A genre defying novel, this story’s premise is the spiritual and emotional awakening of 18-year-old Emmy growing up in 1950s Minnesota. Emmy lives on a rural farm in a conservative Lutheran family outside Minneapolis. Her mother is a harsh taskmistress; her father is kind but distant. Emmy’s mother has forced her into an engagement to Ambrose, a stern man 10 years her senior whose family owns the farm next door.
Beginning in 1920 and covering a span of thirty years, this novel tells the story of Rosanna and Walter Langdon raising their family on a farm in Denby, Iowa. During these thirty years much social and economic change has drastically affected life in America. Smiley has a true sense of family life in a small town on a farm and she develops her characters in a realistic way going through real-life events and consequences. This novel is the first in a trilogy that will span 100 years of the Langdon families’ stories.
Fiction SMILEY, J.
While many books focus on a compelling character or family, this novel revolves around a particular place – a tiny, windswept island off the coast of California. Beginning in the 1880s and then shifting to the 1930s, Boyle traces the lives of two families that inhabit San Miguel, people in search of freedom and escape from sometimes troubled pasts. In addition to a stark and captivating place, this memorable tale offers compelling characters, heartbreaking circumstances, and the beautiful storytelling that readers have come to expect of T. C. Boyle.
In this brilliant new novel from Printz-award winner Marcus Sedgwick, four short stories center on the theme of spirals. The spiral shape is fascinating for its repetition in history and nature, and for its perfect mathematical ratios. In the prehistoric era, a young girl draws the spiral shape in the dirt and on the wall of a cave to create magic, recognizing the form as one found in snail shells and fern fronds. The same form proves ominous for an 18th century young woman who is accused of witchcraft.
Back in 1987, it seems to fourteen-year-old June Elbus that only one person has ever truly understood her -- her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Quirky and shy at school, and unwillingly distant from her once close older sister, June only feels like herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of AIDS, the mysterious illness her family will barely talk about, June's world is turned upside down.
In this hilarious take on literary favorites, Mallory Ortberg holds imaginary and hilarious conversations via text message with everyone’s favorite characters and writers. From Achilles to Hamlet, Jessica Wakefield to Hermione Granger, Ortberg perfectly captures them in texts. This is a must read for literature lovers, English majors, and anyone who ever wanted to be best friends with a fictional character.
Humor ORTBERG, M.
NPR’s Book Critic, Maureen Corrigan, lets us readers in on her love affair with The Great Gatsby in a funny, passionate, and conversational tone. There is an intimate relationship between a book and its readers; none more so than The Great Gatsby and Corrigan brings it all to light. Even if you thought you knew everything about one of America’s favorite novels, you will learn to appreciate something new here. This is not The Great Gatsby you remember from your high school English class.
In Visible City, author Tova Mirvis explores the anonymity and intimacy of life in New York City, juxtaposing the public and private lives of community members in a transitioning neighborhood of pre-war apartments. Recovering attorney Nina, now a stay-at-home mom, uses her son’s toy binoculars to scrutinize the lives of an older couple living opposite her family on the block. When an innocuous meeting at Starbucks leads to a budding friendship with one half of the couple, Nina struggles to reconcile what she once imagined with what she now knows about their lives.
The Wooden Barn is a last-resort boarding school where “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent teenagers” go to recover from personal trauma. Jam Gallahue is sent there by her parents after losing the boy she loved, and finds herself selected to be part of the elite class Special Topics in English with the beloved, soon-to-retire teacher Mrs. Quenell. The class focuses on a specific author – this time, Sylvia Plath – and as the students begin their assigned journal entries, they realize that writing in the journals brings unexpected transformation.
Based on the real-life story of Mary Rowlandson (1637-1711) who lived in an outpost town in 1600’s Massachusetts this enthralling novel tells the story of Mary’s capture by Native Americans in an Indian raid. Mary became a slave to a powerful female Indian leader and witnessed both savage cruelty and kindness while adapting to the Native American culture. When she returned to English society and her minister husband she often felt shunned by her community and conflicted by the cruelty and prejudices imposed upon the Native Americans. This novel gives a fresh in