June 2011

Reading Recommendations · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (June 2011)

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.

Lyrics Alley

Leila Aboulela
Exotic locale and sensuous descriptions combine to tell the story of a country, represented by the Abuzeid family, on the brink of modern life. Mahmoud is the wealthy patriarch who finds himself balancing a cultural battle between his two wives, one of traditional Sudanese background and the younger one from the cultured city of Cairo. As 1950s Sudan is facing independence from British rule, the family members react when a tragic accident befalls the heir to the business and the end of a dynasty looms.

The Sisters Brothers

Patrick deWitt
The Sisters brothers, Charlie and Eli, are hired killers who set off to perform their latest assignment, ridding the California gold fields of prospector Hermann Kermit Warm. While Charlie is up for the adventure and a life of saddle-filled days and drunken nights, Eli has come to rethink the life they lead. Deadpan banter between the brothers fills in the episodes between all the usual suspects of Wild West lore � brothel mistresses, gold miners, grizzly bears, lovely hotel owners, gunfights, and an Indian ambush.

Pym

Mat Johnson
�A comic adventure into the ultimate land of whiteness by an unlikely band of African American adventurers� is the short description of this satirical fantasy posing as an academic quest into the subject of racism. When Chris Jaynes, recently non-tenured and now unemployed, discovers a manuscript proving that the remote island of Tsalal described in Edgar Alan Poe�s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket really exists, he sets sail for Antarctica. But much more than the Black Garden of Eden awaits.

Rodin�s Debutante

Ward Just
Seeking to leave a legacy for himself, Tommy Ogden turns his Chicago mansion into a school for boys before his wife can spend his money on an egotistical piece of art. Yet it is a Rodin bust in the library, thought to be Mrs. Ogden, which inspires Lee Goodell to become a sculptor. While Lee�s parents have tried to shelter him, Chicago between the two World Wars is a changing place. Life�s lessons have to be taught both in and out of the classroom, and failure can often be more inspiring than success.

Red Wolf

Liza Marklund
After co-authoring The Postcard Killers with James Patterson last year, Swedish best-selling author Marklund makes her US debut with the fifth book in her series featuring journalist Annika Bengtzon. Annika is working on a hunch involving an attack on an airbase, much to the dismay of her editor. The attack happened in the 1960s, and he thinks Annika sees �terrorism� in every story she writes. Annika�s family life is a mess as she bulldozes her way through the cold north Arctic area when a killer resurfaces.

What You See in the Dark

Manuel Mu�oz
Second-person narrative sets up the cinematic effect for the reader who gets to experience perhaps the most famous murder scene on film. When The Actress and The Director come to Bakersfield, California to do some location shots and luck into finding that iconic motel, they don�t remain the talk of the town for long. Dan and Teresa set tongues wagging for their inappropriate pairing. Things escalate when Teresa�s body is found and Dan has left town. A subtle, noir-like, psychological study of a small town.

The Tragedy of Arthur

Arthur Phillips
Reviewers have used words like wily, clever, and literary lark to describe this genre-blending and genre-bending novel disguised as a memoir and Shakespeare play. Arthur Phillips, son of con artist and forger Arthur Phillips, has promised his frail aging father to see that the manuscript in the lock box gets printed. It is a lost Shakespearean drama about King Arthur, printed at the end of the book. But first comes the introduction from Arthur the son. A literary find or his father�s greatest hoax? Confused? Just read it.

The Quantum Thief

Hannu Rajaniemi
A stunning sci-fi world meets the classic caper novel as Jean Le Flambeur, released from prison when he is chosen for a special heist, has an agenda of his own. Taken to Oubliette where the legged city pieces are constantly shifting, Jean faces a culture where Time is the local currency, memories are shared communications, and personas are masked to keep some semblance of privacy. Gorgeous female creatures attract and distract the thief while dedicated detective Isadore anticipates the crime and sets his trap.

Bent Road

Lori Roy
Roy�s debut novel is a standout in a crowd of books about small Midwestern towns with family secrets. Looking to escape the racially charged tensions of mid-1960s Detroit, Arthur Scott moves his family back to the small Kansas town where he grew up. But his reappearance on the scene coincides with the disappearance of a local girl, renewing interest in an unsolved crime that involves his dead sister. A psychological study of a family struggling to fit into a new lifestyle, the gothic overtones make for an eerie story.

The Dangerous Edge of Things: A Tai Randolph Mystery

Tina Whittle
To quote from an enthusiastic book reviewer, �if you�re wondering who can give Stephanie Plum a run for her money, meet Tai Randolph.� Tai has just moved to Atlanta to run a gun shop she and her brother inherited. He�s gone out of town when a corpse turns up on his driveway. Tai finds out that the company he is an industrial psychologist for is actually a high-tech security firm that draws her into their fold with a very attractive bodyguard. �Tai�s next adventure can�t come soon enough. She�s adorable��
Need more suggestions? Contact your local branch and our staff will be happy to assist you!