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Linda's picks


Recommendations


Swan Song: An Odyssey Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525657545
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Knopf - June 9th, 2020

Unmistakably Alther and totally current, this novel takes us on a cruise halfway around the world with a recently widowed lesbian doctor and a cast of characters that range from admirable to sinister and experiences both comical and thrilling. Very entertaining.


The Mirror & the Light: A Novel (Wolf Hall Trilogy #3) Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780805096606
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - March 10th, 2020

If you read and enjoyed the first two of the trilogy, you'll love this too. Even more time with Lord Cromwell!


Wow, No Thank You.: Essays Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780525563488
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - March 31st, 2020

She's ba-a-a-ack! And just when we need her outrageous humor more than ever. Eighteen new essays to keep you laughing out loud until you can go outside.


Garden by the Sea Cover Image
By Mercè Rodoreda, Martha Tennent (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781948830089
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Open Letter - February 18th, 2020

Discover this beautiful Catalan author whose sensual prose gives us a glimpse of life in 1920s Spain. Part love story, mystery, and social commentary, Garden by the Sea has the haunting quality of the calm before the storm. 


Night Theater Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781948226547
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Catapult - January 14th, 2020

Vikram Paralkar's first novel is a taut and mesmerizing fable. Set in a small village, a cynical, disillusioned surgeon confronts a family of the dead who implore him to operate overnight on their wounds for them to have a chance of rebirth. This is a magical novel, slyly humorous, but deeply moral.


A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel Cover Image
By Isabel Allende, Nick Caistor (Translated by), Amanda Hopkinson (Translated by)
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984820150
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Ballantine Books - January 21st, 2020

Engaging, exciting, and so effortlessly educational. This is a great historical novel, based on a true story. Following the Spanish Civil War, refugees streamed into France. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda outfitted the Winnipeg to transport artists, musicians, and doctors to Chile.  Fabulous!


Olive, Again: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812996548
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Random House - October 15th, 2019

What a delight! I did not want this book to end. If you read Olive Kitteridge, I’m sure you’ll love this “sequel.” The interconnected stories are funny, sad, tender, and very real.


False Bingo: Stories Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374538354
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - October 8th, 2019

A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9781250195135
Availability: Unavailable
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 8th, 2019

This is a terrific read! Edie came out (sort of) in the late 1940s and moved to Greenwich Village in 1951. Her tales of the underground gay life in the 50s and 60s are priceless! Dedicated career woman, randy and curious lesbian, later an LGBTQ activist. What a life!


The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781635573534
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 15th, 2019

In elegant prose, Levy describes the costs for a woman artist/mother living in patriarchy. Her sentences are beautifully crafted, and both her anger and her tenderness shine. 


On Division: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780374175313
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 17th, 2019

Set in the Chasidic community of Williamsburg, On Division is the story of an observant woman, mother of 10, who is surprised by a pregnancy at 57. Oy! Beautifully written, this is a rare look inside the Chasidic world. 


Right after the Weather Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9781476747798
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Atria Books - October 1st, 2019

So good I read it twice! Beautifully nuanced story of friendship in the aftermath of a violent, random attack. Set in Chicago with wonderful details about the theater. And so funny!!!


The Giver of Stars: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399562488
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - October 8th, 2019

This is a departure for Moyes—a historical novel set in 1937 in Kentucky coal-mining country. Based on the true story of the “packhorse librarians,” a WPA project to bring books to the mountain folks. Moyes delights with this story that made me laugh, and cry.


Melmoth: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062856401
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Custom House - October 1st, 2019

This is brilliant! It’s the most beautifully written dark fairy tale (but hauntingly realistic) that I’ve ever read. Perry’s prose creates surrealist paintings that made me hold my breath. It’s a bit like The Door by Magda Szabo. 


Eva Sleeps Cover Image
By Francesca Melandri, Katherine Gregor (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609453121
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Europa Editions - July 26th, 2016

Fascinating novel set in the South Tyrol, an Austrian colony annexed by Italy and a source of ongoing conflict throughout the 20th century. A little-known piece of history, plus wonderful women characters and a terrific story!


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The Grip of It: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374536916
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: FSG Originals - August 1st, 2017

Brilliant, often witty, a very original haunted house, psychological thriller kind of story. Told in the alternating voices of Julie and Jim, this is a novel you won’t forget.


The Friend: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735219458
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Riverhead Books - February 5th, 2019

Grief, friendship, art, and our ability to weather changes are all themes in this thoughtful, often witty novel. A good selection for book groups, especially intergenerational ones. 


Chances Are . . .: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101947746
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Knopf - July 30th, 2019

Delightful, entertaining and suspenseful. When 3 college friends reunite after 44 years, all are struck by the unsolved disappearance of their 4th friend, a golden girl from Greenwich, Connecticut, with whom they were all in love. 


The Guest Book: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250110275
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Flatiron Books - May 5th, 2020

One of the best novels I read in 2019—now out in paperback! If you liked Manhattan Beach or The Great Believers, you’ll love this! Set in 3 time periods—the 1930s, the 1960s, and the present day. The guest house is on an island off the coast of Maine, and the family the owns it is fascinating. 


The Air You Breathe: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735211001
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Riverhead Books - July 2nd, 2019

A wonderful historical novel set in Brazil in the 1920s and 30s and Hollywood in the 1940s. It’s about music—samba—and two unconventional, bold young women who run away to create it and perform it. Beautifully paced—I was transported!


Women Talking Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781635574340
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 3rd, 2020

Washington Black Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525563242
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - April 9th, 2019

I promise you will be surprised where this book takes you—starting in Barbados and journeying to the Arctic and Canada, this story is as touching and astonishing as it is believable. 


Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780062440525
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Custom House - November 12th, 2019

In the Midst of Winter: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501178146
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Atria Books - September 4th, 2018

Though I read this last year, it has really stayed with me. Allende manages to entertain, educate, and move us in this charming, suspenseful novel about 3 very different people who save one another.


Manhattan Beach: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476716749
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Scribner - June 5th, 2018

Egan’s latest has everything--great historical setting (1930s and 40s NY), engaging characters (corrupt union bosses, gangsters, sailors, and the first woman diver to repair ships during WWII), and a terrific plot. This one will stay with you.


The Underground Railroad: A Novel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780345804327
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Anchor - January 30th, 2018

I’m so glad I read this fascinating, beautiful historical novel! Structurally complex, vivid characters, a little magical realism, and a distinct portrait of various race laws in different states in the pre-Civil War era make this a wonderful read. 


Disoriental Cover Image
By Négar Djavadi, Tina Kover (Translator)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609454517
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Europa Editions - April 17th, 2018

This is an amazing first novel. Magical in the telling, full of history, politics, and the search for identity. I could not put this book down. The protagonist has stayed with me. A writer to watch!


Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250151162
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Picador - April 3rd, 2018

A delightful novel based on the life of Macy’s premier marketer from the 1930s through the 50s, a creative jingle writer and popular published poet. Now in her 80s, Lillian takes a long ramble in her beloved NYC on New Year’s Eve. A love letter to New York and a pioneering “career woman.”


The Ninth Hour: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250192745
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Picador - September 4th, 2018

It’s been awhile since Alice McDermott has graced us with one of her beautiful, lyrical novels. This is about a widowed mother, a convent girl, and the amazing work of the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor in Brooklyn in the 1920s and 30s. Luminous!


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Commonwealth: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062491831
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Harper Perennial - May 2nd, 2017

This book has everything! Wonderfully tender portraits of a family of flawed moms and dads; challenging children; a beautiful structure; the sweeps of multiple generations; suspense, sex, sisterhood—I just loved it!


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Claire of the Sea Light (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307472274
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - July 1st, 2014

Danticat’s gorgeously written novel about a seaside village in Haiti transcends time and place to weave a lyrical tale about love, loss, and family. Wonderful imagery! A book group favorite!


Lilac Girls: A Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101883082
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Ballantine Books - February 28th, 2017

A really interesting WWII story told in the voices of 3 woman: real-life Caroline Ferriday, New York socialite and French consulate worker; Kasia, a Polish girl sent to Ravensbruck with her older sister and mother; and Herta Oberheuser, a real-life Nazi doctor who conducted experiments. An amazing story—well-told and gripping.


Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781455563920
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 14th, 2017

A beautifully written, fascinating, rich historical novel set in Korea and, mostly, in the Korean ghettos in Japan, from 1910 to 1990. The characters are unforgettable, and the pacing and plotting are perfect. Our book group loved it!


Homegoing Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101971062
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017

A brilliant debut novel—both in structure and scope. Gyasi follows the lineage of two half sisters whose family is involved in the slave trade in Africa in the 1700s and shifts between America and Africa over 300 years. 


The Great Believers: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735223530
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Penguin Books - June 4th, 2019

One of the best novels I’ve read in years. Set in Chicago during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, with alternating chapters set in Paris in 2015. A searing, tender and beautifully written testimony to the power of love, friendship, and community.


All My Puny Sorrows Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781635574975
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 15th, 2019

So beautiful, so sad, so profound! Toews’ trademark grace and humor lighten this story of suicide in Mennonite families. The characters are memorable and sympathetic. There are no bad guys here—“just” the patriarchal structure. 


How to Start a Fire Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780544705180
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Mariner Books - May 17th, 2016

The author of the irresistible Spellman Files series (laugh-out-loud funny mysteries) has written a dark, funny, twisty novel about 3 women who meet in college; share some deep, dark secrets; then take off in different directions but remain friends. Funny, tender, surprising!


Life After Life: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9781616203221
Availability: Unavailable
Published: A Shannon Ravenel Book - November 5th, 2013

By turns funny, poignant, and wise. Set in a nursing home in the south, McCorkle takes on weighty themes in a light-hearted and loving look at very unique bunch of senior citizens.


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We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781101912195
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - May 30th, 2017

Three of the best days of my life were spent laughing/choking/chortling over ever essay in this wonderful collection! From her days at ETHS and NIU to her eventual lesbian marriage and a life in the Michigan countryside, Irby tells the truth, and she tells it FUNNY! (P.S. – Also trashy, vulgar, and gross!)


The Nest Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780062414212
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Ecco - March 22nd, 2016

A funny, topical novel about 4 adult siblings who have all borrowed money, counting on their inheritance—the “nest”—when one sibling wipes it out. Uh oh! By the end of the novel, she won me over—and these 4 selfish, privileged siblings grow up!


Negroland: A Memoir Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780307473431
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Vintage - August 23rd, 2016

A different kind of memoir: part history, part personal memories, part philosophy. She clearly delineates the difference between “privilege” and “entitlement.” And it’s set in Chicago. A great discussion book--highly recommended for book clubs.


The Song of Achilles: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062060624
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Ecco - August 28th, 2012

A beautiful, sensual, exciting and a unique retelling of the Iliad. Great character development. And a great book group book—12 out of 12 in our group loved it. 


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781620971932
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: New Press - January 7th, 2020

A paradigm-shifting analysis of race in America, focusing on the War on Drugs and mass incarceration. It’s not hard to read, but it is shocking, urgent, and must reading! Excellent for book groups. 


Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804173506
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Anchor - June 23rd, 2015

I loved this wickedly comic collection of stories and so did all of us in book group—both those reading Atwood for the first time and huge fans alike. The first 3 linked stories are especially terrific, but all of them are memorable.


The Book of My Lives Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780374115739
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 19th, 2013

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802120878
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Grove Press - March 12th, 2013

Winterson is so brave in confronting her past, her demon mother, and the demons inside. This memoir is funny, and scary, and tender. She writes beautifully and lyrically of the power of literature to change lives. It’s so good I read it twice, and I saw so much more the second time through it!


Carry the One: A Novel Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781451656930
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 23rd, 2012

Hurray! What we Anshaw fans have been waiting for: an original and compelling story laced with her trademark wit, complex characters both straight and gay, and the opportunity to view their lives over the course of decades as they deal with a tragedy that binds them together. Unforgettable!


Once Upon a River: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393341775
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 4th, 2012

One of the best books ever about an unusual girl’s coming of age. Spirited and fierce, wise and naïve, strong and vulnerable, Margo Crane is a heroine you’ll never forget. Highly recommended for older teens, too. 


Dear Life: Stories (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307743725
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - July 30th, 2013

I loved this collection from Munro. The unpredictability of daily life, of love, desire and hope, the consequences of choices made or avoided, the families we choose. All universal themes, beautifully explored.


Great House: A Novel Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780393340648
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 6th, 2011

Nicole Krauss' writing is beautiful, tender, and philosophical, with chapters written in alternating voices. This focuses on lives shattered by loss and objects--a book, a desk--lost (stolen) in the Holocaust. The Great House is an intellectual puzzle--I keep getting new insights. Brilliant!


The Three Weissmanns of Westport: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780312680527
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Picador - February 1st, 2011

Witty, delightful, and very engaging. Marvelous women characters supporting one another and driving each other crazy. What will it take for these two sisters and their abandoned mom to change? 


Mudbound Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781565126770
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Algonquin Books - March 17th, 2009

What a great novel! Mudbound tells a tragic story but with such verve that I couldn't put it down. If you like fiction with a strong political theme, this is for you. Race, class, and survival in the Mississippi delta just after WWII.


The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780312427993
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Picador - June 24th, 2008

Absolutely must reading for any progressive. Clear, concise, readable and sometimes witty, Klein explains how laissez-faire capitalism uses both natural and man-made “shocks” to control the global economy. Paradigm-shifting!


Olive Kitteridge: Fiction Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812971835
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - September 30th, 2008

What a beautiful book! Each chapter concerns a different character/family who live on the Maine coast in a small town. Olive, the title characters taught 7th grade forever so she knows everyone. She's a tough old bird, a realist with a mean streak but in the course of the novel, even she is surprised by love, by grace, and the way we are shaped by loss & regeneration.


The New Yorkers: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780312427832
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Picador - April 29th, 2008

I just *loved* this delightful novel set on a particular block in NYC in which some single dog owners' paths cross in unpredictable ways. A perfect escape novel - smart and well-written, touching without being heavy. Dog lovers will love it, roo! 


Gilead (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780312424404
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Picador - January 10th, 2006

Gilead is one of my all-time favorites and winner of the Pulitzer and the Book Critics' Circle Award. Robinson asks all the hard questions: what is love? how can we live to best serve others? Why is there war? Will there ever be peace? Can we ever heal this country from slavery, and its descendant, racial injustice? In a long epistle to his young son, an elderly minister tries to give his family's history and discern what matters in life. Reading this book took me to a higher, meditative place, but it was also funny and surprising.


The History of Love: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393328622
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 17th, 2006

The History of Love is a stunning, achingly tender novel written in two voices: an old man who is a Holocaust survivor and a 14-year old Jewish girl. The voices are so real, so distinctive, that the characters walked off the page and into my mind and heart. There's an engaging plot, too, concerning a lost book that creates a life of literary fame for one man, hope for its young reader, and resolution, finally, for its true author.


Oryx and Crake (The MaddAddam Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780385721677
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Anchor - March 30th, 2004

"Oryx and Crake" is absolutely riveting. Atwood is conjuring a future world nearly devoid of human life as a result of disastraus genetic engineering. Chilling and compelling.


Room: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316098328
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Back Bay Books - May 18th, 2011

The narrator, 5-year-old Jack, his Ma, and the Room have stayed with me. An imagination feat, told in shimmering prose. I couldn't put it down, and I'll never forget it.


The Liars' Club: A Memoir Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143035749
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Penguin Books - May 31st, 2005

One of the first wry, witty memoirs about growing up in a dysfunctional family—and still one of the best. The background is gritty East Texas, the parents hard drinking, the kids are resourceful survivors.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385341004
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - May 5th, 2009

Beautifully told story in letters, set in 1946 England, about the occupation of Guernsey by the Nazis between 1941 and 1945. The "book club" of the title is real, a survival tactic of the Islanders whose lives were closely watched. Charming & poignant, another facet of WWII history.