Lists and Suggestions
List: Book Club Favorites
Lee, Min Jin, author.
"A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of ... More
"A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"-- Provided by publisher. Less
Educated: a memoir
Westover, Tara, author.
"Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists ... More
"Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it."--Provided by publisher. Less
The house in the Cerulean Sea
Klune, TJ, author.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and... More
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. But his quiet life is about to change. Linus is summoned by Extremely Upper Management and given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to an orphanage on a distant island and determine whether six dangerous magical children are so dangerous, in fact, that they're likely to bring about the end of days. When Linus arrives at the strangest of islands he's greeted by a series of mysterious figures, the greatest mystery of which is Arthur Parnassus, master of the orphanage. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, Linus discovers the master would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world has to burn. Or worse, his secret comes to light... Less
Moreno-Garcia, Silvia, author.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a m... More
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She's not sure what she will find--her cousin's husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemi knows little about the region. Noemi is also an unlikely rescuer: She's a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she's also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin's new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi's dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family's youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemi, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family's past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family's once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemi digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. Less
Such a Fun Age
Reid, Kiley, author.
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driv... More
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other. With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Less
The floating Feldmans : a novel
Friedland, Elyssa, author.
Sink or swim. Or at least that's what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise fo... More
Sink or swim. Or at least that's what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It's been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family. Too bad her kids didn't get the memo. Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette's birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldman's will each face the truths they've been ignoring - and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat. Less
A kind of freedom : a novel
Sexton, Margaret Wilkerson, author.
"Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. Her f... More
"Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. Her family inhabits the upper echelon of Black society, and when she falls for no-account Renard, she is forced to choose between her life of privilege and the man she loves. In 1982, Evelyn's daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband's drug addiction. Just as she comes to terms with his abandoning the family, he returns, ready to resume their old life. Jackie's son, T.C., loves the creative process of growing marijuana more than the weed itself. He was a square before Hurricane Katrina, but the New Orleans he knew didn't survive the storm. Fresh out of a four-month stint for drug charges, T.C. decides to start over--until an old friend convinces him to stake his new beginning on one last deal. For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. A Kind of Freedom is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history."-- Less
The second Mrs. Hockaday : a novel
Rivers, Susan, 1954- author.
"The Civil War South comes to vivid life in this electrifying story of a woman's plight a... More
"The Civil War South comes to vivid life in this electrifying story of a woman's plight and a legacy of deceit that echoes for generations. When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband's three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away? To what extremes can war and violence push a woman who is left to fend for herself? Told through letters, court inquests, and journal entries, this saga, inspired by a true incident, unfolds with gripping intensity, conjuring the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel. As she comes to understand how her own history is linked to one runaway slave, her perspective on race and family are upended. A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war, The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how this generation--and the next--began to see their world anew"-- Less
News of the world : a novel
Jiles, Paulette, 1943- author.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly widower and itinerant ne... More
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly widower and itinerant news reader, is offered fifty dollars to bring an orphan girl, who was kidnapped and raised by Kiowa raiders, from Wichita Falls back to her family in San Antonio. Less
The boys in the boat : nine Americans and their epic quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Brown, Daniel James, 1951- author.
"Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and fi... More
"Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times - the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant. ... Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man's personal quest"--Back cover. Less
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Waxman, Abbi, author.
"Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own ... shell. The only child of a si... More
"Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own ... shell. The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all--or mostly all--excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is? Nina considers her options. 1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.) 2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee). 3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.) It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page"-- Provided by publisher. Less
Crouch, Blake, author.
"One night after an evening out, Jason Dessen, forty-year-old physics professor living with hi... More
"One night after an evening out, Jason Dessen, forty-year-old physics professor living with his wife and son in Chicago, is kidnapped at gunpoint by a masked man, driven to an abandoned industrial site and injected with a powerful drug. As he wakes, a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend." But this life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife; his son was never born; and he's not an ordinary college professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something impossible. Is it this world or the other that's the dream? How can he possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could have imagined--one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe."-- Less
Born a crime : stories from a South African childhood
Noah, Trevor, 1984- author.
Noah's path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal ac... More
Noah's path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at the time such a union was punishable by five years in prison. As he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist, his mother is determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. With an incisive wit and unflinching honesty, Noah weaves together a moving yet funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time. Less
Meet Me at the Museum
Youngson, Anne, author.
In Denmark, Professor Anders Larsen has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated ... More
In Denmark, Professor Anders Larsen has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn't remember choosing. Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, subject of Seamus Heaney's famous poem, they begin writing letters to one another. From their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined, and an unexpected friendship blooms. When Tina's letters stop coming, Anders is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves? -- Less
Hepworth, Sally, author.
From the moment Lucy met her husband's mother, she knew she wasn't the wife Diana had env... More
From the moment Lucy met her husband's mother, she knew she wasn't the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm's length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana...except Lucy. That was five years ago. Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body. But the autopsy finds no cancer. It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation. Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn't exactly sad she's gone? Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth. Less
A gentleman in Moscow : a novel
Towles, Amor, author.
"A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alex... More
"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..."-- Less
City of girls : a novel
Gilbert, Elizabeth, 1969- author.
Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College in 1940, owing to her la... More
Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College in 1940, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant theater. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconverntional and charismatic characters. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it will lead her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves--and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life. Now eighty-nine and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life. Less
The curious charms of Arthur Pepper : a novel
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., j... More
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater-vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met-- a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places. Less
The death of Mrs. Westaway
Ware, Ruth, author.
"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10,... More
"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware's highly anticipated fourth novel. On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person--but also that the cold-reading skills she's honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased...where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it. Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware's signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time"-- Less
The Underground Railroad : a novel
Whitehead, Colson, 1969- author.
"Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virgini... More
"Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom"--Publisher's description. Less
H is for hawk
Macdonald, Helen, 1970-
"As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane termin... More
"As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane terminology and read all the classic books, including T.H. White's tortured masterpiece, The Goshawk, which describes White's struggle to train a hawk as a spiritual contest. When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She buys Mabel ... on a Scottish quayside and takes her home to Cambridge. Then she fills the freezer with hawk food and unplugs the phone, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals"-- Less
Hidden Valley Road : inside the mind of an American family
Kolker, Robert, author.
"For a time, Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living a dream life of domestic harmony and upwa... More
"For a time, Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living a dream life of domestic harmony and upward mobility in Colorado. Their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest was born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. But by the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys were diagnosed with schizophrenia. And inside the walls of a once happy home, a devastating story of psychological breakdowns, sudden acts of shocking violence, and hidden abuse played out. Written with clarity and compassion by bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker, Hidden Valley Road uncovers one family's unforgettable legacy of suffering, love, and hope. The heartrending story of the Galvins also contains an illuminating shadow history of the science of schizophrenia. What took place inside Don and Mimi Galvin's home on Hidden Valley Road was so astonishing that their family became one of the first to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. And, unbeknownst to them, the Galvins would become science's great hope, informing decades of research in the quest to understand, and perhaps even someday cure, this mysterious disease for future generations"-- Less
Anxious people : a novel
Backman, Fredrik, 1981- author.
Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house be... More
Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of eight strangers hostage. Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. In short, they are the worst group of hostages in the world. But as the minutes tick by, they begin to suspect that the criminal mastermind holding them hostage might be more in need of rescuing than they are. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next. Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope--the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times. -- Less
My Sister, the Serial Killer
Braithwaite, Oyinkan, author.
"Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian wom... More
"Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends. "Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer." Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her "missing" boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they're perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it. Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that's as fun as it is frightening"-- Less