Wuthering Heights book cover

Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë

FICTION Bronte, Emily
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" is one of the harder reads on this list, but I respect it for its moody atmosphere, the depiction of the wild Yorkshire moors, and the passionate characters the author created. A favorite memory is visiting the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, walking into the fields behind the house, all the while wanting to shout into the wind: "I *am* Heathcliff!". But I didn't. -Heidi L

Sense and sensibility book cover

Sense and sensibility

Jane Austen

FICTION Austen, Jane
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

Another Jane Austen favorite, a book about sisters and how different they can be, a lesson about the dangers of excess and the benefits of moderation. And hidden beneath the surface is the message about women and money in the eighteenth century: women don't have it and their well-being is dependent upon how generous the men in their lives will be. -Heidi L

Pride and prejudice book cover

Pride and prejudice

Jane Austen

FICTION Austen, Jane
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

What can I say about "Pride and Prejudice" that hasn't already been said? Jane Austen is funny, and can be a bit snarky, and she excels at describing the relationships that define our everyday life. It's a great story, and if you have seen one of the many movie adaptations, or read the knockoffs or continuations, may I suggest returning to the original? -Heidi L

Cranford book cover


Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

FICTION Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

"Cranford" is a look at a small village and the women in it. Class differences are shown, friendships endure anyway, and the sheltered village reacts to changes in society. Author Elizabeth Gaskell wrote another favorite novel of mine, "North and South". She was a friend of Charlotte Bronte, and at Charlotte's father's request, wrote the first biography of Charlotte after she died. -Heidi L

Jane Eyre book cover

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë

FICTION Bronte, Charlotte
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

I read "Jane Eyre" when I was a teenager, and have reread it a few times since. I admire the title character's intelligence, drive, and integrity, and it certainly helps that there is a happy, romantic ending. As with several other titles on this list, love of the novel led me to reading about its author, and Charlotte Bronte was a complex woman, progressive in her thinking. The character of Bertha in "Jane Eyre" and her part of the story is troubling in my 21st century reading (for another perspective of Bertha, read "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys). Nevertheless--Reader, I named my cat Charlotte. -Heidi L

A Scot in the dark book cover

A Scot in the dark

Sarah MacLean

FICTION Maclean Sarah
Fiction, Romance

Amanda's picture

This book is absolutely delightful. The perfect balance of angst, lightness, and romance. Also, the punny title is just incredible! -Amanda

The dog stars book cover

The dog stars

Peter Heller

FICTION Heller Peter

Tom's picture

A thoughtful man and his faithful dog survive in the post-apocalyptic mountain west. The language is beautiful and the characters are worth knowing. I was sad to finish this one. -Tom

IQ book cover


Joe Ide

Fiction, Mystery

"A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores. East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood's high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can't or won't touch. They call him IQ. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he's forced to take on clients that can pay. This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes"--

Beth's picture

This first book in what I hope is a very long series of crime/detective fiction by author Joe Ide. I started with the print copy and was grabbed quickly by the story. However there is a lot of East LA dialect in this book that slowed me down, so I checked out a copy of the e-aduio and I'm so glad I did. Actor Sullivan Jones brought the characters to life in ways my imagination couldn't. After listening to a few chapters the characters are firmly in my brain and I hear their voices when I read the text. Isaiah Quintabe (IQ) is my new favorite private investigator. He sees things other people miss. Things that aren't where they're supposed to be, or shouldn't be where they are, or things that just don't make sense. Author Joe Ide masterfully weaves together two stories - Isaiah's own rough teenage years and the current case he's been hired to solve - to introduce us to a great new character in detective fiction. The second book in the series is "Righteous" and the third "Wrecked" is due out in October 2018. -Beth

Year one book cover

Year one

Nora Roberts

FICTION Roberts Nora

"A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author--an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives... It began on New Year's Eve. The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed--and more than half of the world's population was decimated. Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river--or in the ones you know and love the most. As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive"--

Meredith's picture

It took me more than 100 pages to get into the story, but once I was in, I was in! I breezed through the second half of the book in a few hours because who needs sleep when a story is that good? -Meredith

Pride and Prometheus book cover

Pride and Prometheus

John Kessel

FICTION Kessel John
Fiction, Science Fiction, Classics

Threatened with destruction unless he fashions a wife for his Creature, Victor Frankenstein travels to England where he meets Mary and Kitty Bennet, the remaining unmarried sisters of the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice Meanwhile, the awkward Mary hopes that Victor will save her from approaching spinsterhood while wondering what dark secret he is keeping from her. Pride and Prometheus fuses the gothic horror of Mary Shelley with the Regency romance of Jane Austen in an exciting novel that combines two age-old stories in a fresh and startling way.

Amanda's picture

A brilliant combination of Pride & Prejudice, and Frankenstein. 13 years after Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet meets Victor Frankenstein, who is in the middle of his own novel, and becomes an integral character in his story. Mary is such an incredible character, and Frankenstein's Creature is heartbreakingly human. Victor is awful, which won't come as a surprise if you've read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. If you like 19th-century novels, adaptations, or sci-fi, read this! You won't regret it! -Amanda