What Karin is reading

A good book makes you want to live in the story. A great book gives you no choice. 

ISBN-13: 9781476746586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company, 5/2014

Karin: I'm not sure I will read a better novel this year than All the Light We Cannot See! Doerr's prose is exquisite and the rich details are lush and livid. I cared about Marie-Laure, Werner, and other characters as soon as I met them. I loved that although this is a WWII story it is unsentimental - in the usual sense of war stories- just 2 extraordinary children thrown into a world of horror. The chapter titles are cause for amazement as well as the references to marine life, science, music, and past great literature. Doerr creates suspense by alternating stories and time - every back story reveals more just as in the intricate model-houses in the novel. The pacing is perfect and the many different threads of the story come together in such a satisfying way. Nothing short of a masterpiece. 

ISBN-13: 9780062286444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press, 5/2014

Karin: Fourth of July Creek is not for the faint of heart.  As poignant as it is frightening; it depicts the harsh realities of children born to parents with mental health and addiction issues.  There are subjects of domestic terrorism, corrupted Christianity, disconnection from society and the rights of freedom.  When does your ability to be free infringe on the rights of others?  Pete, a social worker who has a big heart but who doesn't or can't do the right thing is likeable, but hopelessly flawed.  Henderson has the feel of McCarthy, Proulx, and Franzen.  I was disturbed and riveted at the same time.  A triumphant novel despite its chilling subject matter. 

ISBN-13: 9781451645019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster, 7/2014

Karin: A gripping true tale of the struggle between national security and environmental activists who are fighting to save whales from extinction.  This is a story of passion and courage that reads like a good mystery novel.  I found this thrilling and heartbreaking at the same time.  Hard to put down. 

ISBN-13: 9781250047021
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press, 7/2014
Karin: Believe in soul mates?  Like a bit of zaniness?  This romantic off-beat novel is for you. I loved Netzer's first book and was excited for this her second. I found it fun, wacky, steamy and a great entertaining read which left me dreaming of stars and romantic interludes. 

ISBN-13: 9780385352093
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 5/2014
Karin: WOW - Great novel!  Heller is a master at alternating between art and rage, good and evil, lyric descriptions and edge-of-your-seat action.  I fond this a moving story of love, dark pasts, celebrity and the redeeming power of art.  Highly recommended for both men and women. 

China Dolls (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780812992892
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House, 6/2014

Karin: Lisa See enthralled her audience recently at the Bookworm talking about China Dolls, her newest book.  It covers an interesting slice of American history, following three friends through their careers as entertainers beginning in 1938.  Impeccably researched I was most captivated by the compelling history of the young women.  Great read from page one. 

ISBN-13: 9781594488337
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Hardcover, 7/2014

Karin: A winding multi-generation tale of family and the Virgin Islands.  Reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison this is a rich, lyrical, magical novel with a Latin/Caribbean feel.  Yanique's writing has a lovely, rhythmic meandering style and her storytelling is wonderful. 

Lucky Us (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781400067244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House, 8/2014

Karin: Half sisters looking to make their way in a mixed-up world.  Characters are dimensional - flawed, strong, unique and fully human.  This is a coming-of-age story, a story of resilience and finding your "family".  Bloom is a gifted writer who is both light and weighty.  We the readers are the Lucky Ones. 

My Beloved World (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780345804839
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 9/2013

Karin: I was in awe and full of admiration the whole time listening/reading this autobiography of this astonishing woman who has become a national icon. It is rare for a political memoir to exhibit such honesty, intimacy, and candor.  Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.  Highly recommended!

Dollbaby (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780670014736
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books, 7/2014
Karin: This is a great debut novel set in New Orleans when civil rights are gaining momentum.  It's a big-hearted coming-of-age story full of family, drama and secrets.  In line with the poignant stories: The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Secret Life of Bees and The Help.  Thoroughly southern and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  A great choice for young adults as well. 

ISBN-13: 9780345516534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books, 1/2014

Karin: This fictional romantic biography of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife, Fanny Osbourne, skillfully blends researched history with Horan's praiseworthy writing.  It is a love story that spans years and continents.  It explores both characters equally well, their escape from family difficulties, their collaboration in Robert's writing and health and the complexities of their lives.  It reads like truth only better. 

ISBN-13: 9780761139614
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Workman Publishing, 12/2013
Karin: I am loving the flavorful and unusual dishes in BOLD.  Highly recommend so far: Beet hummus, Vegetable Tacos, Stuffed Peppers, and Buffalo Steaks.  I'm also finding the many tidbits of information about origin, species, history and more entertaining reading. 

ISBN-13: 9780062279989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco, 9/2014

Karin: I would highly recommend this to both men and women, to anyone interested in WWII, and to those who like stories of love, survival and sacrifice.  This well-constructed story takes place during the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands off the coast of mainland Alaska.  I found it riveting and compelling and interesting that through most of the book the main characters were not together yet their love is powerful.  It is reminiscent and as good as Cold Mountain.  A great story about a little-known part of WWII.

ISBN-13: 9780374246020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sarah Crichton Books, 1/2014
Karin: This is a story of a community trying to rebuild after a civil war. The power of this tale is both the close-up heartbreaking struggle of its people as well as the beautiful lyrical African storytelling. (Reading the preface regarding Beah's choice of writing style is imperative.). I wanted to soak in every word. I was reminded of the resilience it takes to survive, how hope leads to rebirth, and the determination it takes to face the hardships the future may bring. Beah has a vision of a tomorrow without conflict. Good choice if you appreciated, What is the What, Running the Rift, The House at Sugar Beach, or Beah's excellent memoir A Long Way Gone. 

ISBN-13: 9780670024780
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Adult, 1/2014
Karin: This is an inspiring, enthralling narrative that covers the lives of two very different women who have a common goal: Freedom. It is a fictional account of a real life abolitionist and suffragist, Sarah Grimke and a house slave, Handful. The story follows the lives of the two in pre-civil war Charleston. It is a new perspective on slavery, the limited roles of women, injustice and it shows how an undeniable spirit can effect change. Good if you like The Help or Mudbound.  Very moving - highly recommended. 

ISBN-13: 9780316055437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company, 10/2013

Karin: This modern-day Dickensean novel immersed me in its astonishing power, prose, and brilliance from page one.  This new classic is full of unforgettable characters, pitch-perfect dialogue and vivid descriptions.  Goldfinch's themes are huge in scope: loss, trauma, longing, family, friendship, bullies, survival, love, drugs, philosophy and power.  It is full of complicated characters - their situations and relationships are bleak yet loveliness shines through - much as it does in the painting that is central to the novel.  I loved the references to literature, music, art, film, and antiques.  One of the BEST books of the year and truly a masterpiece.   

ISBN-13: 9780062079602
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Torch, 10/2013
Karin: Using an unconventional structure of the five classic elements: Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, Metal, Winchester beautifully details acts of pioneering men that have brought us together as one united country.  He goes beyond the national concept of ideals and constitutional freedom and shows the roles of familiar, forgotten, and unknown men and how each expedition or discovery created the United States. Excellent book for any history fan, but also great for those who are interested in fascinating snippets in an easy-to-read work. 

ISBN-13: 9780143125471
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 5/2014
Karin: Much more than a sports book! This is the story of nine working-class western boys who beat the odds - elite Eastern and British rivals and Hitlers crew in the '36 Olympics. I found it irrestible and inspiring, full of good character development, exceptional pacing and good parallel descriptions. It's a story of depression trials, collegiate crew, Leni Reinfenstahls role in the rise of the Nazis, the emergence of the Western States, finding hope in the most desperate of times, and the magic of a team when individuals give their best. Great writers generate interest in a subject and Brown does that here.  Think Unbroken and Chariots of Fire.  

ISBN-13: 9780871407771
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 6/2014

Karin: This moving WWI debut novel is really a winner.  Alternating between a father at war and a son at home this remarkable story explores duty and honor, obligation and love, and lessons and regret.  The war action is impressively real - the imfamous Canadian battle of Vimy is so vivid I was on the edge of my seat.  This haunting memorable and moving novel is on par with Birdsong, and one of the best war stories ever.  Good for both men and women historical fiction lovers.

Snow Hunters (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781476714813
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster, 8/2013
Karin: Occasionally when reading you know you are in the midst of greatness.  That is how I felt when reading this gem of a story.  It is a guiet, small book yet a great sentimental tale.  It is a memorable story full of grace; a richly told story in poetic style.  It is a timeless jewel which I will happily visit again.  Reminiscent of The Alchemist

ISBN-13: 9780062241931
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company, 6/2014

Karin: This is an entertaining novel of a little-written about time - pre Revolutionary War Philadelphia and the American Colonies.  Cabot does a fine job of drawing on real facts concerning Franklin's illegitimate child, William, and the surrounding circumstances of founding a new country.  She makes Franklin human and I really appreciated the character of William's mother who is strong, wise, and interesting.  Recommended for those who like women's historical fiction. 

Motherland (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781476706061
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster, 7/2014
Karin: This is a big book exploring human emotions set against the backdrop of WWII.  Award-winning screensriter Nicholson brings us this powerfully written sweeping tale of romance, human drama, and survival.  It's simple staightforward cinematic style makes it a quick easy read. The graphic detail of the disastrous Raid of Rieppe is extremely well done.  It is a love story with layers - good if you liked the movie Pearl Harbor, looking for fast-paced historical fiction or are a true romantic. 

ISBN-13: 9780307743923
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 4/2014
Karin: I found this to be the perfect blend of historical fiction, mystery and suspense.  Bohjanlian masterfully develops his characters, the book's sense of place and time as well as creating a page turner.  The novel explores the psychological aspects of war and the moral dilemmas of ordinary people trying to survive. 

ISBN-13: 9781594632389
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Riverhead Trade, 6/2014
Karin: I couldn't wait to read this much anticipated novel by the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  This worldly book is filled with love, loss and the search for identity.  A masterful storyteller, Hosseini, once again captured my attention.  He took me inside the hearts and minds of his characters, exposed their flaws and vulnerabilities and I found the raw beauty in his writing amazing.  There is sadness and joy and characters I will not easily forget.  There is one subtle surprise - a recurring statement - which I found brilliant.  Worth the Wait! 

Life After Life (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780316176491
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Back Bay Books, 9/2013
Karin: This is a smart, suspenseful, entertaining read.  Ursula is doomed to die and be reborn again and again - sometimes with the knowledge of her previous lives.  It's a masterpiece about how even the smallest choices can sometimes change the course of history.  It's clever, bittersweet, funny, and unlike anything else you've ever read.  This is an unique story - I was enthralled from the beginning.  "History is all about what ifs." Great fun!

ISBN-13: 9780770436421
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth, 2/2014
Karin: WOW - this is one of the best books I have ever read!  It is an inventive, captivating novel about love, loss, resilience, and the unexpected ties that bind us together.  The setting is war-torn Chechnya, but it is not a typical Russian novel.  I was reminded of The English Patient, City of Thieves, and The Tiger's Wife. I found it brilliant and heartbreaking; gorgeous storytelling that shows the best and worst of humanity and the insanity of war.  It takes place over 5 days yet spans 11 years - the foreshadowing was perfectly placed.  This outstanding debut is why I LOVE novels and it exemplifies the power of literature.  A must read!

The Son (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780062120403
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press, 1/2014
Karin: Yeah - a new epic Western! Meyer's second novel has the grittiness of Cormac McCarthy and the scope and narrative power of Larry McMurtry.  It follows generations of a Texan family from the Comanche raids through the oil boom.  I found parts gruesome, parts fascinating, and the moral balance of the characters authentic.  Conquer or be conquered is a recurring theme.  The Son shows humans' insatiable greed and their fragility, and shows how a hero can be found in the unlikely. 

The Expats (Compact Disc)

ISBN-13: 9780307990297
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Random House Audio, 3/2012

Karin: Thrilling twists and turns in this fast-paced Le Carre type spy novel will keep you glued to the pages.  Is anyone who they say they are?  I listened to the audio and found myself at my destination waiting to get to a good stopping point.  It is smartly executed, worldly, entertaining, and suspenseful. This is Pavone's first novel and I'm anxious for his next adventure. 

The Silver Star (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781451661507
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Scribner, 6/2013
Karin: Bean and Liz, semi-abandoned sisters, end up at their family mansion in a small southern town that is on the cusp of social change in the 1970's.  Bean is strong and spunky, Liz a brilliant unconventional teen that runs into some adult troubles.  I thought the complex and changing loyalties of the sisters and the strength of the girls were highlights as well as the satisfying ending.  A good option for young adults that liked The Secret Life of Bees

The Painted Girls (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781594632297
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Trade, 2/2014

Karin: I loved this book!  It is a must read for fans of historical fiction and those that love dance and Impressionist Art.  (Who doesn’t love Degas Little Dancer?) The heart of the story is the poignant tale of sisters struggling to survive with dignity in Paris in the 1870’s, but it is a wonderful account of both working life and the artists taking Paris by storm.  Buchanan does a masterful job of interweaving historical figures into her plot. This is a great book club choice!

Lucky Bunny (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780062202505
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Harper Perennial, 10/2012
Karin: This is a rich, rollicking tale full of trickery and heart.  I loved the voice of Queenie; it is fresh and spirited.  Set in mid-twentieth century England, Dawson's eye for detail is unerring.  Queenie's life is mainly outside tha law, but her courage, humor and verve had me rooting for her.  Great fun! If you like Rules of Civility or All That I Am this would be a good choice for you.

The Casual Vacancy (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780316228589
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books, 7/2013
Karin: I was pleasantly surprised at how GOOD Rowling's first adult novel is.  It is a skillfully written, darkly comic tale of relationships and good vs. evil.  Casual Vacancy is filled with GREAT character development.  It's a big tale of a small town, the haves and the have-nots, and the sadly depressing side of humans.  It is heartfelt, poignant and raw; Rowling expertly writes about the truth that exists between people in a community and more importantly the lies that tear them apart.  There is no magic, but there is more in common with Harry than you'd think.  A great book for discussion.  I was very impressed!

Running the Rift (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781616201944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 10/2012

Karin: I couldn't put down this powerful coming-of-age story that follows Rwandan Jean Patrick. Jean Patrick is both a scholar and a gifted middle-distance runner - a likeable and real character.  His dreams of achieving Olympic glory seem assured, but he is Tutsi, and Rwanda's Hutu-Tutsi tensions are steadily increasing.  In the violent explosion of 1994 what happens to Jean Patrick and his family reflect the collective experience of Rwanda's 800,000-plus genocide victims.  Naomi Benaron renders friendships and families with tenderness and sincerity, and lingers on the goodwill of humankind even when they turn against each other.  This is Benaron's first novel, and she won the 2010 Bellweather Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for this unflinching and beautifully crafted account of a nation and the survival of hope in unimaginable events.

The Dog Stars (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780307950475
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 5/2013
Karin: This Colorado post apocalyptic tale is gripping.  All that Hig has left is his plane, his faithful dog, a fishing rod, survivor's guilt, an eccentric companion with a cache of weapons, and mostly hope.  Heller's sparse but dynamic prose is very readable and surprisingly fitting for the world he has created - his detail of nature brings a sense of clarity and beauty. 

ISBN-13: 9780062060624
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco, 8/2012
Karin: I really enjoyed this remake of Homer's Iliad.  Everything I loved about the original - betrayal, ardor, war, prophecies - Miller brings to life without the labor of epic poetry.  Even though the ending was know, I was captivated by her great writing and unique approach.  The Song of Achilles infuses the essence of Homer with modern storytelling in a combination that I found utterly absorbing and gratifying. 

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