Mary Ann’s April Recommendation

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

the paying guests

Mary Ann says:  “Frances Wray lost two brothers in World War I.  She and her mother have to rent rooms in their London home to make ends meet.  A young couple from a ‘lower class’ move in.  Fine character development and vivid atmosphere.  Some of the reviews reveal too much about the eyebrow-raising plot points, so don’t read them before the book.”

3 Similar Reads

Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue – “Donoghue shows her mastery of eighteenth-century England and epic storytelling in this first novel about a young woman named Mary Saunders, who was born poor and destined to remain so. Taking as her premise the true crimes of the real-life Mary Saunders, Donoghue paints a colorful and complex life led amid the dirt and filth of lower-class London streets.” – Booklist

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell – “On an Illinois farm in the 1920s, a man is murdered, and in the same moment the tenuous friendship between two lonely boys comes to an end. In telling their interconnected stories, American Book Award winner William delivers a masterfully restrained and magically evocative meditation on the past.” – Summary from publisher

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932:  A Novel by Francine Prose – “A richly imagined and stunningly inventive story of love, art, and betrayal in Paris of the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.” – Summary from publisher

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Karen’s April Recommendation

Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

dead wake

Karen says:  “I would recommend Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.  Wow.  Written with Erik Larson’s usual meticulous attention to detail.  A gripping history lesson, focusing on the Lusitania, the German U-boat that launched the fatal torpedo, top secret Room 40 and the many lives affected by the sinking of the ship.  Riveting to the end.”

3 Similar Reads

Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage:  The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World by Hugh Brewster – “This work unabashedly focuses on Titanic’s first-class passengers, the best-known on the ship, whose lives were the most carefully documented.” – Library Journal

Lusitania:  Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age by Greg King – “Unlike the fate of the Titanic, sunk three years earlier when it crashed into an iceberg, the deliberate sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat in 1915 has been shrouded in mystery and intrigue that continue even as the 100th anniversary of the tragedy approaches.  Was the British ocean liner carrying munitions that exploded after it was torpedoed?  Was it part of a deliberate plot by the British government to lure the U.S. into WWI?” – Booklist

Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy by Diana Preston – “The destruction of the liner Lusitania in 1915 is two stories rolled into one:  a Titanic-type tale of personal catastrophes and a still murky diplomatic incident of the first order.” – Booklist

Joanna’s April Recommendation

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

still alice

Joanna says:  “My recommendation for April is Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Published in 2007, this one has been on our shelves for a while, but the upcoming release of the film version of the book piqued my interest.  Written from the perspective of protagonist Alice Howland, a Harvard University professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the reader is taken on a heartbreaking journey as Alice beings to lose all the things that brought meaning to her life.”

3 Similar Reads

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante – “Implicated in the murder of her best friend, Jennifer White, a brilliant retired surgeon with dementia, struggles with fractured memories of their complex relationship and wonders if she actually committed the crime.”  Summary from catalog

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers – “Late one night, near the Platte River in Kearney, Nebraska, where the sandhill cranes pause every year in their spectacular migration, Mark Schluter flips his truck. Brain damaged, he develops Capgras syndrome, which makes him think that his sister, Karin, is an impostor.” – Booklist

Cost by Roxana Robinson – “The mildly strained Lambert family is in terrible trouble. New York art professor Julia is spending the summer in her ramshackle Maine home with her very elderly parents.” – Library Journal

Sue’s March Recommendation

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

storied life of aj fikrySue says:  “What book lover could resist a store about an independent book store owner with a quirky name?  A.J. Fikry is a reclusive 39-year-old widow who filters his life through the lens of his favorite books.  When a sweet toddler unexpectedly enters his life, he is forced to open his heart and his world.  This is a feel good book, with a great cast of eccentric secondary characters.  It was gentle, sweet, safe, and predictable—a nice easy read for a dreary, gray March weekend.”

Does this sound interesting?  Click here for a sample!

3 Similar Reads

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – “It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London.  As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm and charming long-distance friendship lasting many years.” – Summary from publisher

The Family Man by Elinor Lipman – “Henry Archer is a comfortably well-off and recently retired lawyer who has been divorced for decades.  When his ex-wife reenters his life, she brings with her the entanglements of her daughter, Thalia, the stepchild Henry loved and lost during the divorce.  Determined to reforge a connection with the now grown Thalia, Henry soon becomes embroiled in a much larger life than he expected.” – Library Journal

The Bad Book Affair by Ian Sansom – “Israel Armstrong lends the library’s copy of American Pastoral to a troubled teenage girl and soon she disappears.  Israel thinks there may be a connection, but he needs figure out what it is and find the girl, all while dealing with the trauma of a breakup and his impending 30th birthday.” – Summary from catalog

Genna’s February Recommendation

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

smoke gets in your eyes

Genna says:  “For fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff or HBO’s Six Feet Under, you might like this title.

You wouldn’t normally think that a book about death and cremation would be an entertaining read, but Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was fascinating! I can see why it made it to the New York Times Bestsellers list.

The author relates her experiences working at a crematory and later going to mortuary school – but she also intertwines the history and customs of death both in our culture and outside of the United States.
 –
She discusses death in a way that feels very accessible, and though there were a few gross-out passages, you will also feel as though you are getting a history lesson. The author’s B.A. in Medieval History served her well in crafting a story that is both engaging and historical.
Doughty’s memoir is very easy to read and highly entertaining. If you aren’t too squeamish, then check it out. She is also a very popular blogger and has a web series called Ask a Mortician.”
3 Similar Reads

Margaret’s September Recommendation

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

“Collins has written a strong conclusion to her Hunger Games series.  Fans will not be disappointed except in that this is the last book in the popular trilogy.  As in the first two books, there is thrilling adventure, political intrigue, romance, and true friendship.  Yet, this final book also challenges the reader with some bigger questions about the impact of war, even when it is deemed necessary or just.  The book is not,however, weighed down by message, it is a fabulously gripping story.  Teens and adults who haven’t discovered the Hunger Games are in for an intense ride.  As a teen librarian, I am grateful to Collins for writing such a quality series that appeals to both boys and girls, men and women. This series has provided much disucssion and excitement amongst our teens.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog.

This book is located in the library at the CALL # TEEN FICTION COLLINS.

Sue’s September Recommendation

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

“My book recommendation is Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.  Verghese is a renowned physician as well as a graduate of the Iowa
Writers Workshop. He writes eloquently about matters of the human body as well as the human heart.  Set in Ethiopia and spanning 40+ years,
it is an epic story of twin Indian brothers, whose lives are inescapably intertwined with each other and with the lives of the staff and patients at the mission hospital where they are born.  It is
a beautiful and engaging story about the duality of the human condition–love and betrayal, selfishness and self-sacrifice,
accusation and forgiveness, and life and death.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog.

In the library, this book is located at CALL # FICTION VERGHESE.