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2014 Staff Fiction Favorites

Life Drawing by Robin Black

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

Belfast Noir by Adrian McKinty

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 (Akashic Noir) By Adrian McKinty (Editor), Stuart Neville (Editor), Lee Child (Contribution by) Cover Image
By Adrian McKinty (Editor), Stuart Neville (Editor), Lee Child (Contribution by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781617752919
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Akashic Books - November 4th, 2014

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

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
Staff Pick Badge
The Children Act By Ian McEwan Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780385539708
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 9th, 2014

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

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.

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

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

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

The Dog by Joseph O’Neill

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
Staff Pick Badge
The Dog By Joseph O'Neill Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780307378231
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Pantheon Books - September 9th, 2014

10:04 by Ben Lerner

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: A Novel: A Novel By Ben Lerner Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780865478107
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 2nd, 2014

The Bees by Laline Paull

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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