Great Reads

Fallon, Siobhan. You Know When the Men are Gone

 

This series of interconnected short stories explores the lives of those men and women who make sacrifices for the sake of the U.S. Army—both the soldiers in Iraq and those they leave behind.  Centered around the Army base of Ft. Hood in Texas, each story explores the all-too-common issues faced by Army families—from the death of a loved one to infidelity, from loneliness to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  While some increased variation in the story’s themes might be wished—perhaps the story of a husband left behind when his wife went to war?—these short stories are sure to be fascinating to both those families who have experienced this lifestyle and those who wish to better understand the sacrifices made by our armed forces everyday.

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Just a Thought -- New Additions to the Book Club Collection

Our ever-popular Book Club Collection has gotten a makeover! A few less relevant titles have been cycled back out into our general fiction and non-fiction collections, and we have added four new titles for your consideration.  These books, as always, are challenging, literary, and fascinating, chosen with an eye toward "discussability" as well as leisure reading pleasure. We hope you'll check them out! (Pun intended, by the way.)

 

Brown, Eleanor.     The Weird Sisters

Fallon, Siobhan.     You Know When the Men are Gone

Jordan, Hillary.     When She Woke

Smith, Patti.     Just Kids (782.42166 Sm65) 

Schulman, Helen. This Beautiful Life.

When the Bergamots' fifteen-year-old son, Jake, forwards a sexually explicit video from a thirteen-year-old schoolmate on to his best friend without thinking, he ignites a firestorm that threatens to consume his family and the life they have built for themselves among the socially elite in New York City.

Already in fragile territory, the scandal reveals the true problems in Jake's family such as his father's overactive ego and his mother's ridiculous attempts to cope as a stay-at-home mom with a PhD. When the video goes viral, Jake is suspended from school, prompting his family to hire a lawyer and start a battle that even Jake does not want to be a part of. Schulman's poignant portrait of a family in crisis is not to be missed for lovers of literary fiction.

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Just a Thought -- New (and Notable) Nonfiction Audiobooks

 

Thinking the Twentieth Century by Tony Judt

An ambitious intellectual history of the Twentieth Century in which Judt examines the many currents that shaped the innovations, conflicts, economics and politics of our recent past.

"... this marvelous précis, vibrantly alive, rich, and piquant, is one last gift from an exceptional public intellectual. Not only academics and fans of Judt, but also those who enjoy the New York Review of Books and The New Yorker will flock to read it." (Library Journal)

 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

A Pulitzer Prize winning author profiles the lives of everyday people living in the slums of Mumbai, illustrating the struggle to change their circumstances.

"Boo brilliantly brings to life the residents of Annawadi, allowing the reader to know them and admire the fierce intelligence that allows them to survive in a world not made for them. The best book yet written on India in the throes of a brutal transition." (Kirkus)

 

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable

A National Book Award finalist, this new definitive biography explores the life of one of the most influential figures of social change in America.

"Combing through FBI and NYPD files, gathering Nation of Islam interviews, and fleshing out Malcolm's post-NOI activities abroad, Marable succeeds spectacularly in painting a broader and more complex portrait of a man constantly in search of himself and his place in America." (Publishers Weekly)

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Bronsky, Alina. The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine.

If you’re a fan of international novels that feature wholly original main characters, then you will love The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine.  Rosa Achmetowna , the narrator of this story, is unlike any character I have ever encountered before.  She is outrageous and nasty and one of the worst mothers of all time but, even so, I couldn’t help liking her.  Set in the Soviet Union and then in Germany, this novel focuses on the relationships between Rosa, her daughter, and her granddaughter.  The depiction of the Soviet Union is as fascinating as the depiction of the narrator.  I highly recommend this dark comedy—the characters, especially Rosa, are so memorable and real, you will feel as though you know them.

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