What we’re reading this year so far…

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Keiko is a 36-year-old single woman working for a convenience store.  Keiko has always struggled to function the way that her family, friends, and society expect her too.  Since she was young she has tried to act “normal” and give made up excuses for why she still works in a convenience store, isn’t married, and has never been in love.  Keiko has found it easier to make these excuses, but really, she likes her work, does not want to get married or fall in love.  I devoured this funny, and a little heartbreaking, novella in an evening.  Trent

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

When Heather Mackenzie’s grandmother, Nan Hughes, died she left Heather some beautiful embroidered flowers like those embroidered on Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress. Heather searches to understand why her grandmother left London and settled in Canada. She soon discovers that Nan had worked at the house of Norman Hartnell, and that the royals wore designs by Hartnell. Nan and Miriam Dassin, a fellow embroiderer and recent refugee from France, were charged with the delicate details of the wedding dress. Why did Nan leave such a prestigious position and never talk about it? The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding is a charming historical detailed novel. Emma

Queer Threads by John Chaich

A wonderful survey of works by fiber and textile artists in the LGBTQ community. This book was the companion to an exhibition, profiled here on NPR, that was curated by Chaich. The works are faithfully reproduced in high quality photos and artist interviews are included in the back to add additional depth to the content.  A great book for individuals interested in seeing fiber/textiles and their techniques pushed in exciting and new areas.  Greg

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

I’m currently listening to this selection. It does not have the comic tone of the series Adam Ruins Everything, but it is similar in that it does shatter some myths with facts and figures. There are assumptions on both sides of the political divide that lead people to think that things are getting worse. With a lot of examples professor Pinker proceeds to lay out his case that the world and the human condition are in fact getting better. Or at least with the problem solving tools of the Enlightenment we humans are capable of improving the world’s problems. I really need this dose of hope as it is so easy sometimes to fall into despair. Byron

The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary by Robert Alter


  I just finished Numbers and am beginning Deuteronomy, with a lot more to go(!) – Prophets and the Histories waiting in the future for me.  It has really been an incredible reading experience so far.  I went to a Jewish school from kindergarten to eighth grade, so was familiar with many of the Bible stories.  But I hadn’t read them as an adult in English.  The story of Joseph is particularly affecting, strong and rich.  I am looking forward to Deuteronomy, which Alter says is the most “rhetorical” of the first five books, which means there is a great deal of eloquence in Moses’ farewell speeches to the Hebrews.  Alter not only translated the entire Hebrew Bible, but he also provides commentary, so reading the books is like reading with a study partner.  Alter also pays much attention to the style of the Hebrew and English, and therefore makes some changes to the King James Bible, which are very interesting and even original.  A truly important read.     Andrew

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

This month, Andrew and I will be kicking off a series called Pub Reads with a discussion at Rocky River Wine Bar on this National Book Award Winner. This is a sad but important book about a family facing just about every hard issue you could imagine: poverty, prison, drug addiction, murder, and cancer. Honestly, if I were not reading it for the book discussion, I might be tempted to put it down; it’s too sad. But Jesmyn Ward’s writing is startling in its beauty and haunting. She is telling a truth that I have not had to live with, and for this reason, I want to honor black families from the south by listening closely to this story. The audiobook alternates readers between three narrators: thirteen year old JoJo, his drug addicted mother, Leonie, and a ghost that’s connected to the family. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes literary fiction, wants to learn more about America’s history, and wants to see what type of writing a Genius Grant recipient and two-time National Book Award winner can do.  Lyndsey

50 After 50 by Maria Leonard Olsen

At age 50 Marie Olsen took a hard look at her life thus far.  She is a recovered alcoholic, divorced and an empty nester.  She was depressed and stuck.  Instead of continuing to slide on a downward slope in her life, Maria went on a crusade to make the most of whatever time she has left.  She challenged herself to do 50 things that were significant to her.  This list included physical challenges, travel and lifestyle changes.  Each challenge taught her something new about herself, and how she might want to shape her future.  While each person’s list may be different, Maria, along with the reader learns that accomplishing new things, learning new skills, deepening personal relationships and seeking out challenges will give purpose and vigor to your life that may otherwise feel insignificant, inauthentic or just plain boring.  Mary

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

There is an old saying, “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”. This newest Gamache mystery has Armand and his Three Pines friend Myrna in the dark as to why they were appointed as executors of the estate of a woman they never even met. As they attempt to figure this out and to execute the woman’s extremely eccentric will, another person turns up dead causing them to question whether her death was of natural causes after all. In the midst of all this, Armand attempts to find and stop a large shipment of extremely dangerous drugs that he allowed into the country during his previous assignment as he worked to take down a drug cartel. Will he stop the drugs from hitting the streets before more lives are lost? Sara

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Sara’s Top Ten of 2018

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The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

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Four girls attending boarding school participate in a sinister game which involves lying to everyone except each other.  However, years later when a body is found, it becomes obvious that someone broke the only rule of the game.

 

 

The Day She Disappeared by Christobel Kent

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When Beth disappears, everyone says she’s run off with another man.  But her best friend Natalie, doesn’t believe that at all, and proving it just might get her killed. A perfectly paced psychological thriller that keeps you wondering until the end.

 

Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood

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After heartbreaking infertility and failed adoption attempts, Tess sees a young, half-dressed little girl in the road who disappears into the woods.  But with no other sightings, missing child reports or  witnesses, Tess begins to be doubted by the townspeople and herself.

 

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

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Young Eddie and his friends develop a game using chalk figure codes which leads them to a dismembered body and to the end of their game.  Years later chalk figures are showing up again, and one old friend turns up dead.  Eddie must figure out what happened years ago in order to save himself and the others.

 

Self-Portrait With Boy by Rachel Lyon

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A young female artist accidentally photographs a boy falling to his death—a breathtaking image that could jumpstart her career, but would also devastate her most intimate friendship.

 

 

 

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

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Essie is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a hit reality TV show about her family’s life and fire-and-brimstone religious beliefs.  When Essie winds up pregnant, will she be forced into an arranged-blockbuster-marriage episode? Or will she escape her strange, always-on-display life?

 

 

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

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Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy, small-town life is torn apart by a horrifying attack which leaves their mother dead, and their family forever shattered.  Twenty-eight years later, another violent act forces them back together, and brings up long lost secrets and questions.

 

 

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

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Five-year-old Madison disappeared while chopping down her family’s Christmas tree.  Three years later, her parents are still desperate to find her and hire a private investigator known as “the Child Finder,” who is their last hope.

 

 

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

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Tarot card reader, Hal, discovers she has been left an inheritance.  She is certain it is a mistake, but is desperate for cash and decides to play along. But once at the family estate with the brooding, mysterious heirs, she wonders if she has made a terrible mistake.

 

 

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

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Adrian Wolfe has been divorced twice and recently lost his newest wife to suicide or so it seems.  As Adrian searches for answers, he discovers his perfect modern life with two amicable divorces and 5 step children who love each other seamlessly may not be as perfect as it appears.

What we’re reading in November

In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes 

Cover image for Things are starting to look up for Dix Steele.  Looking for a new start in post-WWII Los Angeles he has found a swanky new apartment and reconnected with his old war buddy, now a homicide detective, Brub.  All he needs now is to find love, and he has his eye on his alluring neighbor, an up-and-coming starlet, Laurel Gray.  If he can have Laurel all to himself, he may not even strangle women walking alone at night anymore.  Well that, and if Brub’s nosy wife Sylvia would stop being suspicious of Dix and find him charming and agreeable like everyone else.  An excellent post-war noir that subverts some of the traditional misogynist motifs of the genre.  Megan Abbott, an accomplished noir author in her own right, has written more knowledgeably on how In A Lonely Place accomplishes this in the Paris ReviewTrent

 

The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Cover image for This is the source material for the Disney animated movie The Sword in the Stone as well as the Broadway and movie musicals Camelot. It includes four books in one: The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, and The Candle in the Wind. I am still in the first book, so not very far into the story of King Arthur. The fantasy adventure has a comic tone that I was not expecting. I thought the Disney movie was responsible for the funny talking animals and Merlin’s absent-mindedness. However, those aspects are present in the novel. Merlin and the author as narrator make anachronistic references to appeal to readers of the 1950s and 1960s close to the time when the novel was published. In fact there are a couple satiric jabs at current society since it is suggested that Merlin has been to the future and is living backward through time. It is a massive medieval adventure, but so far the chapters move along quickly. At least while Arthur is known as a boy named The Wart in the first book it seems like it is aimed more at younger readers, but I wonder if the tone changes later when Arthur reaches adulthood. I’ll keep reading and find out.  Byron

 

November Road by Lou Berney

Cover image for November road :Frank Guidry, a charming, well-dressed gangster who works for a New Orleans mob boss, has just returned from Dallas after following orders to deliver a blue Eldorado, when he learns that JFK has been assassinated. When Frank receives orders to return to Texas to dump the car in the ocean, he knows that his involvement means he’s next to die and decides to run for his life, a ruthless hitman in hot pursuit.  Meanwhile, Charlotte, mother of two young girls, decides to leave her alcoholic husband in Oklahoma and travel to Los Angeles to find a better life. When these two meet on Route 66, sparks fly and Frank convinces Charlotte to travel with him – the perfect cover – but he soon realizes that he could grow to like this new role.  Evocative and suspenseful, it’s got 60s sensibility, romance, a road trip, seedy motels, neon-lit Las Vegas, diners and Dylan. I listened to the fantastic audiobook version through Hoopla! Dori

 

 Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917  by Jonathan Frankel

Cover image for Prophecy and politics :This is one of the more challenging books I’ve read this year, since there is a lot of information and, unfortunately, the font is small.  I also have traditionally struggled with reading books on history, but I’m giving it another go.  The book, at its best, is fascinating, and it can read like a novel – it is full of letters and speeches and ideas and characters and excerpts from socialist and nationalist literature.  Much of the book is devoted to the Bund, the group of Jewish socialists, founded in Russia in the 19th century, that spread to Lithuania and Poland.  Members of the Bund struggled with their cultural and political identities – how much were they Jews, and should be devoted to Jewish causes, and how much were they Russians, and should be devoted to Russian causes?  The history of the Bund is in many ways a history of the Russian Revolutions in 1905 and 1917, seen from a Jewish perspective, and it’s been fascinating to see figures like Vladimir Lenin interact with prominent members of the Bund.  It is also a history of Israel before Israel became a nation (the competing ideologies for Russian Jewry in the 19th century became nationalism, with roots in Palestine, and socialism, which had roots in Russia and America).  A challenging but worthwhile read. Andrew

 

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor D. LaValle

Cover image for The ballad of Black TomWith only being 151 pages long this book packs quite a punch. The Ballad of Black Tom is a retelling of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook but from the perspective of Tommy Tester. LaValle’s narrative highlights not just the horrors of the supernatural but of the racism and xenophobia as events unfold. The author creates  characters who are grounded in reality who then deal with the swell of the uncanny. You will be caught up in the fast paced narrative and even fans of the lovecraftian source material will have whiplash from the conclusion and epilogue. Greg 

 

 

The Fallen by David Baldacci

Cover image for The fallenEvery once in a while you need an action book with a good guy who you know will win.  That is Amos Decker in this new Memory Man book, The Fallen.  Amos and his journalist friend Alex take a vacation to visit Alex’s sister in a small, depressed Pennsylvania town.  Even when he is not looking for trouble, trouble finds him, and Amos discovers two dead bodies in the neighbor’s house.  It is soon apparent that something big is going on in this little town, and there’s no telling who is a part of it.  After suffering a concussion, Amos’s infallible memory begins to get a little fuzzy and less reliable.  Will he still be able to solve the case or was his memory the only thing that made him an amazing detective?  A quick and easy read that is a bit predictable but enjoyable none the less.  Sara

 

 Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit by Amy Stewart

Cover image for Miss Kopp just won't quitThis novel is based on on actual events and centers around two of them.  Anna Kayser’s husband has her committed to an insane asylum for the fourth time under false pretenses, and deputy Constance Kopp knows she doesn’t belong there.  In 1916, Sheriff Robert Heath is running for congress and a new county sheriff will be elected. The new sheriff has no desire in keeping a woman deputy sheriff on board. He quickly dismisses Deputy Kopp. Robert Heath loses the election and Constance Kopp is unemployed. The fourth entry in the Kopp sisters series leaves lots of loose ends to be worked out, but it’s a quick fun read for fans of historical fiction. Emma

 

 

Warcross by Marie Lu

Cover image for WarcrossEmika Chen is a broke, orphaned eighteen-year-old with a criminal record – one she got from hacking computers. And, like the rest of the world, she’s obsessed with a virtual reality game called Warcross (think Quidditch meets Ready Player One). On the opening day of the International Warcross Championships, Emika is hurting for rent money. When she hacks into the game and attempts to steal an expensive item, she glitches herself into the action and reveals her identity. Emika thinks she’s going to be arrested, but instead, she’s pursued by the game’s creator, heartthrob Hideo Tanaka, to become a spy in next year’s tournament. But the sinister plot Emika uncovers could unravel the entire Warcross empire.   I picked up this book because I wanted to be able to recommend more sci-fi to teens. I am really enjoying the pacing of the book (Marie Lu knows how to write a thriller!) and the diverse cast – Emika, like the author, is Chinese American, Hideo is Japanese, and Emika’s Warcross team captain, Asher, uses a wheelchair. Recommend this NYT Bestseller and its sequel, Wildcard, to fans of The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and Divergent.  Lyndsey

 

 

 

 

Look What We’re Reading

A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald by Neil…An adapted version of a Neil Gaiman short story,  A Study in Emerald is a graphic novel almost guaranteed to delight fans of Lovecraft and mysteries. We are introduced to the alternative world of Sherlock Holmes where the old god of Lovecraftian has ruled over humanity for 700 years. Taking it’s title, and many of its plot points, from A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle this genre-meshing work entertains while enticing the reader to discover its literary references.  Greg 

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina DalcherVox  is set in a dystopian America where half the population is no longer allowed to work, read, write, or speak more than 100 words a day.   For the least year Dr. Jean McClellan has been forced into silence and torn from her neurological research simply because she is a woman.   As a well renowned researcher in her field, Dr. McClellan is suddenly sought out to get back into the lab to work on finishing her research that improves otherwise damaged cognitive function.  This gives her a bargaining chip to remove her and her daughter’s word restrictions, as the world around her spirals into chaos. She is determined to survive and free her daughter from the chains of the new regime. Beth

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

This is a novel set in the 1980s and contemporary Paris.  The main characters are a director of a Chicago art gallery, and a woman searching for her estranged daughter in Paris.  Both characters are struggling with coming to terms with how AIDS has affected their lives.  This is my favorite read thus far this year. The book is very informative yet so very compassionate about a tumultuous time which should not be forgotten. The author draws in the reader in with two flawed but  soulful main characters.  As a reader, I felt invested in their lives and could not put down the book until I knew their whole The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkaistory. This book gets a huge thumbs -up from me.  Mary                                                     

 The Great Believers by Rebecca Makai is a novel chock full of plots, sub-plots, characters, surprises and emotional poignancy. Told in alternating chapters, it begins in 1985 at the start of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago, where Yale Tishman and his partner, Charlie, prepare for a memorial service for Nico, a friend who has recently died of AIDS. Yale has recently started a job at an art gallery at Northwestern University and is tasked with the job of encouraging a donation of potentially authentic 20th century drawings from a reticent donor. Fast forward to 2015, where Nico’s sister, Fiona,  is in Paris to find her estranged grown daughter. Fiona hung out with Nico’s friends in her youth and continues to grieve the loss of Nico and so many other young men she befriended. One of my favorites of 2018 so far! Dori

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by  Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen…I’ve previously seen the movie adaptation by author Chbosky himself, and I’m currently leading a Film Club for teens at the Lakewood Young Filmmakers Academy. We will be watching the film and reading the book, and then discussing the pros and cons of the adaptation. I had enjoyed the movie and the way the performers brought it to life very much back in 2012. The book is a series of letters that Freshman Charlie writes to an imaginary friend, or perhaps his future self. Charlie, the somewhat introverted “Wallflower”, is coming-of-age in the 1990s and struggles with periods of depression. Sex, drugs, family, friends, and gradually developing skills as a writer all provide drama as he shares his feelings through this time full of change.  Byron

Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America by Eric J. Sunquist

Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews,…This book is a cultural history of African-American-Jewish relations, and looks at the relationship through the perspective of law, politics, literature, and sociology.  There is a lot of fascinating stuff about the way both groups have used the Exodus story as a template for imagining their groups’ destinies.  It is inspiring to read about the African-American and Jewish coalition during the Civil Rights era, but dispiriting to read about the coalition in our present day.  Still, this is a very intelligent and comprehensive book about these two unique and important peoples.  Andrew

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather MorrisThis  novel is based on the true story of concentration survivors, Lale Sokolov and Gita Furman. Lale became the camp tattooist numbering inmates when they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Gita had a relatively safe job working as a secretary at the administrative building. Lale was able to secure sausages, chocolate, and medicine by smuggling out jewels and money confiscated from camp prisoners by the SS. Gita and Lale were separated at the end of the war but eventually find each other and marry. A powerful, gut-wrenching tale.  Emma

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn CroftTara Logan does not have the perfect family, but they are trying and things are looking up.  She and her husband have reconciled after a separation, and her teenage daughter, Rosie, has stopped stalking the boy she had a crush on-for now.  Unfortunately, her luck is not meant to last–Tara wakes up one morning in her neighbor Lee’s bed.  She has no memory other than having a drink with Lee in his living room, but awakens to find him lying next to her, stabbed to death.  In a panic she runs home and waits for the body to be discovered, telling no one what happened that night.  But soon suspicion falls upon herself, her daughter and her husband, and Tara realizes she must find the murderer  before her family is destroyed.  A good thriller with many plot twists- I was guessing until the end.  Sara

 

 

 

What we read this month….

Here are a few of the things your Adult Services crew read in August:

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Cover image for This story begins with two main characters who are widowed and have been acquaintances for many years.  Addie Moore decides to make a bold move and pay an unexpected visit to her neighbor in Holt, Colorado, Louis Waters.  Addie is having trouble sleeping and suggests to Louis that it would be a great help if he consented to sleep with her.  What Addie desires is companionship, conversation, and quite simply, someone to share her day with.  Louis decides to give it a try.  What begins as awkward & unsure soon blossoms into a wonderful relationship.  As Addie and Louis slowly begin to build a bond, the residents of Holt, and certain family members are taken aback by such an unconventional relationship for two elderly people.  This is a truly beautiful short novel about late in life love and true companionship.  The story is simple, yet leaves you thinking long after you’ve closed the book. Mary

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Cover image for This story picks up where his book Beartown left off.  The story is set in a small town nestled in the forest of Sweden which is trying to move past a scandal surrounding its beloved hockey team.  The story weaves the rebuilding of the people in the town as they try to reclaim their roles and identity.  This is a visceral mending of fences and coming-of-age plot which leave the reader to imagine the cold reality of life.  You’ll walk away from the story feeling raw yet satisfied.  Beth

The Elements of Spellcrafting  by Jason Miller

Cover image for This past month I finished my second book by Jason Miller regarding practical magic and enchantment. The Elements of Spellcrafting is a fun, informative read that has you look at your own spiritual practice and why you may not be getting the results you are looking for. Each chapter is presented with a humorous comic poking fun at the challenges one can face working with a magical practice. The biggest lesson Miller presents is to not let yourself or your ego get in your own way. Great for a seasoned individual or someone new to the practice.  Greg

Glass Empires (Star Trek: Mirror Universe #1)

ICover image for ‘m reading a Star Trek book called Glass Empires. Multiple authors provide three stories in one novel set in the Star Trek Mirror Universe. Even though the Mirror version of Star Trek is about conquering through might rather than exploring the unknown and forming peaceful alliances, these stories still manage to have a humanistic message with certain characters finding the strength to make positive changes to their world. Also I’m nearing the end of the book on CD of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. This has been an intriguing story and it is narrated very well by Edoardo Ballerini. It jumps back and forth between Italy in the early 60’s and modern day Hollywood. But it is even more nonlinear than that with a play, the first chapter of an unfinished novel, and the unpublished introduction to another character’s memoir thrown in to give the narrative variety. The cast of characters is fairly complex with more being introduced as the story unravels and many characters not turning out to be exactly who you thought they’d be at first glance. It is about Hollywood as Babylon, the sort of place that is dishonest and ruins lives, and the core group of characters who find themselves strangely thrown together in mostly temporary relationships just trying to make the best of their imperfect lives. Byron

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

Cover image for Maisie Cothay was born with a strange curse–her touch brings dead things to life and makes living things die.  She has been raised in seclusion with her father, commanded never to touch anything organic with her bare hands.  When Maisie’s father disappears, she sets off to search for him in the woods that border her home.  She  has always been forbidden to enter this forest because of rumors and wild tales told by villagers of men gone missing or returning with addled minds and memories. Maisie discovers she is one of a long line of cursed women who have a special connection to the wood which claims them in their time of need; however, they are then doomed to live there forever with no hope of change, escape or death. Her ancestors in the wood know that she is the one that can save them, but will Maisie be able to rescue her father or will she be trapped forever in the wood that imprisons her forebears? A very creative tale, although it drags a bit in parts and ends somewhat abruptly. Sara

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

ICover image for recently reread one of my favorite novels of all time, The Assistant by Bernard Malamud.  Malamud was a master short-story writer, but he was also just a wonderful novelist.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s, he helped to spark a renaissance in Jewish-American literature, along with novelists Saul Bellow and Philip Roth.  The Assistant is about a Jewish grocer in Brooklyn, New York named Morris Bober, an older man with a lot of woes, who hires for unique reasons (no spoilers) a man named Frank Alpine to work for him.  The novel follows what happens after Frank is hired.  Morris’s wife, Ida, and daughter, Helen, are also main characters, and there are a lot of other lesser characters who are very memorable, vivid and alive.  The novel is evocative of the early 1950’s in Brooklyn, and there is much autobiographical material, as Malamud’s own father was a grocer.  The novel is also a profound and lyrical meditation on what it means to be a good person.  Andrew

The Shepherd’s Hut  by Tim Winton

Cover image for Clackton seemingly has very little going for him.  His mother’s recent death left him alone with an abusive father and little prospects for peace or happiness.  When a brutal accident severs the last tie he has to home, Jaxie is compelled to flee into the cruel wilds of Western Australia.  In his rush to escape Jaxie leaves severely underprovisioned for what his trek through this desolate landscape will require.  Though his past has taught him not to trust men, when he encounters Fintan MacGillis, another exile disconnected from the world, he is forced into a situation where his future depends on him.  Together they forge a tenuous friendship as Fintan searches for absolution and Jaxie peace.  Trent

What exactly is the New York Times Bestseller List?

The first New York Times Bestseller List was published on October 12, 1931.  It only contained five fiction and four non-fiction books for New York City only.  Over time it was expanded and lists for multiple cities were included. A national list was finally compiled in 1942 and published in the New York Times Book Review supplement as it is today. This list is compiled from “reports from leading booksellers in 22 cities,” although the exact data compilation process is a trade secret.

There is much controversy among authors, publishers, and others as to whether the list really represents best-seller status.  Some believe the list can be manipulated by authors, sellers, retailers and wholesalers.  The New York Times has been sued for excluding books from the list, accused of allowing authors to buy their way onto the list, and been criticized for favoring liberal authors over conservative ones (a claim the New York Times denies.) Whether it is fair or not, this list remains prestigious and well known, and according to a  Stanford Business School analysis, the “majority of book buyers seem to use the Times list as a signal of what’s worth reading”.  Here are a few books from NYT Bestseller List for the week of July 29th.  Click, call or stop in today to put a hold on one!

FICTION

1 THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. (Little, Brown and Knopf.) President Jonathan Duncan takes on adversaries at home and abroad.

2 THE GOOD FIGHT, by Danielle Steel. (Delacorte.) Meredith McKenzie embraces and eschews the values of her family of lawyers during the tumultuous 1960s.

3 CLOCK DANCE, by Anne Tyler. (Knopf.) A window into Willa Drake’s life over 50 years and how she adjusts to some of life’s surprises.

4 THE OUTSIDER, by Stephen King. (Scribner.) A detective investigates aseemingly wholesome member of the community when an 11-year-old boy’s body is found.

5 ALL WE EVER WANTED, by Emily Giffin. (Ballantine.) A scandal sends members of two Nashville families into chaos.

NON-FICTION

1 CALYPSO, by David Sedaris. (Little, Brown.) A collection of comedic stories on mortality, middle age and a beach house dubbed the Sea Section.

2 EDUCATED, by Tara Westover. (Random House.) The daughter of survivalists leaves home for university.

3 THE SOUL OF AMERICA, by Jon Meacham. (Random House.) The present political climate is contextualized through the lens of difficult moments in American history.

4 HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND, by Michael Pollan. (Penguin Press.) A personal account of how psychedelics might help the mentally ill and people dealing with everyday challenges.

5 INDIANAPOLIS, by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic. (Simon & Schuster.) A newly researched look into the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the story of the survivors and the fight to exonerate the court-martialed skipper.