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 FICTION

 

No One Can Pronounce My Name
By Rakesh Satyal
    
A wonderful and heartwarming story about a group of Indian immigrants living in Cleveland, Ohio trying to fit into American society and their own families.
     Saranjana has just sent her only child away to college and suspects her husband is having an affair. She takes comfort in a writers’ club and has quite a talent for it.
     Harit is a bachelor grieving over his sister’s death and living with his aging mother. His on;y friend is Teddy, a flamboyant co worker.
     Unlikely circumstances lead to Saranjana and Harit meeting but what follows is not what you would expect. This book is charming, touching and funny.
--
Carole
 

Lincoln in the Bardo
By George Saunders
     Acclaimed short-story author George Saunders has produced an inventive and exhilarating first novel. Equal parts ghost story and historical fiction, Lincoln in the Bardo concerns the loss of Lincoln’s beloved young son Willie to typhoid fever in the midst of the Civil War. Reminiscent of Edgar Lee Masters and Sherwood Anderson, if you are looking for a book that is playful, full of pathos, and just a little bit different, then this one is for you..
--
Valerie

 

Silence
By Shusaku Endo  $16.00
     Two Portuguese Jesuit Priests travel to Japan to perform missionary work. They also hope to find a fellow priest who denounced his faith after succumbing to torture. The narrative takes place during the 1600s at the height of Christian persecution in Japan. This is a somber book, elegantly written. We learn much about Japan and its powerful and cruel warlords. We also learn much about faith and self-doubt. Silence refers to the silence of God. This book is intense.
Carole

 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk     $25.99
By Kathleen Rooney
  
A fast moving adventure book this is not. A saunter through time and place with a sharp-witted octogenarian who rose to the top of the ladder in New York City’s advertising and literary world, it is. And quite the saunter at that. At times humorous, at times wistful,at times just so quirky you shake your head....but always wonderfully portraying the human condition of a great city and a woman who took note of every nuance it has to offer. This is so well written that you’ll feel as if you are right there with her....strolling beside her and listening to her life stories and that of the city that never sleeps.
–Nancy

 

 

Purgatory Road     $14.99
By Samuel Parker
      A young couple on a day trip from Las Vegas find themselves stranded in the middle of the desert when their car dies. Rescue finally comes , but what transpires is beyond imagination. A teen runaway is abducted from a Las Vegas diner and is left chained in a remote cave. She too is rescued in the  same mysterious manner.
     What follows is an eerie sequence of events as the three victims are faced with the powerful forces of good and evil.|
     A suspenseful nail biter that will keep you up.

–Carole

 

All the Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr   $27
     Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a favorite of the Fireside staff. A finely crafted historical novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths come together in WW2 France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Simply a great read!
–Phil & Sandy

Our Souls at Night
By Kent Haruf  $15

     Addie and Louis are both in their seventies and widowed, living in Holt Colorado.They know each other but not very well.One day Addie pays a visit to Louis and asks if he would consider coming over to sleep with her sometimes, just to lie in the dark and talk, for company.Their relationship grows despite opposition from younger family members and town busybodies.The writing is wonderful in its simplicity and the characters are treated with respect and dignity. Truly delightful.
--Carole

News of the World
By Paulette Jiles  $22.99

     A very well written historical novel set in Texas in 1870. An elderly traveling man is given care of a 10 year old white girl who was kidnapped by the Kiowa Indians four years ago. He is to convey her to some distant relatives,  it will not be an easy journey. One of the best books I have read in 2016.
--Phil

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
By Rachel Joyce  $16
    
An odd book with a few unexpected twists and turns. Very enjoyable reading and would make a fine book club choice..
–Phil           

 

The Sympathizer
By Viet Thanh Nguyen $16.00
    
It’s a spy novel, it’s a thriller, it’s an immigrant story, and it’s a confession. The narrator is know only as the Captain, a communist sleeper agent living in America. He tells the story of the Fall of Saigon and its aftermath from the point of view of the Vietnamese. The narrative is darkly comic and crackles with irony. You will think about the Vietnam war in a completely different way. A compelling and thought provoking read.
–Carole           

The Turner House
By Angela Flournoy   $14.95
    
Thirteen siblings were raised in the Turner house. Each of them has a unique story as do their parents. We are easily drawn into their lives and experience their successes and failures right along with them. The book is also a tribute to the City of Detroit as seen through the eyes of the Turners. Sometimes laugh-out-loud, sometimes heartbreaking but always real.
–Carole             

The Children Act
By Ian McEwan    $15
    
We are immediately introduced to Fiona Maye, a brisk and efficient judge who presides over family law cases. Her personal life is in disarray. After a long and childless marriage she has dismissed her husband from their home. Here the novel turns to its central event. Fiona has to decide the fate of a teenage boy with leukemia. His family are Jehovah’s Witnesses and the blood transfusions he needs to stay alive are forbidden. What follows is the building of a relationship between the eminent judge and a dying boy, written with elegance and sensitivity. Suspenseful to the very end.
–Carole             

Leaving Time
By Jodi Picoult    $16
    
For over ten years Jenna has been wondering what happened to her mother. No one knows if she is alive and deserted her family, or if she was killed in the tragic accident. Jenna’s father is of no help due to his being in a mental hospital as a result of the accident, and her grandmother who is raising her refuses to discuss it. Jenna decides to enlist the help of a psychic and a former detective who worked the accident in which her mom disappeared and a co-worker was killed.
     Together they try to unravel the details and solve the mystery. Tied in with this is the fact that this all takes place on an elephant sanctuary where her mother was a scientist who studied how elephants grieve. I enjoyed learning so much about the elephants. It was captivating. As with all of her books, there is a twist! If you are a fan of hers you will not be disappointed!
–Ann              

The Narrow Road to the Deep North
By Richard Flanagan        $16
     Centered around a group of Australian POWs in 1943 captured by the Japanese. The Emperor has commanded the building of a railroad from Siam toBurma and it is a matter of duty, honor,and national pride to see its completion.
     These unfortunate prisoners are ill-equipped for so gargantuan a task and their numbers decrease daily as they fall to the horrors of disease, starvation, and human cruelty. Although categorized as fiction I felt that Mr. Flanagan was writing from first hand knowledge.  Powerful. This one will stay with you.--Carole

Take Me with You
By Catherine Ryan Hyde $14.94
    
In today’s suspicious world of paperwork and procedure this story could probably never happen. As a bereft science teacher leaves for his annual RV trip without his recently deceased son or divorced wife, an unexpected mechanical problem changes his life forever. If you are wondering what happened to the old American spirit and need a heart warming story, this is perfect. But expect a few tears along the way.--Sandy

Nightingale
By Kristin Hannah  $27.99

     My first thought when I opened the book jacket was "Not another WW11 book."  That thought disappeared immediately as I began to read. The story tells of two French sisters who have nothing in common and how they take very  different paths during the French Resistance. It also tells much history but also shows a part of history rarely seen: the women's war.  Don't miss this one.
--Ann and Lori

Americanah
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi   $16
     Ifemelu immigrates from Nigeria to the U.S. to complete her education. She is stereotyped as an African American although she has nothing in common other than the color of her skin. This book deals with immigration, racism, feminism, discrimination and independence. It caused me to look at the situation from a completely different point of view. This is one of the more interesting books I’ve read in a while. Extremely thought provoking and well written.
–Lori             

Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League
By Jonathan Odell    $16
    
If you are a fan of Southern fiction, well developed characters, lots of dialogue and a great human interest story that takes place during the tumultuous and often brutal times in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi, you will like this book. The stories of two women, one Caucasian and one African American, are woven together in a sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious way as we get to know each one, as well as the souls who inhabit the town of Delphi. There’s a reason the book has almost 500 pages…the characters and story are so well developed that you feel you know them personally. A thought-provoking look into the past and the struggles of a people willing to put their lives at risk in the attempt to be treated as human beings. A good choice for those who enjoyed Kathryn Stockett’s The Help
--Nancy             

 

Secrets of a Charmed Life
By Susan Meissner    $15
 
  Snap up this well-written work of historical fiction and you will be rewarded with a story of determination, courage, kindness, mystery and what it means to be a family…all set amidst the backdrop of World War II during the time of the Blitz on London. The story unfolds with a present day young American scholar at Oxford who is tasked with the assignment of interviewing a ninety-three year old artist about her life during the Blitz. As the older woman revisits her past, it becomes apparent that there are secrets and trials of the heart too painful to reveal until now. This is a story of the evacuation of the children of London just before the Blitz, and how one night changed the fate of two sisters forever.
--Nancy           

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
By Gabrielle Zevin   $15.95
    
A curmudgeonly man runs an independent
bookshop in a small town. What’s not to
love? Something is lost, someone is found and we
have a lovely story.
--Kathryn       

 

Saving Ceecee Honeycutt
By Beth Hoffman    $16.00
     Twelve-year-old Ceecee Honeycutt has been living in Willoughby, Ohio with her mentally ill mother and an absentee father. When her mother suddenly dies, it’s her great Aunt Tootie that takes charge and brings her to Savannah, Georgia to begin her new life.
--Jean            

 

Tell the Wolves I’m Home
By Carol Rifka Brunt   $16
    
This is a contemporary story of love, family, hidden motives and personal discovery. It’s 1987 in New York and June Elbus’s beloved uncle and celebrated artist; Finn Weiss is dying of AIDS. One of his last paintings is of June and her sister Greta, which becomes a focal point of their grieving process. After he dies, June is sought out by Finn’s committed partner, Toby, who the family angrily blames for Finn’s death. Their friendship grows as they share memories of Finn; but Toby has secrets of his own. This coming-of-age story reminded me of all the fears and misconceptions in the early days of AIDS, that teenagers’ complex lives can be underestimated by their parents, and that we should be very careful of personal prejudices.
--Kathryn 

Orphan Train
By Christina Baker Kline   $15.99
    
Molly is close to “aging out” of foster care and must perform community service for a minor infraction. This service leads her to Vivian, an elderly woman who wants her to help clean out her attic. They learn through this that they are not so different after all. This story, which flips from the present to the past, is rich in detail. This is a great choice for historical fiction readers.
--Ann               

Me Before You
By Jojo Moyes    $16.00
    
What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? Will is moody and mean. Louisa is ordinary and polite. Their friendship brings out the best in each. Then she learns of his shocking plans. She wants nothing more than to change his mind and plans accordingly. But will it work? This book is not to be missed.
--Ann               

A Paris Apartment
By Michelle Gable    $15.99
    
Paris 1942, the treasure-filled apartment of Marthe de Florians, an elite courtesan, was shuttered and locked. After her death, no one visited or claimed it, but the rent was paid for the next seventy years. The book tells two women’s stories. Marthe’s scandalous life in the Belle Epoque era is told through her journals, found in the apartment. April Vogt is the fictionalized Sotheby’s appraiser sent to catalogue and validate the treasures. Her biggest challenges are to establish providence for an unknown portrait of Marthe painted by Giovanni Boldini, bring it to a successful auction, find out who paid the rent and evade (or not) the advances of Parisian lawyer, Luc.
--Kathryn   

A Place at the Table
By Susan Rebecca White           $14.99
    
A well written tale inspired very loosely by the real friendship between two well known present day New York chefs, one an elderly African American woman, the other a young gay man. Their lives become intertwined by an abiding love of Southern food and the comfort and ritual of preparing it for others. Each had childhood secrets too painful to unearth and each sought solace in their friendship and the food they loved. A sudden twist in the plot and the entrance of another surprising character leads to the unraveling of one of the secrets. One of the most unusual books I have read in quite a while.
 
--Nancy

 

The Last Runaway
By Tracy Chevalier           $16
    
The author’s best effort since “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.
Set in frontier Ohio in the 1850s it is both well written
and compelling. Also has wonderful historical background
on the Underground Railroad, Quakers and
quilting. A guaranteed great read!
 
--Phil

 

Mrs. Poe
By Lynn Cullen   $16
      
This historical novel is set in 1845 New York literary circles. Just as Poe’s “The Raven” becomes popular, Frances Osgood, a struggling poet becomes trapped in a passionate affair with Poe and a friendship with his much younger wife Virginia, who is more manipulative and vengeful than imagined. Like Poe’s work this story is full of twists and turns that will keep you intrigued until the end.
--Sandy

The Rosie Project
By Graeme Simsion  $15.99
    
The Rosie Project is a sweet and funny book about a brilliant man, Don Tillman, who decides to find the perfect partner. After launching his Wife Project, which includes a hilarious questionnaire intended to weed out imperfect candidates--smokers, makeup wearers, vegans (“incredibly annoying”)--Don meets Rosie, a woman who is so wrong, she’s right.
--Jean

Looking for Me
By Beth Hoffman  $16
     A lovely southern story by the author of
Saving Ceecee Honeycutt. Teddi is a fixer. She grows up in rural Kentucky repairing old furniture and parlays this skill into her dream of owning an antique and design shop in Charleston, South Carolina. She must balance her life in Charleston with her broken family back home, including her mother who still wants to get a “real” job, and her missing brother who communicates better with animals than people.
 --Kathryn

Language of Flowers
By Vanessa Diffenbaugh   $16
     Victoria Jones is 18 and aging out of the foster care system, emotionally fragile and unprepared for life. Where do you go when you are so young and have no family to support you? The author weaves her story of survival with the people and events that molded her character. Victoria reached out to others with her unique ability to communicate through the language of flowers.
--Kathryn

Bad Monkey
By Carl Hiaasen  $8
     Carl Hiaasen is a comic genius! As with all his novels (and I’ve read them all) I find myself laughing out loud and asking myself “Who comes up with this stuff”. Hilarious.  Wicked Smart.  I can’t say enough about good ol’ Carl.
--Jean

Where’d You Go Bernadette
By Maria Semple  $8
    
This is a wonderfully funny, quirky and wildly entertaining novel. Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and simply, Mom.
--Jean & Kathryn

The Light Between Oceans
By M.L. Stedman          $17

    
The lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock off the western coast of Australia meticulously keeps the beacon shining for the safety of others. But what brings him light? A simple story grows more complex, and can be seen in the light of many eyes. Beautifully written, wonderfully symbolic, it is a gripping story that is infused with a sense that all will be well in the very end as people grapple with what is the best thing to do.
--Marcia
 

The Glass Room
By Simon Mawer         $15.95
     The main character in this book is an incredible house built in the late 1920s for a newlywed couple in Czechoslovakia. As World War II approaches this beautifully written story follows the occupation of the house by the Nazis, the Russians, and the Czech government.  The story follows the family and the subsequent owners with each new inhabitant falling under the spell of the glass room. Although this is a fictional story, the house is still standing today and has been fully restored to its former beauty.
--Lori

The Bartender’s Tale
By Ivan Doig   $16
     This is a coming of age story about a boy
 in Montana during the summer of 1960.
The author is one of my favorites and
is a master storyteller.
     A pleasure to read.
--Phil

The Kitchen House
By Kathleen Grissom  $16.99
     In 1791, Lavinia, orphaned aboard a ship from Ireland, arrives at a Virginia tobacco plantation. For the next 19 years we share her dangerous path between her slave family in the “Kitchen House” and her Master’s in the “Big House”. Every woman should read this book. It is as much our journey to today’s freedom as it was Lavinia’s.
--Sandy & Kathryn

Cain At Gettysburg
By Ralph Peters  $17.99
     Probably the best Civil War novel since “Killer Angels”, though this one is perhaps less heroic and a bit more gritty.  I recommend reading the “Author’s Note” at the end before beginning the book.  Enjoy!
--Phil

The Twelfth Enchantment
By David Liss  $16
     An extremely deft weaving of English history, magic, and pure fantasy, set during the time when the Industrial Revolution was just beginning to affect age-old traditions…and awaken dark forces long contained. A young woman unwittingly becomes the key to retrieving the pages of an ancient magical tome that will decide England’s fate for better or worse. The plot twists and turns, the suspense builds, keeping the reader entranced until the very end.  Throw in a little romance and intriguing characters, and voila! Enchanting!
--Nancy

The Hundred-Foot Journey
By Richard Marais  $16
     A restaurant family leaves Mumbai after a tragedy. They settle in a small French town & open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French one. Chef Hassan Haj vs. the famous chef Madame Mallory. A favorite of my book group.
--Lori
 

Clara & Mr. Tiffany
By Susan Vreeland  $16
     With meticulous research and rich imagination, the status of the working woman is explored through the story of Clara Driscoll, a designer of leaded glass for Louis C. Tiffany. I waited for over a year for this book and it did not disappoint!
--Judi
 

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy
By Sharon Lathan   $18.99

    
I loved Pride & Prejudice or maybe I just love Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy. He's the one I pictured as I read this incredibly romantic continuation of the story. It starts right after the end of Pride & Prejudice and takes the reader through the first months of their married life. The series continues with Loving Mr. Darcy and My Dearest Mr. Darcy and a fourth to come out this fall. I can't wait!
--Jean

Thread of Grace
by Maria Doria Russell     $17
    
There are many strong women and men who are heroes in this book set in Italy during WWII; some, like priests and rabbis are called to be heroes every day; some surprisingly, are the enemy. Throughout, women hold their families together despite great odds.
--Marcia

The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives
by Sarah Strohmeyer
  $16
    
The one word to describe this book would be fun! Desperate Housewives in northeast Ohio – I loved it. It’s the kind of book you’ll stay up late reading, saying to yourself “just one more chapter…”
--Jean