Lisa’s January Recommendations

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

the secret life of violet grant“This follow-up to One Hundred Summers is the story of two women whose dreams are challenged by society and familial expectations. Violet Schuyler is an intelligent young woman who is naïve to the ways of the world when she meets Dr. Walter Grant, the noted physical chemist, who champions Violet’s scientific career, and her gratitude leads her to fall in love with him. But she soon finds herself trapped in an unhappy marriage. Then Violet’s husband’s former protégé, Lionel Richardson, arrives, leading her to a crisis point. In 1960s New York, Vivian Schuyler wants to write magazine articles instead of spending her days fetching coffee for her editor. When she receives a suitcase that once belonged to her scandalous Aunt Violet, rumored to have murdered her husband in 1914 and run off with her lover, Vivian is determined to uncover the truth. VERDICT Williams’s latest is another absorbing page-turner filled with romance and secrets but with some flaws. While Violet’s narrative will captivate readers with its intrigue and the protagonist’s struggles, Vivian’s story is less compelling and the plot strains believability toward the end. Fans of the earlier work will be delighted by the cameo appearance of Lily and other characters from that novel.” – Library Journal

Does this sound interesting?  Click here for a sample!

2 Similar Reads

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig

The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin

the beautiful american“As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing sixteen-year-old daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emerged from the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts to survive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter’s life. Lee suffers from what she witnessed as a war correspondent photographing the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.” – Goodreads (note:  this book is not available at the River Forest Public Library.  It may be held via SWAN)

2 Similar Reads

Dream When You’re Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Lisa’s March Recommendation

Calling Me HomeCalling Me Home by Lisa Kibler

“I highly recommend “Calling Me Home” by Julie Kibler.  It is similar to “The Help” in subject, although it does deal with a biracial relationship. I loved it”

You can find the publisher’s summary as well as more reviews on this title from the library catalog. 

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

                                                   The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

                                       Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund

Ashley’s January Recommendation

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

“Our online catalog offers this description of Flight Behavior: ‘Tired of living on a failing farm and suffering oppressive poverty, bored housewife Dellarobia Turnbow, on the way to meet a potential lover, is detoured by a miraculous event on the Appalachian mountainside that ignites a flight behaviormedia and religious firestorm that changes her life forever.’  I’d simply add that this miracles turns out to be an ecological disturbance that the characters in the books must face.  Kingsolver writes stories that marry down to earth characters with the earth.  Her work weaves in information about plants, bugs and animals and relates them to people.  She gives the environmental movement a deeply human context.  Flight Behavior is no exception.  The character transformation in this novel cannot be emphasized enough.  Dellarobia goes from discontented housewife to budding scientist–all because of an environmental phenomenon that occurs on her mountain.  This tranformation has a lasting impact on her relationship with her friends and family–many of whom experience their own transformations throughout the novel.”

Read about or request this novel from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

Goodnight, Texas by William J. Cobb

Anthill by Edward O. Wilson

The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

Sue’s January Recommendation

The Happiness Project, Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the
Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally
Have More Fun
by Gretchen Rubin. 

The Happiness Project“I received this book as a gift right after the holidays and it was just what I needed to kick start my new year.  Rubin is funny and honest and her writing style is familiary and relaxed.  Rubin asserts that everyone has to define their own version of ‘happiness’, but by sharing her trials and tribulations, she makes me want to work harder at keeping my focus on things that are truly important in life.”  Julia recommended this book exactly one year ago! Click here to see what Julia had to say.

Read about or request this title from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

The Year of Yes: A Memoir by Maria Dahvana Headley

Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living by Doug Fine

Mennonite In A Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Escape by Barbara Delinsky

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

Ellen’s December Recommendation

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Here is summary of this book from the online catalog: “In this irresistible memoir, the #1 New York Times bestselling author writes about her life and the lives of women today, lots of candleslooking back and ahead–and celebrating it all–as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all that stuff in our closets, and more”.  Ellen says, “I have always enjoyed Anna Quindlen’s writing, and this work is no exception.  Her stories are encouraging, though-provoking, sometimes comforting and sometimes discomforting.  She says, ‘First I was who I was.  The I didn’t know who I was.  Then I invented someone and became her.  Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again'”.  Claudia also recommended this book in November! Click here to access a list of readalikes!

Read about or request this book from the library catalog!

Claudia’s November Recommendation

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

“Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anna Quindlen looks back in this memoir on what has mattered most to her over sixty years.  Her wit and insight shine through as she puts into words thoughts I could certainly relate to.  Comments relating to her present and future are also illuminating and humorous.”

Read about or request Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

2) Forward From Here by Reeve Lindbergh

2) The Slippery Year by Melanie Gideon

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Testimony by Anita Shreve

2) This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

3) On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry

Kim’s January Recommendation

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

“While the cover shows a beach scene, and indeed, much of the action centers on a multi-generational summer home on the coast of Maine, this is more than a summer beach read.  The women of the Kelleher family keep secrets, confront their past, and try to relate with one another on their own terms.  Pour a cool drink, keep the afghan handy, and explore interesting family dynamics.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog