Recommended Reading

Librarians love books.  I know.  That was not a shocker.  But we also love to share our favorite reads with others.  Here are a few things we think people should read over the fall break (or any time thereafter!).

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCrieght (recommended by Anne Earel)
15-year-old Amelia, an athlete and honor-roll student, dies after falling from the roof of her private school in Brooklyn.  The police immediately rule it a suicide, but Amelia’s mother, Kate, just can’t believe that her successful, confident daughter would take her own life.  Using the technology Amelia left behind – her text messages, e-mails, and social media accounts – Kate tries to piece together what really happened during the last few weeks (and minutes) of Amelia’s life.

I’m not usually into mysteries/thrillers, but this one hooked me from the beginning.  It’s a fast-paced, fun read that jumps between Kate’s experiences in the present and the recent past as lived by Amelia.  I guessed a couple of the plot twists, but I couldn’t predict them all! (Leisure Collection)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (recommended by Christine Aden)

This is a dizzying, addictive book.  Bee is an eighth grader with a father who works long hours at Microsoft and a mother (Bernadette) who had an ugly thing happen 20 years ago and is still reeling from the repercussions.  When Bernadette disappears halfway through the book, you don’t know whether to cheer or cry. Bee sets herself to the task of finding her missing mother and in doing so, puts back together the pieces of her life.

I had heard rave reviews of this book over the summer, but still didn’t have high expectations.  I picked it up to read a few pages at about 9 PM and realized at 1 AM that I needed to put it down and get sleep so I could work the next day.  The characters in this book are quirky, fun and irritating by turns.  Don’t miss out! (Available via I-Share)

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (recommended by Amanda Makula)
This is a slow burn of a novel. From the opening lines, you know that Something Big happens — but it isn’t until the very end that you learn what it is. Rather, pieces are revealed slowly, methodically. The main character, Nora Eldridge, is as three-dimensional as they come, frustratingly real and relatable even as her emotions and actions might push some readers away. Messud explores the role of anger and regret in a woman’s life (and the way in which society seeks to suppress it) in an honest, unflinching way. The result is a provocative near-masterpiece, ripe for rich discussion and analysis. (Leisure Collection)
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick, 2010 (recommended by Margi Rogal)
Inspired by The Ambassadors, Henry James’s tome about an American family’s attempt to lure their son home from Paris, Ozick tells a wild, funny, and, at times, sad tale of a family’s struggle to maintain its integrity when first a son and then a daughter hightail it to Paris to escape their parents’ clutches. Told mostly through the eyes of the divorced and single aunt, who travels twice to Paris to investigate her nephew and niece’s situations, this novel explores how family members’ both repudiate and need one another in order to survive and forge their own lives. (Available via I-Share)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (recommended by Christine Aden)

This is a story of geek love between two high school sophomores during the 1980’s.  Eleanor and Park are misfits who are forced to sit next to one another on the school bus, eventually developing a friendship and falling in love.  But if I left it there, you’d only get part of the story.  Rainbow Rowell tells a moving story of what it is to be a teenager, uncomfortable with yourself and your surroundings, facing bullying, racism and abuse.  These are hard topics to read, made worse because you care about the characters to whom they happen.  (PZ7 .R79613 E44 2013)

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