The LibraryReads list for November has come out. These are the 10 titles that were voted on my library employees world wide. This list is....well, different. Good titles that I like but a great variety and even one nonfiction.
First, the top vote getter is Faithful by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman is a highly acclaimed author. She often writes in a way that is called 'magic realism'. This work is different but highly effecting. Some have called it a coming of age novel but it is really more than that. It features a young girl (17), Shelby, who is the sidekick to the most popular girl in school. While Shelby was driving them both to a party - they were involved in an accident. Shelby walked away but her friend was comatose. Shelby is unsure how she can live with herself after that. She spends the new years trying to deaden her sense of guilt. Can she find a way to forgive herself?
In no particular order, the rest are:
The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is the conclusion in the Queen of the Tearling trilogy. This series is a blend of traditional Epic Fantasy and dystopian fiction. Kelsea Glynn who has transformed from a naive teenager at the beginning of the series to a truly visionary leader has given herself up to her main enemy in order to keep her people safe. Can her troops rescue her?
Night School by Lee Child which we discussed three weeks ago. It is the twenty first in the Jack Reacher series but this covers Reacher when he was still in the Army. Traditional Reacher looking for the bad guys.
Jayne Ann Krentz has When All the Girls Have Gone on the list. Krentz writes romantic suspense and that is what this title is.When Charlotte goes to tell her stepsister Jocelyn that one of her friends has died, she meets Max Cutler and discovers that Jocelyn is missing. Max and Charlotte investigate and discover that members of Jocelyn's online investment club are being killed. Can the find Jocelyn and the murderer before one of them is killed?
I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb is on the list. Lamb writes works that cover the dark side of American contemporary life but he does it with touches of light humor. Here, Felix Funicello runs a Monday night film club at an old theater. One night, the ghost of a female director of silent film visits him and leads him to revisit scenes from his past. As always, Lamb is insightful and powerful.
Next comes Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Smith writes slow paced, character-driven literary fiction. Here two racially mixed female friends grow up in West London dreaming of becoming dancers. The fact that only one of them has talent initiates a breakup of the friendship. The story goes from West London to West Africa and is in a way a coming of age novel for the unnamed narrator.
Julia Baird has the lone nonfiction work on the list, Victoria: The Queen. Baird is a New York Times journalist and she did extensive research including previously unpublished papers for this title. She presents Victoria as a real woman with the problems of normal women while guiding Britain through a very turbulent time period.
Now Michael Chabon's work, Moonglow. Another work of literary fiction that has comic value also. Here, Chabon bases his story on a week he, himself, spent sitting with his own grandfather when he was close to his death and had his tongue loosened by pain killers. Her, the grandfather tells stories, not in chronological order but as the occur to him - it is story telling in it's original form. Some funny, some sad, just get ready to sit down and enjoy.
Here is a different one for you - Warren Ellis' Normal. Dark literary fiction. Adam Dearden is a futurist who's look into the future has caused mental health issues. Luckily for him, there is a mental hospital for disturbed futurist called Normal Head. Shortly after Adam arrives, a patient disappears form his locked room leaving behind a pile of insects. Upon investigation, Adam discovers a conspiracy. Said to be riveting.
Lastly, another unexpected one, Carol Birch's Orphans of the Carnival. Birch writes historical fiction and that is what this title is. This follows the lift of Julia Pastrana, a real woman, who sang, danced, rode horses and spoke 3 languages. She was afflicted by a genetic condition which caused her to grow hair over her body and thickened her lips and ears. After being made fun of since she entered society, she decided to travel the world in a carnival. A sad story of how she was treated because of the way she looked during the nineteenth century.
OK - one romance, one straight mystery, one nonfiction and one fantasy - the rest are literary fiction. More than usual this month. Hope one interests you.