This is truly an innovative look at a classic love story. The main characters (Claude and Suzanne) of this book were historically way ahead of their time. They were gender fluid pre-WWII!! As far as the secondary characters go, I kept looking up to find more information on these movers and shakers of the European art scene. But the thing that kept me coming back was the love story. It was so inspiring to see love conquer so many battles. This is a book that I will be reading again!
So dark and chilling! Everything about this book is so incredibly atmospheric. The story unfolds about two women that are so similar and so incredibly different that they are almost shadows of one another. Morocco and the world during this period are changing and that change looms through the whole novel. It was breathtaking.
I actually could not put this book down. I spent an entire weekend depriving myself of sleep to find out what would happen. Alaska is such a mysterious and dangerous character of the book, and Hannah captures all of its beauty. Leni and her family are trying to escape the world, and it seems that the solution is Alaska. People can be whatever they want to be in Alaska in 1974. You can marry a goose if you want and no one will judge you. But Alaska is fierce and can be deadly if you don't watch yourself.
Everyone romanticizes Paris. This book has a way of romanticizing that romance in a way that feels original and mysterious. Truly a book for book lovers and lovers in general. If you have ever dreamed of writing a book or owning a bookstore, let this book show you one of the most bizarre ways to end up doing so.
This will probably be my favorite book of the year (saying that in February is a bit of a risk). It is so perfectly timed where I neither needed the book to speed up or slow down. I took pleasure in every single minute of reading. The characters and the story is heartbreaking and beautiful. This is truly a book that Oprah and I will be telling you to read.
This book is sexy and gritty and wonderful. A meandering story of religion and queer sex and family and America. Brontez manages to capture a feeling of being brown and queer without holding anything back.
Everything you have been told about this book is true! It is incredibly deserving of all the awards and lists that it has been on. So smart! Satire at its best!
This book is quirky and weird and delicious! The easy way to describe this book is that Lois' life is changed in ways she would never expect by a bread that is more than fantastic. She is the #1 Eater that becomes so much more. Some days, I just hope that I can achieve as much. The hard way to describe it is just that. This book is amorphous and doesn't really fit a genre and isn't really like any book I have ever read.
Missouri author Alex George sets up a beautiful world with writing that makes you see the world almost in sepia tones. I cried multiple times during this novel because life is so beautiful and so tragic. Think My Girl in terms of similarities dealing with life and death and childhood friendships. I can’t tell you too much without giving away spoilers. A new kid comes to town and flips it upside down for a kid who is destined to inherit an amusement park in a dying tourist town.
Thoroughly Southern in every way. I wanted to run around drinking a mint julep and calling everyone darlin'. This book is a perfectly balanced with drama, humor, compassion, and depth. It is a family drama with so much drama that you have to laugh at points. And laugh you will!
Almost Sisters is an homage to the South that doesn't gloss over anything. Jackson makes you feel like you are an "almost sister" as well.
A view of the world from the inside of the bars. Graybar Hotel gives you such a sense of the mental anguish that a prisoner encounters every day. Each story will pull you in many directions. I read a few of the stories and listened to the rest on libro.fm (our new independent audiobook website). They both created a very unique experience.
This book touches on a lot of very delicate subjects, and Thrity Umrigar handles them with care. A young, black boy is "rescued" from his drug addicted mother by an affluent white couple that sets into motion the events of Anton's future. I had so much optimism for the characters. I wanted everyone to succeed and lessons to be learned. You will have so much compassion for Anton and the situation that he has found himself in.
The Leavers has stayed with me in a wonderful way since I finished reading, as it speaks to the importance of understanding in today’s society. The characters all struggle with finding and coping with their place in the world, from a Chinese-immigrant mother who disappears from her son’s life, to the son’s life with his adopted parents, affluent white professors at a liberal arts college in upstate New York.
This month’s book received so much attention ahead of publication that it almost seemed too good to be true: Lisa Ko’s The Leavers was the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, appeared on numerous Most Anticipated lists, and received raves from the likes of Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett. You should believe the hype.
Inspired by the true story behind the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting Christina’s World (1948), we get to see a picture of mid-century Americana in all of its beauty. Christina (the main character of the novel) is a powerful character, crippled by a childhood illness, who refuses to give up and lives her life as well as she can. As readers, we can see that Christina struggles with how much she needs the family farm and lifestyle, and how much it needs her.
I was most keen to the author’s appreciation for the lack of amenities and the resourcefulness of the family. It definitely made me want to get away from the world, shut off the internet, ignore the cars driving by, light a candle and wrap up in a blanket and just read.
I had dinner with Christina Baker Kline in Minneapolis, and she discussed her new novel A Piece of the World. She is a bundle of energy. Her enthusiasm for this book is unbridled. She immediately gained a fan in me. I don’t always read historical fiction, but when I do, I love it. This book is no exception.
So many things about this book feel like the sensational Stranger Things meets The Rosie Project. Set in 1987, three boys set off on a quest to acquire a copy of Playboy with Vanna White on the cover. The resulting adventure involves love, video games, and doing anything to see a naked celebrity. It is sweet and delightful and also captivating.
Kris, one of our co-owners, was an early advocate for this book. She forced it into my hands and said that this was a book for me. She was not wrong. Dark and atmospheric with its setting, looming characters, and sense of upcoming doom, the book starts dramatically pulling the reader in.
I was fascinated by the many stories being told simultaneously in the book. Each chapter bounces from the past to the future with dazzling grace. The narrator, Linda, gives us a glimpse into the backwoods of Minnesota and the seclusion that comes with it.
I devoured this book in two sittings during the a near miss of an ice storm in St. Louis. It was the perfect excuse to not leave the house.
I was drawn to this book from an interview the author did with NPR. It is such a well-told, interesting story. Charlie Freeman is a chimpanzee that a family is hired to adopt and treat like a member of the family. It is bizarre, striking, and creates a dialogue about race through glimpses into the past.
I cannot believe that this is a debut novel. It is such a beautifully crafted story with such stunning characters. The Mothers are a collective of mothers from the church that act as a type of Greek chorus looking in at the story. Even though this is a book about the church and abortion, it does not get preachy or judgmental about the situation. This is life after certain choices have been made. Bravo Brit Bennett!
Dave Eggers never fails me! This book is about a woman running away from wildfires both literally and figuratively. Josie has run away with her two children to Alaska to escape her lawsuit-ridden dental practice, her ex-husband who suffers from excessive bowel movements, and the grief from the death of a young soldier. Much like Eggers other books, the setting plays a large part in the book. Alaska is the backdrop and also a beautiful character. Full of emotion, humor, and action, Heroes of the Frontier is a beautiful read.
An epic family drama with a backdrop of the AIDS crisis. This book is wonderfully constructed bouncing around in time and character. There is so much heart and gravity to the story. I am drawn to so many of the characters and their interesting storylines. The way that Murphy weaves the stories between characters was magnificent.
I devoured this book! I love Ann Patchett and think this book is phenomenal. The weave of the family's story is so magical and poetic. The depth of character is beautiful. The reader is thrown into this family like you are one of their own.
I loved so many things about this book. The characters were heartfelt, the plot was intense, the historical story it was inspired by is insane, and everything pays off so well. The story revolves around the making of a horror film set in the Amazon. The way Wilson captures the dangerous feel of the jungle, the drug trade, and humans, in general, is so thrilling. Pick it up and let the fear wash over you.
This book will make you so angry. Want to revolt. Want world peace. Want so many things. It is a beautifully woven tale of a protest. As a reader, you see all sides of the protest. All the characters are struggling to achieve their strongest passions. Finding your son. Fighting for what you believe is right for the world. Fun fact, the author had the original manuscript stolen. When rewriting it, he focused on the characters that he really had passion for. I believe this is one of the reasons why you will find this book so amazing.
It starts with a disaster that ripples into the world of so many different people. This is a continuous story told from the people that are knowingly and unknowingly involved. It sounds incredibly depressing, but I promise that it is not gut-wrenching. The story moves across so many people, so many places, and so many emotions that it is hard to describe it entirely. It is stunningly beautiful.
The narrators of this book are a mother, her son, and the drug that controls the mother. I feel like this does as good a job as any to describe the book. To convince you to read it, I want to tell you that you just should. It came highly recommended, and I want to pass that on to you. It was moving and haunting and disturbing and hopeful. Read this book.
Not only is the title great, but the book is too! The plot run-down kinda says what you need to know, but you should know that this book delivers on its promises. It is funny, sweet, and adventurous. The characters are perfectly created (especially if you know a professor from a liberal arts university). It reminded me so much of my college days. Oh the shenanigans!
I picked up this book to get a feel for the type of short stories Liam was writing. I was about to host his event, but I didn't have time to read the whole thing. So, I read Listen, the title story, and immediately knew that this was an amazing book. I started at the beginning and could not put it down. These stories are beautiful, shocking, concise, and compelling. Each story has its own reasons to read and love, but the collection as a whole gives such a breadth of human existence and style. I found it irresistible. For something not being on my to-read list to being one that I feel urged to recommend is surprising to me. Read Listen & Other Stories.
If you want to read an incredible, epic, globetrotting, character driven book, then read this book! I found this book when it popped up on several "best of 2014" lists and the synopsis intrigued me. It is hard to say what I loved most about this book. I would like to say that it all just worked so well. Art, the Odyssey, sports, travel, anarchy, and a sprawling quest. Read it and love it.
A courtroom-esque drama showing the spiral of decline for a small town and its residents. Elegant, moving, and captivating. Presented in the form of a monologue, you get to be the judge of this man's tale of woe and destruction.
I was completely shocked by the ending! I thought (for no logical reason) that this was going to be a book about two polar opposite guys working on a project that just can't get along. It is that. But it is also soooo much more.
Ooof. This novel captures small town Midwestern gay in a very "too close to home" type of way. The main character's name is also Shane. I connected to a lot of the claustrophobia, homophobia, and probably a bunch of other phobias that this book throws at the reader. It was a hard read for me, but I am very glad that I read it.
This book is like watching a complicated series of dominoes fall. It is fun, makes moves that you don't see coming, and provides a rather spectacular ending! A direct sequel to one of my favorite "laugh out loud novels", we get to live with Allan as he defies all possibility and has disasterous encounters with Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin. Just really fun!
This book is DELIGHTFUL! Although, it may not be exactly what you think that means. The very concept of this book is something that the extreme talent of Ross Gay can make into something fantastic. Ross sets out to write an essay each day on the topic of delight. The variety of things that can bring on that emotion are incredible. The sheer power of Ross Gay's words will cause you to have your own series of emotions and might inspire you to look at the delights in your own life and how you might help someone else find their delight for the day. Loved it! The way he says "delight" in the audio book brought a smile to my face every time.
I was immediately drawn into this beautiful and captivating debut novel set in the lush and dangerous bush of Trinidad. I may have spent as much time daydreaming about being in this world as I did actually reading about it. I looked up all sorts of facts about Trinidad that I found to be quite different from the world I had imagined. I did not realize how ethnically diverse the island country is. Though it is incredibly close to South America, it is still recognized as a Caribbean island. The fauna of the island is quite magnificent, and I am very thankful that the giant green anaconda does not play a part in this book. The Golden Child is a story of twin brothers growing up in Trinidad. Peter and Paul are opposites in many ways but are still connected through a strong fraternal bond. You will get a glimpse of the entire family history, making this feel like an epic family saga even though so much revolves around this short moment in time. I was propelled through this book, desperate to know how it all would work out.