The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abby Waxman

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This novel keeps up a fun, friendly patter while still dealing realistically and respectfully with mental health issues in the form of anxiety.  A good “cozy read,” a good “beach read,” a good choice for a wide range of readers.

“Waxman has created a thoroughly engaging character in this bookish, contemplative, set-in-her ways woman. Be prepared to chuckle.”—Kirkus Review (starred review)

“Book nerds will feel strong kinship with the engaging, introverted Nina Hill, who works in a bookstore, plays pub trivia, and loves office supplies… Readers will be captivated by Nina’s droll sense of humor.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Move over on the settee, Jane Austen. You’ve met your modern-day match in Abbi Waxman. Bitingly funny, relatable and intelligent, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a must for anyone who loves to read.”—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck With That

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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In 1945 Barcelona, Daniel’s father brings him to a special library to pick out a book, which he will then be responsible for guarding. The book he chooses attracts attention from several other interested parties, some good, some evil. This page-turner has mystery, adventure, romance, a colorful cast of characters, and celebrates books. A fun summer read!

“One gorgeous read.” –Stephen King

“ Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.”
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Wonderous… masterful… The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.” —Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice)

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Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

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Through a DNA website, Dani’s husband submitted their DNA as a lark. And in one day Dani’s life as she ever had known it was turned upside down.  With the speed of the Internet and You-Tube, her personal mystery unravels at top speed!

“Fascinating… With thoughtful candor, [Shapiro] explores the ethical questions surrounding sperm donation, the consequences of DNA testing, and the emotional impact of having an uprooted religious and ethnic identity. This beautifully written, thought-provoking genealogical mystery will captivate readers from the very first pages.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“For all the trauma that the discovery put her through, Shapiro recognizes that what she had experienced was ‘a great story’—one that has inspired her best book.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Page after page, Shapiro displays adisarming honesty and an acute desire to know the unknowable.” —Booklist (starred review)

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Ask Again, Yes: A Novel by Mary Beth Keane

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“Mary Beth Keane takes on one of the most difficult problems in fiction—how to write about human decency. In Ask Again, Yes, Keane creates a layered emotional truth that makes a compelling case for compassion over blame, understanding over grudge, and the resilience of hearts that can accept the contradictions of love.”— Louise Erdrich, author of The Round House

“Keane’s story embraces family lives in all their muted, ordinary, yet seismic shades… offers empathy and the long view… Tender and patient, the novel avoids excessive sweetness while planting itself deep in the soil of commitment and attachment. Graceful and mature. A solidly satisfying, immersive read.”—Kirkus (starred review) 

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Daisy Jones & the Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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An episode of the (sadly, defunct) VH1’s Behind the Music in book form.  Reid’s descriptions will make you wish this fictional band’s songs were real.  The gossipy, often conflicting input from multiple narrators makes it a perfect, juicy summer read.  I enjoyed it even more than Reid’s previous hit – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

““I devoured Daisy Jones & The Six in a day, falling head over heels for it. Taylor Jenkins Reid transported me into the magic of the ’70s music scene in a way I’ll never forget. The characters are beautifully layered and complex. Daisy and the band captured my heart, and they’re sure to capture yours, too.”—Reese Witherspoon

Reid’s novel so resembles a memoir of a real band and conjures such true-to-life images of the seventies music scene that readers will think they’re listening to Fleetwood Mac or Led Zeppelin. Reid is unsurpassed in her ability to create complex characters working through emotions that will make your toes curl.”Booklist (starred review)

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The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

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Yale is working at an art museum in 1980s Chicago when he is called to meet an elderly woman who claims to have a priceless collection of art to donate. At the same time, Yale, his boyfriend, and their group of male friends are feeling the devastating effects of the developing AIDS crisis. Years later, one of their friends reflects on this time period as she tries to track down her missing daughter in Paris. This is a beautiful, sad, engaging novel.

FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler

 As her intimately portrayed characters wrestle with painful pasts and fight to love one another and find joy in the present in spite of what is to come, Makkai carefully reconstructs 1980s Chicago, WWI-era and present day Paris, and scenes of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. A tribute to the enduring forces of love and art, over everything.”—Booklist (starred review)

 “To believe in something is to have faith, and Makkai dispenses it fiercely, in defiance of understandable nihilism and despair—faith in what’s right, in the good in others, in better outcomes, in time’s ability not to heal but to make something new.”—National Book Review

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The East End by Jason Allen

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A Hamptons poolside accident that ends the life of a billionaire CEO’s illicit lover is complicated by a lavish weekend vacation and a thrill-seeking hired boy who breaks in and witnesses everything in secret.

“What a delicious pot of trouble Jason Allen has cooked up in this debut novel! He’s a hell of a writer, negotiating deftly the psychological landscape of his of characters as they struggle to make the right decisions under pressure. Every page is filled with wise insights about social class and the human heart.” -Bonnie Jo Campbell, National Book Award finalist and author of Mothers Tell Your Daughters

“An intense, heart-pounding experience from the first page, with brilliant, complex characters more real than people I actually know. I challenge you to put this novel down once you start reading.”- Simon Van Booy, award winning author of The Sadness of Beautiful Things

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How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery and Rebecca Green

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Sy is the author of the Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness and one of her best friends is Vicki Croke who wrote one of my favorite books, Elephant Company: the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War.  I knew I was in for a treat.  Animals have so much to teach us about being better humans.

How to Be a Good Creature is a rare jewel, full of empathy and the profound wisdom Sy has received from animals she has loved over her extraordinary lifetime. This sweet book is a triumphant masterpiece that I’m recommending to everyone.”—Stacey O’Brien, author of Wesley the Owl

“I don’t know anyone whose animal empathies and scientific bona fides I admire more than Montgomery’s—from the curiosity she holds for a tarantula to the tender longing she has for an octopus. Told with characteristic humility and gorgeous language, How to Be a Good Creature is a remarkable achievement.”—Eliot Schrefer, author of Endangered, a National Book Award finalist

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The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

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This is a standalone title. Griffiths writes a couple of mystery series, including the popular Dr. Ruth Galloway series.

Her books are set in East Anglia and the landscape (urban settings in this title) are always a component of her work. Something that I particularly appreciated about this suspenseful book was its homage to The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins — I want to re-read that now. Griffiths uses three narrators to tell the story, which works well, as the reader can see the blind spots and the different perspectives that each character/narrator has.

“Utterly bewitching. This atmospheric, intricate thriller, a pitch-perfect modern Gothic, chilled my blood and warmed my heart. As unforgettable as it is original.”A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

“My heart is still pounding after finishing Elly Griffiths’ The Stranger Diaries. As with her other books, this is fiercely intelligent, warm, human and at times, funny. But unlike her others, this is a stand-alone. Her first and I hope not her last. The Stranger Diaries picks up where the great Gothic thrillers of the past leave off.  At once a homage to that great literary form, and a re-imagining.  It is goose-bump spooky, smart, and haunting, in every sense.  I loved this book!  And you will too.”—Louise Penny, #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series

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Unto Us a Son is Given (Commissario Guido Brunetti) by Donna Leon

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When an elderly family friend is urged to bequeath his fortune to a specific heir before suddenly dropping dead, Commissario Guido Brunetti untangles a disturbing mystery from the victim’s past.

“Hers is an unusually potent cocktail of atmosphere and event.”New Yorker

“For those who know Venice, or want to, Brunetti is a well-versed escort to the nooks, crannies, moods, and idiosyncrasies of what residents call La Serenissima, the Serene One . . . Richly atmospheric, [Leon] introduces you to the Venice insiders know.”USA Today

“Each year brings the delight of a new Commissario Guido Brunetti novel, and this twenty-eighth book featuring the ever-reflective Venetian detective does not disappoint . . . As always, the skillful Leon weaves deft plot threads . . . Along the way, murder and perfidy abound, providing Brunetti with numerous investigative challenges. Ultimately, Brunetti muses about the profound nature of family ties and the danger of family secrets, inviting readers to do likewise.”Library Journal (starred review)

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