December 2010

Reading Recommendations · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (December 2010)

Only a few books reach the top of the fiction bestseller charts, but there are many more terrific new titles available at the Library. Here are some recent favorites.

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno

Ellen Bryson
Enter the strange and exotic world of P.T. Barnum�s circus in this debut novel featuring Bartholomew Fortuno, the �World�s Thinnest Man.� Barthy is comfortable in the company of eccentric �curiosities,� his friends in the circus. When Mr. Barnum hires Iell Adams, the Bearded Lady, Barthy finds himself falling in love and transformed into a fascinating Thin Man. This insider�s view of an 1860�s circus includes rich historical detail and complex characters.

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop: 'Tis the Season to be Deadly; Stories of Mistletoe and Mayhem from 17 Masters of Suspense

Otto Penzler, editor
It can�t be December without a holiday selection and this one fits the bill perfectly. For 17 years, the owner of The Mysterious Bookshop, New York City�s premier store for thrills and suspense, has commissioned a short story to give customers. Written by leaders in the mystery genre, at least part of each seasonal story had to take place in the shop, but the rest is up to the author chosen that year. Celebrate the end of the year with this anthology, and stop in to visit when in the Big Apple!

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows

Nick Drake
The first public appearance of young Tutankhamun as Pharoah of Egypt is overshadowed by a ritual murder and veiled threats toward the monarchy. The king�s wife summons chief detective Rahotep for a secret meeting, asking his help to protect her family. The second in a planned trilogy which began with Nefertiti (2007), Drake's latest is a riveting account of sinister dealings and royal secrets of ancient Egypt.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Tom Franklin
Bookworm Larry Ott had a date with a popular girl in high school, and she�s been missing ever since. Fifteen years later, another mysterious disappearance ocurrs in the small Mississippi town, where all eyes are back on Larry. Problem is, he�s almost dead of a gunshot wound, possibly self-inflicted. It�s up to Larry's childhood pal, Silas Jones, now the town constable, to help out, though the two haven�t spoken in years, the local racial atmosphere having severed the color-blind friendship of earlier days.

To the End of the Land

David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen
Considered one of the foremost contemporary Israeli writers, Grossman personifies the story of his homeland in Ora, a mother whose son is fighting for his country. While she waits for his discharge, Ofer reenlists. Echoing the history of modern Israel, what should have been a short-term battle now seems an unending war. An emotional and gripping portrayal of a country and its people, who endure conflict and warfare as parts of daily life.

How to Read the Air

Dinaw Mengestu
Dinaw Mengestu�s name consistently appears among the hottest, upcoming young authors, and his novel is sure to land on many lists of the top books for 2010. In it, there are two stories running simultaneously -- that of Jonas, whose marriage is slowly eroding away, retracing a trip that his parents made after immigrating to America from Ethiopia and secondly, the actual trip that Yosef and Miriam take. The two versions are similar yet different, exploring the reality of a couple�s relationship versus the image their child holds in his mind.

Bound

Antonya Nelson
Although she�s best known for her short stories, a novel from Nelson gives her a chance to expand her exploration of the factors that make a modern family unit. In her latest, Catherine Desplaines receives a jolt from the past and a teenage daughter to boot when her estranged best friend from high school is killed in an auto accident. In thoughtful and understated prose, Catherine muses, �one run red light� one inexplicable pill, one bad man, one unforgivable decision, and everything would have turned out otherwise.�

Collusion

Stuart Neville
Collusion � 1. A secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose; 2. The sequel to Neville�s highly praised debut suspense novel, The Ghosts of Belfast. In order to keep his daughter safe from a local crime boss, Detective Jack Lennon makes a pact with assassin-for-hire, Gerry Fegan. Dirty politics, Irish insurgencies, violent lifestyles, and a blurry line between bad guys and good guys will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Rich Boy

Sharon Pomerantz
Eager to leave behind his working class Jewish roots in Philadelphia, Robert Vishniak enrolls at Tufts University where he hobnobs with the elite and avoids returning to his embarrassing home situation. As the forty years covered in this debut novel follow Robert through the Vietnam War draft worries to a plum law partnership, he finally attains the wealth and social status he has long coveted. But his newly adopted identity is merely a glittery cover for the boy who grew up on Oxford Circle.

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise

Julia Stuart
Anglophiles will adore this quirky, understated tale of the eccentric characters who live inside the fortress walls of the Tower of London. Balthazar, a Yeoman Warder (better known as Beefeater to most of us), has just been put in charge of the menagerie of misbehaving animals that the Queen has received as gifts from heads of state. Full of snippets of British history, along with a voyeuristic insider�s view of one of the world�s top tourist attractions, what you see on the tours is far from what might be imagined.
Need more suggestions? Contact your local branch and our staff will be happy to assist you!