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general fiction

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This Bright River by Patrick Somerville

Two damaged thirtysomethings with mysterious back stories return to their Wisconsin home town to lick their wounds and subsequently run into each other at a local gallery open. Flash back to their experience as two high school oddballs assigned to do a science project together. Uh huh, you can predict the ending to this one: awkwardness leads to happily ever after. But not so fast. This suspenseful story has twists and turns that you won’t expect and you won’t really know which narrator to trust, and which version of the past to believe, until the very end.

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

This book is about the effect a morbidly obese obsessive-compulsive eater has on her family.  It's true that matriarch Edie's non-stop consumption weighs heavily on her family, but so does her impending divorce from husband of 30-something years, Richard.  We get everyone's point of view. Pharmacist Richard who just wants to have sex again before he dies.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

Ditch the chilly, gray, wet weather for a castle on the Italian Riviera. A group of four very different women do just that in Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April. Each woman experiences the happiness and freedom that come with leaving your everyday worries behind for days spent exploring nature and soaking up sunshine. A beautiful novel and the perfect escape for a wintry night. Check Our Catalog

Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis

This is the story of a terrifying, yet compelling London hood and his nephew, who is trying to create a new life, free of his very heavy family baggage.  Amis creates fantastic dialogue for his characters and the language is brilliant.  Reader beware, however, this book shows glimpses of the seedier side of both the London underworld and complicated families.  Jump on board for quite the uproarious ride.  Che

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I've wanted to read this book ever since I first saw the cover and it was just as good, better even, then I thought it would be based on that skimpy criteria.  This is the kind of book I love.  Lots of intertwined characters jumping  back and forth through time from 1960's Italy to present day Hollywood.

Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor

Chef Jeremy Papier struggles to keep his first restaurant afloat in between visits to his anthropologist father, who is living with and researching the homeless residents of Vancouver B.C.'s 1,000-acre Stanley Park. In his day job, Jeremy negotiates with a profit-driven corporate financier in the city and creates radical cuisine menus for the diners at The Monkey's Paw Bistro.

The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (1964)

90-year-old Hagar Shipley is increasingly frail and forgetful but still fiercely herself as she looks back on a tumultuous life and forward to what's left of it. Proud, prickly and strong-willed, Hagar came of age in the Manitoba prairies before the turn of the 19th century, struggling to assert herself in an era of limited choices for women. Along the way, she loses her mother and both her brothers, marries "beneath" her and against her father's wishes, raises two sons and loses one, and faces the end of her life unrepentant.

A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

In Eggers’ first novel in six years, we are taken to a fledgling Saudi Arabian city. Here Alan Clay, a middle-aged middle manager, is making what could be his last chance effort for financial and mental stability. Gone are the days of his salesmanship excellence and achievement, now he is divorced, broke, and trying to pay for his daughter’s education. We follow Clay as he tries to keep his Saudi deal together, and himself together.

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

Thinking this would be a light, fun, fluffy read, I brought this along on vacation. It was the perfect beach read, but it turned out to be much more than fluff. This fantastic novel changed gears each time I thought I had it figured out, and in the end I was left with a witty but deep-feeling novel about a loving, eccentric, slightly dysfunctional family. Like P. G. Wodehouse's more biting cousin, The Uninvited Guests is highly recommended.

A Good House by Bonnie Burnard

This quiet yet compelling novel begins in 1949 and ends in 1997. It is the multigenerational story of Bill and Sylvia Chambers of Stonebrook, Ontario, and their extended family. These are ordinary people living ordinary lives full of imperfection, conflict, births, deaths, secrets, loyalty and love over the course of 50 years. The prose is simple but subtle and finely crafted, revealing the meaning and beauty of everyday lives.

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