August 2011

Reading Recommendations · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (August 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.

Cleaning Nabokov�s House

Leslie Daniels
Following a bitter divorce, Barb Barrett moves into the house where Vladimir Nabokov lived when he was in residence at the small-town university. A thorough cleaning turns up a hidden manuscript written out on note cards, and she sets out to see if it could be the Russian author�s. A big find like that would give her the money to fight for custody of the two children that she so desperately misses. A comic look at how one woman resolves her self-esteem and economic issues to win back what matters most.

The Matchmaker of Kenmare

Frank Delaney
There�s no doubt that the Irish are storytellers who can charm a listener (or reader) with a wee bit of romance and magic. So it is with Ben McCarthy, the narrator of this tale, who meets Kate Begley as he travels the countryside collecting stories for the Irish Folklore Commission. They immediately form a bond, and adventures ensue as Kate falls for an American GI who takes advantage of Ireland�s neutrality in World War II. This is the middle book of a planned trilogy and follows Venetia Kelly�s Traveling Show.

All the Time in the World

E. L. Doctorow
Short story collections typically don�t make bestseller status though many times their author�s novels do. Such is the case here with the multiple-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and National Book Award winner, E. L. Doctorow. His observations on American life have been condensed to a shorter, but no less keen, format in this anthology. Although there is no real theme to the collection, most stories present a protagonist who is slightly out of kilter with the world around him as he tries to find his place in society.

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Sara Gran
Haunted by her past as well as the ghosts left behind by Hurricane Katrina, psychic PI Claire DeWitt returns to the Crescent City to search for a local prosecutor who hasn�t been seen since the storm. This tripped-out investigator doesn�t follow the usual course; instead she depends on I-Ching readings, her dreams, and channeling advice from the late great French detective Jacques Silette to solve cases. Already opted for a TV series, this atmospheric beginning to a new urban mystery series promises lots of local flavor.

Ten Thousand Saints

Eleanor Henderson
Urgent intensity is the tone of Henderson�s debut novel where her passionate teenage characters try to become, what seems to them, adults. When 16-year-old Jude�s best friend Teddy ODs, his world shatters. Sent to live with his pothead father in the Village, Jude forms a new family unit with Teddy�s older brother and Eliza, who is pregnant with Teddy�s child. Living in the punk rock, straight edge culture of the late 1980s, the trio attempts to avoid parents, past drug dealers, and forgetting a life too soon cut short.

The Devil She Knows

Bill Loehfelm
Maureen Coughlin would just as soon forget about what she saw after hours in the Staten Island bar where she works. But when her co-worker turns up dead the next day, she just can�t. To make matters worse, the aspiring politician Maureen saw with him that night doesn�t believe she will and begins threatening her and her mother. It turns out that Frank Sebastian�s political hopes run as deep as his mean streak. Lucky for her that Detective Nat Waters would love to settle an old grudge with Sebastian.

Sticky Fingers

Nancy Martin
Despite a promise to be a better role model for her teenage daughter Roxy Abruzzo, who made her debut appearance in Foxy Roxy, continues to do a little debt collection for her uncle Carmine. But she does draw the line at kidnapping! So it seems unfair that she should be the primo suspect when museum curator Clarice Crabtree�s body is pulled out of the Ohio River. Accompanied by her sidekicks, - cousin Nooch and junkyard dog Rooney - she needs to clear her name. For Pittsburgh lovers and Evanovich fans.

Spiral

Paul McEuen
Cornell physics professor McEwen has written a nail-biting techno-thriller that, at times, seems all too plausible. The author combines the academic community of an aging professor with a souvenir from World War II as the basis for a chemical warfare threat to mankind, if ever falling into the wrong hands. Of course those villainous hands arrive, searching for the secret the professor has stashed away, and taking some creepy little nano-robot bugs with her too. Gets your heart beating fast, like a literary �24�.

Embassytown

China Mi�ville
Readers of science fiction who like a linguistic challenge will find this title well worth the effort. Multiple award-winning author Mi�ville presents life on a distant planet where the inhabitants, having two speech orifices, can only tell the truth. In order to be understood the humans coexisting in this diplomatic region have to clone themselves yet function as single unit. A scheme is devised whereby the native Ariekei gain the ability to lie, putting an entire civilization�s existence in peril.

On Black Sisters Street

Chika Unigwe
Sisi, Efe, Ama, and Joyce have come to Europe from Africa, promised a better life than what they believed faced them in their nativecountries. They share a house while working in the Red Light District of Antwerp, Belgium as they pay off large debts to the gentleman who arranged their transportation and the woman who took them in. While their bodies may be open for business, their hearts and past lives are private territory � until one of them goes missing. Each of them has a powerfully touching story to tell.
Need more suggestions? Contact your local branch and our staff will be happy to assist you!