August, 2018 Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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”). Some girls were paired with laotongs, “old sames,” in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. 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.
With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become “old sames” at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.
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.
July, 2018 A Gentleman in Moscow by Armor Towels
He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
June, 2018 Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall
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.
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
The White Queen tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition, who secretly marries the newly crowned boy king. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become the central figures in a famous unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the lost princes in the Tower of London. Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world–even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
In the spring of 1708, invading Jacobites plot to land the exiled James Stewart on the Scottish coast to reclaim his crown. When young Sophia Paterson travels to Slains Castle by the sea, she finds herself in the midst of the dangerous intrigue.
Now, American writer Carrie McClelland hopes to base her next bestselling novel on that story of her ancestors in the dim, dark past . Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she starts to write.
But as Carrie’s mind slips back in time, she learns of the ultimate betrayal that happened all those years ago, making her the only living person who knows the truth—and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
In “The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story”, readers embark on a breathtaking journey about a 1940 discovery that remained a secret for decades, until the author and a team of scientists ventured forth to find the fabled lost city. The novel is very a mix of documentary and memoir, detailing the perils of the quest and the implications of the team’s discovery.
Douglas Preston delivers “The Lost City of the Monkey God” with an excited and reflective tone, examining the events that shaped arguably one of the most important discoveries of the twenty-first century. Praised for its “well-documented” and captivating story, this book aims to inform readers of the shocking discovery of an ancient city.
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit busy, life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last-minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger-than-life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness– one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.
Ben, who has broken ribs and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with an incredibly harrowing battle to survive. Fortunately, Ben is a medical professional and avid climber (and in a lucky break, has his gear from a climb earlier in the week). With little hope for rescue, he must nurse Ashley back to health and figure out how they are going to get off the mountain, where the temperature hovers in the teens. Meanwhile, Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well. He explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder reflecting on their love affair. As Ashley eavesdrops on Ben’s tender words to his estranged wife she comes to fear that when it comes to her own love story, she’s just settling. And what’s more: she begins to realize that the man she is really attracted to, the man she may love, is Ben.
The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy
When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers, taking her cues from the slave code quilts and hiding her maps within her paintings. She boldly embraces this calling after being told the shocking news that she can’t bear children, but as the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril.
Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, moves to an old house in the suburbs and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar—the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance.
The Shape of Mercy, by Susan Meissner
Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.
Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.
The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?
Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova
In an insightful, deeply human story reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Daniel Isn’t Talking, and The Reason I Jump, Lisa Genova offers a unique perspective in fiction—the extraordinary voice of Anthony, a nonverbal boy with autism. Anthony reveals a neurologically plausible peek inside the mind of autism, why he hates pronouns, why he loves swinging and the number three, how he experiences routine, joy, and love. In this powerfully unforgettable story, Anthony teaches two women about the power of friendship and helps them to discover the universal truths that connect us all.
The Chosen by Chiam Potok
In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love.
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
A man with a painful past. A child with a doubtful future. And a shared journey toward healing for both their hearts.
It begins on the shaded town square in a sleepy Southern town. A spirited seven-year-old has a brisk business at her lemonade stand. But the little girl’s pretty yellow dress can’t quite hide the ugly scar on her chest.
Her latest customer, a bearded stranger, drains his cup and heads to his car, his mind on a boat he’s restoring at a nearby lake. The stranger understands more about the scar than he wants to admit. And the beat-up bread truck careening around the corner with its radio blaring is about to change the trajectory of both their lives.
Before it’s over, they’ll both know there are painful reasons why crickets cry . . . and that miracles lurk around unexpected corners.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
A Long Time Gone by Karen White
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Calling me Home by Julie Kibler
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Orphan Train by Christina Kline
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
Where’d you go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Hayseeds, Moralizers and Methodists by Robert Smith Bader
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier
Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Our Boys : A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape
Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (3 1/2)
Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher (4 1/4)
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorthy Gilman (3 3/4)
Fool’s Puzzle by Earlene Fowler (3 3/4)
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (4 1/2)
Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush (3 1/2)
The Secret Life of Bees (4 1/2)
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama (3)
The Shack by William P. Young ( 3)
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah ( 4 )
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini ( 3 )
The Help by Kathryn Stockett ( 4)
Atonement Child by Francine Rivers (3 1/2)
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline (3 1/2)
In the presence of my enemies by Gracia Burnham ( 3)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan ( 4)
The Survivor’s Club by Ben Sherwood (4)
Summer Island by Kristin Hannah ( 3)
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (2 1/2)
All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum (2 1/2)
Code to Zero by Ken Follett (3)
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (4)
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (5)