Laona’s February Recommendation

The History of Us by Leah Stewart

history of us“I just finished The History of Us by Leah Stewart.  This is domestic fiction focusing on grief, adulthood and responsibility.  I like domestic fiction because it allows me to lose myself in the issues of some other family (where the problems are far from mine).  This was a good read for a cold winter day underneath my fleecy blanket where I was safe from Eloise’s problems.  Library Journal says: ‘Eloise Hempel is the de facto mother to three twentysomething siblings, having become their primary caregiver after their parents were killed in a car accidents. Always planning to put her life back on track as a Harvard professor, Eloise has found herself rooted in Cincinnati for 20 years as she parented her sister’s children to adulthood.'”

Read about or request this book from the library catalog! 

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O’Nan

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logelin

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley



Dorothy’s February Recommendation

In the Castle of the Flynns by Michael Raleigh

in the castles of the flynnsDorothy says that this is “A funny, poignant, bildungsroman about an 8-year-old orphan raised by his Chicago Irish extended family, grandparents, bachelor uncles, and the obligatory nun”.  Here is a partial review from Book List: “The McCourt brothers can move over.  The Chicago branch of the Irish mafia weighs in with a hilarious rendition of an Irish Catholic childhood, circa 1955…his [Raleigh’s] familiar, superior sense of place is here, but he adds an orphan, a family burdened by the love of drink and blessed with the gift of gab, a beautiful and brilliant nun, and a charismatic, slightly dangerous uncle”.

Read about or request this book from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald

Anna’s February Recommendation

Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull

summer and birdis a story of two sisters searching for their missing mother in the alternate reality of Down.  It is also a story of rediscovery, broken dreams, and forgiveness–even when it seems impossibly difficult.  Catmull skillfully weaves fairy-tale elements with realistic family dynamics in a writing style that evokes the bare cleverness of e.e. cummings’ works”.

Read about or request this title from the online catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction, Children’s/Teen)

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

3 Similar Reads (Fiction, Adult)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Rebecca’s December Recommendation

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

This debut novel depicts the end of the world through the eyes of Julia, a 12-year-old girl living in California.  The apocalypse is not caused by plague or war, but by the age of miraclesgradual slowing of the Earth’s rotation.  Walker’s melancholy and spare writing make this “end of the world event” even scarier than the former options.  Julia’s realization that the world is coming to an end is slow, which I believe makes for a very realistic story.  However, while I love all novels the depict the apocalypse in some way, this is not the reason why I ultimately loved this one.  For me, the best part of the novel was how Walker told a brilliant coming of age story through the character of Julia; despite, or maybe because of, the apocalypse, the themes of love, puberty, and family were told poignantly and with great emotional depth.  This novel will appeal to lovers of lyrical writing, well-developed characters, and deliberate storytelling.  The coming of age story also makes for a great young adult/teen crossover.

Read about or request Age of Miracles from the online catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Mara and Dann: An Adventure by Doris Lessing

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

The Weather Makers by Tim F. Flannery

On Thin Ice by Richard Ellis

Annals of the Former World by John McPhee

Dorothy’s December Recommendation

Elsewhere by Richard Russo

“This is novelist Richard Russo’s new memoir.  Here is a description elsewherefrom the SWAN online catalog: ‘After eight commanding works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize winner now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape.’ While you are waiting for this book, read any of his novels.  My favorite is Empire Falls for which Russo won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002.”

Read about or request Elsewhere from the online catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Winter Journal by Paul Auster

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

America America by Ethan Canin

After This by Alice McDermott

Ashley’s October Recommendation

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

“This is a children’s title that may have adult appeal.  Here is a book description: ‘Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.’ The book is a really interesting look at friendship and what it’s like to be pushed to your limits by a friend. The story also shows an adolescent coming to terms with change and difficult circumstances in an emotionally thoughtful way.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Slob by Ellen Potter (Access to library catalog here!)

2) From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (Access to library catalog here!)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? by Rachel Balducci (Access to library catalog here!)

2) King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography by Chris Crutcher (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Yes, Your Parents Are Crazy! by Michael Bradley (Access to library catalog here!)

Mary Ann’s September Recommendation

The Red House by Mark Haddon

“Have you ever vacationed with your adult siblings and their families?  If so, you’ll recognize the events in this book.  Backgrounds are revealed, resentments aired, and new understandings ensue.  All characters are developed; the teens in the novel get as much attention as the parents.  The Washington Post review has a fine description of the novel: ‘Haddon wends a careful path…between the effervescent comedy of quirky families and the bitter tragedy of dysfunctional ones.’ Haddon also wrote The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a fascinating look at the world seen from the point-of-view of an autistic teen.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander (Access to library catalog here!)

2) The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (Access to library catalog here!)

3) The Tax Inspector by Peter Carey (Access to llibrary catalog here!)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson (Access to library catalog here!)

2) I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed by Kyria Abrahams (Access to library catalog here!)

3) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (Access to library catalog here!)