Literary Fiction

Less : a novel book cover

Less : a novel

Andrew Sean Greer

eBOOK
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.

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Added by Stacey

The mirror & the light book cover

The mirror & the light

Hilary Mantel

eAUDIO
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

The Topeka school book cover

The Topeka school

Ben Lerner

eBOOK
Literary Fiction

Frannie's picture

This coming of age novel had special resonance for me growing up in a similar time, place, and milieu where much of the book unfolds. While the book is mostly centered around the fictionalized version of the author, other characters too have their story told from their point of view. Another thing that drew me in was the intimation of events occurring outside the main plot. Additional selling points for highlighting competitive speech and debate, something I dabbled in when in high school and one rarely sees in pop culture. -Frannie

Difficult women book cover

Difficult women

Roxane Gay

FICTION Gay Roxane
Short Story, Literary Fiction

"Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection. The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July"--

Frannie's picture

Far from "Chick Lit" (no shade!), this short story collection of various female characters captures the spirit and struggle of every woman. -Frannie

Dear life : stories book cover

Dear life : stories

Alice Munro

FICTION Munro Alice
Literary Fiction, Short Story

Frannie's picture

Varied and beautiful, a collection of Alice Munro's stories is an essential to every bookshelf, but this entry in particular is from an artist at her peak. -Frannie

A manual for cleaning women : selected stories book cover

A manual for cleaning women : selected stories

Lucia Berlin

FICTION Berlin Lucia
Literary Fiction, Short Story

"Stories from a lost American classic "in the same arena as Alice Munro" (Lydia Davis) "In the field of short fiction, Lucia Berlin is one of America's best kept secrets. That's it. Flat out. No mitigating conditions." --Paul Metcalf A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday--uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin's stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They are hitchhikers, hard workers, bad Christians. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. Berlin, a highly influential writer despite having published little in her lifetime, conjures these women from California, Mexico, and beyond. Lovers of the short story will not want to miss this remarkable collection from a master of the form"--

Frannie's picture

Taking you all over, Berlin's stories give reader's the perspective of characters often unseen on the page. -Frannie

The yellow wallpaper and other writings book cover

The yellow wallpaper and other writings

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

FICTION Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Short Story, Literary Fiction

Frannie's picture

The classic story "the Yellow Wallpaper" will not only affect your home decorating decisions but provide unique insight into mental illness that can feel a bit too real. -Frannie

The count of Monte-Cristo book cover

The count of Monte-Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

FICTION Dumas, Alexandre
Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Classics

Casey's picture

Riveting, heart breaking, and beautifully told, prepare to watch as nineteen year old, Edmond Dantes's life comes crashing down around him through no fault of his own. Fourteen years in prison later, we see him rise from the ashes only to descend to the depths of villainy. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and unabridged. -Casey

A tale of two cities book cover

A tale of two cities

Charles Dickens

FICTION Dickens, Charles
Literary Fiction, Classics, Historical Fiction

Casey's picture

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair...in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." This may be my favorite Dickens, be ready to shed some tears! I'm planning on picking this one up again in March. -Casey

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