The Book Haters' Book Club by Gretchen AnthonyMeet: Indie bookstore owner Irma. Disheartened by the death of the store's beloved co-owner Elliot, Irma plans to close up shop for good.
Plot twist! Neither Elliot's romantic partner Thom nor Irma's two daughters are willing to let the dream die. They plot to save the store and boost Irma's spirits (with a little ghostly help from Elliot himself).
Read on: The book-loving author sprinkles this heartwarming novel with reading recommendations, from her own favorites to those provided by family, friends, and librarians.
Less is Lost by Andrew Sean GreerWhat it's about: An old lover's death plunges modestly successful novelist Arthur Less into emotional and financial distress. A madcap tour of paid speaking gigs quickly descends into hilarious chaos.
Ever wonder... how one might (accidentally, of course) flood a commune? If it's that terrifying to ride a donkey down into a steep canyon? Less is Lost holds the answers you didn't know you needed.
Series alert: Narrated by Arthur's witty boyfriend Freddy, this is the 2nd in the Arthur Less novels. If you want more, start with the 1st: Less (2017).
Also available on Libby and cloudLibrary
Jacqueline in Paris by Ann MahBefore Jackie O: Vassar college girl Jacqueline Bouvier spent a year abroad in post-WWII Paris, mingling with aristocratic French families and communist student activists alike.
Read it for: a vividly rendered portrait of the savvy future First Lady, and of European citizens struggling to rebuild trust among one another.
Try this next: Louis Bayard's Jackie & Me.
Also available on Libby
The Hero of this Book by Elizabeth McCrackenAn unnamed narrator pays homage to her late mother: a woman of formidable intellect, famed as the beloved editor at a prestigious Boston publication, and ruthless in her demand for privacy.
For fans of: writers, the purpose of writing, and the stories of highly intelligent, demanding, difficult -- that's code for "confident" -- women who write.
Reviewers say: "Transcending categories, McCracken's novel-as-eulogy...is mischievous, funny, canny, and deeply affecting" (Booklist).
The Furrows by Namwali SerpellWhat it's about: At age 12, Cee witnesses her little brother Wayne's drowning; his body is never found. As Cee grows to adulthood, she imagines seeing him in everyday places and eventually meets a mysterious, strangely familiar man...named Wayne.
Read it for: an imaginative own voices story of loss and grief, with unexpected plot twists that will leave readers thinking.
What to read next: Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli.
Best of Friends by Kamila ShamsieBFFs(?) As childhood friends in 1980s Karachi, Maryam Khan and Zahra Ali get into a stranger's car with another classmate. What happens next changes their lives.
Still friends: In 2019 and living in London, the two remain close. Secrets of the past emerge, evoking memories of the political upheaval they escaped and what Maryam and Zahra faced on that fateful night.
Try this next: Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho.
Daughters of the New Year by E. M. TranNew Orleans, 2016: Former Vietnamese refugee Xuan Trung tells her three Americanized adult daughters' fortunes, a practice which they find embarrassingly archaic.
Time and again: Harkening back to Xuan's escape during fall of Saigon, the novel moves ever backward in time to explore recurring themes of hope, identity, and generational trauma.
For fans of: Min Jin Lee's Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing.
Don't Know Tough
by Eli Cranor
The game plan: The Christian head coach of a small-town Arkansas team and his family try to help Billy, the team's star running back, whose abusive home life begins to manifest as dangerous aggression on the field.
Foul play: When the cruel boyfriend of Billy's mother is found murdered, Billy is naturally the main suspect. Did he do it -- or is this already troubled teen being sold short?
For fans of: coming-of-age stories with an edgy mystery twist.
Contact your librarian for more great books!