| Sin in the Second City
Chicago, the saying goes, ain't ready for reform. It certainly wasn't in 1899, when sisters Ada and Minna "Everleigh" (real name: Simms) opened their brothel. As Abbott's jaunty history relates, their whorehouse was not a tawdry bang barn for johns with a nickel but a glitzy palace of paid pleasure for plutocrats. Ada and Minna's Everleigh Club prospered, protected by payoffs to Chicago's legendary political crooks "Bathhouse" Coughlin and "Hinky Dink" Kenna, but the bordello's brazenness mobilized moralists alarmed by vice, so-called white slavery in particular. An entertaining read, by turns bawdy and sad, Abbott's account extends beyond local history because the campaign against Ada and Minna had lasting national effects: the closure of urban red-light districts and the passage of the federal Mann Act concerning prostitution.
| The Zookeeper's Wife
Jan Zabinski, the innovative director of the Warsaw Zoo, and Antonina, his empathic wife, lived joyfully on the zoo grounds during the 1930s with their young son, Ryszard (Polish for lynx), and a menagerie of animals needing special attention. The zoo was badly damaged by the Nazi blitzkrieg, and their bit of paradise would have been utterly destroyed but for the director of the Berlin Zoo, Lutz Heck, who wanted Jan's help in resurrecting extinct "pure-blooded species" in pursuit of Aryan perfection in the animal kingdom. Resourceful and courageous, the Zabinskis turned the decimated zoo into a refuge and saved the lives of several hundred imperiled Jews.
| The Book of Dahlia
Meet Dahlia Finger: twenty-nine, depressed, whip-smart, occasionally affable, bracingly honest, resolutely single, and perennially unemployed. She spends her days stoned in front of the TV, watching the same movies repeatedly, like "a form of prayer." But Dahlia's so-called life is upended by an aggressive, inoperable brain tumor. Stunned and uncomprehending, Dahlia must work toward reluctant emotional reckoning with the aid of a questionable self-help guide. She obsessively revisits the myriad heartbreaks, disappointments, rages, and regrets that comprise the story of her life -- from her parents' haphazard Israeli courtship to her kibbutz conception; from the role of beloved daughter and little sister to that of abandoned, suicidal adolescent; from an affluent childhood in Los Angeles to an aimless existence in the gentrified wilds of Brooklyn; from a girl with "options" to a girl with none -- convinced that cancer struck because she herself is somehow at fault.
| Undaunted Courage
||Stephen E. Ambrose||
In this sweeping adventure story, Stephen E. Ambrose, the bestselling author of "D-Day", presents the definitive account of one of the most momentous journeys in American history. Ambrose follows the Lewis and Clark Expedition from Thomas Jefferson's hope of finding a waterway to the Pacific, through the heart-stopping moments of the actual trip, to Lewis's lonely demise on the Natchez Trace. Along the way, Ambrose shows us the American West as Lewis saw it -- wild, awsome, and pristinely beautiful. "Undaunted Courage" is a stunningly told action tale that will delight readers for generations.
| Devil's Garden
San Francisco, September 1921: Silent-screen comedy star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is throwing a wild party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel-girls, jazz, bootleg hooch...and a dead actress named Virginia Rappe. The D.A. says it was Arbuckle who killed her- crushed her under his weight-and brings him up on manslaughter charges. William Randolph Hearst's newspapers stir up the public and demand a guilty verdict. In desperation, Arbuckle's defense team hires an operative from the famed Pinkerton detective agency to investigate and, they hope, discover the truth. The agent's name is Dashiell Hammett... and what he discovers will change American legal history-and his own life- forever
At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen's last completed novel. Set in the fasionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.
| God's Gift to Women
A smooth talker. An even better listener. And handsome as heaven on earth. He is God's Gift to Women. Julian Payne gets into bed with millions of women every night. As an after-hours radio talk-show host, Julian captivates his female audience with his deep voice and sensitive spirit. But when it comes to his own romantic life, or lack thereof, he's at a loss for words. A widower and father to ten-year-old Samantha, Julian wants nothing more than to settle down again with the right woman. Just when he thinks he's found her, Julian is confronted by a ghost from the past: Olivia Brown, a woman with whom he had a one-night stand. Suddenly Julian finds himself in a situation with a woman who's determined to win him over...or make his life a living hell.
| Peninsula of Lies
Born in England, Dawn began life as a boy named Gordon Langley Hall, the son of servants at Sissinghurst Castle, the estate of Vita Sackville-West. In his twenties he made his way to New York, where he wrote about and befriended great society ladies. A small fortune inherited from Isabel Whitney allowed him to buy and decorate a mansion in Charleston. But Gordon's world changed in 1968 when at The Johns Hopkins Hospital he underwent one of the first sexual reassignment surgeries, scandalizing the Southern community that had welcomed him. National Book Award-winning author Edward Ball has written a detective story that unwraps Dawn's many mysteries. The result is an engrossing narrative of a person who tested every taboo, as well as the confidence of observers in their own eyes.
| The Clothes They Stood Up In & The Lady in the Van
In the nationally bestselling novel "The Clothes They Stood Up In", the staid Ransomes return from the opera to find their Regent's Park flat stripped bare--right down to the toilet-paper roll. Free of all their earthly belongings, the couple faces a perplexing question: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly a world of unlimited, frightening possibility opens up before them. In "The Lady in the Van," which The Village Voice called "one of the finest bursts of comic writing the twentieth century has produced," Bennett recounts the strange life of Miss Shepherd, a London eccentric who parked her van (overstuffed with decades' worth of old clothes, oozing batteries, and kitchen utensils still in their original packaging) in the author's driveway for more than fifteen years. A mesmerizing portrait of an outsider with an acquisitive taste and an indomitable spirit, this biographical essay is drawn with equal parts fascination and compassion.
| Evening Class
They came together at Mountainview College, a down-at-the-heels secondary school on the seamy side of Dublin, to take a course in Italian. It was Latin teacher Aidan Dunne's last chance to revive a failing marriage and a dead-end career. But Aidan's dream was headed for disaster until the mysterious Signora appeared, transforming a shared passion for Italy into a life-altering adventure for them all...
| White Cat
Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers - people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail - he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
| Liberating Paris
Woodrow McIlmore is leading the perfect life in Paris, Arkansas: married to his high school sweetheart, he has two wonderful children and a warm circle of family and friends. When Wood's daughter announces that she wants to marry a college classmate, Wood is stunned. But that's just the tip of the iceberg -- her intended is the son of the woman who left Wood twenty years earlier, the free-spirited Duff. And so begins a tumultuous year in Paris, as Duff returns and familiar sparks fly with her old flame. Their rekindled passion affects not only Wood and Duff but also their good friends, as they must now all decide what in their lives is worth keeping and what needs to be thrown away.
| Fahrenheit 451
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires... The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning ... along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames... never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think... and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!
| Something Wicked This Way Comes
What if someone discovers your secret dream, that one great wish you would do anything for? And what if that someone suddenly makes your dream come true--before you learn the price you have to pay? Something Wicked This Way Comes is the story of two boys who encounter the sinister wonders of Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show. They will soon discover the show's awful mystery-- a mystery that will change the life of every person it touches--in this stunning masterwork of dark fantasy by Ray Bradbury.
| A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
| Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
It is summer in the northwest town of Nine Mile Falls, a place where brown bears sometimes show up in the shopping mall and people in hang gliders soar down the mountains and sometimes get stuck dangling from the trees. Ruby, ordinarily dubbed The Quiet Girl, finds herself hanging out with gorgeous, rich, thrill-seeking Travis Becker. With Travis, Ruby can be someone she's never been before: Fearless. Powerful. But Ruby is in over her head, and finds she is risking more and more when she's with him. In an effort to keep Ruby occupied and mend her own broken heart, [her mother] drags Ruby to the weekly book club she runs for seniors. At first Ruby can't imagine a more boring way to spend an afternoon, but she is soon charmed by the Casserole Queens (named, quite ironically, after women who bring casseroles to new widowers' homes in hopes of snagging a husband). When the group discovers one of their own members is the subject of the tragic love story they are reading, Ann and Ruby ditch their respective obsessions to spearhead a reunion between the long-ago lovers. But this mission turns out to be more than just a road trip. Somewhere along the way Ruby and her mother learn the true meaning of love and freedom from it, individual purpose, and the real ties that bind. This lyrical, multigenerational story of love, loss, and redemption speaks to everyone who has ever been in love--and lived to tell the tale.
| The Iron Lady
Whether you love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher's impact on twentieth-century history is undeniable. From her humble, small-town upbringing to her rise to power as the United Kingdom's first female prime minister, to her dramatic fall from grace after more than three decades of service, celebrated biographer John Campbell delves into the story of this fascinating woman's life as no one has before. The result of more than nine years of meticulous research, The Iron Lady is the only balanced, unvarnished portrait of Margaret Thatcher, one of the most vital and controversial political figures of our time.
| Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
During the summer before the United States entered World War I, when ocean swimming was just becoming popular and luxurious Jersey Shore resorts were thriving as a chic playland for an opulent yet still innocent era's new leisure class, Americans were abruptly introduced to the terror of sharks. In July 1916 a lone Great White left its usual deep-ocean habitat and headed in the direction of the New Jersey shoreline. There, near the towns of Beach Haven and Spring Lake-and, incredibly, a farming community eleven miles inland-the most ferocious and unpredictable of predators began a deadly rampage: the first shark attacks on swimmers in U.S. history. For Americans celebrating an astoundingly prosperous epoch much like our own, fueled by the wizardry of revolutionary inventions, the arrival of this violent predator symbolized the limits of mankind's power against nature. Interweaving a vivid portrait of the era and meticulously drawn characters with chilling accounts of the shark's five attacks and the frenzied hunt that ensued, Michael Capuzzo has created a nonfiction historical thriller with the texture of Ragtime and the tension of Jaws. From the unnerving inevitability of the first attack on the esteemed son of a prosperous Philadelphia physician to the spine-tingling moment when a farm boy swimming in Matawan Creek feels the sandpaper-like skin of the passing shark, Close to Shore is an undeniably gripping saga. Heightening the drama are stories of the resulting panic in the citizenry, press and politicians, and of colorful personalities such as Herman Oelrichs, a flamboyant millionaire who made a bet that a shark was no match for a man (and set out to prove it); Museum of Natural History ichthyologist John Treadwell Nichols, faced with the challenge of stopping a mythic sea creature about which little was known; and, most memorable, the rogue Great White itself moving through a world that couldn't conceive of either its destructive power or its moral right to destroy.
| Ender's Game
||Orson Scott Card||
Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer-simulated war games at the Battle School; in fact, he is engaged in something far more desperate. Ender is the result of decades of genetic experimentation, Earth's attempt to make the military genius that the planet needs in its all--out war with an alien enemy. Ender Wiggin is six years old when his training begins. He will grow up fast. Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world--if the world survives.
| O Pioneers!
"The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman," writes Willa Cather in 'O Pioneers!' The country is America; the woman is Alexandra Bergson, a fiercely independent young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father's farm in Nebraska. A model of emotional strength, courage, and resolve, Alexandra fights long and hard to transform her father's patch of raw, wind-blasted prairie into a highly profitable business.
| The Yiddish Policemen's Union
For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a temporary safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.
| Death on the Nile: a Hercule Poirot Mystery
A dream honeymoon cruise for Simon and Linnet Doyle turns into a nightmare when Linnet is found shot dead. One of the ship's passengers is Jacqueline de Bellefort, Simon's jealous ex-fiance, and she has already confessed to Hercule Poirot that she wants revenge for Linnet stealing Simon from her. However, when two more murders are committed, Hercule Poirot, with the help of his friend Colonel Race, begins to see that no one on the ship is as straightforward as they first seemed.
| The Hunt for Red October
Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision: the Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. And the most incredible chase in history is on.... The Hunt for Red October is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy's phenomenal career. A military thriller so accurate and convincing that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. Its theme: the greatest espionage coup in history. Its story: the chase for a runaway top secret Russian missile sub.
| Little Bee
The publishers of Chris Cleave's new novel "don't want to spoil" the story by revealing too much about it, and there's good reason not to tell too much about the plot's pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple--journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday--who should have stayed behind their resort's walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn't explain to the girls from her village because they'd have no context for its abundance and calm. But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day--with the right papers--and "no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2." Where you have to give up the safety you'd assumed as your birthright if you decide to save the girl gazing at you through razor wire, left to the wolves of a failing state.
| Heart of Darkness
In this searing tale, Seaman Marlow recounts his journey to the dark heart of the Belgian Congo in search of the elusive Mr. Kurtz. Far from civilization as he knows it, he comes to reassess not only his own values, but also those of nature and society. For in this heart of darkness, it is the fearsome face of human savagery that becomes most visible.
| Unwise Passions
||Alan Pell Crawford||
In the spring of 1793, eighteen-year-old Nancy Randolph, the fetching daughter of one of the greatest of the great Virginia tobacco planters, was accused, along with her brother-in-law, of killing her newborn son. Once one of the most sought-after young women in Virginia society, she was denounced as a ruined Jezebel, and the great orator Patrick Henry and future Supreme Court justice John Marshall were retained to defend her in a sensational trial. This gripping account of murder, infanticide, prostitution charges, moral decline, and heroism that played out in the intimate lives of the nation's Founding Fathers is as riveting and revealing as any current scandal--in or out of Washington.
| Jurassic Park
Massive sums spent on biotechnology, 24 Cray supercomputers sent to a fog-shrouded island off Costa Rica, and expert advice bought from paleontologists have combined to produce the most incredible amusement park of all time. Jurassic Park is inhabited by real dinosaurs, over 200 of them, all cloned from snippets of ancient DNA. Crichton is a master at blending technology with fiction, creating a tale all the more terrifying because it could happen. And the terror is heightened when dinosaurs escape from their barricaded area on the island, an event occasioned by the foolhardiness of relying on technology to control their range.
| Pope Joan
||Donna Woolfolk Cross||
For a thousand years men have denied her existence--Pope Joan, the woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to rule Christianity for two years. Now this compelling novel animates the legend with a portrait of an unforgettable woman who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept. When her older brother dies in a Viking attack, the brilliant young Joan assumes his identity and enters a Benedictine monastery where, as Brother John Anglicus, she distinguishes herself as a scholar and healer. Eventually drawn to Rome, she soon becomes enmeshed in a dangerous mix of powerful passion and explosive politics that threatens her life even as it elevates her to the highest throne in the Western world.
| Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years
||Sarah & Elizabeth Delany||
Warm, feisty, and intelligent, the Delany sisters speak their mind in a book that is at once a vital historical record and a moving portrait of two remarkable women who continued to love, laugh, and embrace life after over a hundred years of living side by side. Their sharp memories show us the post-Reconstruction South and Booker T. Washington; Harlem's Golden Age and Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Paul Robeson. Bessie breaks barriers to become a dentist; Sadie quietly integrates the New York City system as a high school teacher. Their extraordinary story makes an important contribution to our nation's heritage--and an indelible impression on our lives.
| Sarah's Key
||Tatiana de Rosnay||
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
| A Christmas Carol
Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like... and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill.
| The Commitments
Barrytown, Dublin, has something to sing about. The Commitments are spreading the gospel of the soul. Ably managed by Jimmy Rabitte, brilliantly coached by Joel 'The Lips' Fagan, their twin assault on Motown and Barrytown takes them by leaps and bounds from Paris Hall to immortality on vinyl. But can The Commitments live up to their name?
| The Hound of the Baskervilles
||Sir Arthur Conan Doyle||
We owe 1902's The Hound of the Baskervilles to Arthur Conan Doyle's good friend Fletcher "Bobbles" Robinson, who took him to visit some scary English moors and prehistoric ruins, and told him marvelous local legends about escaped prisoners and a 17th-century aristocrat who fell afoul of the family dog. Doyle transmogrified the legend: generations ago, a hound of hell tore out the throat of devilish Hugo Baskerville on the moonlit moor. Poor, accursed Baskerville Hall now has another mysterious death: that of Sir Charles Baskerville. Could the culprit somehow be mixed up with secretive servant Barrymore, history-obsessed Dr. Frankland, butterfly-chasing Stapleton, or Selden, the Notting Hill murderer at large? Someone's been signaling with candles from the mansion's windows. Nor can supernatural forces be ruled out. Can Dr. Watson--left alone by Sherlock Holmes to sleuth in fear for much of the novel--save the next Baskerville, Sir Henry, from the hound's fangs?
| Passing Through
Set in the farmland of Owen County, Kentucky, "Passing Through" achieves that remarkable intimacy all fiction strives for. We watch the family of Pearl Thirwell White--"Mama Pearl"--move from comedy through tragedy, from bickering and broken hearts through generosity and love, until we are no longer guests in Pearl's kitchen or at her table. Soon we are family ourselves.
| The Birth of Venus
"The Birth of Venus" is a tour de force, the first historical novel from one of Britain's most innovative writers of literary suspense. It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion, and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a heroine with the same vibrancy of spirit as her beloved city.
| A Season in Purgatory
They were the family with everything. Money. Influence. Glamour. Power. The power to halt a police investigation in its tracks. The power to spin a story, concoct a lie, and believe it was the truth. The power to murder without guilt, without shame, and without ever paying the price. America's royalty, they called the Bradleys. But an outsider refuses to play his part. And now, the day of reckoning has arrived...
| The 19th Wife
This sweeping epic is a compelling and original work set in 1875, when one woman attempts to rid America of polygamy. Ebershoff intertwines his tale with that of a 20th-century murder mystery in Utah, allowing the two stories to twist and turn into a marvelous literary experience.
| The Memory Keeper's Daughter
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by David Henry's fateful decision that long-ago winter night.
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared.
| Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America
Chosen for "one book" initiatives across the country, it has fueled nationwide campaigns for a living wage. Funny, poignant, and passionate, this revelatory firsthand account of life in low-wage America--the story of Barbara Ehrenreich's attempts to eke out a living while working as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart associate--has become an essential part of the nation's political discourse.
| The Black Dahlia
On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia-and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history.Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. But both are obsessed with the Dahlia-driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl's twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches-into a region of total madness.
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan." So starts Cal's remarkably detailed odyssey, which began when his grandparents, who were siblings, married and vowed to keep the true nature of their relationship a secret; however, their deception comes back to haunt them in the form of their grandchild. With a sure yet light-handed touch, Eugenides skillfully bends our notions of gender as we realize, along with Cal, that although he has been raised as a girl, he is more comfortable as a boy. Although at times the novel reads like a medical text, it is also likely to hold readers in thrall with its affecting characterization of a brave and lonely soul and its vivid depiction of exactly what it means to be both male and female. [Excerpt from Booklist]
| Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
When Cleo Threadgood and Evelyn Couch meet in the visitors lounge of an Alabama nursing home, they find themselves exchanging the sort of confidences that are sometimes only safe to reveal to strangers. At 48, Evelyn is falling apart: none of the middle-class values she grew up with seem to signify in today's world. On the other hand, 86-year-old Cleo is still being nurtured by memories of a lifetime spent in Whistle Stop, a pocket-sized town outside of Birmingham, which flourished in the days of the Great Depression. Most of the town's life centered around its one cafe, whose owners, gentle Ruth and tomboyish Idgie, served up grits (both true and hominy) to anyone who passed by. How their love for each other and just about everyone else survived visits from the sheriff, the Ku Klux Klan, a host of hungry hoboes, a murder and the rigors of the Depression makes lively reading--the kind that eventually nourishes Evelyn and the reader as well. [Excerpted from Publishers Weekly]
| Madame Bovary
This exquisite novel tells the story of one of the most compelling heroines in modern literature--Emma Bovary. Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor, Emma revolts against the ordinariness of her life by pursuing voluptuous dreams of ecstasy and love. But her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering corruption and downfall. A brilliant psychological portrait, "Madame Bovary" searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence. Who is Madame Bovary? Flaubert's answer to this question was superb: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1857, the work catapulted Flaubert to the ranks of the world's greatest novelists.
| A Room with a View
E.M. Forster's brilliant comedy of manners shines a gently ironic light on the attitudes and customs of the British middle class at the beginning of the 20th century. Lucy is a well-mannered Edwardian lady who finds that true love has no interest in playing by her rules. But how can she choose between what she wants and what everyone around her expects her to want? This gentle but sharp comedy has it all: surprise encounters, jealousy and revenge, conventional fools and unconventional sages, confrontation, loss, and eventual triumph.
| Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
In the 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged. More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has become the town constable. And now another girl has disappeared, forcing two men who once called each other "friend" to confront a past they've buried for decades.
| The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany
Set amid the growing tyranny of Germany's Third Reich, here is the riveting and emotional tale of Günther Goldschmidt and Rosemarie Gumpert, two courageous Jewish musicians who struggled to perform under unimaginable circumstances--and found themselves falling in love in a country bent on destroying them... While preparing to flee the ever-tightening grip of Nazi Germany for Sweden, Günther was invited to fill in for an ailing flutist with the Frankfurt Kulturbund Orchestra. It was there, during rehearsals, that he met the dazzling nineteen-year-old violist Rosemarie Gumpert--a woman who would change the course of his life. Despite their strong attraction, Günther eventually embarked for the safety of Sweden as planned, only to risk his life six months later returning to the woman he could not forget--and to the perilous country where hatred and brutality had begun to flourish. Here is Günther and Rosemarie's story, a deeply moving tale of love and the remarkable resilience of the human spirit in the face of terror and persecution.
| Skipping Christmas
Luther and Nora Krank are fed up with the chaos of Christmas. The endless shopping lists, the frenzied dashes through the mall, the hassle of decorating the tree... where has all the joy gone? This year, celebrating seems like too much effort. With their only child off in Peru, they decide that just this once, they'll skip the holidays. They spend their Christmas budget on a Caribbean cruise set to sail on December 25, and happily settle in for a restful holiday season free of rooftop snowmen and festive parties. But the Kranks soon learn that their vacation from Christmas isn't much of a vacation at all, and that skipping the holidays has consequences they didn't bargain for...
| Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's
John and Jenny were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy--and their life would never be the same. Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever who crashed through screen doors, flung drool on guests, stole women's undergarments, devoured couches and fine jewelry, and was expelled from obedience school. Yet Marley's heart was pure, and he remained a steadfast model of love and devotion for a growing family through pregnancy, birth, heartbreak, and joy, right to the inevitable goodbye.
| Water for Elephants
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
| The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order, and predictability shelter him from the messy wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing. Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents' marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher's mind.
| Same Kind of Different as Me
A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it. It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch. Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.
Pompeii, by Robert Harris, is a retelling of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius from the perspective of an ancient aqueduct engineer. It is a carefully researched modern thriller set in August A.D. 79 in Campania, where Pompeii is located. Robert Harris tells the story of corruption, politics, love, Roman superstition, slavery, and engineering, all set against the power of Mt. Vesuvius.
... "Chocolat" is a timeless novel of a straitlaced village's awakening to joy and sensuality. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival.
| To Have and Have Not
"To Have and Have Not" is the dramatic, brutal story of Harry Morgan, an honest boat owner who is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West as a means of keeping his crumbling family financially afloat. His adventures lead him into the world of the wealthy and dissipated yachtsmen who swarm the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair.
| Rocket Boys
With the grace of a natural storyteller, NASA engineer Homer Hickam paints a warm, vivid portrait of the harsh West Virginia mining town of his youth, evoking a time of innocence and promise, when anything was possible, even in a company town that swallowed its men alive. A story of romance and loss, of growing up and getting out, Homer Hickam's lush, lyrical memoir is a chronicle of triumph--at once exquisitely written and marvelously entertaining.
| Thorn in My Heart
||Liz Curtis Higgs||
In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers and two sisters each embark on a painful journey of discovery. Jamie and Evan McKie both want their father Alec's flocks and lands, yet only one brother will inherit Glentrool. Leana and Rose McBride both yearn to catch the eye of the same handsome lad, yet only one sister will be his bride. A thorny love triangle emerges, plagued by lies and deception, jealousy and desire, hidden secrets and broken promises. Brimming with passion and drama, "Thorn in My Heart" brings the past to vibrant life, revealing spiritual truths that transcend time and penetrate the deepest places of the heart.
| Dance Hall of the Dead
Two Native-American boys have vanished into thin air, leaving a pool of blood behind them. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police has no choice but to suspect the very worst, since the blood that stains the parched New Mexican ground once flowed through the veins of one of the missing, a young Zuni. But his investigation into a terrible crime is being complicated by an important archaeological dig... and a steel hypodermic needle. And the unique laws and sacred religious rights of the Zuni people are throwing impassable roadblocks in Leaphorn's already twisted path, enabling a craven murderer to elude justice... or, worse still, to kill again.
| Seventh Heaven
Nora Silk doesn't really fit in on Hemlock Street, where every house looks the same. She's divorced. She wears a charm bracelet and high heels and red toreador pants. And the way she raises her kids is a scandal. But as time passes, the neighbors start having second thoughts about Nora. The women's apprehension evolves into admiration. The men's lust evolves into awe. The children are drawn to her in ways they can't explain. And everyone on this little street in 1959 Long Island seems to sense the possibilities and perils of a different kind of future when they look at Nora Silk... This extraordinary novel by the author of The River King and Local Girls takes us back to a time when the exotic both terrified and intrigued us, and despite our most desperate attempts, our passions and secrets remained as stubbornly alive as the weeds in our well-trimmed lawns.
| About A Boy
Nick Hornby's second bestselling novel is about sex, manliness and fatherhood. Will is thirty-six, comfortable and child-free. And he's discovered a brilliant new way of meeting women - through single-parent groups. Marcus is twelve and a little bit nerdish: he's got the kind of mother who made him listen to Joni Mitchell rather than Nirvana. Perhaps they can help each other out a little bit, and both can start to act their age.
| Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he's put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart. Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance. Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, "Confederates in the Attic" brings alive old battlefields and new ones...
| A Parchment of Leaves
"So it is that Vine, Cherokee-born and raised in the early 1900s, trains her eye on a young white man, forsaking her family and their homeland to settle in with Saul's people: his smart-as-a-whip, slow-to-love mother, Esme; his brother Aaron, a gifted banjo player, hot tempered and unpredictable; and Aaron's flightly and chattery Melungeon wife, Aidia." It's a delicate negotiation into this new family and culture, one that Vine's mother had predicted would not go smoothly. But it's worse than she could have imagined. Vine is viewed as an outsider by the townspeople. Aaron, she slowly realizes, is strangely fixated on her. But what is at first difficult becomes a test of her spirit. And in the violent turn of events that ensues, she learns what it means to forgive others and, most important, how to forgive herself.
| Clay's Quilt
On a bone-chilling New Year's Day, when all the mountain roads are slick with ice, Clay's mother, Anneth, insists on leaving her husband. She packs her things, and with three-year-old Clay in tow, they inch their way toward her hometown along the treacherous mountain roads. That journey ends in the death of Clay's mother. It's a day that comes to haunt her only son, who's left without a family and a history. This is the story of how Clay Sizemore, a coal miner in love with his town but unsure of his place within it, finds a family to call his own. Authentic and moving, "Clay's Quilt" is both the story of a young man's journey and of Appalachian people struggling to hold on to their heritage.
| The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Written in 1820, Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of the earliest pieces of American fiction still in circulation. The story follows Ichabod Crane, a strange and superstitious teacher, who seeks to win the affection of Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a wealthy farmer in the town of Sleepy Hollow. Upon leaving a party hosted by the Van Tassels, Crane is chased by a Headless Horseman -- the ghost of a Hessian soldier, and disappears. While Katrina is left to marry Crane's rival, Brom Bones, the reader is left to interpret the mystery of the horseman. Irving's work ranges from thrilling, to clever and humorous, to hauntingly vivid as he moves throughout the tale.
| Never Let Me Go
From the Booker Prize-winning author of "The Remains of the Day" comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special--and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, "Never Let Me Go" is another classic by the author of "The Remains of the Day".
| A Girl Named Zippy
When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period--people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards. Laced with fine storytelling, sharp wit, dead-on observations, and moments of sheer joy, Haven Kimmel's straight-shooting portrait of her childhood gives us a heroine who is wonderfully sweet and sly as she navigates the quirky adult world that surrounds Zippy.
| The Bean Trees
Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.
| Shoeless Joe
||W. P. Kinsella||
The voice of a baseball announcer tells the Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella: "If you build it, he will come." "He" is Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ray's hero. "It" is a baseball stadium which Ray carves out of his cornfield. Like the movie FIELD OF DREAMS that was made from this novel, SHOELESS JOE is about baseball. But it's also about love and the power of dreams to make people come alive....
| The Namesake
Meet the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The name they bestow on their firstborn, Gogol, betrays all the conflicts of honoring tradition in a new world -- conflicts that will haunt Gogol on his own winding path through divided loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. In "The Namesake", the Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri brilliantly illuminates the immigrant experience and the tangled ties between generations.
| The Piano Teacher
||Janice Y. K. Lee||
In the sweeping tradition of The English Patient, Janice Y.K. Lee's debut novel is a tale of love and betrayal set in war-torn Hong Kong. In 1942, Englishman Will Truesdale falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But their affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese as World War II overwhelms their part of the world. Ten years later, Claire Pendleton comes to Hong Kong to work as a piano teacher and also begins a fateful affair. As the threads of this spellbinding novel intertwine, impossible choices emerge-between love and safety, courage and survival, the present, and above all, the past.
| Shutter Island
The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this remote and barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades--with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. But then neither is Teddy Daniels.
| The Screwtape Letters
||C. S. Lewis||
In this humorous and perceptive exchange between two devils, C. S. Lewis delves into moral questions about good vs. evil, temptation, repentance, and grace. Through this wonderful tale, the reader emerges with a better understanding of what it means to live a faithful life.
| Under a Wing: A Memoir
The world knew Charles Lindbergh as a daring aviator, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and controversial isolationist in World War II. His wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was a bestselling author. To their five children they were Father, never Daddy, and Mother. Charles, a stern yet loving father, was surprisingly affectionate and playful; Anne provided a great, gentling love. With remarkable candor, their youngest daughter provides a rare, intimate look at her legendary family... the pervasive impact of her brother's kidnapping and death... [and] appraises her remarkable parents, her unusual childhood, and the troubling questions that remain.
| Darkly Dreaming Dexter
||Jeffry P. Lindsay||
Meet Dexter Morgan. He's a highly respected lab technician specializing in blood spatter for the Miami Dade Police Department. He's a handsome, though reluctant, ladies' man. He's polite, says all the right things, and rarely calls attention to himself. He's also a sociopathic serial killer whose "Dark Passenger" drives him to commit the occasional dismemberment. Mind you, Dexter's the good guy in this story. Adopted at the age of four after an unnamed tragedy left him orphaned, Dexter's learned, with help from his pragmatic policeman father, to channel his "gift," killing only those who deal in death themselves. But when a new serial killer starts working in Miami, staging elaborately grisly scenes that are, to Dexter, an obvious attempt at communication from one monster to another, the eponymous protagonist finds himself at a loss. Should he help his policewoman sister Deborah earn a promotion to the Homicide desk by finding the fiend? Or should he locate this new killer himself, so he can express his admiration for the other's "art?" Or is it possible that psycho Dexter himself, admittedly not the most balanced of fellows, is finally going completely insane and committing these messy crimes himself?
| A Night to Remember
First published in 1955, A Night to Remember remains a completely riveting account of the Titanic's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in full evening dress; and hundreds of steerage passengers, trapped below decks, sought help in vain. Available for the first time in trade paperback and with a new introduction for the 50th anniversary edition by Nathaniel Phil-brick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Sea of Glory, Walter Lord's classic minute-by-minute re-creation is as vivid now as it was upon first publication fifty years ago. From the initial distress flares to the struggles of those left adrift for hours in freezing waters, this semicentennial edition brings that moonlit night in 1912 to life for a new generation of readers.
| The Giver
In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price. [Amazon.com Review]
| Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil? Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
| Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
||Adeline Yen Mah||
Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer. A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, "Falling Leaves" is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China.
| The Bad Seed
What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born? This is the question at the center of William March's classic thriller. After its initial publication in 1954, the book went on to become a million-copy bestseller, a wildly successful Broadway show, and a Warner Brothers film. The spine-tingling tale of little Rhoda Penmark had a tremendous impact on the thriller genre and generated a whole perdurable crop of creepy kids. Today, "The Bad Seed" remains a masterpiece of suspense that's as chilling, intelligent, and timely as ever before.
| The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
As a boy in Brooklyn's Red Hook projects, James McBride knew his mother was different. But when he asked about it, she'd simply say, "I'm light-skinned." Later he wondered if he was different too, and asked his mother if he was black or white. "You're a human being," she snapped. "Educated yourself or you'll be a nobody!" And when James asked what color God was, she said, "God is the color of water"... As an adult, McBride finally persuaded his mother to tell her story--the story of a rabbi's daughter, born in Poland and raised in the South, who fled to Harlem, married a black man, founded a Baptist church, and put twelve children through college. "The Color of Water" is James McBride's tribute to his remarkable, eccentric, determined mother and an eloquent exploration of what family really means.
| The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
||Alexander McCall Smith||
This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to "help people with problems in their lives." Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors. "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" received two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement.
| The Road
Violence, in McCarthy's postapocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions" that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea. (The man's wife, who gave birth to the boy after calamity struck, has killed herself.) They carry blankets and scavenged food in a shopping cart, and the man is armed with a revolver loaded with his last two bullets. Beyond the ever-present possibility of starvation lies the threat of roving bands of cannibalistic thugs. The man assures the boy that the two of them are "good guys," but from the way his father treats other stray survivors the boy sees that his father has turned into an amoral survivalist, tenuously attached to the morality of the past by his fierce love for his son.
| Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Perhaps it is a story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing shoes repaired with tires, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors--yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.
| The Giant's House: A Romance
The year is 1950, and in a small town on Cape Cod twenty-six-year-old librarian Peggy Cort feels like love and life have stood her up. Until the day James Carlson Sweatt--the "over-tall" eleven-year-old boy who's the talk of the town--walks into her library and changes her life forever. Two misfits whose lonely paths cross at the circulation desk, Peggy and James are odd candidates for friendship, but nevertheless they soon find their lives entwined in ways that neither one could have predicted. In James, Peggy discovers the one person who's ever really understood her, and as he grows--six foot five at age twelve, then seven feet, then eight--so does her heart and their most singular romance.
| John Adams
In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot -- "the colossus of independence," as Thomas Jefferson called him -- who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.
| God Don't Like Ugly
In her richly drawn debut novel, Mary Monroe brings to life the bond between two girls from opposite sides of the track--and the shattering event that changes their lives forever. At the heart of the story is Annette Goode, a shy, awkward, overweight child who keeps a terrible secret. Mr. Boatwright, the boarder her hardworking mother has taken in, abuses her daily. Frightened and ashamed, Annette withdraws into a world of books and food. But the summer Annette turns thirteen, something incredible happens: Rhoda Nelson chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, generous Rhoda, who is everything Annette is not--gorgeous, slim, and worldly--welcomes Annette into the heart of her eccentric family... With Rhoda's help, Annette survives adolescence and blossoms as a woman. But when her beautiful best friend makes a stunning confession about a horrific childhood crime, Annette's world will never be the same.
| All the Living
Aloma is an orphan, raised by her aunt and uncle, educated at a mission school in the Kentucky mountains. At the start of the novel, she moves to an isolated tobacco farm to be with her lover, a young man named Orren, whose family has died in a car accident, leaving him in charge. The place is rough and quiet; Orren is overworked and withdrawn. Left mostly to her own, Aloma struggles to settle herself in this lonely setting and to find beauty and stimulation where she can. As she decides whether to stay with Orren, she will choose either to fight her way to independence or accept the rigors of commitment.
| A Mercy
Nobel laureate Morrison returns more explicitly to the net of pain cast by slavery, a theme she detailed so memorably in Beloved. Set at the close of the 17th century, the book details America's untoward foundation: dominion over Native Americans, indentured workers, women and slaves. A slave at a plantation in Maryland offers up her daughter, Florens, to a relatively humane Northern farmer, Jacob, as debt payment from their owner. The ripples of this choice spread to the inhabitants of Jacob's farm, populated by women with intersecting and conflicting desires. Jacob's wife, Rebekka, struggles with her faith as she loses one child after another to the harsh New World. A Native servant, Lina, survivor of a smallpox outbreak, craves Florens's love to replace the family taken from her, and distrusts the other servant, a peculiar girl named Sorrow. When Jacob falls ill, all these women are threatened. Morrison's lyricism infuses the shifting voices of her characters as they describe a brutal society being forged in the wilderness. Morrison's unflinching narrative is all the more powerful for its relative brevity; it takes hold of the reader and doesn't let go until the wrenching final-page crescendo.
| The House at Riverton
Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they -- and Grace -- know the truth. In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever. The novel is full of secrets -- some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.
| Trapped! The Story of Floyd Collins
The true story of a Kentucky man trapped while exploring caves near Mammoth Cave, KY. The sensationalism and hysteria of the rescue attempt in early 1925 generated America's first true media spectacle, making Floyd Collins's story one of the seminal events of the century. The crowds that gathered outside Sand Cave turned the rescue site into a carnival. Collins' situation was front-page news throughout the country, hourly bulletins interrupted radio programs, and Congress recessed to hear the latest word.
| The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger's innovative debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.
| Missing Mom
||Joyce Carol Oates||
The Eatons lived for several decades in a modest ranch house in the small town of Mt. Emphraim in western New York. Nikki, the hip, independent 31-year-old narrator, is a newspaper features writer given to flirty attire. She has now truly riled her do-gooder mother, the recently widowed Gwen, and her bossy sister, Clare, mother of two, by carrying on an affair with a married man. In spite of the friction, the women are close, until a violent tragedy hits like a boulder hurled into a pond. Oates tracks every ripple in her empathic drama as she meticulously charts the daunting and transforming process of missing a lost loved one. Nikki is smart, frank, and feeling, and the reader is right there with her as she struggles to cope with the absence of her mother and an unnerving torrent of painful revelations.
| Dreams from My Father
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father--a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man--has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey--first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother's family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father's life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.
| Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever
A riveting historical narrative of the heart-stopping events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly
The year 1984 has come and gone, yet George Orwell's prophetic nightmare vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "Negative Utopia", a startlingly original and powerful novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. In the gray totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and his vast network of agents suffocating freedom, news is manufactured according to the will of the authorities and tepid people live tepid lives by rote. Dissidents are tracked down and subjected to such discipline as turns them into willing tools of their masters. And as for Winston Smith, the hero with no heroic qualities, he only longs for truth and decency. But living in a social system where privacy does not exist and where holders of unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or summarily put to death, he knows there is no hope for him. His brief love affair ends in arrest by the Thought Police, and when, after nine months of torture, he is released, Winston makes his final submission of his own accord.
| Bel Canto
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening -- until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.
| The Cater Street Hangman
The first of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery series. While the Ellison girls were out paying calls and drinking tea like proper Victorian ladies, a maid in their own household was strangled to death. Quiet, young Inspector Pitt found no one above suspicion--and his investigation at the staid Ellison home caused many a composed façade to crumble into far-from-elegant panic. But it was not panic beating in the heart of pretty Charlotte Ellison. And something more than brutal murder was on Inspector Pitt's mind. Yet such a romance between a society girl and so unsuitable a suitor was impossible in the midst of a murder...
| My Sister's Keeper
Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate--a life and a role that she has never challenged... until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister--and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
| Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
Nearing 30 and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell resolved to reclaim her life by cooking, in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life--lived with gusto.
| Dead Man Walking
||Sister Helen Prejean||
In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier's death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. At the same time, she came to know the families of the victims and the men whose job it was to execute him--men who often harbored doubts about the rightness of what they were doing. Out of that dreadful intimacy comes a profoundly moving spiritual journey through our system of capital punishment. Confronting both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved, the needs of a crime-ridden society and the Christian imperative of love, "Dead Man Walking" is an unprecedented look at the human consequences of the death penalty, a book that is both enlightening and devastating.
| The Hot Zone
A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their "crashes" into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.
| Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family
Condoleezza Rice has excelled as a diplomat, political scientist, and concert pianist. Her achievements run the gamut from helping to oversee the collapse of communism in Europe and the decline of the Soviet Union, to working to protect the country in the aftermath of 9-11, to becoming only the second woman - and the first black woman ever -- to serve as Secretary of State.
| Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
"Stiff" is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers--some willingly, some unwittingly--have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way. In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries [and in] her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.
| Kabul Beauty School
Riveting from the start, Rodriguez's account tells the story of one Michigan woman's quest to help women in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban the best way she knows how: by opening a beauty school. Indeed, when beautician Rodriguez opens her salon and school, she doesn't realize how desperately Kabul, especially the women of Kabul, need her. After spending a couple of years in her adopted city, she realizes that she is giving women the power to earn both money and autonomy, and fights fiercely to keep the school open.
| The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio:
How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less
"The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s. Evelyn's winning ways defied the church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated views of housewives. To her, flouting convention was a small price to pay when it came to raising her six sons and four daughters. Graced with a rare appreciation for life's inherent hilarity, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit. The story of this irrepressible woman, whose clever entries are worthy of Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, and Ogden Nash, is told by her daughter Terry with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit and sense of humor can triumph over adversity every time.
It is December 1999, the dawn of the millennium, and a team of international scientists is poised for the most fantastic adventure in human history. After years of scanning the galaxy for signs of somebody or something else, this team believes they've found a message from an intelligent source--and they travel deep into space to meet it. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan injects Contact, his prophetic adventure story, with scientific details that make it utterly believable. It is a Cold War era novel that parlays the nuclear paranoia of the time into exquisitely wrought tension among the various countries involved. Sagan meditates on science, religion, and government--the elements that define society--and looks to their impact on and role in the future. His ability to pack an exciting read with such rich content is an unusual talent that makes Contact a modern sci-fi classic.
| Cleopatra: A Life
Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since. Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.
| The Lovely Bones
When we first meet Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. As she looks down from this strange new place, she tells us, in the fresh and spirited voice of a fourteen-year-old girl, a tale that is both haunting and full of hope. In the weeks following her death, Susie watches life on Earth continuing without her--her school friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she'll be found, her killer trying to cover his tracks. And she explores the place called heaven. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. With compassion, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie sees her loved ones pass through grief and begin to mend. "The Lovely Bones" is... a novel that builds out of grief the most hopeful of stories.
| Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu ("women's writing"). They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" is a brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. With the period detail and deep resonance of "Memoirs of a Geisha", this lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.
| The Thirteenth Tale
A ruined mansion in the English countryside, secret illegitimate children, a madwoman hidden in the attic, ghostly twin sisters-yep, it's a gothic novel, and it doesn't pretend to be anything fancier. But this one grabs the reader with its damp, icy fingers and doesn't let go until the last shocking secret has been revealed. Margaret Lea, an antiquarian bookseller and sometime biographer of obscure writers, receives a letter from Vida Winter, "the world's most famous living author." Vida has always invented pasts for herself in interviews, but now, on her deathbed, she at last has decided to tell the truth and has chosen Margaret to write her story. Now living at Vida's (spooky) country estate, Margaret finds herself spellbound by the tale of Vida's childhood some 70 years earlier...but is it really the truth? And will Vida live to finish the story?
||Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley||
Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.
| In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash
"In God We Trust", Shepherd's wildly witty reunion with his Indiana hometown, disproves the adage 'You can never go back.' Bending the ear of Flick, his childhood-buddy-turned-bartender, Shepherd recalls passionately his genuine Red Ryder BB gun, confesses adolescent failure in the arms of Junie Jo Prewitt, and relives a story of man against fish that not even Hemingway could rival. From pop art to the World's Fair, Shepherd's subjects speak with a universal irony and are deeply and unabashedly grounded in American Midwestern life, together rendering a wonderfully nostalgic impression of a more innocent era when life was good, fun was clean, and station wagons roamed the earth.
| Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey
Rachel Simon's sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully. Beth, who has mental retardation, spends her days riding the buses in her Pennsylvania city. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. One day, Beth asked Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year. This wise, funny, deeply affecting book is the chronicle of that remarkable time. Rachel, a writer and college teacher whose hyperbusy life camouflaged her emotional isolation, had much to learn in her sister's extraordinary world. These are life lessons from which every reader can profit: how to live in the moment, how to pay attention to what really matters, how to change, how to love--and how to slow down and enjoy the ride.
| Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
When retired Major Pettigrew strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani village shopkeeper, he is drawn out of his regimented world and forced to confront the realities of life in the twenty-first century. Brought together by a shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship on the cusp of blossoming into something more. But although the Major was actually born in Lahore, and Mrs. Ali was born in Cambridge, village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as a permanent foreigner. The Major has always taken special pride in the village, but will he be forced to choose between the place he calls home and a future with Mrs. Ali?
Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, amid cow pastures and waving fields of grain, lies Moo University, a distinguished institution devoted to the art and science of agriculture. Here, among an atmosphere rife with devious plots, mischievous intrigue, lusty liaisons, and academic one-upmanship, Chairman X of the Horticulture Department harbors a secret fantasy to kill the dean; Mrs. Walker, the provost's right hand and campus information queen, knows where all the bodies are buried; Timothy Nonahan, associate professor of English, advocates eavesdropping for his creative writing assignments; and Bob Carlson, a sophomore, feeds and maintains his only friend: a hog named Earl Butz. In this wonderfully written and masterfully plotted novel, Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Thousand Acres", offers us a wickedly funny comedy that is also a darkly poignant slice of life.
| A Simple Plan
||Scott B. Smith||
Two brothers and their friend stumble upon the wreckage of a plane--the pilot is dead and his duffle bag contains four million dollars in cash. The men agree to hide, keep and share the fortune. But what started off as a simple plan slowly devolves into a gruesome nightmare none of them can control.
| The Notebook
A man picks up a faded, well-worn notebook and begins reading to a frail elderly woman, his voice recalling the heartbreaking story of two star-crossed lovers and their poignant, bittersweet journey to happiness. So begins this touching novel that is a dual tale of love lost and found, and of a man's gentle battle to reach an aging woman who cannot remember the most cherished moments of her life.
| The Art of Racing in the Rain
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.
| The Grapes of Wrath
"The Grapes of Wrath" is a landmark of American literature. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man's fierce reaction to injustice, and of one's stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, "The Grapes of Wrath" is also the story of one Oklahoma family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity.
| Manhunt: The Twelve Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer
||James L. Swanson||
The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness. James L. Swanson's Manhunt is a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you've never read it before.
| The Joy Luck Club
A stunning literary achievement, The Joy Luck Club explores the tender and tenacious bond between four daughters and their mothers. The daughters know one side of their mothers, but they don't know about their earlier never-spoken of lives in China. The mothers want love and obedience from their daughters, but they don't know the gifts that the daughters keep to themselves. Heartwarming and bittersweet, this is a novel for mother, daughters, and those that love them.
| Big Stone Gap
It's 1978, and Ave Maria Mulligan is the thirty-five-year-old self-proclaimed spinster of Big Stone Gap, a sleepy hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She's also the local pharmacist, the co-captain of the Rescue Squad, and the director of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, the town's long-running Outdoor Drama. Ave Maria is content with her life of doing errands and negotiating small details--until she discovers a skeleton in her family's formerly tidy closet that completely unravels her quiet, conventional life. Suddenly, she finds herself juggling two marriage proposals, conducting a no-holds-barred family feud, planning a life-changing journey to the Old Country, and helping her best friend, the high-school band director, design a halftime show to dazzle Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed Hollywood movie star who's coming through town on a campaign stump with her husband, senatorial candidate John Warner. Comic and compassionate, "Big Stone Gap" is is the story of a woman who thinks life has passed her by, only to learn that the best is yet to come.
| A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
When Connecticut mechanic and foreman Hank Morgan is knocked unconscious, he wakes not to the familiar scenes of nineteenth-century America but to the bewildering sights and sounds of sixth-century Camelot. Although confused at first and quickly imprisoned, he soon realizes that his knowledge of the future can transform his fate. Correctly predicting a solar eclipse from inside his prison cell, Morgan terrifies the people of England into releasing him and swiftly establishes himself as the most powerful magician in the land, stronger than Merlin and greatly admired by Arthur himself. But the Connecticut Yankee wishes for more than simply a place at the Round Table. Soon, he begins a far greater struggle: to bring American democratic ideals to Old England. Complex and fascinating, "A Connecticut Yankee" is a darkly comic consideration of the nature of human nature and society.
| Ladder of Years
BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION, declares the headline. Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead is last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. But for Delia, who feels like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family's edges, "walking away from it all" is not a premeditated act, but an impulse that will lead her into a new, exciting, and unimagined life...
| Cutting for Stone
The story is a riveting saga of twin brothers, Marion and Shiva Stone, born of a tragic union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, and bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.But it's love, not politics -- their passion for the same woman -- that will tear them apart and force Marion to flee his homeland and make his way to America, finding refuge in his work at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him, wreaking havoc and destruction, Marion has to entrust his life to the two men he has trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
| The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town--and the family--Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home. [This] is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
| All the King's Men
||Robert Penn Warren||
This landmark book is a loosely fictionalized account of Governor Huey Long of Louisiana, one of the nation's most astounding politicians. All the King's Men tells the story of Willie Stark, a southern-fried politician who builds support by appealing to the common man and playing dirty politics with the best of the back-room deal-makers. Though Stark quickly sheds his idealism, his right-hand man, Jack Burden -- who narrates the story -- retains it and proves to be a thorn in the new governor's side. Stark becomes a successful leader, but at a very high price, one that eventually costs him his life. The award-winning book is a play of politics, society and personal affairs, all wrapped in the cloak of history.
| The Little Stranger
One post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline. Its owners-mother, son, and daughter-are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.
| The Optimist's Daughter
The Optimist's Daughter is the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young woman who has left the South and returns, years later, to New Orleans, where her father is dying. After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. Alone in the old house, Laurel finally comes to an understanding of the past, herself, and her parents.
| Ethan Frome
A marked departure from Edith Wharton's usual ironic contemplation of the fashionable New York society to which she herself belonged, "Ethan Frome" is a sharply etched portrait of the simple inhabitants of a nineteenth-century New England village. The protagonist, Ethan Frome, is a man tormented by a passionate love for his ailing wife's young cousin. Trapped by the bonds of marriage and the fear of public condemnation, he is ultimately destroyed by that which offers him the greatest chance at happiness. Written with stark simplicity, this powerful and tragic novel has long been considered one of Wharton's greatest works.
| The Picture of Dorian Gray
'If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that--for that--I would give everything!' Spellbound before his own portrait, Dorian Gray utters a fateful wish. In exchange for eternal youth he gives his soul, to be corrupted by the malign influence of his mentor, the aesthete and hedonist Lord Henry Wotton. Encouraged by Lord Henry to substitute pleasure for goodness and art for reality, Dorian tries to watch impassively as he brings misery and death to those who love him. But the picture is watching him, and, made hideous by the marks of sin, it confronts Dorian with the reflection of his fall from grace, the silent bearer of what is in effect a devastating moral judgment.