This is a group of stories told through the eyes of one who was born and grew up in Echo Park, California. Each stands alone, and yet they are connected by several characters and together they give the neighborhood a voice, both warm and vividly real. A thorough enjoyment! - Linda
Seeds by Richard Horan
This crosscountry journey to visit the homes, and sometimes graves, of our best-loved authors is more than a reverie of memories; it can also be a revelation, a surprise and a "welcome home" to the heart. As the author collected seeds from trees at these sites, he was preserving not just the trees themselves in a new generation born at his home, but a sense of the beauty that had fed the genius of these artists. If you like trees and books, you'll enjoy this experience! - Linda
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Sea takes place in a time of upheaval and brings together an amazing array of people from different cultures. First in a trilogy, this is an adventure, a book of cultural insight, and a historical reminder that life can be full of surprises.
Woodsburner by John Pipkin
Set against the backdrop of a devastating forest fire that Henry David Thoreau accidentally set in 1844, John Pipkin's novel brilliantly illuminates the mind of the young philosopher at a formative moment in his life and in the life of the young nation, as well as the lives of several other characters who crossed his path that fateful day. With the tension of a true thriller, and the fascinating characterizations of those involved, Pipkin gives us a "Walden" adventure like no other. - Linda
A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, the daughter of a gentleman farmer, has come to a university town as a student. When she takes a job as a part-time nanny for a mysterious and glamorous family, she finds herself drawn deeper into their world and forever changed. Told through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a piercing novel of race, class, love, and war in America.
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
When Alice Liddell Hargreaves (Alice in Wonderland) met professor Dodgson at Oxford, she had no idea that her life would take such a turn as to make her name synonymous with a girl in a classic tale. Amateur photographer Dodgson, who later took the name of Lewis Carroll, was struck by this beautiful girl. This is their story, and perhaps a little bit ours as well. - Linda
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martin, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city's underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem! This is one of those big, deep, meaty books which cannot be read in a few short sittings. But you'll enjoy it all the way. - Linda
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Bartlett
In the late 1990s, John Gilkey stole his way through a significant number of expensive antiquarian book collections. Ken Sanders, a book collector and security chair for the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, noticed the pattern of thefts and began pursuing Gilkey, whose obsession with his precious old books led him to commit a flurry of other crimes - stealing credit cards and forging checks. This will be of interest to book lovers.
Auntie’s Book Group Recommendations 2010
Dog Alert!!! In honor of the guest speaker for Spokane Is Reading this year (Garth Stein), we’ve gone to the dogs. Watch for our themed selections, and pick up The Art of Racing in the Rain if you somehow missed it! Also, pick up Lois’ recommended God of Animals by Aryn Kyle. There’s got to be a dog in there somewhere!
Linda’s Favorite: This year, there are far too many to select just one. Instead, I’ll just urge you to keep an eye out for the paperback release of Jess Walter’s new book – The Financial Lives of the Poets. It is superb and was just listed on Time Magazine's list of top 10 fiction titles for 2009! Yay, Jess!!! My fun pick is Dog On It by Spencer Quinn – a dog-tells-all mystery that will bring a chuckle to your day.
Special Mention: There are at least two titles that deserve special mention this year. First is A Country Called Home by Kim Barnes, which just won the 2009 PEN USA Award. In the nonfiction category, “Oprah’s” latest pick is Say You’re One of Them. Both of these books deserve the special recognition they have received.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – In this enthralling international bestseller, two girls live inconspicuous lives in the center of an elegant Paris apartment building. It is only when a stranger moves into their building--and sees through the girls' disguises--that Paloma and Rene discover their kindred spirits.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – "Olive Kitteridge" offers profound insights into the human condition--its conflicts, tragedies, and joys.” ("USA Today").
Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski – A riveting family saga, this book explores the deep and ancient alliance between humans and dogs, and the power of fate through one boy's epic journey into the wild.
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks – Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famous Sarajevo Haggadah, which was rescued during the Bosnian war.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Set during World War II in Germany, Zusaks groundbreaking novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing, encounters something she cant resist: books. An older title that deserves to be held over!
Guernica by Dave Boling – "Boling threads his way through the stories of his many characters with humor, compassion and rich details of Basque tradition...Moving."--"Washington Post Book World
The 11th Man by Ivan Doig – Ten members of Montana's legendary 1941 football team are caught up in World War II. The 11th man, Ben Reinking, has been plucked from pilot training and asked to chronicle the adventures of his teammates. Ready for action, he chafes at the assignment, not knowing that it will bring him love.
The Other by David Guterson – From the author of the bestselling "Snow Falling on Cedars" comes a compelling novel about youth and idealism, adulthood and its compromises.
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff – This book from the author of "The Danish Girl" and "Pasadena" is a spellbinding work of literary suspense, set against the history of the Mormon Church, that combines historical fiction with a modern-day mystery.
A Mercy by Toni Morrison – Nobel Prize-winning author Morrison's latest "New York Times"-bestselling masterpiece centers on a powerful tragedy involving a mother and daughter, and reveals how acts of mercy have unforeseen consequences.
I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass – From the author of the bestselling "Three Junes" comes an intimate tale of two sisters, together and apart, told in their alternating voices over 25 years. "I See You Everywhere" offers a piercingly candid story of companionship and sorrow, life and death.
A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire – In this third novel of the "New York Times"-bestselling series, civil war looms in Oz, and an ancient oracle named Yackle prepares for death. But before she can die, the Cowardly Lion arrives seeking knowledge about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. (This one’s for fun!)
To Siberia by Per Petterson – Petterson's raw, poetic novel follows the intense kinship and agonizing separation of a brother and sister in World War II-era Denmark. "To Siberia" is a portrait of siblings bound together powerfully by birth, and separated painfully by circumstance.
Netherland by Joseph O’Neill – The author of "Blood-Dark Track" delivers a mesmerizing novel about a man trying to make his way in an America of shattered hopes and values, and the unlikely occurrences that pull him back into an authentic, passionately engaged life.
Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed – Historian and legal scholar Gordon-Reed presents this epic work that tells the story of the Hemingses, an American slave family and their close blood ties to Thomas Jefferson.
Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir – Raw and riveting, this is the first memoir ever written by a woman caught up in the war in Darfur. It is a survivor's tale of a conflicted country, a resilient people, and an uncompromising spirit.
House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper – In the tradition of "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight," a world-renowned journalist presents a haunting memoir of a war-torn Liberian childhood and her return to her native country, 20 years after her family's flight, to reunite with the foster sister they left behind.
Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb – The #1 "New York Times"-bestselling author and two-time Oprah's Book Club pick delivers an extraordinary work of prodigious scope and ambition that explores the consequences of violent events, and the chaos that ensues.
Dog Man by Martha Sherrill – "Dog Man" tells the story of how one man's consuming passion for dogs saves a legendary breed from extinction and, in the process, leads him to a difficult, but more soulful way of life in the wilds of Japan's remote snow country.
Nothing To Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes – I'm telling you the man talked about death and made me laugh! (LB)
Auntie’s Authors at Home:
||Sarah Conover’s inspirational series offers a great way to discover the truths behind world belief systems and the cultures that inspire great tales. She and other local authors are available to visit your group to discuss their books.
Look for the list of participating authors in the Book Club Corner and get in touch if you would like to take advantage of this special program.
Read any good books lately? We want to know about them!