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Fiction A to Z June 2014
"My life has often been described as 'from rags to riches,' but in fact, the Rosses were never raggedy."
~ Diana Ross, American singer
New and Recently Released!
Ruby: A Novel - by Cynthia Bond
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/29/2014
Share Ruby%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780804139090
ISBN-10: 0804139091
When they were kids, Ruby was the beautiful mixed-race girl whom preacher's son Ephram Jennings loved and others used. She escaped to New York as soon as she was able, and at 30, she came back to town. But the memories of the trauma she suffered there may be her undoing; she's been slipping towards madness for the decade since. Still in love with her, Ephram is torn between duty to the domineering sister who raised him and a chance for a life with Ruby -- one the townspeople seem determined to prevent. The town of Liberty is vividly depicted, as is the entrenched poverty, racism, and brutality of rural Texas in the 1960s and '70s. Told in poetic language, this debut is at times distressing, and will likely appeal to fans of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison.
Wynne's War - by Aaron Gwyn
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/20/2014
Share Wynne ISBN-13: 9780544230279
ISBN-10: 0544230272
After demonstrating his exemplary horsemanship skills in Iraq, Corporal Elijah Russell is assigned to an elite Special Forces unit in Afghanistan. There, his job is to train horses -- and their riders -- for an unusual and top-secret mission led by an enigmatic captain. Put off by the secrecy, Russell begins to suspect that the captain may have a second agenda. The forbidding Afghan war zone is graphically described; thanks to extensive research on author Aaron Gwyn's part, the novel offers authentic, gritty, and realistic scenes, provoking comparisons to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and to Cormac McCarthy's novels.
The Painter: A Novel - by Peter Heller
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/06/2014
Share The Painter%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780385352093
ISBN-10: 0385352093
Painter Jim Stegner has retreated to a small house in the wilds of Colorado; though he's a celebrated artist, he's haunted by grief over the death of his daughter. He's also served time for nearly killing a man who leered at her; when he sees a man abusing a horse, that familiar and unstoppable rage rises again, and the man ends up dead. Though there's suspense in what happens next -- Jim's avoiding both the law and the dead man's family -- his narration also encompasses an almost spiritual take on art and nature.
The Possibilities: A Novel - by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/13/2014
Share The Possibilities%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9781476725796
ISBN-10: 1476725799
As in her debut novel (The Descendants, adapted into a movie by the same name and starring George Clooney), author Kaui Hart Hemmings addresses grief in a strongly depicted setting, only this time it's Colorado. Overwhelmed by her son Cully's death in an avalanche, single mother Sarah St. John can find no meaning in her ordinary activities, until the arrival of a young woman on her doorstep opens her eyes to those around her. Though Sarah's a bit wary of the young woman's claims to a relationship with Cully, the two embark on a trip to Cully's college for a memorial service, accompanied by Sarah's dad, her best friend, and Cully's father. By turns hilarious and touching, the road trip allows each of the well-drawn characters to move forward in some way. Though of especial interest to readers who have faced similar losses, The Possibilities is also an appealing take on parenthood.
Tales of Rags to Riches
Lionel Asbo: State of England - by Martin Amis
Publisher: Vintage International
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/07/2013
Share Lionel Asbo%3a State of England ISBN-13: 9780307948083
ISBN-10: 0307948080
Lionel Asbo -- whose first run-in with the police occurred at the tender age of three -- is a ruthless, foul-tempered thug who raises pit bulls on hot sauce and booze. He's also the polar opposite of his nephew, Desmond "Des" Pepperdine, a brainy, biracial young man with a bright future. Lionel, only six years older than Des, becomes the lad's guardian when Lionel's sister dies -- and attempts to mentor her son in his own unique fashion. While Des attends university and becomes a journalist, Lionel bounces in and out of prison until he unexpectedly wins the lottery, a windfall that enables him to engage in even worse behavior, albeit with fewer consequences. This offbeat, darkly humorous tale satirizes contemporary British culture while sensitively portraying a very unusual familial bond.
Money Can't Buy Love - by Connie Briscoe
Publisher: Grand Central
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 07/17/2012
Share Money Can ISBN-13: 9780446534833
ISBN-10: 0446534838
One year ago, magazine photographer Lenora Stone was juggling bills her job didn't quite cover when her financial prayers were answered -- she'd won five million dollars in the Maryland State lottery. Now, her friends have disappeared, along with her fiancé, her fancy car, and her studio. Soon, her dream house will follow. Telling her rags-to-riches-to-rags tale to a reporter, Lenora airs the problems she faced, the poor decisions she made, and the consequences she must live with. Frothy and fun, this book has an additional perk: it "leaves you feeling pretty good about your cash-strapped existence" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared - by Jonas Jonasson
Publisher: Hyperion
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/11/2012
Share The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared ISBN-13: 9781401324643
ISBN-10: 1401324649
Faced with the prospect of attending his 100th birthday party without any alcohol at all, Allan Karlsson does the only sensible thing: he climbs out through the nursing home window and heads to the nearby bus station. Despite wearing slippers and possessing the achy joints of a centenarian, Allan embarks on a rather unforgettable adventure as his own larger-than-life story slowly comes out. Thugs, elephants, a suitcase full of money, and a friendly hot dog stand operator all figure, as do many other remarkable characters, including some of the 20th century's most familiar names. Fans of this lighthearted picaresque romp will be pleased to hear that the author's second novel was published in April; it's called The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and is equally delightfully nutty.
Remember Me? - by Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperbacks
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/28/2008
Share Remember Me? ISBN-13: 9780385338738
ISBN-10: 0385338732
Twenty-five-old Lexi faces some unusual problems when she wakes up in a hospital. She's actually 28 -- and doesn't remember anything of the preceding three years, during which she apparently married an attractive millionaire, embarked on a successful career, and got the perfect body/hair/teeth/handbag she always wanted. Unfortunately, life's not all good -- she's also somehow become the boss from hell and has alienated every single one of her friends. And that handsome husband? There's no chemistry. With a great deal of humor, author Sophie Kinsella showcases Lexi's struggles to go from "the perfect life" to one that actually makes her happy.
Girl in Translation - by Jean Kwok
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/29/2010
Share Girl in Translation ISBN-13: 9781594487569
ISBN-10: 1594487561
Drawing on author Jean Kwok's own experience, this debut novel tells the story of Ah Kim, who emigrated with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, where she decides to go by Kimberly Chang at school. Their unheated apartment is condemned (and infested), and both must work at a sweatshop to pay back the aunt who financed their transport, but that doesn't stop Kimberly from excelling at school. Success there eventually takes her to Yale, but not without some hardships. Partially a coming-of-age story, this tale of an immigrant's experience offers "much to savor" (Booklist). Kwok's second novel, Mambo in Chinatown, will be published this month.
Lottery - by Patricia Wood
Publisher: Berkley
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 06/03/2008
Share Lottery ISBN-13: 9780425222201
ISBN-10: 0425222209
Perry Crandall has been raised by his grandmother, who has always told him to trust his instincts, even if, with an IQ of 76, others may try to tell him what to do. After her death, his family swindles him out of the house she left him, and when he wins the lottery, they come calling again. His friends are also behaving differently, and Perry isn't sure what to do. A likable fellow, 32-year-old Perry narrates the story himself, sharing his Gram's wise words and his own interpretations of the situations he finds himself in. Fans of the naive young narrator of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time may enjoy reading Perry's story too.
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