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Fantastic Fall 2011

Staff recommendations of great books released in Fall, 2011

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harback

One of the most talked-about books of the season is a debut novel by the cofounder and coeditor of n+1, the acclaimed magazine of politics, literature, and culture. But don’t worry; you don’t have to be an intellect or (it pains me to say) a baseball fan for that matter to be blown away by this book that is set around our national pastime. “Reading The Art of Fielding is like watching a hugely gifted young shortstop: you keep waiting for the errors, but there are no errors. First novels this complete and consuming come along very, very seldom.” —Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom

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The Art of Fielding: A Novel By Chad Harbach Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316126694
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 7th, 2011

We the Animals by Justin Torres

This is a visceral account of three young boys growing up with a graveyard shift mother and temperamental father whose love is a dangerous, ferocious thing that simultaneously cements and fractures their struggling family. Together, these wild boys tear through childhood, creating and destroying; making this is an intense look at the childhood bonds that forever shape our lives. It may just be a slip of a novel, but it packs quite a punch.

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Fantastic Women edited by Rob Spillman

Last year's big anthology release was My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, a book of smartly retold fairy tales. This year, it's Tin House's Fantastic Women, a collection of sublime and bizarre stories told by some of the best speculative and surrealist writers out there. Includes work by Aimee Bender, Miranda July, Karen Russell, and many more. A must-read for those who crave the gorgeous and the strange.

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Staff Pick Badge
Fantastic Women: 18 Tales of the Surreal and the Sublime from Tin House By Rob Spillman (Editor), Joy Williams (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Rob Spillman (Editor), Joy Williams (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781935639107
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Tin House Books - July 26th, 2011

Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong

New in paperback, this book is so much at once. A coming-of-age novel, a mystery surrounding family secrets, and a striking love story. Truong introduces us to ten-year-old Linda Hammerick, a young girl who has synesthesia—she experiences every word as having a taste. Not knowing that this is a neurological condition, Linda tells only her best friend about her odd capability. We watch Linda grow up and seek connection, but all the while keeping people at a distance because of the way she experiences life slightly askew. When a family tragedy forces Linda to return to her childhood home, Linda finds out that she has not been the only one in her family to keep aspects of them selves hidden. A quirky but poignant story well worth the read.

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Bitter in the Mouth: A Novel By Monique Truong Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812981322
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - August 9th, 2011

Fall of Giants by Ken Follet

I love love loved this book, and I think you will, too. It’s epic in scale with a whole cadre of characters to love and hate, and Follet weaves them together into an addictive story. Like Pillars of the Earth or World Without End, you feel immersed in history—yet drawn in to the intimate details of the characters lives. By balancing five families from all sides of the Great War, Follet paints a complex picture of the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

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Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy By Ken Follett Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451232571
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 30th, 2011

Great House by Nichole Krause

Great House is one of the best books about writing I've read, though it's not really about writing. If asked, I'd have to say it's really about a large desk that manages to link together a cast of otherwise disparate characters. One of those characters is a writer, and her take on the habit and art of writing brings the story to life. This is a novel quite worthy of its National Book Award nomination.

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Great House: A Novel By Nicole Krauss Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393340648
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 6th, 2011

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. We think this is a great selection for book groups and for fans of White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Writer Jamie Ford calls it, “A deftly powerful story of finding your way home, even after you’ve burned every bridge behind you. The Language of Flowers took my heart apart, chapter by chapter, then reassembled the broken pieces in better working condition—I loved this book.” 

Come, Thief by Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield’s new poetry collection is a masterful blend of concise language and poignant questioning. Hirshfield pairs together emotions and images that take single moments and open them to realms that are infinite and lingering. I was struck by the way Hirshfield’s words again and again danced the duel of invitation and letting go:

      Love in August

      White moths against the screen in August darkness.

      Some clamor in envy.

      Some spread large as two hands of a thief

      Who wants to put back in your cupboard the long-taken silver.

Like Mary Oliver, this poetry collection is one you’ll want to have on hand for reading and rereading, always finding something anew.

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Pirate King by Laurie R. King

I get cranky if I go too long without a Mary Russell fix. God of the Hive was published a scant year and a half ago, but it feels like much longer since I've checked in with my favorite detectives, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. In Pirate King we are taken to Lisbon, where a mystery involving silent films and Gilbert and Sullivan awaits. King's dexterous plotting skills are hard at work in this novel, and surprises are in store. I can't wait!

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The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

“Far from being just another morose Nordic crime writer, Denmark’s Adler-Olsen creates a detective whose curiosity is as active as his soul is tortured. The villain is a monster and the crime horrendous, but readers will root for the victim and for the belabored Department Q. This absorbing psychological thriller is recommended not only for fans of Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, and Stieg Larsson, but for true crime aficionados who might like to try fiction.” —Library Journal 


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