Fiction

Rebecca book cover

Rebecca

Daphne Du Maurier

FICTION DuMaurier, Daphne
Fiction

A young girl becomes the second Mrs. Max de Winter, only to find that she is not the mistress of Manderley. Instead the house and its occupants are dominated by the memory of Rebecca, her predecessor.

Shawna's picture

With several of Author Daphne du Maurier's books and short stories turned into films, it is likely that you are already familiar with some of her work. Alfred Hitchcock in particular loved her work, creating three films based on her ideas, including The Birds in 1960. -Shawna

The dreamers : a novel book cover

The dreamers : a novel

Karen Thompson Walker

FICTION Walker Karen
Fiction, Science Fiction

One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep, and doesn't wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster. Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams, but of what? Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life, if only we are awakened to them.

Anne M's picture

Every page of this book made me uncomfortable and anxious. What book on a contagion wouldn't? The loss of individual control, the breakdown of society, the baffled experts...this is not for pleasure-reading. But I've been thinking about the book a lot after finishing it, particularly the ethics and beliefs the characters subscribe to that are tested when the virus hits. It was worth the quickening pace of my heart. -Anne M

The winter soldier book cover

The winter soldier

Daniel (Daniel Philippe) Mason

FICTION Mason Daniel
Historical Fiction, Fiction

"Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives--at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains--he discovers a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains. But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon's scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever"--Provided by publisher.

Anne M's picture

Someone told me to read this book several times and I am glad I listened to them. For a 300 page book, Mason really threads this story together with well-executed plot and thorough character development, as well as an ending that is fitting, yet surprising. If you like historical fiction, really exploring a place and time, I highly recommend "The Winter Soldier." -Anne M

Christmas on the island book cover

Christmas on the island

Jenny Colgan

FICTION Colgan Jenny
Fiction

It's a time for getting cozy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram and a treacle pudding with the people you love - unless, of course, you've accidentally gotten pregnant by your ex-boss, and don't know how to tell him. In the season for peace and good cheer, will Flora find the nerve to reveal the truth to her nearest and dearest? Will her erstwhile co-parent Joel think she's the bearer of glad tidings - or is this Christmas going to be as bleak as the Highlands in midwinter? Meanwhile Saif, a doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons on this remote island where he's been granted asylum. His wife, however, is still missing, and her absence hangs over what should be a joyful celebration. Can the family possibly find comfort and joy without her?

Melody's picture

I think it was last year when I got hooked on love stories set in faraway places that are isolated, cold, and take a village to solve a problem. Colgan's books suit the bill. Call it Women's Fiction, call it Chick Lit, call it highly emotional and slightly melodramatic. I call it cozy and A-OK by me. Her newest is set during the holidays and I am excited to learn what's next in this series. It is book 3 in her Mure Island series. The first book in the series is The Summer Seaside Kitchen. So start there if you want to get into island cozy! -Melody

The poet X book cover

The poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Acevedo, Elizabeth
Fiction, Young Adult

Harlem. Ever since her body grew into curves, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. She pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers-- especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. Mami is determined to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, and Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

Jason's picture

Winner in the Young People's Literature category -Jason

The emissary book cover

The emissary

Yōko Tawada

FICTION Tawada Yko
Fiction

Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with any get-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his grandfather Yoshiro, who worries about him constantly. They carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time, with all the children born ancient--frail and gray-haired, yet incredibly compassionate and wise. Mumei may be enfeebled and feverish, but he is a beacon of hope, full of wit and free of self-pity and pessimism. Yoshiro concentrates on nourishing Mumei, a strangely wonderful boy who offers "the beauty of the time that is yet to come."A delightful, irrepressibly funny book, The Emissary is filled with light. Yoko Tawada, deftly turning inside-out "the curse," defies gravity and creates a playful joyous novel out of a dystopian one, with a legerdemain uniquely her own.

Jason's picture

Winner in the Translated Literature category -Jason

The friend book cover

The friend

Sigrid Nunez

FICTION Nunez Sigrid
Fiction

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog's care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unraveling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them. Elegiac and searching, The Friend is both a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.

Jason's picture

Winner in the Fiction category -Jason

The air you breathe book cover

The air you breathe

Frances de Pontes Peebles

FICTION Peebles Frances
Fiction, Historical Fiction

An orphan, Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when she meets Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron. Born to wildly different worlds, the girls quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music. One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become the only way out of the life to which each was born... but only one is destined to be a star. -- adapted from jacket.

Anne M's picture

"When Sofia Salvador finished a show, applause wasn't an obligation, but a release. Without even realizing it, you'd held your breath and tensed your body while she sang, as if you were afraid that even the smallest movement would startle her away. But as soon as she bowed and thanked you, every emotion she'd dredged up inside you was suddenly clamoring to be let loose. How could you not clap, howl, whistle, and call for one more? One more! Please, just one more? And of course, Sofia Salvador always relented." If you are in the mood for something lyrical that provides a great sense of place with a focus on character development and friendship, look no further than Frances de Pontes Peebles' The Air You Breathe. Set in Brazil, this is a story of two women, Dores and Graca, who are from very different backgrounds (yet from the same plantation) who love samba. They run away to Lapa and develop an act, but it quickly becomes apparent that it is Graca (as the stage name Sofia Salvador) that everyone wants to hear. The story is told from Dores' point of view as she struggles with being forced in the shadow of Graca's fame, while trying to find her own voice. I alternated between the print and the audiobook. Rebecca Mozo's reading of the book is fantastic. -Anne M

Swimming lessons book cover

Swimming lessons

Claire Fuller

FICTION Fuller Claire
Fiction

Disenchanted by the life in which she’s found herself, Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their passionate and troubled marriage. She hides them, unread, in the thousands of books Gil has collected over the years. Then she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two young daughters, Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and his unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed Ingrid drowned, returns home to care for her father and investigate her mother’s disappearance. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a turbulent marriage and the dangerous fault lines that remain.

Anne M's picture

The way the story in this epistolary novel unfolds is extraordinary. Each letter is a revelation into the marriage of Ingrid and Gil, yet each letter also seems to muddy the waters as well. As some things clear up, others become more obscure. -Anne M

Truly Devious book cover

Truly Devious

Maureen Johnson

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Johnson Maureen
Fiction, Mystery

When Stevie Bell, an amateur detective, begins her first year at a famous private school in Vermont, she sets a plan to solve the cold case involving the kidnapping of the founder's wife and daughter shortly after the school opened.

Beth's picture

Can't wait to see where Maureen Johnson takes the main character Stevie. -Beth