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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review

Another year has passed and what a crazy year it was. Things at the store are great. I just bought a house. Everything is going well; though it does seem that the busier I am and the better life is the number of books finished slides downward. This year I read seventy-one books and managed to write about forty-one of them. Not too bad!

I just wanted to share a few of my “greatest hits” in a couple different categories.

Best All Around:
The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
The Black Count - Tom Reiss
The General in His Labyrinth - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Best New Release (I did not read many new books this year):
The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond
The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Best Middle Grade/YA:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

 Best World Book Night:
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
City of Thieves by David Benioff
My Antonia by Willa Cather

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Omar: Why I Want to Give Same Difference

This is my first time participating in World Book Night. As an avid proponent of comic books and graphic novels, Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference was an obvious choice for me. Graphic novels are largely still fighting to be considered as a valid story-telling medium. I truly believe in the importance of graphic novels, and how they can help people learn to love to read.
When I was a child, I didn’t care much for reading.  It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the X-Men comic books that I realized reading could be fun. At that point, I started reading every X-Men comic I could get my hands on (which, at the time, wasn’t many). My mother worked right next to a library, so I ventured in one day and found some X-Men novels. By the end of the first book, I was hooked. Not just on X-Men, but on reading. It was like watching an entire movie, but in your head!
As I grew up, I read comics less and less. But my love of reading never changed. I spent most of my middle school and high school years reading. It wasn’t until after high school that I returned to comic books and rediscovered my love for the medium. There were some amazing characters fighting against all odds to save the people they cared about. But there were also non-superhero books. There were books like Sandman, a magical journey through the realms of dreams. And Y the Last Man, a book about the last male in a female-dominated world.  There were so many wonderful, awe-inspiring stories being told in the comic book/graphic novel medium.
Graphic novels are still fighting to earn the respect they deserve. Many people view graphic novels as less than traditional novels. Many refuse to accept them as a valid medium, claiming they’re just for kids (a false generalization). I’ve even heard people say that children who read comic books and graphic novels never learn how to use their imagination, and therefore never enjoy reading books. To all the naysayers, I say: try reading a few, truly outstanding graphic novels before you judge them. I came to love reading via comic books, and I doubt anyone who knows me would claim my imagination doesn’t work.
I would like to give out copies of Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference to show people that comic books and graphic novels are not just superheroes. Graphic novels are as varied as traditional novels; there’s something for everyone. All it takes is one great graphic novel and one person passionate about the medium to change the world’s minds. Same Difference could be that novel for many people. And I would like to be that person. Graphic novels deserve respect.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Victoria: Why I Want to Give The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I want to give out The Perks of Being a Wallflower for World Book Night 2014 because it meant something to me, and I would like the opportunity to give light or non-readers a book that will hopefully mean something to them as well.  Books are usually valued as entertainment, but I think they are often undervalued for the impact they can have on their readers’ lives.  So many people don’t read because they simply don’t enjoy it, and I am of the opinion that those people just haven’t found the right book yet.  I think everyone needs to have at least one book change their life, and I believe that The Perks of Being a Wallflower has the potential to be that book for quite a few people.  I plan to give my books out at LSU to people who either don’t have a love for reading or who have lost it in the slog of classes and homework assignments.  A book like Perks is short, intriguing, and simple, and I think it has an excellent chance of being that spark to get even the busiest students back to reading.  

I want to help encourage people to not only read in general, but to open themselves up to letting books change and influence them in ways they might not even realize are possible.  Reading a book and feeling it affect you is a powerful thing that I think everyone should experience, and I want to help bring this experience to others.  Perks is a powerful book, as anyone who has read it will likely attest.  It holds themes, ideas, and experiences that just about anyone can relate to and understand, which makes it an excellent book to give out to people who don’t really read much or at all.  It is also recognizable, since the movie was released about a year ago.  People might be more inclined to give the book a chance if they have heard of it or enjoyed the film.  The main goal is to get people to read the book we give them, since even one book is better than none.  The larger goal is to get people reading more books in general, through the one book we give them for WBN.  We want to help them realize that reading can be an enjoyable and even moving experience if they’d only give it a chance, and I think The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book that has a chance of meeting both of those goals.

Victoria previously wrote about Perks here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Michelle: Why I want to give Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I spent quite a while trying to decide what book I wanted to distribute on World Book Night next year. Of the three I had read none really worked with the place I wanted to hand out books (I’ll be at Women Outreaching Women, a women's shelter here in Denham). I wasn’t particularly feeling the book I was reading last week so I started flipping through a few of the World Book Night picks…a few pages in I knew I wanted to give out copies of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Just that reference to the nature of life in the title was enough for me to know that this was the book for the women I will be talking to on April 23rd.

Jamie Ford has created a deceptively simple story of first loves, family obligations, betrayal, and loyalty. You never feel bombarded with the sadness or sentimentality of the novel. It is a perfect balance of feeling, truth, and history. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the story of Henry Lee at two distinct times in his life; when he first fell in love just prior to the Japanese internment of the 1940s and forty years later upon the death of his wife. Henry’s story is about what we want and need out of life and each other. It is about the power of relationships.

Then there is the history. Ford did a wonderful job telling the story of the camps, and he does so without soapboxing. This is an important part of American history that is for the most part glossed over. Ford shines a light on it revealing the fear of the time for exactly what it is.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to distribute copies of this book on World Book Night. It is a well told story with characters that the reader can grab on to. I can see it converting quite a few readers and definitely fulfilling the goal of World Book Night.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reading Group Selections - December 2013

The best books for reading groups are the ones that foster discussions - whether your book club members are boisterous or more subdued, talking about books is what those meetings are all about! Picking just the right book is always a thrill; love it or hate it - book club books are the ones that stand out.
Here are a few recent paperback releases that would lead to great discussions in any book club!

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos
American social media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb. Until she sees Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who's written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, take his tight breeches off for an educational striptease to promote his book.
City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte
Sara and Nicolas search for an alchemical cure for a gravely ill friend threatened by an old enemy and a bloodthirsty horseman, while Prince Max tries to explain the strange reappearance of a saint while outmaneuvering a scheming historian.
Morning Glory by Sarah Jio
Jio's fifth novel, following The Last Camellia, explores the degree to which time and distance give comfort to those who have experienced loss.
Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson
Two boys —one Jewish and one a budding Nazi —meet 60 years later, launching a story that will not let readers go until the last page, long after they discover what occurred in Poland all those years ago.
In Violet's Wake by Robert Devereaux-Nelson
Violet's four ex-husbands band together to track down her high-school sweetheart to find out what the one who got away has —that they don't.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2014 National Book Award Winners

This year's National Book Award winners have been announced! The National Book Award is given for excellence in American Literature in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature.
Here are this year's winners:

 The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Winner in Fiction - Fleeing his violent master at the side of abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-nineteenth-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.
The Unwinding by George Packer
Winner in Nonfiction - A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation. Packer journeys through the lives of several Americans including a son of a tobacco farmer, a factory worker in the Rust Belt, a Washington insider, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and others.
Incarnadine by Mary Szybist
Winner in Poetry - In "Incarnadine," Mary Szybist restlessly seeks out places where meaning might take on new color. One poem is presented as a diagrammed sentence. Another is an abecedarium made of lines of dialogue spoken by girls overheard while assembling a puzzle. Several poems arrive as a series of Annunciations, while others purport to give an update on Mary, who must finish the dishes before she will open herself to God. One poem appears on the page as spokes radiating from a wheel, or as a sunburst, or as the cycle around which all times and all tenses are alive in this moment. Szybist's formal innovations are matched by her musical lines, by her poetry's insistence on singing as a lure toward the unknowable. Inside these poems is a deep yearning--for love, motherhood, the will to see things as they are and to speak. Beautiful and inventive, "Incarnadine" is the new collection by one of America's most ambitious poets.
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata and Julia Kuo
Winner in Young People's Literature - Just when 12-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong in a year of bad luck, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving Summer to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

World Book Night - Those I've Read

I was so excited to get next year’s World Book Night picks! This will be my third year as a WBN giver and my third year to read through all of the picks from January to April 23rd. This year there are thirty-five picks, five more than in previous years. I better get started! I am excited to be filling more gaps in my reading life (Agatha Christie! Joseph Heller!) as well as being introduced to books that were not previously on my radar. Reading these picks has absolutely helped me out as a bookseller. I used to believe that I was a broad reader and to some extent I have been, but I rarely approach genre fiction out of a lack of knowledge. World Book Night is giving me a mini crash course in genre fiction (especially mystery and romance) and I am loving it.

There are only three books on this list that I have read previously this time around.

I read Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia in the fifth grade. And I absolutely loathed it! I think twenty years is enough time between us and I will definitely be rereading this one to discover my feelings about it as an adult.

I was in high school the first time I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. And the second time, third time, fourth time. I’m no longer sure how many times I read this brilliant epistolary tale of a young man lost in the world and finding himself through words and friends. I reread Chbosky’s book for the first time as an adult when the film version was released in 2012. It still resonated with me even as it struck me in different places in my head and my heart than it did when I was a teen. I wrote about my reread here.

It was college when I read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Specifically, it was the summer of 2008 while I was on a three month long road trip to Alaska with my grandparents. Kitchen Confidential was my companion as we travelled up through the Badlands. I regaled my driving companions with (slightly cleaned up) stories of Bourdain’s wild adventures. I shared with my grandfather his rants against vegetarians (I was one at the time) and celebrity chefs (Food Network is a favorite of my grandmother’s). It was a perfect travel book. An interesting World Book Night pick; it will definitely keep new readers interested.

And that’s it! I’ve got thirty-two great looking books ahead of me and I cannot wait to read and write about them.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: The Bone Lady by Mary Manhein

The first ever Livingston Parish Book Festival is due to be held on Saturday, November 16th. Tons of local authors will be in attendance and there will be presentations by Julie Cantrell, Cyril Vetter, and Mary Manhein. I am so excited about this event. The folks behind the scenes at the Livingston Parish library are working to build the literary presence throughout the parish and we couldn’t be happier about that here at CHB.

One thing that I may be almost as excited about though is the opportunity to meet Mary Manhein. I first heard of Manhein and her FACES lab when they helped the Louisiana Art and Science Museum to uncover the mysteries surrounding the museum’s mummy (AKA my favorite thing ever). I have always been drawn to this mummy. Indeed, as morbid as it sounds, I think death and the dead are our most prominent connection to history. Viewing this mummy that has been an unchanging presence for my entire life has become something close to a religious experience for me, so the opportunity to meet one of the people responsible for the recent anthropological study of my mummy is beyond thrilling.

I decided to pick up Mary Manhein’s 1999 book, The Bone Lady: Life as a ForensicAnthropologist in preparation of meeting her. I am so glad that I did. Manhein’s book is a great read for those with an interest forensic anthology. For those who do not yet have that interest, I will explain that forensic anthropology is essentially the study and analysis of human remains to be used (typically) in the legal setting. Basically, Manhein’s job is to help solve crimes in which the body of the deceased has reached a great state of decay. As I stated earlier, I believe that there is a lot to the shell we leave behind after death so the life of someone who makes a study of that is definitely one I would be interested in.

Each chapter of The Bone Lady is the story of one of the cases Manhein has worked. There is very little glamour here. The first case she describes is that of a hunt for a body that had been unceremoniously buried on the banks of the Mississippi River. Amongst the mud, reptiles, and bugs Manhein and co. do eventually find the body…then the real work begins as the FACES lab (Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services) attempts to discover the identity of the deceased. Over the course of her book Manhein explains many of the techniques used in order to identify the bodies that come into FACES. She ends the book by her passion project, a database of missing people created by the FACES lab. Profiles and dental records are loaded into the database in the hopes that they can solve the mystery of “those who wait.”

The Bone Lady was written with a lay audience in mind. The reader never feels that they are being spoken down to and the jargon is always very clearly explained. The main focus of the book is on individual human history. Manhein interest and enthusiasm in her cases translates exceptionally well to the reader, especially when she rounds her stories of strangers out with those from her own life. Manhein’s book is about forensic anthropology and hard science, but it is also about human connection. It is just what I was hoping for and I cannot wait to hear her speak about her writings and work on the 16th.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

I rarely read “scary books.” I did enough flashlight under the covers reading as a young teen to maintain my paranoia and neurosis for life. Yet every October the feeling to read something spooky strikes. This year I finally delved into a book that has been on my TBR list for almost a decade – Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. This book was huge when it was released in 2005, and it has been in my mind since then. This story of a multigenerational search for Dracula throughout Eastern Europe seemed to have just the right creep factor for this year’s Halloween pick.

The Historian is rather a difficult novel to pin down. It is about Dracula, so it’s a horror story. But it is about Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, the actual historical figure upon whom Count Dracula is based, so it’s a historical novel. And it is about good and evil and how religion plays into that so it’s a philosophical novel. And it’s about family, how we are connected and disconnected from our own history and each other so it’s a multigenerational family saga. Basically, this novel is a postmodern, epistolary mish mash of adventure, mystery, family, history, tragedy, and philosophy. And it’s great.

The novel hinges on a young woman, daughter of a historian, finding an old book that kicks off a series of adventures in various libraries throughout Europe. She eventually discovers that her father, Paul, has been searching for the tomb of Dracula since his college mentor and fellow historian went missing decades prior. Paul’s mentor, Professor Rossi, had also been searching for the tomb for years before his disappearance. Kostova delivers her history in an epistolary form that allows for great amounts of detail. The atmosphere created within the novel is dark and exciting. The salacious side of history is always more interesting than the sunshine and light stories of the past. 

This aspect of evil in history is a large part of what Kostova seems to be grappling with in this novel. The whole of humanity is stained by a dark past of which Vlad Dracula is a king. Dracula has come to stand for everything that is seductive about evil. We are drawn to the darkness in our history as we are in our own lives. Kostova writes about the historical figure of Vlad Tepes in a way that questions our willingness to surrender to great evil. She draws comparisons from Tepes to Stalin as well historical figures before and beyond.

The Historian is a thriller of dark rooms and dusty libraries. It is also a novel that questions convention. This is not life changing literature, but it is a lot of fun. The story of Dracula plays out with a surprising lack of the supernatural and a welcome lack of cliché. The suspense and overall eerie feeling of the novel are perfect for this time of year. The right book at exactly the right time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: The House on Coliseum Street by Shirley Ann Grau

In conjunction with the Louisiana Book Festival the state library has created a “One Festival, One Read” program. I was very pleased to see that they had chosen Shirley Ann Grau’s 1961 novel The House on Coliseum Street. I had previously read and loved Grau’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Keepers of the House. I have long described it as the most visceral reading experience of my life; this selection pointed me back in Grau’s direction and I was happy to oblige.

The House on Coliseum Street is a deeply internal novel. Grau tells the story of Joan Mitchell, a young girl tied to the house and the life she has inherited as well as her overbearing mother. Joan wonders through her world waiting for life to happen to her. Her boredom and overwhelming sense of ennui provide a sullen base to this slim novel. The novel begins with Joan’s mother and steady boyfriend retrieving her from an aunt’s house, bringing her back to the house of Coliseum Street.

The house itself is a character within the novel; serving its purpose as the setting but also standing to explain the emotional lives of the characters to the reader. The house is well maintained, fashionably decorated but cold. The house is never a warm home in the way that Joan’s family are never a warm support network. Both function on their most basic levels, as a dwelling and a collection of relatives.

The crux of the novel occurs when Joan begins seeing a professor from the local university (an old boyfriend of her younger sister’s). Michael uses his classroom as a dating service; Joan can see him for what he is, but being so starved for attention and excitement she accepts his invitations. The aftermath of this affair is devastating. Joan slips into a deep depression; forgoing all aspects of life and disappearing into her house, her library, and the nighttime streets of New Orleans.

Grau’s writing here is amazing. It is so spare yet deeply felt and beautiful. As a reader, to connect with someone so disconnected is rare and I cannot think of another novel that expresses this sense of turning away from the world so strongly and with such feeling (besides Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak). When factoring in the time that this novel was written Joan’s anger at her status and place in the world becomes even more meaningful – a young women in the 1950s had few options, especially coming from a family like Joan’s. The struggle for identity and the basic repression from all sides leave Joan hollow, and Grau does a wonderful job of showing her readers the repercussions of that emptiness. This is a great novel, not a happy story by any means, but one to think on and discuss.

Shirley Ann Grau will be speaking at the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday. We’ll definitely be there and we hope to see you as well!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

World Book Night 2014 Titles Announced

The titles for World Book Night on April 23, 2014 have been announced!  Sign up here to be a WBN Giver on April 23, 2014, and check out the full list below:

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
This celebrated bestseller, now in paperback, is a book that is changing the way Americans think about selling products and disseminating ideas. The new Afterword by the author describes how readers can constructively apply the tipping point principle in their own lives and work.
 After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
After the reading of a will at a Victorian mansion, the sister of the deceased patriarch suspects he met with foul play. But before long, Cora is banished from the family tree--with eight blows of a hatchet. And detective Hercule Poirot suspects she won't be the last to go.
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
Prosecutor Rusty Sabich is transformed from accuser to accused when he is handed an explosive case--that of the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
A riveting, powerful novel about a pilot living in a world filled with loss--and what he is willing to risk to rediscover love. Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life--something like his old life--exists.
Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim
A series of short stories in graphic novel format follows a group of friends in their twenties as they navigate young adulthood and relationships.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
New York chef Tony Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir and expose. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk, Bourdain's tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable. "Kitchen Confidential" reveals what Bourdain calls "25 years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine".
Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
A two-time Newbery Honor-winning author looks at a contemporary war with the same power and searing insight he had brought to the Vietnam War of his classic, Fallen Angels.
100 Best-Loved Poems by Philip Smith (Ed.)
"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" "Death, be not proud," "The Raven," "The Road Not Taken," plus works by Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats, many others.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
New to Florida, Roy spots the running boy--running away from the school bus, carrying no books and wearing no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy's trail, which leads him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, and a renegade eco-avenger.
Pontoon by Garrison Keillor
A fresh and funny Lake Wobegon novel about a woman with a secret life. After Evelyn dies in her sleep, it is revealed she has been in love for years with a Las Vegas man. Pontoon is a heartfelt and comic work by one of America's greatest storytellers.
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, this memoir recreates the postwar era, when owning a single-family home meant the realization of a dream, everyone knew everyone else on the block, and children gathered in the streets to play. Here, Doris Goodwin recalls growing up loving her father and the glorious game of baseball.
Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan
Noble young ladies were expected to play an instrument, but societal restrictions would have chafed for Georgiana Darcy, an accomplished musician. Her tour of Europe draws the reader into the musical life of the day and a riveting love story of a young woman learning to direct her destiny--and understand her own heart.
Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
In 1949, a crew of U.S. Forest Service Smokejumpers parachuted into a Montana forest fire. In less than an hour, all but three were dead or mortally burned. Haunted by these deaths for 40 years, Maclean reconstructs the pieces print.
The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
Full of adventure, storytelling, magic, and deep characterization, this debut fantasy introduces the magic-practicing Rangers, protectors of the kingdom, and Will, a 15-year-old villager who has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. It doesn't matter to Jess that Leslie dresses funny, or that her family has a lot of money -- but no TV. Leslie has imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him.
Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee
Using a range of landscapes and countries in each short story, Lee creates characters so wonderfully flawed that it's impossible not to feel for them when their fragile beliefs of romantic love, domestic bliss, or academic seclusion fail to provide them with the sort of force field they'd hoped for.
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: the bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers' genes. In The Botany of Desire,  Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.
The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye
Against the wilds of sea and wood, a young immigrant woman settles into life outside Duluth in the 1890s, still shocked at finding herself alone in a new country, abandoned and adrift; in the early 1920s, her orphan son, now grown, falls in love with the one woman he shouldn't and uses his best skills to build them their own small ark to escape. But their pasts travel with them, threatening to capsize even their fragile hope. In this triumphant new novel, Peter Geye has crafted another deeply moving tale of a misbegotten family shaped by the rough landscape in which they live--often at the mercy of wildlife and weather--and by the rough edges of their own breaking hearts.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun. When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare.
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
A charming tumble of fairy tales blended into one delicious novel, spiced with humor and sprinkled with true love.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State--and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience.
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
Magic, sexual tension, high comedy, and intense drama move through an enchanted yet harsh autobiography, in the story of a young girl who leaves rural Puerto Rico for New York's tenements and a chance for success. *Available in both English and Spanish for World Book Night givers
Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
A hilarious and heartbreaking look at four vibrant black women in their thirties, who aren't holding their breath waiting for Mr. Right--but they haven't stopped hoping.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a friend and mom. Then Bernadette disappears. Bee compiles e-mail messages, official documents, and secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel. *Also available in Large Print for World Book Night Givers
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Japanese internment of WWII comes alive in this timeless story, set in 1940s Seattle, of the power of the human heart to rise above hatred and bigotry. This is a book to share with others. -- Marilyn Scheer, East West Bookshop, Seattle, WA *Also available in Large Print for World Book Night Givers
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home.
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
A true story--as powerful as "Schindler's List"--in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.
This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff
This unforgettable, bestselling memoir by a gifted writer introduces the young Toby Wolff, by turns tough and vulnerable, crafty and bumbling, and ultimately winning.
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
For more than three decades Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture—from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
A fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston's childhood with her best friend Carrie, in Eatonville, Florida, as they learn about life, death, and the differences between truth, lies, and pretending. Includes an annotated bibliography of the works of Zora Neale Hurston, a short biography of the author, and information about Eatonville, Florida.
 The Raven's Warrior by Vincent Pratchett
Wounded in battle (900 A. D.), a near dead Celtic warrior is taken by Viken raiders and sold into a Baghdad slave market. He is dragged further East, through the desert, into the Middle Kingdom where he is bought by a Taoist Priest and his beautiful daughter. Hazy images of silk, herbs, needles, potions and steel, can only lead to one thing, he has been purchased by a wizard and his witch. Arkthar fears for his soul.


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