Literary Fiction

A thousand ships book cover

A thousand ships

Natalie Haynes

eAUDIO
Literary Fiction

"This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them. In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash. The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across oceans and sky in between. These are the stories of the women embroiled in that legendary war and its terrible aftermath, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all"--

Anne M's picture

With the success of Madeline Miller's "Circe" and "The Song of Achilles", publishers have embraced the "reimaging ancient Greek plots" trend and I'm perfectly happy with that. I loved Natalie Haynes' "A Thousand Ships," which retells the Trojan War from the perspectives of individual female characters. Familiar personalities from Homer's epics to Aeschylus' plays appear throughout to tell their stories. From Cassandra to Clytemnestra to Penelope to the goddess Eris, "A Thousand Ships" is a rich tapestry of the war's impact on women. Haynes (podcaster for the BBC) is also a gifted narrator, so do check out the audiobook. -Anne M

The midnight library : A Novel book cover

The midnight library : A Novel

Matt Haig

eAUDIO
Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Literary Fiction

"'Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?' A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time. Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place"-- Provided by publisher.

Anne M's picture

Before I begin, The Midnight Library contains themes of depression and a description of a suicide. Nora Seed believes she has made some very wrong choices in her life and none of it can be rectified. In trying to end her life, Nora finds herself in a library--a library of her own somewhere between life and death. All the books on the shelf contain different versions of her life if she had made different choices along the way, both small and large. Nora Seed gets to explore these lives from pursuing Olympic swimming to fronting a rock band with the opportunity to make a permanent swap. But Nora begins to understand that there are many things about her original life that were significant and meaningful. Carey Mulligan narrates the audio and she is wonderful. -Anne M

A Christmas carol : in prose, being a ghost story of Christmas book cover

A Christmas carol : in prose, being a ghost story of Christmas

Charles Dickens

FICTION Dickens, Charles
Classics, Literary Fiction

Casey's picture

We are currently reading A Christmas Carol aloud for bedtime, and loving it! Plus, it's the perfect time of year to revisit this often adapted classic. -Casey

The Girl Who Drank the Moon book cover

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Kelly Barnhill

eBook
Fantasy, Literary Fiction

An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her. Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she's always known. The acclaimed author of The Witch's Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic--Provided by Publisher

Casey's picture

I haven't read this again since right after it won the Newbery Medal. I remember it being absolutely enchanting. -Casey

Circe : a novel book cover

Circe : a novel

Madeline Miller

eAUDIO
Literary Fiction, Fantasy

Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Casey's picture

Ever read a book that makes all others pale in comparison? Circe has been that book for me in 2020. I've been trying to move on for months and am circling back since she has a hold of me still. -Casey

Once upon a river : a novel book cover

Once upon a river : a novel

Diane Setterfield

FICTION Setterfi Diane
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

On a dark midwinter's night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, a wounded stranger carries in the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later the girl stirs, and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Magic? As the days pass the child remains mute and unable to answer questions. Three families are keen to claim her: the wealthy mother of a kidnapped daughter missing for two years; a farming family sure it is their son's secret daughter; a parson's housekeeper, reminded of her younger sister. Each family has secrets, must be revealed before the girl's identity can be known. -- adapted from jacket

Mari's picture

A character-driven, magical realism story about a town trying to discover the truth after a seemingly dead young girl comes back to life hours after arriving at an ancient inn on the Thames. Beautifully written and full of mystery and folklore. -Mari

Circe : a novel book cover

Circe : a novel

Madeline Miller

FICTION Miller Madeline
Literary Fiction

Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Mari's picture

For lovers of mythology, this is the story of Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios. -Mari

The night tiger book cover

The night tiger

Yangsze Choo

FICTION Choo Yangsze
Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

A vivacious dance-hall girl in 1930s colonial Malaysia is drawn into unexpected danger by the discovery of a severed finger that is being sought by a young houseboy in order to protect his late master's soul.

Mari's picture

A strange story set in the 1930's that weaves in mythology and folklore of Malaysia and brings in to the question the existence of weretigers. -Mari

The silence of the girls : a novel book cover

The silence of the girls : a novel

Pat Barker

FICTION Barker Pat
Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

"The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War"--

Anne M's picture

If you love Madeline Miller's "Circe" or "The Song of Achilles," you should check out Pat Barker's "The Silence of the Girls." Like Miller, Pat Barker takes on the epics of Homer, re-imagining the story of "The Iliad" through the eyes of Briseis, Achilles' captured "war bride" at the heart of the spat between Achilles and Agamemnon. Barker's writing is effective. It is beautiful, yet distressing. I found myself having to shut the book, sit still for a few moments, and breathe. As you witness Briseis loose all sense of self as she lives with Achilles in the war camp, as she numbs herself to fear and anger, while everything she knows disappears in a moment, you begin to question what was actually heroic to the story we know. -Anne M

A burning book cover

A burning

Megha Majumdar

FICTION Majumdar Megha
Literary Fiction, Fiction, Suspense

"After a fiery attack on a train leaves 104 people dead, the fates of three people become inextricably entangled. Jivan, a bright, striving woman from the slums looking for a way out of poverty, is wrongly accused of planning the attack because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir, a slippery gym teacher from Jivan's former high school, has hitched his aspirations to a rising right wing party, and his own ascent becomes increasingly linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely, a spirited, impoverished, relentlessly optimistic hjira, who harbors dreams of becoming a Bollywood star, can provide the alibi that would set Jivan free--but her appearance in court will have unexpected consequences that will change the course of all of their lives. A novel about fate, power, opportunity, and class; about innocence and guilt, betrayal and love, and the corrosive media cycle that manufactures falsehoods masquerading as truths--A Burning is a debut novel of exceptional power and urgency, haunting and beautiful, brutal, vibrant, impossible to forget"--

Anne M's picture

Megha Majumdar's terrifying novel shows us that those we know don't always come through when we need them, especially if there is something to gain if they throw us over. This book serves as an allegory about society without sacrificing well-developed, carefully crafted, individual characters. -Anne M