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ICPL Recommends

Whereabouts book cover
Whereabouts book cover


Jhumpa Lahiri

FICTION Lahiri Jhumpa

"A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies--her first in nearly a decade. Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father's untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and "him," a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun's vital heat, her perspective will change. This is Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel she wrote in Italian and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement"--

It's always fascinating to me when authors learn a language and create new literary works in their new tongue. In this book Lahiri, born to Bengali parents and immersed in English as a child, moved to Italy as an adult to learn yet a third language. Whereabouts; a frameless, semi-plotless novel written in Italian and translated back to English by Lahiri is a story that follows a woman in the middle of her life's journey and, in succinct chapters describes among other things a year of her living, loving and losing. The author's language is sparse, pared down and distilled completely to only what is necessary. Her observational insights and metaphors are astute and deep. I listened to the audiobook while meandering around and while unlike anything she's written before, this is an introspective and contemplative read I would recommend. -Victoria

Watercress book cover
Watercress book cover


Andrea Wang

jE Wang
Picture Books, Read Woke, Memoir

Embarrassed about gathering watercress from a roadside ditch, a girl learns to appreciate her Chinese heritage after learning why the plant is so important to her parents.

Inspired by Andrea Wang's upbringing in rural Ohio and illustrated by Jason Chin, Watercress is pertinent reading for all ages. Text and illustrations pair perfectly, elevating this story of hope shining through grief, and love overcoming loss, beyond solely a childhood audience. Great for sharing as a family or reading on your own. -Casey

The Hill We Climb: an Inaugural Poem for the Country book cover
The Hill We Climb: an Inaugural Poem for the Country book cover

The Hill We Climb: an Inaugural Poem for the Country

Amanda Gorman

811.6 /Gorman
Poetry, Black Lives Matter

"On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet, at age twenty-two, to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Her inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb," is now available to cherish in this special edition."--

I missed the live reading of "the Hill We Climb", but when I watched the video after it was one of the few that lived up to the Twitter hype. I had not felt that sort of hope in a LONG time. Reading the text is a great way to revisit what might have been an initial flood of emotions, sit with them, and digest the words with thorough consideration. -Frannie

Fugitive telemetry book cover
Fugitive telemetry book cover

Fugitive telemetry

Martha Wells

Science Fiction

"When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people-who knew?) Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans! Again! A new standalone adventure in the New York Times-bestselling, Hugo and Nebula Award winning series!"--

Yes, another Muderbot book for me to rave about! Am I ever going to be quiet about these? No. Only when all of you have given it a try! Seriously, if you're a Sci-Fi fan, you should be reading these. -Brian

Into the dark book cover
Into the dark book cover

Into the dark

Claudia Gray

Science Fiction

"Long before the First Order, before the Empire, before even The Phantom Menace...Jedi lit the way for the galaxy in The High Republic. Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier and he couldn't be less happy about it. He'd rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he's traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action. The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy..."--Amazon.com.

I have drank deep from The High Republic Kool-Aid! I liked this YA outing even more than the Adult "Light of the Jedi." I loved each and every character that was introduced. Especially Geode! Oh, my heart belongs to Geode. If the entire The High Republic initiative is going to be like this, I might not be able to handle it! There's a middle-grade novel as well, and it's calling my name... -Brian

A memory called empire book cover
A memory called empire book cover

A memory called empire

Arkady Martine

Science Fiction

"During a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court, Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident--or that Mahit might be next to die. Now Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion--all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret--one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life--or rescue it from annihilation"--From publisher.

I loved this engrossing and ridiculously smart science fiction novel! I was blown away by the worldbuilding! The thought and care that went into brewing up this galaxy is staggering. On top of all of that, it's a complex mystery and political thriller. I was very pleased to learn that there's a sequel for me to read. -Brian


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