Literary Fiction

The women of Troy : a novel book cover

The women of Troy : a novel

Pat Barker

FICTION Barker Pat
Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

"Troy has fallen and the victorious Greeks are eager to return home with the spoils of an endless war--including the women of Troy themselves. They await a fair wind for the Aegean; it does not come, because the gods are offended. The body of King Priam lies unburied and desecrated, and so the victors remain in suspension, camped in the shadows of the city they destroyed as the coalition that held them together begins to unravel. Old feuds resurface and new suspicions and rivalries begin to fester. Largely unnoticed by her captors, the one time Trojan queen Briseis, formerly Achilles's slave, now belonging to his companion Alcimus, quietly takes in these developments. She forges alliances when she can, with Priam's aged wife the defiant Hecuba and with the disgraced soothsayer Calchas, all the while shrewdly seeking her path to revenge."--Jacket flap.

Anne M's picture

There are so many books coming out right now reimagining the Greek myths, poetry, and plays that it definitely has become its own genre. I'm perfectly happy with this and have indulged in many over the last few years. But I am moved by Pat Barker's novels the most. Her fiction has a humanity about it: well written, focused on characters and their relationships to others, lush in description. The second novel following the character of Briseis, Barker often writes in trilogies. I hope this means there will be a third. -Anne M

Of women and salt book cover

Of women and salt

Gabriela Garcia

FICTION Garcia Gabriela
Fiction, Literary Fiction

Present-day Miami. Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt. -- adapted from jacket

Anne M's picture

I really enjoy novels that contain intricately interwoven stories. Gabriela Garcia's "Of Women and Salt" is a generational saga set in early 19th Century Cuba to present day Miami. And it is anything but straightforward. Garcia jumps through time from character to character and back again. If you pay attention, you find the anchors. Objects, words, fears, and feelings transcend the barriers of time and place. It is a lovely book. -Anne M

Feldy's girl : a novel book cover

Feldy's girl : a novel

Joseph Dobrian

FICTION Dobrian, Joseph
Fiction, Literary Fiction

Set in the university town of State City, Iowa, Feldy’s Girl is about a coming-of-age woman named Teresa who is the daughter of a local football legend. Teresa is a serious, motivated young woman attending State University during the Sixties Revolution—and must reconcile societal changes with her own upbringing and identity. She’s dating the star quarterback of the State University Rivercats, and making friends with leaders of the New Left movement. In this coming-of-age, literary masterpiece, join Teresa as she finds herself navigating a world of political, social, and spiritual conflict and strife—and striving to stay true to herself and her principles--

Beth's picture

Added by Beth

To kill a mockingbird book cover

To kill a mockingbird

Harper Lee

FICTION Lee, Harper
Literary Fiction, Fiction

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee. Although it was written in 1960 it is set in the mid-1930s in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. It is narrated by Scout Finch, a six-year-old tomboy who lives with her lawyer father Atticus and her ten-year-old brother Jem. During the novel Scout, Jem and their friend Dill try to make their reclusive neighbor Boo Radley leave his house. Boo has not been seen in Maycomb since he was a teenager. Many residents of Maycomb are racists and during the novel Atticus is asked to defend Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Atticus takes on the case even though everyone knows he has little hope of winning. The reader sees the trial develop through the childlike eyes of Scout, as gradually both she and her brother learn some valuable life lessons from their father about tolerance, empathy and understanding.

Beth's picture

Added by Beth

Outlawed: a Novel book cover

Outlawed: a Novel

Anna North

FICTION North Anna
Literary Fiction, LGBTQ+

"The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West. In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw. The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada's life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all. Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear"--

Frannie's picture

This book is a delight. Historical fiction fans will like it for the sense of time and place. Those looking for queer characters in strong roles will rejoice. Questioning women's place in society in the late 1800s is the premise, but what the author does with it is unexpected and will have your feminist heart growing with every page. -Frannie

A thousand ships book cover

A thousand ships

Natalie Haynes

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

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

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

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