Friday, June 25, 2010

decisions, decisions

Here are the books that have been suggested so far [deadline to Carolyn is July 2nd] for our next round of book selections. We're going to pick our next five books from this list at our July 16th gathering.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

"Set in a land where long winters drive residents to unthinkable acts, this is the story of a wealthy Wisconsin foundry owner who gets more than he bargins for when he orders a mail-order bride. Determined to quickly change from new bride to wealthy widon, his wife is as surprised as the reader to discover the sexual intensity of this quiet man. Many secrets. Many lies. Very sensual."
-- Beth Golay, Watermark Books

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

"Sometimes, if you are very lucky, fate gives you a special friend. Denny's friend Enzo will stand by him through some of the best and worst times of his life, his faith in Denny bone deep. Enzo is a dog, a dog with a very old soul. Denny is a race car driver with natural talent, but sometimes life gets in the way of natural talent, and the road can have sharp bends. Suffused with humor, love, pain, and valor, this should be one of the year's best books!"
-- Dean Stonehouse, Sunriver Books

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

“It is a feat to bring off a serious, historical novel in which the history doesn't overwhelm the human story and the human tale simply uses the history as furniture. In this most impressive, captivating debut, Amirrezvani's novel of a young woman finding her way into life in 17th-century Iran does justice to both story and history.”
-- Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

After an arranged marriage to Chanu, a man twenty years older, Nazneen is taken to London, leaving her home and heart in the Bangladeshi village where she was born. Her new world is full of mysteries. How can she cross the road without being hit by a car (an operation akin to dodging raindrops in the monsoon)? What is the secret of her bullying neighbor Mrs. Islam? What is a Hell's Angel? And how must she comfort the naive and disillusioned Chanu?

As a good Muslim girl, Nazneen struggles to not question why things happen. She submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes herself to her husband and daughters. Yet to her amazement, she begins an affair with a handsome young radical, and her erotic awakening throws her old certainties into chaos.
-- IndieBound

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

"Ellis Lacey has no apparent future in rural Ireland, and with the help of a priest makes her way to a Catholic enclave in Brooklyn. Uncanny in its evocation of a young coming of age, and of a city coming of age, Brooklyn is at once interior and ironic, distanced and involving. Toibin, who is masterful here in his depiction of Brooklyn and Ireland circa 1950, and of such issues as self determination, love of country, love of family, and of course, sexual love. Perfect for book groups!"
-- Betsy Burton, The King's English

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel

"Amy Hempel is a master of the short story. This celebrated volume gather together her complete work -- four short collections of stunning stories about marriages, minor disasters, and moments of revelation.

With her inimitabel compassion and wit, Hempel introduces characters who make choices that seem inevitable, and whose longings and misgivings evake eternal human experience."
-- IndieBound

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande

"At once tough-minded and humane, Complications is a new kind of medical writing, nuanced and lucid, unafraid to confront the conflicts and uncertainties that lie at the heart of modern medicine, yet always alive to the possibilities of wisdom in this extraordinary endeavor.

None surpass Gawande in the ability to create a sense of immediacy, in his power to conjure the reality of the ward, the thrill of the moment-by-moment medical or surgical drama. Complications impresses for its truth and authenticity, virtues that it owes to its author being as much forceful writer as uncompromising character."
-—The New York Times Book Review

Earth Abides by George R Stewart

A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.
-- IndieBound

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

“Anyone who read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will not be disappointed in Stieg Larsson's latest. Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant -- and odd -- hacker, finds herself not only a murder suspect, but also a victim. With a plot that includes the sex trade in Sweden, this is a novel that will keep you up all night!”
-- Carol Katsoulis, Anderson's Bookshop

Gringo Nightmare: A Young American Framed for Murder in Nicaragua by Eric Volz

“A chilling tale of how political pressure and a rigged judicial process led to the conviction of an innocent man, and a powerful story of how one man’s faith in the truth, combined with grassroots pressure from people around the world who had never met Eric Volz, eventually helped to end an unjust imprisonment.”
---KC Johnson, coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Until Proven Innocent

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman

"The author of such bestselling novels as "Seventh Heaven" and "Practical Magic" creates her most glorious fictional world to date in a spellbinding tale of love and obsession. After nearly 20 years of living in California, March Murray and her daughter Gwen return to March's small Massachusetts hometown. Thrust into the world of her past, March slowly comes to realize the complexity of the choices made by those around her, including Hollis, the boy she loved--now the man she can't seem to stay away from."
-- IndieBound

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

“This stunning and compassionate novel brings faraway places near and makes incredible experiences real. From London to Nigeria, you'll grip the book tightly in your hands and hold its characters close to your heart: a young girl, a tormented idealistic journalist, and a fearless mother whose fierce love is a wonder.”
-- Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhonda Janzen

“Poet Rhoda Janzen has an intriguingly honest and witty way with language, and a personality and unique story to match. This insightful memoir is simultaneously humorous and touching -- a rare combination you certainly don't want to miss.”
-- Kerry Hartwick, The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop

The Passage by Justin Cronin

“Justin Cronin's incredible imagination takes the reader on a ride that is engrossing, thought-provoking, terrifying and above all, immensely entertaining. A diverse and engaging cast of characters dot the landscape in this sweeping novel that is both fantastical science fiction and heartbreaking drama. An absolutely thrilling read, The Passage is destined to reach a huge audience and leave everyone wanting more.”
-- Tiffany Miner, Book People

The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

On the eve of the Second World War, a young Chinese man is sent to his family's summer home in Japan to recover from tuberculosis. He will rest, swim in the salubrious sea, and paint in the brilliant shoreside light. It will be quiet and solitary. But he meets four local residents - a lovely young Japanese girl and three older people. What then ensues is a tale that readers will find at once classical yet utterly unique. Young Stephen has his own adventure, but it is the unfolding story of Matsu, Sachi, and Kenzo that seizes your attention and will stay with you forever. Tsukiyama, with lines as clean, simple, telling, and dazzling as the best of Oriental art, has created an exquisite little masterpiece.
-- GoodReads

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline

“Scottoline shares her life over the course of a year in this insightful and humorous book, reflecting on family, aging in today's American culture, regrettable paint choices, electronic devices that think for us, education, haircuts, Thanksgiving, and the press. You'll be laughing out loud over her observations about life and the bizarre nature of things.”
-- Natalie Glenn, Red-Tail Books

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Indie Next List for Reading Groups

Numero Uno

Here is the Top Ten List from the always excellent Indie Next guide for reading groups:

1. Little Bee by Chris Cleave

2. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

3. The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

4. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

5. Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven

6. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

7. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

8. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

9. Driftless by David Rhodes

10. Jarrettsville by Cornelia Nixon