Check It Out Category: Fiction

Asked At the Desk: Looking for Something Good to Read Part 2

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

One of the most popular questions at the desk is,

What is something good to read?

Since good is subjective, if you stop by the desk with this question and have time to talk we will try to narrow down what would be good specifically for you with questions like: What did you read last that you liked? Do you prefer your books to be set during a certain time period? What are you in the mood for today?

However, if you are looking to quickly glance at what’s been popular and/or notable recently, one good stop is the 2016 Reading List: Year’s Best in Genre Fiction for Adult Readers, created by The Reading Council. The award list is divided up by 8 different genres, with one title winning for each genre and 3-4 titles chosen for the short list.

Browse below what was chosen for mystery, science fiction, horror, and romance. Want to see what won for fantasy, historical fiction, woman’s fiction, and adrenaline? Check out our post from last Friday!

Mystery

The Long and Faraway Gone book cover
Winner: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

Shortlist:
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
Land of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin
Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty
Last Ragged Breath by Julia Keller

Romance

Winner: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

When a Scot Ties the Knot book cover

Shortlist:
When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Rumor Has It by Cheris Hodges
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Ever After by Jude Deveraux

Horror

The Fifth House of the Heart book cover

Winner: The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

Little Girls book cover When We Were Animals book cover The Silence book coverA Head Full of Ghosts book cover

Shortlist:
Little Girls by Ronald Malfi
When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
The Silence by Tim Lebbon
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Science Fiction

Golden Son book cover

Winner: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Seveneves book coverSlow Bullets book cover  Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits Book CoverThe Water Knife book cover

Shortlist:
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Have a question about books, movies, or music you’d like answered? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor, or ask online!

Fiction: American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

American Housewife book coverContrary to modern opinion, housewife is not a dirty word. It does, however, inspire a different picture than the ladies who populate the tartly incisive new collection of vignettes by Helen Ellis.  In American Housewife, be introduced to the deciphering of Southern lady code, to a most disturbing book club, and to the reality show Dumpster Diving with the Stars. Identify with neighbor battles that veer from passive-aggressive to outright aggressive. Look over the shoulder of a writer whose next novel is sponsored by the good people at Tampax. Delight in stories that are caustically funny but contain the grit of truth, but be on your guard. Just when you find yourself chuckling at the odd practices of the best bra-fitter south of the Mason Dixon line, an entirely different story-behind-the-story is there to prick your heart.

In the mood for a new non-fiction title instead? Try here!

Book Discussion Questions: The Shack by WM. Paul Young

Cover of The ShackTitle: The Shack
Author: WM. Paul Young
Page Count: 248 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction
Tone:  Inspirational, Thriller

Summary:
Mackenzie Allen Phillips’ youngest daughter has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack. Four years later, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare.

SPOILER WARNING:
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2015 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

  1. 1. Did this book shock or disturb you? Intrigue you?

2. Were you drawn in by the plot of The Shack? How is it as a story?

3. Who is the intended audience?

4. The book maintained a spot on bestseller lists for several weeks and over one million copies have been sold. If religion is such a touchy subject, how can we explain the runaway success of this book?

5. Did you find the character of Mack to be sympathetic?

6. Many readers find the early chapters of The Shack almost too painful to read. Could they have been written in a way that would be less painful without changing the book’s message?

7. Why is The Great Sadness so frequently mentioned and always italicized?

8. Did the family’s different reactions to the tragedy ring true? (e.g., Josh, Kate, Mack)

9. How did you respond to the use of the narrator “Willie”? What did this add to the story?

10. How was Nan characterized? Should she have been more integral to the story?

11. Does the idea of God as a character in the book, or God’s first-person voice, bother you? Does it work within the context of The Shack’s story?

12. Why is God portrayed a woman? What reasons does God give Mack?

13. How is Young’s description of God different from your concept of God? What parts of his description did you like and what parts didn’t you like? Compare Mack’s assumptions of how God might appear to your own.

  1. 14. Are people changing their view of God because of this book?
  2. 15. Why do you think Mack’s encounter with God took place at the shack?

16. Why did God let Missy die? Do you think The Shack answers convincingly the central question of why, if there is a God, bad things happen to good people? Were you satisfied with God’s answers to Mack about suffering?

17. Why do you think Missy was buried in the garden?

18. What does The Shack say about forgiveness – toward the self or toward those who have wronged you?

19. What were your thoughts about Mack’s reconciliation with his father? In what ways to our relationships with our parents define us? Color our relationship with God? With others?

  1. 20. What is the literary merit of this book?

21. What do we know of the author? What does he reveal about himself in the story and in his reasons for writing?

22. How does the author portray church (or The Church)? Do you agree?

  1. 23. Which part of the book spoke to you the most and why?

24. What part of the book created the most questions for you?

OTHER RESOURCES:

Lit Lovers’ Discussion Questions
Video of Young talking on CBN (Christian Bible Network)
USA Today Article on controversy surrounding The Shack
Q&A with WM Paul Young
Richards Academy’s Discussion Guide

READALIKES:

Dinner With a Perfect Stranger Book Cover Paper Angels Book Cover The Reason Book Cover
Dinner With a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory
Paper Angels by Billy Coffey
The Reason by William Sirls

Nancy’s Pick: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Picture of NancyDonna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is an engrossing novel that follows the ups and downs of New Yorker Theo Drecker. It’s a huge book with generous detail and many thought-provoking themes such as art, friendship, and the chaos and beauty of life. The flawed, charismatic characters stayed with me long after I finished the last page. If you missed it when everyone was talking about it in 2013, don’t worry – you can never be too late to the party with this award-winner.