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Book Group Ambassador Reviews 2019

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted so much that I have spent years awaiting Spinning Silver, and it did NOT disappoint. Spinning is not a sequel to Uprooted, but it follows in a similar style: adventure fantasy loosely inspired by a classic fairy tale and set in medieval Eastern Europe. Different from Uprooted, however, Spinning is told from the rotating viewpoints of a sizeable cast of characters, centering around three strong but very different female characters. Novik does a fantastic job of building excitement and constantly accelerating the plot. Overall, even though it’s set in winter (too much winter!) in a cold region, I found it the perfect summer read.

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Spinning Silver: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399180996
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - May 7th, 2019

I loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted so much that I have spent years awaiting Spinning Silver, and it did NOT disappoint. Spinning is not a sequel to Uprooted, but it follows in a similar style: adventure fantasy loosely inspired by a classic fairy tale and set in medieval Eastern Europe. Different from Uprooted, however, Spinning is told from the rotating viewpoints of a sizeable cast of characters, centering around three strong but very different female characters. Novik does a fantastic job of building excitement and constantly accelerating the plot. Overall, even though it’s set in winter (too much winter!) in a cold region, I found it the perfect summer read.


The Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

This book is subtle yet surreal, and a bit of a ride. With characters anyone can relate to, and actions that aren't so easy to relate to, this is the perfect summer read. The story winds its way along and the reader wants to try and figure out what is going to happen. Tuck this in your bag for the times when you have a moment to escape into the story. You will want to read it to the end as quickly as you can. Enjoy! —Karen Burgess, Book Group Ambassador

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Clock Dance Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525563020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 30th, 2019

This book is subtle yet surreal, and a bit of a ride.  With characters anyone can relate to, and actions that aren't so easy to relate to, this is the perfect summer read.  The story winds its way along and the reader wants to try and figure out what is going to happen.  Tuck this in your bag for the times when you have a moment to escape into the story.  You will want to read it to the end as quickly as you can.  Enjoy! —Karen Burgess, Book Group Ambassador


Fruit of the Drunken Tree

In this faced paced novel, Contreras draws upon her life to create a novel that reads like a thriller and coming of age story set in her native Columbia. Chula is drawn to her live-in maid, Petrona who comes from a guerrilla-occupied slum. As the relationship between Petroana and Chula grows, so does the danger they find themselves in. I felt I was reading a diary of both Chula and Petrona's everyday lives. This only added to the depth of the story for me. The last half of the book I was rushing to devour every word. I was left heartbroken with the taste of reality both faced.

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$16.00
ISBN: 9780525434313
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 4th, 2019

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

A delightful sci-fi adventure,The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is the first in the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. This is a great “gateway” book for those looking to either fall in love with the genre or re-discover it. The author has a real talent for world building that doesn’t feel overwhelming while still being rather wide in scope. It explores a multitude of themes: gender fluidity, unconventional relationships and sentient artificial intelligence to name a few.  It’s funny, heart-wrenching and charming all at once. If you want something fun that also makes you think – this is perfect.

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$16.99
ISBN: 9780062444134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - July 5th, 2016

The Last Romantics: A Novel

After the four Skinner siblings’ father suddenly dies, their mother retreats to her own world during a 2-year span that they call The Pause. The children run wild and in the process forge unusually close bonds. The book starts when the youngest Skinner Fiona is a 102-year-old famous poet in the year 2079 and in it she tells the story of the Skinner family. This novel is a rich family epic full of love and heart, grief and challenge, and ultimately redemption.

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$26.99
ISBN: 9780062358202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - February 5th, 2019

Ghost Wall: A Novel

Ghost Wall is indeed a haunting book. Silvie “vacations” with her family to a primitive skills reenactment anthropology class. Silvie’s father’s passion is primitive life and she has been raised to fend for herself in the wild. She and her fellow students forage food and hunt rabbits, and Silvie is exposed through their friendship to the modern world, while the students have a close view of--and the opportunity to intervene in--Silvie’s family life.

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$22.00
ISBN: 9780374161927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 8th, 2019

Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

Fans of Pam Houston have to wait a few years between books, but the wait is always worth it. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country chronicles life on the  ranch she bought 25 years ago in Creede, Colorado, while also lovingly bearing witness to the large and small changes our planet and its inhabitants are undergoing. Houston weaves stories of her travels to remote and beautiful places with painful childhood memories and happenings on the ranch while addressing hope in the face of a changing climate. She leaves us with the idea that it is possible to simultaneously love and grieve, and that at its best grieving calls us to love that much more.

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$25.95
ISBN: 9780393241020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 29th, 2019

The Best American Short Stories 2018

You will find compelling fiction in this excellent twenty story collection.   The introductions from the series editor, Heidi Pitlor and this year’s editor, Roxane Gay are valuable.  The authors’ contributions explaining the thinking behind each story are useful if read after each story.  Roxane Gay has selected stories from diverse authors, varying locations, and themes. You will be in an immigration detention center looking for your son or a man with Alzheimer’s left alone with his grandson or an Iranian immigrant who struggles to connect with his daughter and more.

The Best American Short Stories 2018 (The Best American Series ®) Cover Image
By Roxane Gay (Editor), Heidi Pitlor (Editor)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780544582941
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 2nd, 2018

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Have you ever felt like the world just didn’t make sense? That the world was confusing? So did Eleanor Oliphant in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. What makes this book a choice for any book group is its relatability. At some point we have all felt the pain of being socially awkward. This fast paced novel unfolds in a realistic style adding to it’s quirky nature. As Eleanor shares her soul it is seemingly obvious she needs help.  Enter Raymond. Eleanor is skeptical of him as a human being. Yet what Raymond has to offer is just what Eleanor may need to open her heart.

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735220690
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 5th, 2018

Seedfolks

Seedfolks is one of those books that leaves you wishing you could be part of the community garden around which it revolves. Told through the eyes of multiple characters, this slim novel tackles issues of belonging, judgement, and acceptance. How does a community form? What and who sustains it? I found it hard to not love each character equally, but Curtis became my favorite.  Knowing little about gardening, he knows his estranged girlfriend loves tomatoes. A choice for young adults and grown-ups this book may make you want to reconnect with the earth, or a neighbor down the road. Community grows where it is planted.

Seedfolks Cover Image
By Paul Fleischman, Judy Pedersen (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9780064472074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - December 14th, 2004

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