2014 Staff Fiction Favorites

I am completely stunned by Black’s first novel. I have enjoyed a lot of books lately, but, until reading this, I did not realize how much I’ve been missing the whole body impact of a book. Beautiful writing, effortlessly pinpointed to emotion without being emotive, Black writes life itself, tackling marriage, grief, trust, art, inspiration, friendship, motherhood, all of it.

Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Life Drawing Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781400068562
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - July 15th, 2014

I first became interested in Belfast after reading McKinty’s Troubles Trilogy. Those books sparked a curiosity about this bloody, complicated landscape, a curiosity more than sated by the excellent Belfast Noir. These stories look at Belfast from every possible facet, and each one is better than the last. I can’t remember a story collection this satisfying. 

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Belfast Noir Cover Image
By Adrian McKinty (Editor), Stuart Neville (Editor)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781617752919
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Akashic Books - November 4th, 2014

As I read the first pages of The Children Act, I found myself wanting to slow down, to soak in these words for a while. This novel is pure Ian McEwan—perfectly weighted and paced, with characters who breathe on the page. But the thing about a novel by McEwan is that you can’t linger; the story insists that you continue. The Children Act is the work of a master.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
The Children Act Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780385539708
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 9th, 2014

In An Unnecessary Woman, I found a best friend. Aaliya Sohbi lives alone in Beirut, in an apartment stuffed with books. She is neither religious nor married, which makes her an outcast. She is witty and perceptive and vulnerable, and I wish there was a way I might sit with her for just an hour, to share a cup of tea and talk books.

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An Unnecessary Woman Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802122940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - November 11th, 2014

As anyone who listens to The Mountain Goats knows, singer/songwriter Darnielle’s words are haunting and brilliant. Years after a disfiguring self-inflicted “accident,” another tragedy hits Sean, who runs a post-apocalyptic role-playing game through snail-mail. This stunning book is so quietly commanding, it’s like a whisper through a black tunnel.

Reviewed by: 
Julia
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Wolf in White Van Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780374292089
Availability: Special Order
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - September 16th, 2014

This novel follows the adventures, lovers and mistakes of two sisters—ambitious, fickle Iris, and mature, practical Eva—through 1940s Hollywood, wealthy and working-class suburbs of New York, and Germany at the end of World War II. Bloom’s unpretentious, effortless writing is quick-paced yet profoundly moving, magical yet matter-of-fact.

Reviewed by: 
Julia
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Lucky Us Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781400067244
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - July 29th, 2014

A novel in the form of recommendation letters? Sounds like a literary stunt, but Schumacher nails it. She perfectly blends satire and genuine human emotion, offering a hilarious commentary on modern academia through one professor’s tired pen and fading sanity. If you’ve ever needed a letter of recommendation or written one, you’ll laugh and you’ll cry.

Reviewed by: 
Rico
Dear Committee Members Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780385538138
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday Books - August 19th, 2014

The story of a newly-single attorney who takes a job in Dubai working for an obscenely wealthy family, this novel is a meditation on loneliness and dislocation. Though there's very little in the way of plot, the book never drags; the writing is so crisp, the physical and cultural setting so different from nearly everything else you've ever read, the pages turn themselves.

Reviewed by: 
Rico
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The Dog Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780307378231
Availability: Special Order
Published: Pantheon Books - September 9th, 2014

This scintillating amalgam of fiction and autobiography is filled with profound observation, gorgeous prose and a narrative structure recalling the best of Nabokov. While Lerner’s curiosity stretches to the horizon in every direction, the book is taut and precise—a masterwork of literary engineering. It is among the smartest, most compelling novels I’ve ever read.

Reviewed by: 
Rico
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10:04 Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780865478107
Availability: Special Order
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 2nd, 2014

I was completely engrossed by this incredibly imaginative and thought-provoking novel. You are introduced to a society so alien, yet Paull gives her characters an incredible humanity. The blend of real-life bee behavior and the fictionalization of the characters’ emotions is incredibly alien, and yet familiar. This is a tightrope walk of literary genius and I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by: 
Nici
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The Bees Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062331151
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - May 6th, 2014

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