Fiction

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

The great alone book cover

The great alone

Kristin Hannah

FICTION Hannah Kristin
Fiction

Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.

Beth's picture

The 2nd most popular book in the 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program. -Beth

Little fires everywhere book cover

Little fires everywhere

Celeste Ng

FICTION Ng Celeste
Fiction

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, the intertwined stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Beth's picture

The 5th most popular book of the 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program. -Beth

The woman in the window : a novel book cover

The woman in the window : a novel

A. J. Finn

FICTION Finn, A. J.
Fiction

"It isn't paranoia if it's really happening ... Anna Fox lives alone -- a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies ... and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move next door: a father, a mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble -- and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this gripping Hitchcockian thriller, no one and nothing are what they seem."--

Beth's picture

Tied for 4th most popular book of the 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program -Beth

Beartown : a novel book cover

Beartown : a novel

Fredrik Backman

FICTION Backman Fredrik
Fiction

"From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, comes a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything. Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy. At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager's daughter--and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear. Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people's dreams on our shoulders"--

Beth's picture

Tied for 4th most popular book of the 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program. -Beth

An American marriage book cover

An American marriage

Tayari Jones

FICTION Jones Tayari
Fiction

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"--

Beth's picture

Tied for 4th most popular book of the 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program -Beth