Told through a series of letters, Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members takes readers into the world of Jason Fitger, a wry English professor at Payne University, sending out letters of recommendation on behalf of his students and colleagues. Fitger’s recommendations mix bluntness with heart, ranging anywhere from: “His approach to problem solving is characterized by sullenness punctuated by occasional brief bouts of good judgment” to “He can read and write; he’s not unsightly; and he doesn’t appear to be addicted to illegal substances prior to 3:00 p.m.” Often passive-aggressive yet always eloquent, Fitger constantly overshares. His letters end up diving into past disagreements, the disintegration of Payne University’s English program, and his rocky writing career, all resulting in a hilarious window into one cynical academic’s mind.
Check It Out
Rainbow Rowell has found success recently with novels like Eleanor & Park and Landline; however, I highly recommend her novel Fangirl. It centers on twin girls in their freshman year of college and how one twin is finding her social anxiety to be a bigger issue than she anticipated.
Actor Colin Firth reads the dreamy, reflective prose of Graham Greene in the 2013 Audiobook of the Year, The End of the Affair. A modern classic in its own right, the story examines the complexities of jagged emotions against the backdrop of a turbulent time. What happens when a seemingly passionate relationship is brought to an abrupt end? We experience it all through Maurice’s first-person narration, and his testimonial proves to be a one-man theatre showcase for Firth’s expert performance. As his character grapples with desire, jealousy, religion, and death, listeners realize that this is a story about so much more than two separated lovers.
Located behind the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor, between the Local DVD collection and Study Guides, this collection features authors currently living in or that have a strong connection to Mount Prospect or nearby communities. The collection is ever growing, so stop by and see what your fellow community members are writing! If you are looking for a local author not in the collection, stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk and we can help you get your hands on that title.
Felix Callahan is a Hollywood heartthrob and married to a French model. Becky Jack is a Mormon housewife from Utah, pregnant with her fourth child and married to the love of her life. What do they have in common? On the surface nothing, but after a chance encounter, they instantly connect and are drawn together, quickly becoming best friends. Boundaries are tested, however, as Shannon Hale leads her readers into an exploration of the levels of faithfulness to your spouse and the capabilities, or incapability, of men and women being best friends. Weaving together thoughtful questions with witty banter, The Actor and the Housewife is perfect for anyone looking for a romantic comedy that gives its readers pause to think.
Title: The Tiger’s Wife
Author: Téa Obreht
Page Count: 338 pages
Genre: Literary fiction
Tone: Mystical, Haunting, Lyrical
Summary from publisher:
In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her–the legend of the tiger’s wife.
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.
1. Did it bother you that there were no actual geographical or time period references?
2. How did the time-shifting aspects of the book affect your experience of the story?
3. Natalia and Zora were together on a mission trip when she finds out that her grandfather had died. Why doesn’t she tell Zora?
4. Zora is in a predicament. There is a malpractice case brought up against a man who is well connected in the medical community. Her dilemma is whether to “stick it to the man she despised for years and risking a career and reputation she was just beginning to build.” She tells Natalia that she wants to ask her grandfathers’ opinion. What advice do you think he would have given her? What would you do?
5. “Swear to me on your life that you didn’t know.” Why didn’t Natalia admit to her grandmother that she knew her grandfather was sick?
6. As Natalia and her grandfather are watching the elephant walk down the street in the middle of the night, Natalia said, “None of my friends will ever believe this.” Her grandfather replied, “The story of the war that belongs to everyone, but something like this, this is yours and belongs only to us.” What do you think he means by this?
7. There are so many references to The Jungle Book and Shere Khan in this novel. Do you see any parallels between Shere Khan of The Jungle Book and the tiger?
8. Why was Barba Ivan’s dog Bis painted by everyone?
9. Leandro understood that part of the tiger was Shere Khan but he has always felt some compassion for Shere Khan. Why do you think that is?
10. How did you feel reading the story from the tiger’s perspective?
11. There are many other animals in this story (parrot, dog, owl, bear). Does their presence have a deeper meaning?
12. Was Dure a good father?
13. Luko, Jovo and the blacksmith go out to kill the tiger after it was seen in the smokehouse. Why did Luko and Jovo tell everyone that the tiger killed the blacksmith and not admit that the gun backfired?
14. Natalia lived most of her life under either the threat of oncoming war or war itself. Would this state have an effect on the decisions one makes for them? How does the lack of a war then affect her?
15. Why do you think “Riki Tiki Tavi” is the deathless man’s favorite story in The Jungle Book?
16. The author said she intended to write the deathless man as more of a menacing character; instead, she felt, he ended up being almost comforting. Had she written that character in a different way, how do you think it would change the tone of the story?
17. Who is the deathless man? Does he exist?
18. Do you think Dr. Leandro, Natalia’s grandfather, is an honorable man? Why or why not?
19. Dr. Leandro placed a wager with the deathless man. Who do you think won? Should Dr. Leandro have paid his debt? If you think he lost the wager does his refusal to honor it change your opinion of him?
20. The second time Dr. Leandro saw the deathless man, there was a miracle by a waterfall. Dr. Leandro was by the waterfall to take care of the sick people that made their pilgrimage there. Gavran Gaile, a.k.a. the deathless man, was by the waterfall as well, and he was letting people know that their time was coming. “But that is what I do; that is my work to give Peace,” the deathless man had said. Do you think that knowing their time is coming gave the sick people peace?
21. Téa Obreht seems to present a character in a certain light, and then she offers background information. Did you find that the background information made you change your initial opinion of any of the characters? If so, which ones and why?
22. Luka takes the tiger’s wife to the smokehouse, ties her up, and leaves her there in hopes that the tiger will devour her. Two weeks later she shows up in town “with a fresh bright face and a smile that suggested something new about her.” What happened to Luka?
23. Why did the villagers hate the tiger’s wife? Why did mother Vera help the tiger’s wife?
24. What was your opinion of the apothecary?
25. Why did Natalia volunteer to take the “heart” to the crossroads and wait for the Mora?
26. What do you think happened to Dr. Leandro’s copy of The Jungle Book?
27. Was there any story or part of the book that particularly struck you?
If you liked The Tiger’s Wife, try…
As tickled as I was to see Veronica Mars return, I missed the inventive noir detective work and motley associates. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by creator Rob Thomas improves upon the movie, giving Veronica plenty of opportunity to outwit and out-quip those in Neptune who have something to hide.
In the not-too-distant future, the world changes because of a virus. Those most affected with Haden’s Syndrome become “locked in” to their own bodies, unable to move or physically react to any stimulus. Sufferers contribute to society via the use of threeps, android-like models that offer mobility and interaction with the rest of the population. They can even hold jobs, and Chris Shane is starting his first week as an FBI agent. Lock In by John Scalzi is witty science fiction in the guise of corporate thriller. As Shane and his partner puzzle out a series of seemingly politically motivated deaths, they are faced with both the intriguing possibilities and the unthinkable dangers of this brave new world.
Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.
For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.
New: Fantasy and Sci-Fi
Miranda July boldly explores loneliness in her short story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You. The sixteen stories feature quirky narrators conversationally depicting a moment of their lives with an acute self-awareness. At times explicit and at times bordering on creepy, the diverse collection is unexpected and eccentric, featuring anything from a swim class for the elderly on an apartment floor to forty women putting napkins over their heads at a romance seminar. Through all the stories, July’s writing is raw and highly quotable, bringing poetry to the ordinary.