Literary Fiction

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake book cover

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Aimee Bender

Literary Fiction

Being able to taste people's emotions in food may at first be horrifying. But young, unassuming Rose Edelstein grows up learning to harness her gift as she becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

Frannie's picture

Added by Frannie

Shuggie Bain : a novel book cover

Shuggie Bain : a novel

Douglas Stuart

FICTION Stuart Douglas
Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+, Literary Fiction

"Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher's war on heavy industry has put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for his artistic brother and practical sister. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a "whoremaster" of a husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good - her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits - all the family has to live on - on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to look after her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. He is meanwhile doing all he can to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that Shuggie is "no right," and now Agnes's addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her-even and especially her beloved Shuggie." --

Heidi K's picture

This book received a Kirkus starred review, and it's definitely worth the hype. The book takes place in the working class Scotland of the 1980s. Agnes is a young alcoholic woman who loves her children but is mostly incapacitated by poverty and drink. Shuggie is a young boy who is a bit of a social pariah for being a gay momma's boy - even though for most of the book he has little to no understanding of why he doesn't fit in with the others. He just doesn't. I thought this book was heartbreaking but also just plain beautiful. I won't forget Shuggie or Agnes. -Heidi K

Circe : a novel book cover

Circe : a novel

Madeline Miller

Fiction, 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

I'm so glad I took the time to listen to Circe. Madeline Miller's writing is lofty yet accessible and her characters highly realized, I loved everything about this title. Look for Circe one on my rereads shelf soon! -Casey

A gentleman in Moscow book cover

A gentleman in Moscow

Amor Towles

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

""In all ways a great novel, a nonstop pleasure brimming with charm, personal wisdom, and philosophic insight.this book more than fulfills the promise of Towles' stylish debut, Rules of Civility." - Kirkus Reviews (starred) From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility--a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, "Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change." A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose"--

Casey's picture

Another one that I continue to hear nothing but wonderful things about. I'm looking forward to getting to know Count Rostov soon. -Casey

All the light we cannot see : a novel book cover

All the light we cannot see : a novel

Anthony Doerr

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

"From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work"--

Casey's picture

I know, I know, I'm years behind on this one. In fact it's been on my list since it was nominated for an Alex award when it first came out. Now's the time! -Casey

Written in the stars book cover

Written in the stars

Aisha Saeed

Young Adult, Literary Fiction

"Naila's vacation to visit relatives in Pakistan turns into a nightmare when she discovers her parents want to force her to marry a man she's never met"--

Casey's picture

Naila's family takes an impromptu vacation to visit relatives in Pakistan and her world is turned upside down. This was an enlightening and occasionally tough listen, but more than worth the time and emotive effort. The author's note at the end is a gem, don't skip it. -Casey

Frankly in love book cover

Frankly in love

David Yoon

Young Adult, Literary Fiction

"High school senior Frank Li takes a risk to go after a girl his parents would never approve of, but his plans will leave him wondering if he ever really understood love--or himself--at all"--

Casey's picture

During his senior year, Frank Li takes a risk and disobeys his parents in a way he never anticipated. I loved all of the ways Frank grows and learns about life and love throughout this title. -Casey

Less : a novel book cover

Less : a novel

Andrew Sean Greer

Literary Fiction

Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.

Stacey's picture

Added by Stacey

The mirror & the light book cover

The mirror & the light

Hilary Mantel

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

""If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?" England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith's son from Putney emerges from the spring's bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen before Jane dies giving birth to the male heir he most craves. Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry's regime to the breaking point, Cromwell's robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him? With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man's vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion, and courage"--

Anne M's picture

It has been 8 years since the last installment of Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy and "The Mirror and the Light" was well worth the wait. Beautiful written and rich in detail and character, Mantel's writing is absorbing. For fans of audiobooks, Ben Miles provides a fantastic reading. In anticipation for this book, I immersed myself in the world of Thomas Cromwell, rereading "Wolf Hall" and "Bring up the Bodies" by listening to the audiobooks. I missed so much from the first reading, I was glad I did. Now I'm a little sad to leave the Tudor court. Unlike most of the people in Henry VIII's circle, I'm just happy I get to do so by choice. -Anne M