Selection Day by Aravind AdigaRadha and Manjunath Kumar have been raised by their controlling father to become cricket stars -- the only thing that will get them out of their Mumbai slum. And in fact they are very good, good enough to have journalists and scouts following their every move. But their father's strict rules have both brothers rebelling in their own, sometimes unexpected ways. Though set in a world (and a sport) unfamiliar to many, this complex novel from Booker Prize-winning Aravind Adiga is truly about common themes -- sibling relationships, family dynamics, and loyalty.
Number 11 by Jonathan CoeIn 1995, author Jonathan Coe published a biting novel of class warfare in The Winshaw Legacy. Some of those characters reappear in Number 11, a sequel of sorts that follows two girls into adulthood while pulling together multiple disparate stories. Playing with genre conventions and reflecting a very pointed view of modern Britain, this social satire will make for entertaining reading for those looking for literary gamesmanship -- the number 11 (this is Coe's 11th novel) also crops up from time to time.
The Antiques by Kris D'AgostinoFans of Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You might want to pick up this similarly snappy/tragic tale of adult siblings gathering to mourn their father. Only in the case of George Westfall, he's not quite dead yet, and a hurricane has just about destroyed the antiques store he and his wife own. The dog is also not doing well, but then again, neither are their kids, who are facing ruined marriages and careers. In the end, the sale of George's prized possession, a Magritte painting, may help them all -- or maybe not. Biting wit enlivens this tale of family relationships.
History of Wolves: A Novel by Emily FridlundFourteen-year-old Linda was raised in a commune, so she's particularly attuned to the differences between "normal" life and "other." This is true of herself, but it's also true of the young family who has just moved in down the road, and for whom Linda has started babysitting. Something is not quite right there, and as Linda looks back, as an adult, at the events of this cold Minnesota winter, the foreboding, menacing atmosphere closes in. A dark and distressing coming-of-age tale, this debut is "as cold and bleak as a Minnesota winter" (Library Journal).
Difficult Women by Roxane GayTelling the stories of strong, imperfect, fully realized women, award-winning author Roxane Gay offers diverse protagonists and settings and unusual, often troubling situations in which women are haunted by pain and loss. In "The Mark of Cain," a woman pretends not to know that her abusive husband and his gentler identical twin have switched places; women participate in fight clubs in another story, while a priest refuses to feel bad about an affair in a third. With complex characters and straightforward writing, this "fantastic collection is challenging, quirky, and memorable" (Publishers Weekly).
The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel by Jenny ColganNina Redmond loves nothing more than matching readers with the perfect book. So when the shy librarian is made redundant from her job in Birmingham, England, she decides to open up her own bookshop -- and it's one on wheels! Relocating to a converted barn in a small Scottish village, she starts getting to know her neighbors through the books she sells them on market day. And there's even some romantic possibilities, including with a train engineer who leaves her love letters at a railway crossing. Like Katarina Bivald's The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommends (which likewise features a shy reader opening a book shop), this charming novel is made for book lovers.
Love Letters by Debbie MacomberJo Marie Rose never thought she'd run a bed-and-breakfast, but she never thought she'd be a widow at 36, either. Two years have passed since her husband died, and Jo Marie is expecting guests at her Cedar Cove, Washington inn: a couple whose marriage is in trouble (can an old love letter help?) and a young woman meeting a man she only knows through online missives (against her mother's wishes). Meanwhile, Jo Marie's solitary handyman, Mark, has her curious, and he's not pleased by her probing. This heartwarming, romantic novel is the 3rd in a series set in the Rose Harbor Inn.
The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo MoyesIn 1960, Jennifer Stirling awakes in the hospital, suffering from memory loss brought on by a car accident. Struggling to adjust, she realizes that she does not love her husband; the discovery of a letter that suggests she'd been having an affair with a man identified only as "B" provides some answers. Fast-forward 43 years, when reporter Ellie Haworth finds several more letters from "B" to Jennifer and is captivated by his passionate words. Unfolding in parallel narratives, heartache and romance abounds in both of their stories and create a clever comparison between the two eras.
A Strangeness in My Mind: A Novel by Orhan PamukAs much about Istanbul's rapid transformation over the second half of the 20th century as it is the tale of a street peddler, A Strangeness in My Mind offers both a strong sense of the city and a sweeping story told by multiple narrators. It follows Mevlut Karatas as he arrives in the city as a boy, follows his father's trade selling yogurt door to door, and spends three years writing love letters to a young woman he spotted only briefly. As he forms a deep understanding of his city, marries, and raises a family, Melvut's working life provides a way to understand Istanbul's changing landscape. "Rich, complex, and pulsing with urban life," says Kirkus Reviews.
The House at the End of Hope Street: A Novel by Menna van PraagIn this fairytale-like novel, the house at the end of Hope Street is magical, seen only by those who need its help. And the women who are invited to stay can spend only 99 nights there -- just enough time to turn their lives around. In addition to sanctuary, the house also provides gifts and advice (in the form of notes, but also talking portraits of previous visitors), as ruined academic Alba Ashby finds when she moves in. In addition to her career, Alba is struggling with family issues and the feeling that she's wasted her life, but a box of letters between her mother and her (unknown) father gives her some focus. This delightful tale will appeal to fans of Sarah Addison Allen's similarly fantastical stories.
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