Literary Fiction

The shortest day book cover

The shortest day

Susan Cooper

jE Cooper
Picture Books, Nature, Literary Fiction

A celebration of the winter solstice and the Yuletide season. As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again. Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day" captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before-- and the hope for peace that we carry into the future. Richly illustrated by Carson Ellis with a universality that spans the centuries, this beautiful book evokes the joy and community found in the ongoing mystery of life when we celebrate light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth. Welcome Yule!

Casey's picture

Lofty, elegant, and achingly beautiful, Carson Ellis's illustrations are the perfect pairing for Susan Cooper's poem. Don't miss this true winter solstice celebration from and for the ages! -Casey

The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo : a novel book cover

The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo : a novel

Taylor Jenkins Reid

FICTION Reid Taylor
Literary Fiction, LGBTQ+

Callie's picture

This book combines everything I love in fiction: realism, drama, romance, and a powerful female lead character. If you want to see the inner workings of old Hollywood and what it takes to climb to the top for a blonde bombshell, this is the book for you! -Callie

The bookshop book cover

The bookshop

Penelope Fitzgerald

FICTION Fitzgerald, Penelope
Fiction, Literary Fiction

In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop the only bookshop in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence s warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn t always a town that wants one.

Anne M's picture

Need a book to put you in the mood for Fall? The Bookshop is a biting, moody little book that takes on the attitudes of the provincial residents of a British coastal town. It is a sad book, but it is also a funny book. And it is a book about books. -Anne M

The seven or eight deaths of Stella Fortuna : a novel book cover

The seven or eight deaths of Stella Fortuna : a novel

Juliet Grames

FICTION Grames Juliet
Literary Fiction

Death has always been a part of Stella Fortuna life. Ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. In her Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity-- beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. She uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life's harshest realities. Her father Antonio is a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence. When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence. -- adapted from jacket

Mari's picture

Mariastella Fortuna's story is told as memoir written by a descendant in the family, from her early life of poverty in an Italian village to her family's immigrant experience adjusting to American life in the 1940's. The title refers to a family curse that leads to several brushes with death over her lifespan, but the story is much more about Stella's complicated relationships with family members and how she is forced into roles of wife and mother. -Mari

Olive, again book cover

Olive, again

Elizabeth Strout

Literary Fiction

"Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red blooded original. When she's not onstage, we look forward to her return..."* And now, indeed, Olive Kitteridge has returned, as indomitable as ever. "It turns out--I just wasn't done with Olive," said Strout. "It was like she kept poking me in the ribs, so I finally said 'Okay, okay...'" Now Olive returns, this time as a person getting older, navigating her next decade as she comes to terms with the changes--sometimes welcome, sometimes not--in her own life. Here is Olive, strangely content in her second marriage, still in an evolving relationship with her son and his family, encountering a cast of memorable characters in the seaside town of Crosby, Maine. Whether it's a young girl coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth at a baby shower, or a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, the irascible Olive improbably touches the lives of others. Elizabeth Strout has achieved greatness by brilliantly laying bare the inner lives of ordinary people, by focusing on the small moments of connection which can dislodge lifelong grief and longing, and unite her characters through moments of transcendent grace. Olive, Again is another lasting work of fiction by this remarkable writer, and a cause for celebration among readers everywhere.

Kara's picture

Olive is back and I was fortunate enough to have an advance reader copy. Elizabeth Strout is a master storyteller and I enjoyed spending more time with Olive Kitteridge. -Kara

History of wolves : a novel book cover

History of wolves : a novel

Emily Fridlund

FICTION Fridlund Emily
Literary Fiction

""So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain building inside this book. And I mean that in the best way. What powerful tension and depth this provides!"-Aimee Bender. Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong. And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn't understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Linda confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do-and fail to do-for the people they love. Winner of the McGinnis-Ritchie award for its first chapter, Emily Fridlund's propulsive and gorgeously written History of Wolves introduces a new writer of enormous range and talent"--

Heidi K's picture

This novel reverberates beyond the page. This had been on my to-read list since it came out, and I'm glad I finally got around to it. I loved the portrayal of the rural Minnesota landscape. I was haunted by the ending. I can't wait to read future books by Emily Fridlund! -Heidi K

Motherhood book cover


Sheila Heti

FICTION Heti Sheila
Literary Fiction

Heidi K's picture

This is a brilliant meditation on one of those great questions of life: To have children, or not? This is very much a book about that idea - it reads more like literary nonfiction or memoir than a novel. There isn't much by way of traditional plot or sense of place - the woman narrator takes us on a journey in her mind as she wrestles with ambivalence about whether or not to procreate. For me, this was a timely read and very reassuring that not everyone feels strongly about whether or not they want children. -Heidi K

Clock Dance book cover

Clock Dance

Anne Tyler

FICTION Tyler Anne
Fiction, Literary Fiction

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother's sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother, yet the prospect is dimming. So, when Willa receives a phone call from a stranger, telling her that her son's ex-girlfriend has been shot, she drops everything and flies across the country to Baltimore. The impulsive decision to look after this woman and her nine-year-old daughter will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors, plunged into the rituals that make a community a family, and forced to find solace in unexpected places.

Maeve's picture

Anne Tyler is one of my all-time favorite authors and Clock Dance doesn't disappoint. Don't be mislead by the saguro cactus the cover. The novel begins in Arizona but you are soon back in Tyler's Baltimore. If you are an Anne Tyler fan, you will not be disappointed. If you don't know her work, it is time to start reading. -Maeve

An American marriage book cover

An American marriage

Tayari Jones

FICTION Jones Tayari
Literary 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"--

Heidi K's picture

When newlyweds Celestial and Roy are separated by Roy's incarceration for a crime he didn't commit, the life they've been trying to build together falls apart. This is a book written as letters between Roy and Celestial, which I really enjoyed. The writing is excellent, and the ending surprised me somewhat while still not being disappointing. -Heidi K

Mr. Rochester book cover

Mr. Rochester

Sarah Shoemaker

FICTION Shoemake Sarah
Literary Fiction

Heidi L's picture

In this novel, author Sarah Shoemaker has imagined the backstory of Edward Fairfax Rochester. It's a good read in its own right, but mostly I enjoyed it because it allowed me to relive the story of Jane Eyre. It is faithful to the original, and the details of Mr. Rochester's youth seem plausible and apt. -Heidi L