Staff Selections

Kathleen

Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Graham Joyce

Some Kind of Fairy Tale is an atmospheric modern day fairy tale set in a small English village near the woods.  The novel begins with the mysterious reappearance of a woman who disappeared twenty years before. The initial explanation she gives is vague, and the one she later gives infuriates her brother with its unbelievability.  Is she lying to hide a shameful or incriminating secret? Did something traumatic happen to her that made her subconscious mind translate the memory into something more tolerable? Is she crazy? Could it be real? While this mystery unfolds, regular life unfolds for these characters as well, as they deal with anger, guilt, fear of growing up, or growing older, illness, and the painful awkwardness of social interactions. Graham Joyce's writing style is terrific - while I would classify this as literary fiction, it is at the same time an escape from (or within?) literary fiction.

Mary

Beautiful Ruins
Jess Walter

A mysterious young actress with a fatal diagnosis, a hopeful young Italian pensione keeper, a reprobate Hollywood producer and his frustrated assistant, Richard Burton at the beginning of his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor, a post-WWII American soldier trying to write his depression away, a no-longer young musician trying to make a comeback at The Fringe…This richly imagined novel uses shifts in time and place to traverse the fates of its several struggling characters.  Reading it may make you wonder if you have been “pitched” a movie about the Donner party, but a backwater theater stages such a beautiful pivot in the plot…

 

 

Paul

The Last Days of California
Mary Miller

This is the funniest book I’ve read this year.   It features a family headed west from Birmingham for California where the evangelist father of two very different daughters expects to get the best seats available for the coming Rapture.  Their drive through the south is full of hysterical characters and family struggle.   The sister who tells the story is a believer;the other is a cynic.  Mary Miller is a master of character and situation.  I expect to see many other books from this new novelist.

Terry

The Magician King
Lev Grossman

The second installment  of the Fillory series. Quentin learns, once again, that everything has a price to be payed and often an appallingly costly one. A somewhat different tone than The Magicians

Tim

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See is the story of two young people -- a blind girl living in Paris with her father, a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History, and a boy who lives with his sister in an orphanage in Essen.  Covering the years of 1934 to 1944, we follow these youths as Marie-Laure flees Paris and the Nazis to the ancient walled city of St. Malo on the Atlantic coast and Werner becomes a member of the Hitler Youth and then a radio engineer in the German army.  Their lives will intersect in an almost inevitable way in this exquisite novel of war, love, hope and dreams.  Lyrical, heart-breaking and stunning.  I can't recall a book such as this, that I was able to see every detail as I read it.  Highly recommended.

Deb

Home Made Winter
Yvette Van Boven

Perfect book for the upcoming frigid season: Beautiful photos and delicious recipes - a cookbook lover's must.