Books

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Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope

Another absorbing and insightful contemporary family story from Joanna Trollope, this one focusing on the sometimes fraught relationships between parents and their adult children.  When Rachel and Anthony's youngest son marries, the arrival of a third daughter-in-law into the extended family mix brings new complications and power struggles.  Trollope excels at switching viewpoints from one character to another and you will find yourself sympathizing and becoming exasperated in turns with Rachel and her sons and daughters-in-law.

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

This debut novel is a little bit gritty, a little bit gothic.  Set in mid-century, rural Ohio and West Virginia, Pollock's landscapes are as bleak as his characters' lives.  Pollock introduces us to a cast of orphans, preachers and murderers whose lives all seem to intersect.  This is a page turner of the darker sort.  Check Our Catalog

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

This captivating memoir tells the story of Lucy Grealy and her struggle to see herself as beautiful . Being an adolescent is hard, but imagine having lost a third of your jaw to cancer on top of it all. A story of family, sickness, beauty and treatment, this story is heartbreaking and poetic.

Snowdrops by A.D. Miller

This debut novel is written as a man's confession to his future wife.  British lawyer Nick Platt finds himself working in corporate law in the oil rich Russia of the early 2000's.  The story begins when Nick bumps into a pair of young and enticing Russian women.  These young women prove to be 'shady' characters, but no more shady than the business dealings Nick finds himself involved with.  The rest of the book finds Nick giving in to the seductions of Russia's women and wealth.  Snowdrops was recently shortlisted for the Booker Prize. 

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards

Fourteen years ago, Jinx's mother was brutally murdered. Since then, Jinx, who feels responsible, has had a hard time maintaning relationships and being a mother to her young son. This book was included on the Man Booker 2011 Longlist. Check Our Catalog

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

Meet Jake Marlowe.  Jake is a werewolf.  He is the last known werewolf on earth, and he is being hunted.  When we meet Marlowe, he is almost 200 years old and is growing tired of the constant loneliness and the constant struggle to stay under the radar of his pursuers.  Just when the end is near and Jake is ready to give up, everything changes…  This is an excellent story, and a breath of fresh air from all of the recent vampire books. 

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier

Have you ever been to nowhere?  Frazier has.  Travels in Siberia chronicles his several journeys to Siberia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Frazier provides us with both an enjoyable travelogue of his adventures across the bleak and barren tundra, and with more historical snippets about the role Siberia has played in the history of Russia.  Some of Frazier’s stories have you laughing out loud, while many others leave you scratching your head at the unbelievable, but true accounts of Siberia. 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre

This first novel in LeCarre’s Karla Trilogy is definitely worth a read, especially as it is being remade into a movie later this year.  Set at the height of the Cold War, LeCarre’s hero, the British Secret Service Agent George Smiley, is forced out of retirement and placed in charge of finding the Soviet mole within the British ranks.  The excellent pacing and intrigue will keep you turning the pages until the mole is uncovered. 

One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Another stellar title in this well-above-average mystery series featuring the Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. The books are set in the small town of Millers Kill, New York and feature consistently interesting plots and the evolving relationship between the priest and the police chief.  This latest (and seventh) novel explores the aftermath of war when five local veterans return home and struggle to adjust to everyday life after disturbing tours of duty in Iraq.

Crazy U by Andrew Ferguson

If you're a parent with a high schooler headed for college, you really have to read this book. Ferguson makes you wince, groan and laugh out loud as he relates his family's journey from PSAT to college orientation day. Even more than a personal story, the book places today's competitive college admissions process in a historical, social and economic context that will help anxious parents keep things in perspective as they help their children navigate from secondary to higher ed.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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