Dawsey, a farmer on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, has come into possession of a book that once belonged to Juliet. Spurred by a mutual admiration for the writer, the two launch an epistolary conversation that reveals much about Dawsey's Guernsey and the islanders' recent lives under Nazi occupation. Juliet is especially interested to learn about the curious beginnings of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," and before long she is exchanging letters with its other members — not only Dawsey but Isola the vegetable seller, Eben the fisherman, and blacksmith Will Thisbee, creator of the famous potato peel pie.
As Juliet soon discovers, the most compelling island character is Elizabeth, the courageous founder of the society, who lives in the memories of all who knew her. Each person who writes to Juliet adds another chapter to the story of Elizabeth's remarkable wartime experiences. Touched by the stories the letters deliver, Juliet can't help but travel to Guernsey herself — a decision that will have surprising consequences for everyone involved.
Drawn together by their love of books and affection for each other, the unforgettable characters of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society collectively tell a moving tale of endurance and friendship. Through the chorus of voices they have created, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have composed a rich tale that celebrates the power of hope and human connection in the shadows of war.
Eighty-six-year-old Hennie has lived in Middle Swan, a gold-mining town in the Rockies, since before Colorado was a state. Nit has recently arrived in town with her husband and her grief, reminding Hennie of her own youthful hopes and sorrows. Finding common ground in their Southern heritage and a love of quilting, an unlikely friendship blossoms as Hennie captivates Nit with vivid memories that reach back to the mid-1800s.
"There's something about stitching together," Hennie confides, "that draws a woman out."
As they sew, Hennie recounts her childhood in Tennessee and her tragic marriage to her sweetheart Billy, soon to be lost to the Civil War. She relives the death of their only child and her journey, by wagon train, across the country to start life anew with a man she'd never met. She recalls the unexpected blessing she discovered upon her arrival in Middle Swan and describes the lively cast of gamblers and moonshiners, quilters and "soiled doves" she has come to know. Summoning the feelings, dreams, and satisfactions of Hennie's years of experience as a woman, mother, and wife, these stirring yarns serve as a healing balm for the lonely, anxious Nit-and help her piece together a new beginning for her own family.
Just as Hennie's tales weave a many-hued cloak of mountain wisdom for the benefit of her young friend, so Sandra Dallas creates for us-through a deft blend of historical detail, authentic voices, quilting lore, and, last but not least, emotional truths-a vibrant quilt of heartbreaking incident and heartwarming compassion.
Only five short chapters into Setterfield’s deft, enthralling narrative, her readers too have been transported: they’ve inhaled the dusty scent of Lea’s Antiquarian Bookshop, shared the sense of adventurous comfort Margaret absorbs from her late-night reading, and been seduced by the glamorous enigma of Vida Winter. Yet The Thirteenth Tale has just begun. Commissioned by Miss Winter to compose her unvarnished biography, Margaret is soon swept up in the tragic history she must unravel—a story stranger and more haunting than any the celebrated author has ever penned, encompassing a grand house, a beautiful yet doomed family, passion, madness, ghosts, and a secret that holds readers spellbound until the very end. Richly atmospheric and deeply satisfying, Setterfield’s debut revives in all their glory the traditions of gothic and romantic suspense exemplified by the works of Wilkie Collins, the Brontës, and Daphne du Maurier. Old-fashioned in the best sense, it’s an urgently readable novel that’s nearly impossible to put down.
I've never read a book that moved me the way The Book Thief did. Narrated by Death, it tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who spends her childhood living with a foster family in Germany during World War II. Naturally, a book with that setting has its fair share of tragedy, and though this one does have one of the saddest endings I've ever seen, at the same time, it is also one of the most uplifting books I've ever read. The characters are what makes this book so special; each one has traits that are likeable and detestable. They are among the most human characters that I've ever seen, and I came to care about what happened to each and every one of them. By the time I reached the climax of the book, I was so emotionally invested in the characters, that I couldn't keep from crying, and yet I still can't think of a book that I've read recently that I enjoyed more than this one.
This is a wonderful book. I can't recommend it highly enough.
If you value your sleep and free time, do not read this book.
If you start this book, you will not be able to put it down.
You will find yourself totally immersed in the unique world Patrick Rothfuss has created. Kvothe is such an instantly likeable character you will immediately be emotionally attached to his plight. Getting to know this mysterious character and his origins, in his own words, on his terms, is entertaining to say the least. This is a great novel to get lost in. From first meeting Kvothe, to his parents and their traveling troupe of performers, to his burgeoning education with Abenthy. From his life living on the rough streets with a knack for putting himself into the sights of danger, to his determination to get into the University and continue his knack for keeping himself in the sights of trouble and danger. From his first meeting with the girl of his dreams to burning down a town. Rothfuss has created a complete world that will envelope you, and leave you craving more.
When Kvothe begins his tale , he says he needs three full days to tell it properly. The 672 pages here are only day one. Which leads us to the second problem, waiting for the next installments of the series.
Introducing Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde's no-nonsense, smart, funny, and loving heroine of his first series. We meet Thursday in an alternate mid-1980s Great Britain - one still fighting in the Crimea with Russia - and she is hot on the trail of forgers, Shakespeare impersonators, and book thieves. Everyone is mad for literature including Acheron Hades, the most wanted man in Britain, and it is Thursday's job to catch him once Jane Eyre is kidnapped from her book leaving the remaining pages of the beloved novel blank. Fforde's first novel is laugh-out-loud funny, including obscure literary in-jokes that even the most well-read bibliophile might miss, with a drop or two of sci-fi tech, and also quite terrifying when Thursday fights for her life atop the blazing Thornfield Hall. Fforde uses Thursday's world to comment on certain aspects of our own society including government interference by large corporations (signified by the hulking Goliath Corporation), over-commercialization, and the decline in literacy. Fforde's books suck you in, which is great because you'll want to follow Thursday through the rest of her books: Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, Thursday Next, and one more Thursday novel due sometime in 2010 (or so Jasper says); Thursday learns about the Bookworld and Jurisfiction, apprentices with Miss Havisham, fights grammasites in the Well, tracks the Minotaur, takes the indecisive Dane of Denmark under her wing, and saves Pride and Prejudice from the degredation of reality TV (now I've really got you wondering...I guess you'll have to read all the books now ) - it's all very accessibly, absurd, and fun to read. Once you've finished Thursday's published books, and need a tide-over until the next one, you can start on Fforde's Nursery Crime series (Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear), following DCI Jack Spratt and his partner, Mary Mary, as they solve hard-boiled nursery rhyme crime in Reading, and his new series, Paint by Numbers, will debut in December 2008.
The women of the Waverley family—whether they like it or not—are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.
For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business—and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life—upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.
As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.
The Flynn City Egg Man It's Easter 1969, and no one is more excited than Cyrus Flannery, the eccentric peddler known as, The Flynn City Egg Man. He's packed up the old panel truck with Easter goodies, and if everyone forgives him for his past business dealings, he just might make the rent this year. It all looks good until...Sandy True, the head cheerleading diva, and maximus drama queen of Flynn City High decides to plot a kidnapping. Her own kidnapping It may allow her time to get to Hollywood, and seek her dream of becoming an actress.
The last person she was seen with happens to be The Flynn City Egg Man, and Sandy's boyfriend, Tyler Armstrong has plans of the peddler. If the cops can't help, Armstrong will take matters into his own hands. After all, it was blood he saw in the Egg Man's kitchen.
Cuffy Landers, a seventeen-year-old reluctant hero enters the fray, and soon befriends the Egg Man. The two are pitted against a suspicious town, and a boyfriend who is hell-bent on revenge.
Recommended for adult, teen, and young adult reading with humor, suspense, and inspiration.
In his moments of lucidity, the gentle, likable Bobbie alludes to his earlier life as a successful photographer. Laurel finds it hard to believe that this destitute, unstable man could once have chronicled the lives of musicians and celebrities, but a box of photographs and negatives discovered among Bobbie's meager possessions at his death lends credence to his tale. How could such an accomplished man have fallen on such hard times? Becoming obsessed with uncovering Bobbie's past, Laurel studies his photographs, tracking down every lead they provide into the mystery of his life before homelessness-including links to the rich neighborhoods of her own Long Island childhood and to the earlier world of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, with its larger-than-life characters, elusive desires, and haunting sorrows.
In a narrative of dazzling invention, literary ingenuity, and psychological complexity, Bohjalian engages issues of homelessness and mental illness by evoking the humanity that inhabits the core of both. At the same time, his tale is fast-paced and riveting-The Double Bind combines the suspense of a thriller with the emotional depths of the most intimate drama. The breathtaking surprises of its final pages will leave readers stunned, overwhelmed by the poignancy of life's fleeting truths, as caught in Bobbie Crocker's photographs, and in Laurel Estabrook's painful pursuit of Bobbie's past-and her own.
October 2007 -- "Let us begin with two girls at a dance," writes Maggie O'Farrell, and the reader is immediately pulled into a journey across continents, generations, and the hidden landscapes of the heart. The story she tells encompasses the confused present of a contemporary young woman, Iris Lockhart; the unsuspected past of Iris's grandmother, Kitty, adrift in the forgetfulness of Alzheimer's; and the long-concealed life of Kitty's sister Esme, who has spent a lifetime institutionalized for refusing to accept the conventions of 1930s Edinburgh society.
At the novel's opening, Iris's complicated life demands all her attention: Her vintage clothing shop barely turns a profit, she's having an affair with a married man, and she's never fully reconciled her intense attraction to her step-brother. But all this is pushed aside when Esme's existence is revealed to her, and she discovers that a great-aunt she never knew has been locked away for 60 years, a patient in a mental hospital that's preparing to close its doors for good. After initially refusing to do so, Iris decides to care for Esme and brings the elderly stranger into her home. As the two women become acquainted, Esme's memories—the childhood she and Kitty shared in India, the death of their young brother, the family's migration to Scotland, and Esme's youthful rebellion against the mores of her class—transform Iris's sense of her family's past, opening a vault of secrets that will change the character of everything she thought she knew.
With seamless narrative artistry, O'Farrell weaves an enthralling tale—and builds page-turning suspense—while shifting between Iris's and Esme's points of view, illuminating both with Kitty's fractured but vivid recollections. The taut fabric of the novel's telling enmeshes the reader in a tangled web of jealousy, deception, and betrayal that is shocking, heartbreaking, and unforgettable. Alive with the energy of trapped desires, Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a riveting work of literary imagination.
Why to John Flagman's Ranger's Apprentice Series, of course.
In this series Mr... Flanagan has created a world similar to that of our medieval world. Complete with castles, knights, kingdoms and adventure. When we meet will he is an orphan and ward of castle Redmont in the Kingdom of Araluen. Will is a small boy, but makes good use of his size and ability to sneak. That is to move without being seen. As well as his ability to climb anything that offers a good foothold. Both of these talents combined to get him into some trouble with the castle chef over some pilfered pastries.
Will had heard tell that his father was a brave warrior killed in battle, and would like nothing more than to become a knight like his father. However his size does present a problem, in that he is too small to train as a knight. When it seems all is lost and Will won't be chosen to apprentice anyone a spectral being steps from the shadows and whispers something in the baron's ear. The spectral being, is none other than the famously feared ranger, Halt. It is said he possesses some black magic that allows him to move unseen and blend with the shadows. Is it true? You will have to read the books to find that out.
What I will tell you, and as the series' title gives away is this; Halt takes Will to be his apprentice. And through his apprenticeship we get a look at the training and day-to-day life of a ranger of the Kingdom of Araluen. Exciting stuff, and that is just the beginning.
Adventures abound for Will and his friends. Each one helping to shape them into what they are truly meant to be. Heroes.
So far there have been six books released in the series, and not one disappoints!
I am not always a fan of mystery or private investigator stories, and I tend more toward fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural but Michael Koryta is speaking at my departmental graduation ceremony in two weeks so I decided to check out his books. First of all, I was thinking local, 21-year-old author... okay... I guess I could find some time to at least skim over something. I WAS SO WRONG! Less than a chapter into Tonight I Said Goodbye, I had to stop to buy the book (which I NEVER do) and couldn't put it down until I finished, despite finals and papers with rapidly approaching due dates. The next day I went and got the next book in the series. Not only did I want to read more by the same author, but I could not bring myself to say goodbye - tonight or any other time - to Lincoln Perry (the main character). Rare is the author who can develop a character SO WELL that I feel like we're old friends and I had to find out what would happen to him next!
So Tonight I Said Goodbye starts out with the plot and character development in the first paragraph and just gets better from there. I never do this but I find I cannot convey why I wasn't able to stop reading any way but to show you the first paragraph:
"The last time John Weston saw his son alive, it was a frigid afternoon in the first week of March, and John's granddaughter was building a snowman as the two men stood in the driveway and talked. Before he left, John gave his son a fatherly pat on the shoulder and promised to see him again soon. He saw him soon - stretched out in a morgue less than forty-eight hours later, dead of a small-caliber gunshot wound to the head. John was saved the horror of viewing his granddaughter in a similar state, but the reason for that was a hollow consolation: Five-year-old Betsy Weston and her mother were missing."
Within the next few pages, Lincoln Perry - former cop and new private investigator - gets hired to find out what happened. What seems like it will follow a predictable PI novel pattern soon takes off completely away from the typical template of the genre into more twists and turns than I could have imagined! Koryta does an amazing job with developing characters so that you feel like you not only know ABOUT them, but you KNOW them. The plot, while totally intense, fast-paced, and unpredictable, is also somehow completely believable.
And before you believe that I am just praising a local author... of Tonight I Said Goodbye, Lee Child said: "A terrific, first-class debut full of suspense, tension, tricks, and charm," the Library Journal claims, "The twenty-one-year-old author excels at building characters and story..." and Steve Hamilton (author of Ice Run) says, "Michael Koryta hits the ground running with this masterful debut. He's already so good, it's scary." I don't have enough room to keep on this tack but there's plenty more!
While I have my own favorite genres, I am ALWAYS willing to read something that is incredibly well-written no matter what it is about. This is one of those books. I don't care if you don't like PI novels or mystery or thrillers: it's completely and totally worth it to drop whatever you're in the middle of and read this! As much as I'd love to extol the book and the author for a few pages more, I have to get back to the next book...
In the Lincoln Perry series, the books are Sorrow's Anthem (Lincoln Perry Series #2), A Welcome Grave (Lincoln Perry Series #3), and The Silent Hour (Lincoln Perry Series #4). Koryta has also written stand-alone novels Envy the Night and So Cold the River, coming out June 9, 2010.
My commute, nearly two hours (one way!), affords me ample reading time. I generally read two books a week and I've been doing this commute for close to five years. That said, All the Living -- a spare but moving tale of damaged lovers struggling for redemption on a Kentucky tobacco farm in the early 1980's -- is one of top 10 books I've read over that time span. Morgan's novel is sure to be among the most raved about debuts of 2009, and, you heard it here first, but I'll bet it's nominated for the National Book Award too!
I received The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky on my 21st birthday from someone very important to me. He told me that it has held a special place in his heart since high school, and even stuck with him through rougher times in college. So, he imparted a copy to me, hoping I would like it.
I didn't like it. I loved it.
On the surface, the story sounds similar to many other teen lit summaries out there: a coming-of-age story of a boy writing a letters as he enters high school. But it's so much more than that--I can't even begin to stress that enough. In fact, I was pleased to find this book in the regular Fiction section at Barnes and Noble rather than the Teen Fiction section, because it's not a story that merely appeals to teenagers. Charlie, the main character of the novel, is imperfectly human (and sympathetic) at his very core; his words reach into the depths of anyone who is still striving to grow as an emotional being, or anyone who has struggled (or is still struggling) with personal discovery. It's a story with such a painfully beautiful--and oftentimes humorous--sting of reality, and by far my favorite coming-of-age story I've read in years.
You don't know who Charlie's letters are addressed to, but it doesn't matter. Walking beside Charlie on his rather intimate journey of self-growth is both rewarding and heart-warming. hands-down a must read!
Oh, and Charlie's impeccible taste in music doesn't hurt matters in the least.
Ralph Truit wanted a wife, a reliable wife. Stubbornly averse to frills or compromises, this successful businessman did what came naturally: He placed a small advertisement in a Chicago newspaper. Catherine Land, the woman who answered his classified ad, had an equally simple, though certainly more devious plan: She would marry Truit and eventually kill him. In Robert Goolrick’s first novel, set in the early 20th century Midwest, both these plans come awry in the course of quite human events. This subtle, passionate psychological novel snares and keeps your interest because its characters and our feelings about them change before our eyes. Readers will never forget what happens to the mail-order mates during their first harsh Wisconsin winter together.
A revelatory view of a genius creator, his wives and his lovers…
In this dazzling historical novel, master architect Frank Lloyd Wright comes alive through the words of four women he loved. Their voices are radically dissimilar: Montenegrin ballerina Olgivanna Milanoff; tempestuous Southern belle Maud Miriam Noel; his free-spirited, tragically fated mistress Mamah Cheney; and Kitty Tobin, his artist first wife. In The Women, adventurous novelist T.C. Boyle (The Road to Wellville; The Inner Circle) exposes Wright’s deep-seeded resistance to convention in every arena of his life.
The stories she is referring to belong to the years—covered in the opening chapters of Stormy Weather —of the 1920s and the early 1930s, when her rakish husband Jack led Elizabeth and their three daughters from one oil boom town to another, never settling anywhere for long. A drinker and a gambler in a time when both drinking and gambling were illegal, the feckless Jack dies in disgrace. As the despair and dust storms of the Great Depression fall over them, Elizabeth and her girls are left with nothing but an abandoned and decrepit family farm and a fleet, volatile racing stallion named Smoky Joe Hancock.
Of the four Stoddard women, it is Jeanine, the middle child, and her father's favorite—and frequently his sidekick at the Texas brush tracks where Smoky Joe raced—who pays the highest price for the stories Jack lived. And it is she who occupies the emotional center of Paulette Jiles's generous tale, learning to tame both the wild farm and her wild heart on her way into adulthood. Charting the women's progress through many storms and struggles, Jiles rivets our attention to the Stoddards' hardscrabble world of droughts, tractors, horses, oil fields, and small-town life, precisely rendering the details of labor and landscape, machinery and weather. Peopled with a vividly drawn cast of characters, from Jeanine's sisters Mayme and Bea to her suitors, the stuttering newspaperman Milton Brown and the handsome, reticent rancher Ross Everett, Stormy Weather tells a story that balances the bleakness of hard times with the humor and resilience of people who can—through persistence, luck, and love—outlast them. Fulfilling the promise of her first novel, the bestselling Enemy Women , and utilizing the gift for striking language that animates her award-winning poetry, Paulette Jiles has written a magnificent, magnanimous family drama.