home battling nightmares from horrors they've

    seen and are unable to bow to Mississippi rules after eye-opening years in Europe.

Kallos, Stephanie Sing Them Home L

    This is a tapestry of lives connected and undone by tragedy. Hope Jones, a physician’s wife, died in the Nebraska tornado of 1978. Her three children found life difficult with their preoccupied father. The story takes place twenty-five years later when they’re summoned home after their father’s death. Each sibling is forced to revisit the childhood

    tragedy that defined their lives and eventually find a sense of redemption. The themes are about family bonds and conflicts, and secrets. Sue Monk Kidd called Kallos a writer of uncommon “wisdom and soulfulness”.

Keane, Mary Beth The Walking People L

    Greta Cahill never believed she would leave her village in the west of Ireland until she found herself on a ship bound

    for New York. She was called a "softheaded goose" by her family. In America Greta falls in love, raises her own family, and earns a living. She longs to return and show her family what she has made of herself, but her decision to spare her children knowledge of a past secret keeps her life in New York. She is separated from the life in Ireland

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which tears her apart from the people she is closest to. Even fifty years later, when the Ireland of her memory bears

    little resemblance to that of present day, she fears that it is still possible to lose all when she discovers that her children with the best of intentions have conspired to unite the worlds she's so carefully kept separate for decades.

Korelitz, Jean Hanff Admission L

    This is a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return to shake a woman's life to its very core.

    Kushner, Rachel Telex from Cuba L, M&T This is a well researched story that captures the life for a gilded circle of American expats in pre-Castro Cuba. It chronicles the lives of philandering spouses, privileged carousers and their rebellious children. K.C. States and Everly Lederer are raised among the American industrial strongholds of the United Fruit Company sugar plantation

    and the Nicaro nickel mines. As adolescents, they are confronted by the complexities of local warfare and

    backstabbing politics, while their parents remain ignorant of the impending revolution. K.C.'s brother, Del, joins the rebels and within a month the United Fruit Company's cane fields are ablaze. Throughout the following year, the

    attacks on U.S. operated businesses intensify as political and personal loyalties are betrayed and violence between the rebels and Batista's forces escalate.

Larsen, Reif The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet L

    This is the story of 12-year-old genius map-maker T.S. Spivet. T.S. Spivet receives an unexpected phone call from

    the Smithsonian announcing he has won the prestigious Baird Award. He sets out alone on a wild cross-country adventure taking him from his family ranch north of Divide, Montana, to Washington, D. C. Through his adventures, we come to see the world through T.S.'s eyes and thorough his investigation of the outside world T.S. discovers the ways of the world along with inner realities.

Lee, Janice Piano Teacher L

    Claire Pendleton is newly married and arrives in Hong Kong in 1952. She finds work giving piano lessons to the

    daughter a wealthy Chinese couple. Claire becomes involved with Chens' British expat driver, Will Truesdale. The

    present plot is juxtaposed against a plot line beginning in 1941 and goes through the Japanese Occupation of Hong

    Kong. When Will first came to Hong Kong, he got involved with the beautiful and exotic Trudy Liang. The story of his life with Trudy and the subsequent Occupation unfolds. The shifting focus of past actions alternating with the present tells the story in a way that urges the reader to keep reading to fill in the blanks. Hong Kong before, during, and after

    the Occupation are vividly depicted. The story is told without judgment about the choices people make in order to

    live one more day under torturous circumstances.

Lipman, Elinor Family Man L

    A hysterical phone call from his ex-wife and a familiar face in a photograph upend Henry Archer's well-ordered life to bring him back into contact with the child he adored, a stepdaughter from a misbegotten marriage long ago. Henry is a lawyer, an old-fashioned man, and gay, successful, and lonely. Thalia is now twenty-nine, an actress hopeful, estranged from her newly widowed crackpot mother, Denise, Henry’s ex. Hoping it will lead to better things for her

    career, Thalia agrees to pose as the girlfriend of a former sitcom star and current horror-movie luminary who is down on his romantic luck. Thalia and Henry reconnect. Thalia finds a champion in her long-lost father and Henry finds new life and maybe even new love amid the commotion. Lipman captures the nuances of the human comedy.

    Lively, Penelope Moon Tiger L Booker Prize Winning Author The last thoughts of a dying writer are captured in this intelligent novel by Booker Prize-winner Penelope Lively. The moving and poignant story of life as a writer, historian, and mother ends as a saga of unfulfilled love.

Lowry, Elizabeth The Bellini Madonna L

    Thomas Lynch was once a brilliant young art historian. Now he is a disgraced middle-aged art historian. But everything changes now that he's on the trail of a lost masterpiece, a legendary Madonna by the Italian master

    Bellini.

Malone, Michael Four Corners of the Sky L

    After years of accompanying her con artist father, Jack, on his exploits, Jack leaves seven-year-old Annie on the family farm in North Carolina with her aunt and uncle who raise her. When Jack leaves Annie he gives her a plane.

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    She learns to fly the single-engine plane and becomes a navy fighter pilot. Annie returns home on her twenty-sixth birthday and is surprised to receive a phone call from her father who he claims that he's dying. He says he needs her to fly to St. Louis to bring him the airplane he gave her the day he left. Is Jack really dying, or is it another one of

    his elaborate cons? He promises if she brings him the plane, he will give her the one thing she always wanted, the

    name of her mother. Annie sets off on a quest filled with hilarious characters, strange encounters, and the most

    unexpected mystery of all, falling in love.

Mandanipour, Shahriar Censoring an Iranian Love Story L

    From one of Iran's most acclaimed and controversial contemporary writers comes his first novel to appear in English. The story is about what it's like to live, love, and be an artist in today's Iran.

    Matthiessen Peter Shadow Country L 2008 National Book Award Inspired by a near-mythic event of the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century, this is the story of E. J. Watson, the legendary Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw. The saga begins with his arrival in south

    Florida and replays key events leading up to his being gunned down in the swamps. This is landmark one-volume rewriting of Matthiessen's Watson trilogy:"Killing Mister Watson," "Lost Man's River," and "Bone by Bone.

McCann, Colum Let the Great World Spin L

    McCann is one of today’s most gifted writers noted for his lyrical writing style. He is a storyteller with the ability to wed story, character, and place. The place is New York City in August of 1974. Set in a time when Watergate and the Vietnam War made the world feel precarious. A stunned city pauses as a man (Philippe Petit) on a cable walks repeatedly between World Trade Center towers. The event becomes the touchstone for stories of ten varied people who reflect the life of the city at that time. Petit’s story was made into the award winning movie, Man on a Wire.

    How it Ended, New and Collected

    McInerney, Jay Stories L

    From the writer whose debut, "Bright Lights, Big City," defined a generation and whose seventh and most recent,

    "The Good Life," was an acclaimed national bestseller comes a collection of stories old and new. McInerney is one of today’s finest short story writers.

    On the Divinity of Second

    McLaren, Kaya Chances L

    This is a zany upbeat story about a family on the brink of dissolution. The mother is dragged down by middle age,

    the father is distant lost in daily life, and their three teenage children are each struggling with their own problems.

    The children try to conceal a secret that could send their parents further over the edge. With the help of a group bizarre characters that include tap dancing old ladies, a sensual tango teacher combined with bagpipes and a good dose of luck, the family learns that everyone gets a second chance.

Merullo, Roland Breakfast with Buddha L

    After the death of their parents, Otto's sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home in Bismarck, North Dakota. Otto is not amused. The Rinpoche and Otto set off on the road trip through highways and

    byways of Midwestern America. In Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder and wry humor

    of a man who is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world and his life through someone else's eyes.

Meyer, Philipp American Rust L

    The story is set in a beautiful but dying Pennsylvania steel town. It is a novel of the lost American dream and the

    desperation that arises from its loss. It depicts two young men bound to the town by family, responsibility, inertia and

    the beauty around them who dream of a future beyond the factories, abandoned homes, and the polluted river.

Olmstead, Robert Far Bright Star L,H

    Set in 1916 Napoleon Childs, an aging cavalryman leads an expedition of inexperienced soldiers into the mountains

    of Mexico to hunt down Pancho Villa and bring him to justice. Though he is seasoned at such missions, things got out of control and the patrol is brutally attacked. After witnessing the demise of his troops, Napoleon is left by his

    captors to die in the desert. In his struggle to survive against all odds, we enter into his conflicted mind as he seeks to make sense of a lifetime of senseless wars and to reckon with the reasons a man would choose a life on the

    battlefield. Olmstead's is an expressive tale of resilience and dusty determination that is told masterfully.

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Parker, John L. Once a Runner L

    Parker presents an accurate fictional portrayal of the world of the serious runner. He captures the essence of what it means to be a competitive runner and to devote your entire existence to a single-minded pursuit of excellence.

    Phillips, Arthur The Song is You L (author of Prague) The Washington Post called Phillips “one of the best writers in America”. Phillips delivers a love story in the digital ages. Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod whose playlist is geared to songs related to key events in his life. But when his family falls apart he loses interest in life. On a snowy night in Brooklyn, he goes into a bar where Cait O’Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, is performing with her band. It is the start of a strange and unlikely love affair. Although they never actually meet, Julian and Cait’s passion for music and each other is played out in cryptic

    emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Cait’s website. They find something in their bizarre

    friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. It is a story about connection and lack of connection and music’s consoling power.

Phillips, Jayne Anne Lark and Termite L

    The book is set during the 1950s in West Virginia and Korea. It takes place in two different time frames. One story takes place in 1959 and is about Lark is 17-year-old and lives with her brother, Termite who can't talk, and their caretaker aunt. The second story takes place nine years earlier, when Termite's father, Robert Leavitt, is serving a tour of duty in Korea. There are family mysteries: Lark doesn’t know her father, why her mother gave her up or why

    baby Termite landed on their doorstep. Some odd individuals shed light on mysteries of the past and lend a hand that leads to the future. It is a story of the power of loss and love, the echoing ramifications of war, family secrets,

    dreams, and the unseen almost magical bonds that unite and sustain families.

Price, Richard Lush Life L, M&T

    Price tears the shiny veneer off the "new" New York to show the underground networks of control and violence beneath the glamour, in this novel that reads like a movie in prose.

    Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming

    Proulx, Annie Stories 3 L

    Returning to the territory of "Brokeback Mountain," National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winner Proulx has written a stunning and visceral collection of new stories.

    Robinson, Marilynne Home L also see the prequel Gilead The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Gilead" writes a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and

    the passing of the generations. The story of Gilead continues in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, John Ames's closest friend. Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon

    her brother, Jack, the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years, comes home too, looking for refuge and

    trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain. Jack is one of the great characters in

    recent literature.

Russell, Mary Doria Dreamers of the Day L,H

    The long, rich history of the Middle East is the background to the story. Agnes Shanklin, a forty-year-old schoolteacher from Ohio, is still reeling from the tragedies of the Great War and the influenza epidemic. She comes into a modest inheritance that allows her to take the trip of a lifetime to Egypt and the Holy Land. Arriving at the

    Semiramis Hotel, site of the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference, she meets Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence, and Lady

    Gertrude Bell. With her plainspoken American opinions, she becomes a sounding board for these historic luminaries

    who will, in the space of a few days, invent the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.

    Russo, Richard That Old Cape Magic L (Pub August 4) Russo gives us the story of a marriage the ties that bind, and the promises of youth. Jack Griffin has been driving around for nearly a year with his father’s ashes in the trunk of his car. His mother is very much alive and not shy

    about calling on his cell phone. Griffin and his wife, Joy, drive to Cape Cod, where they will attend the marriage of their daughter’s best friend. For Griffin this is akin to driving into the past, since his childhood summer vacations were taken at the Cape. They honeymooned there thirty-five years ago and drafted the Great Truro Accord, a plan for their lives together. By the end of the weekend, the past has swamped the present and the future seems

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    uncertain. Change is evident a year later. Griffin is now chauffeuring two urns of ashes and going to a far more important wedding, his daughters. Joy and Griffin attend the wedding but they bring dates along. This is a novel of deep introspection with uncovers every family feeling imaginable. We see a middle-aged man confronting his

    parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter’s new life and finally what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has. The storytelling is flawless, alternating moments of great comedy with others of rueful understanding. This is masterful work by one of American literatures foremost writers.

Setterfield, Diane The Thirteenth Tale L

    Setterfield pays tribute to Bronte and du Maurier heroines. A plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a

    house which has family secrets that are not hers, but that she must discover at her peril. Margaret Lea has written

    an obscure biography that suggests deep understanding of siblings. She is contacted by renowned aging author, Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire where she interviews the dying writer. She tries to verify the old woman's tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one

    abandoned baby. With the aid of colorful Aurelius Love, Margaret puzzles out generations of Angelfield’s history.

Shamsie, Kanila Burnt Shadows L, H

    The story examines the devastation of war from Nagasaki to Guantanamo Bay through the experiences of two

    families, one from the West and one from the East. Konrad Weiss was living in Nagasaki in the summer of 1945. He hires a local woman, Hiroko Tanaka, to help him write a book about the city. A romance blossoms but is cut short when the atom bomb falls, killing Konrad. Hiroko feels she can no longer stay in Japan. She travels to India to find Konrad's sister, Ilse, the wife of a British lawyer, James Burton, and their employee Sajjad Ashraf. The years pass

    and old wars are usurped by new conflicts. But the shadows of history both personal and political remain in the

    entwined worlds of the Burtons, Ashrafs and the Tanakas. Their stories take them from Pakistan to New York, and,

    ultimately, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11.

Sittenfeld, Curtis American Wife L

    This is the story of naïve Alice Lindgren and the trajectory that lands her in the White House as first lady. The book gives an early portrayal of Alice's coming-of-age in Riley, Wis. Where she lives with her parents and her mildly

    eccentric grandmother. A car accident in her teens results in the death of her first crush, which haunts Alice

    throughout her adult life. She meets her future husband, Charlie Blackwell, who is boyishly charming. Charlie has an Ivy League background of privilege combined with penchant for booze and partying, contempt for the news, and habit of making flubs when speaking off the cuff. The story bears more than a passing resemblance to our previous president, although the Blackwells hail from Wisconsin, not Texas.

Stein, Garth The Art of Racing in the Rain L

    Meet Enzo, the unforgettable canine narrator of this bittersweet and transformative story of family, love, loyalty, and

    hope. Enzo is a philosopher with a nearly human soul. He has gained a wealth of knowledge from hours of watching the TV and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing,

    isn't simply about going fast. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise

    canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man

Stockett, Kathryn The Help L

    Stockett’s luminous novel takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962 against the background of the civil rights

    movement. The story portrays a society where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the

    household silver. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan returns home from college, she resists the pressure of the day to marry

    quickly and wants to become a writer. Skeeter meets two of the black maids the Junior League employs, Aibileen and her friend Minny. Skeeter with the help of Aibileen and Minny begins to collect the stories of the black women in the community. The stories are sometimes funny and sometime shocking. It is a clandestine project which puts the women at risk. Skeeter’s book based on their stories is published and changes all of their lives. Stockett’s writing is flawless, she has the gift of a natural storyteller who vividly draws characters and relationships and demonstrates a wicked sense of humor while plumbing the depths of the human heart. This is ultimately a story about crossing

    boundaries where the smallness and generosity of the human spirit are revealed.

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    Strout, Elizabeth Olive Kitteridge L 2009 Pulitzer Prize This is a novel made up of thirteen linked tales that present a penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living

    lives of quiet grief intermingled with episodes that convey the human connection. The opening "Pharmacy" focuses

    on terse, dry junior high-school teacher Olive Kitteridge and her gregarious pharmacist husband. Both Olive and Henry have survived the loss of a psychologically damaged parent and both suffer painful attractions to co-workers. Different sides of Olive are showed throughout the stories. Small town life is vividly depicted as the stories reveal people with their heartbreaks and joys. The stories are told with both realism and humor. The themes of suicide, depression, bad communication, aging and love run through the stories. The writing is superbly crafted with an insight into people combined with beautiful descriptions.

    Taylor, Patrick An Irish Country Christmas L (Irish Country Series) The reader is delightfully returned to the small town of Ballybucklebo, the country medicine practice of curmudgeonly Dr. Fingal O'Reilly and his junior partner Barry Laverty, and the colorful cast of characters who make up the town.

    The Christmas preparations and celebrations of the village people and the doctors’ cases are laugh out loud funny. If James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small” medical practice was for people, it would probably be very like the

    medical practice of doctors O’Reilly and Laverty.

Toibin, Colm Brooklyn L

    Eilis Lacey lives in small-town Ireland in the years following World War II. She is a skilled bookkeeper but she can’t find a job in the miserable Irish economy. An Irish priest from Brooklyn agrees to sponsor Eilis in America and she decides to go. She leaves her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient

    charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future. The news from Ireland summons her back carrying with it the constrictions of her old life. She is faced with a

    terrible choice: between love and happiness in the land where she belongs and the promises she must keep on the far side of the ocean. Toibin’s story is about the heartbreaking choice between personal freedom and duty and is written the mastery of the mature Henry James.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun L

    This previously unpublished work, written before "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," makes available for the

    first time Tolkien's extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of Sigurd the Volsung and

    The Fall of the Niflungs.

Toltz, Steve A Fraction of the Whole L

    It is an uproarious indictment of the ridiculousness of the modern world and its mores. It is memorable story of a father and son whose spiritual symmetry transcends all their many shortcomings. The book is reminiscent of Marisha Pessl’s “Special Topics in Calamity Physics”.

Umrigar, Thrity The Weight of Heaven L

    Umrigar continues her exploration of cultural divides in this novel about an American couple's experience in India.

    Frank and Ellie Benton, grappling with the death of their seven-year-old son, move from Ann Arbor, Mich., to

    Girbaug, India, where Frank takes a job running a factory. While he tackles the barriers faced by an educated,

    wealthy American in charge of a Third World work force, Ellie, a psychologist, makes inroads with the impoverished locals at a health clinic. Frank takes an interest in their housekeepers' son, Ramesh, and begins tutoring him. While

    Frank buries his grief by helping Ramesh, he ends up in competition with the boy's bitter father and further damages his already troubled marriage. Umrigar digs into the effects of grief on a relationship and the many facets of culture

    clash.

    My Father’s Tears and Other

    Updike, John Stories L

    Updike's first collection of new short fiction since the year 2000, "My Father's Tears" finds the author in a valedictory mood as he mingles narratives of his native Pennsylvania with stories of New England suburbia and of foreign

    travel.

Urrea, Luis Into the Beautiful North L

    Nayeli is a young woman in the poor but tight-knit coastal Mexican town of Tres Camarones who spends her days

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