The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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When a failed writer hears an amazing idea for a novel, he never imagines he’ll one day get the chance to take it for the plot of his own book. His book is a huge success, but someone else knows that it wasn’t really his idea. This suspenseful novel was a real page turner!

“As a longtime fan of Korelitz’s novels (including “You Should Have Known,” which was made into HBO’s “The Undoing”), I will say that I think The Plot is her gutsiest, most consequential book yet. It keeps you guessing and wondering, and also keeps you thinking: about ambition, fame and the nature of intellectual property (the analog kind).”―The New York Times Book Review

“Deep character development, an impressively thick tapestry of intertwining story lines, and a candid glimpse into the publishing business make this a page-turner of the highest order. Korelitz deserves acclaim for her own perfect plot.”
―Publishers Weekly (STARRED Review)

“’The Plot’ is wickedly funny and chillingly grim…it deserves to garner all the brass rings.”―The Wall Street Journal

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Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

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Marian and Jamie are twins born in 1914 on a sinking ship, and their lives only get more exciting from there. Great Circle follows Marian, who dreams of being a pilot, and Jamie, a sensitive artist, as they travel the world and are eventually both caught up in World War II. I really felt like I knew Marian and Jamie, along with many of the other vivid characters, by the time I finished reading. This book is a saga, but worth the time!

“A breathtaking epic . . . This is a stunning feat.”—Publishers Weekly [starred review]

“A fat, juicy peach of a novel . . . A tremendously well-written book, epic in spirit and scope, swooping across continents and through time so effortlessly that it belies the seven years it apparently took to complete.”
The Telegraph [UK]

“The destinies of [Shipstead’s] unforgettable characters intersect in ways that reverberate through a hundred years of story. Whether Shipstead is creating scenes in the Prohibition-era American West, in wartime London, or on a Hollywood movie set, her research is as invisible as it should be, allowing a fully immersive experience. Ingeniously structured and so damn entertaining; this novel is as ambitious as its heroines—but it never falls from the sky.”—Kirkus Reviews [starred review]

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Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

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This modern take on the classic novel A Room with a View also follows a young woman named Lucie as she travels through Italy with her aunt, accepts a marriage proposal, and falls in love with the “wrong” person. This is a fun, charming story from the author of Crazy Rich Asians.

“A summer romp with a satirical sting”— NPR

“A deliciously fun romp from Capri to Manhattan and East Hampton. Kwan is in fine form, gleefully name-dropping luxury brands and socialites as he spins a heartfelt, satirical tale that observes the price of fame, fortune and following your heart.”
BookPage

“True love will find a way, even among the status-obsessed and filthy rich… [With] irresistibly knowing humor and delightful central characters… While he’s engineering the timeless love story and continuing our postgraduate education in all the things money can buy, Kwan manages to take a few swipes against snobbery and racism. Nice. This is the only way you’re getting to Capri this year. Why resist?”Kirkus 

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Justice and Mercy: a Post Civil War Mystery by Lea Wait

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The author, Lea Wait, died last year and was known for her cozy mysteries, though this one is an historical mystery. It was independently published. I really liked this book.

It’s April of 1865, disabled Civil War veteran lawyer Aaron Stone, visiting his Aunt Cornelia in upstate New York State and hoping to end the pain and nightmares only opium and morphine can mitigate, finds a bludgeoned body revealed by receding Erie Canal flood waters. He determines to identify the unknown man and bring peace to that man’s family.

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The Paris Library: a Novel by Janet Skeslien Charles

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Odile is excited about starting her new job at the American Library in Paris in 1939. Years later in 1983, Odile is a widow living in Montana. What happened in between? The Paris Library alternates between these two eras as it follows Odile’s experience living through the Nazi occupation, and the friendship she strikes up with a young woman who lives next door in Montana. The Paris Library is a great historical novel that also celebrates the power of libraries.

“A love letter to Paris, the power of books, and the beauty of intergenerational friendship.” (Booklist)

“As a Parisian, an ardent bookworm, and a longtime fan of the American Library in Paris, I devoured The Paris Library in one hungry gulp. It is charming and moving, with a perfect balance between history and fiction.” (Tatiana de Rosnay, New York Times bestselling author of Sarah’s Key )

“A fresh take on WWII France that will appeal to bibliophiles everywhere. I fell in love with Odile and Lily, with their struggles and triumphs, from the very first page. Meticulously researched, The Paris Library is an irresistible, compelling read.” (Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls)

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Why Peacocks?: An Unlikely Search for Meaning in the World’s Most Magnificent Bird by Sean Flynn

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What a sparkler of a book!  This book is a memoir about a family of 2 journalist parents, their 2 sons, their move from city life to North Carolina suburbs and their accidental pet choices.   It is woven with wit and wonder, reflecting on the mysterious allure of peacocks. I enjoyed every minute reading this book.

“[Flynn’s] writing is often witty, sometimes glorious, and his tales wry and charming…Something magical happens to this hard-bitten reporter as he gets to know his peacocks…a fine starting point to finding meaning in a world both cruel and beautiful.” –Sy Montgomery for the New York Times Book Review

“Wry and moving.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A truly wise and tender sparkler of a book. Weaving memoir, history, reportage, and mythology, Sean Flynn tells not just a quirky story about iridescent birds but a more profound one about family and parenthood, the innocence of childhood and our own mortality. I read it in one gulp, moved and humored and carried away by Flynn’s heart and artistry as a master storyteller.” —Michael Paterniti, author of the New York Times bestseller The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

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Beneficence by Meredith Hall

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“A quiet gem of a first novel. The author’s lyrical prose and stark portrayal of grief and guilt…is conveyed so movingly this story is hard to put down. With language poetic in its cadence and capable of seamlessly transporting our minds and emotions to another place and time, this accomplished debut will be welcomed by readers of authors such as Willa Cather, Alice Munro, Amy Tan, or Lisa See.”―Library Journal

Beneficence is amazing in its vision. Luminous. With wisdom and compassion, Meredith Hall writes about the capacity for atonement. Beneficence, then. Goodness. Generosity to see deeply, to live through fear and pain on your journey toward the awareness of splendor.”―Ursula Hegi

“These voices from the past speak so clearly to our time, at a moment when many of us wonder whether we’ll lose the things that we consider blessings….Beneficence is a quiet but steady book, one that echoes ancient and important rhythms.”―Washington Post

“Spare but decked with moments of crystalline beauty…. A family flounders in grief, but finds their way home through forgiveness and acceptance, in Beneficence, Meredith Hall’s gorgeous and moving new novel.”―Foreword, starred review

Readers of Kent Haruf would like this book.

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My Broken Language: a Memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes

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Lin-Manual Miranda (creator of Hamilton) wrote the music and lyrics for the musical In the Heights, soon to be released as a movie June, 2021.  This is the fabulous book that inspired Miranda. The author’s energized use of English, Spanglish, Spanish and music colors a rich world journey from the North Philly Heights to Yale.  I loved the whole experience of reading each page of this book.

“Quiara Alegría Hudes is a bona fide storyteller about the people she loves—especially the women in her family who cook, talk, light candles, and conjure the spirits. Enormously empathetic and funny, My Broken Language is rich with unflinching observations that bring us in close, close, without cloaking the details. The language throughout is gorgeous and so moving. I love this book.”—Angie Cruz, author of Dominicana

“Every line of this book is poetry. From North Philly to all of us, Hudes showers us with aché, teaching us what it looks like to find languages of survival in a country with a ‘panoply of invisibilities.’ Hudes paints unforgettable moments on every page for mothers and daughters and all spiritually curious and existential human beings. This story is about Latinas. But it is also about all of us.”—Maria Hinojosa, Emmy Award–winning journalist and author of Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

“Joyful, righteous, indignant, self-assured, exuberant: These are all words that could describe Quiara Alegría Hudes’s My Broken Language. The celebrated playwright calls her language broken, but in this extraordinary memoir she actually remakes language so that it speaks to her world. . . . Hudes’s first name is an invented endearment, a form of the verb querer, which means “to love.” . . . There may be no better compliment to the author of this marvelous, one-of-a-kind memoir than to say she truly lives up to her name. With My Broken Language, she has invented a language of love and to-the-bone happiness to tell stories only a Perez woman could share.”BookPage (starred review)

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Northern Spy by Flynn Berry

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A gripping, suspenseful page-turner that follows two sisters living in Northern Ireland. Once I started, this was hard to put down!

“[A] twisting . . . emotional thriller . . . Berry’s portrayal of Irish life is uncannily accurate . . . dropping readers headfirst into the emotions of living in conflict.” —Booklist (starred review) 

“A chilling, gorgeously written tale of a modern community poisoned by ancient grievances . . . Berry is a beautiful writer with a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of this most complicated of places.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Thrillingly good . . . Flynn Berry shows a le Carré-like flair for making you wonder what’s really going on at any given moment . . . Berry won an Edgar for Under the Harrow in 2017. Here comes another contender.” —The Washington Post

“A taut and compassionate thriller . . . [and a] reflection on personal choice and consequence . . . A poignant and lyrical novel that asks what is worth sacrificing for peace.” —Kirkus (starred review)

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Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

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“Boulley, herself an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, writes from a place of love for her community and shares some key teachings from her culture, even mixing languages within the context of the story. She doesn’t shy away from or sugar-coat the very real circumstances that plague reservations across the country, and she tackles these through her biracial hero who gets involved in the criminal investigation into the corruption that led to this pain. An incredible thriller, not to be missed.” ―BooklistStarred Review

“A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Though Firekeeper’s Daughter contains gripping action sequences and gasp-inducing twists, it’s Daunis’ mission of self-discovery, which begins as a low and steady growl and grows to a fierce, proud roar, that has the most impact… Though it both shocks and thrills, in the end, what leaves you breathless is Firekeeper’s Daughter’s blazing heart.” ―BookPageStarred Review

Immersive and enthrallingFirekeeper’s Daughter plunges the reader into a community and a landscape enriched by a profound spiritual tradition. Full of huge characters and spellbinding scenes, it gives a fascinating insight into life on and off the reservation, with Daunis as a tough and resourceful heroine through every vicissitude.” ―Financial Times

**While this book may be classified as Young Adult in some libraries, I surely enjoyed reading it as an adult.

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