Photo by luisvilla
Today’s Best Book Club Books come from the New York Public Library system! I’m sorry this post is a little later than usual — I’m catching up a bit from our recent travels… and I realize 25 titles that you may or may not be familiar with is a bit overwhelming — for me as well! So I have linked each title to Amazon — feel free to scan the editorial reviews, as well as the reader reviews, to get more information. I have included the VERY brief plot summary that the NYPL added to each title, but really interesting books tend to have much to offer beyond plot. Regarding the list, I have read one entirely, one fell victim to the 50 page rule, and am currently one-third of the way through another — so I will add my two cents, then let you peruse the list.
First, I read and LOVED Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson — the plot summary does not do this gentle, beautifully written novel justice. In fact, when I read the blurb below, I thought, “Oh yes, I guess that is what it was about…” — I strongly recommend this one.
Second, I attempted Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson but stopped early on — but NOT because it wasn’t well-written — it definitely was. I stopped because the initial images were so haunting and disturbing, but very moving. I may even attempt it again in the future. Personally, I thought this was going to win the Pulitzer winner this year…
But the actual Pulitzer winner — The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao — is also very good so far, but very different from the past Pulitzers I’ve read. I am a third of the way through and will write more this Sunday when I’ve finished it
Here’s the full list —
|Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
Macintyre, Ben | Harmony Books, © 2007 | 940.5486 M
In a tale more compelling than a Hollywood production, Macintyre delivers the unlikely story of Eddie Chapman, a double agent during World War II.
|Be Near Me
O’Hagan, Andrew | Harcourt, © 2007 | FIC O
An uneasy relationship between a Catholic priest and two teenagers ignites the suspicions of a tightly knit Scottish community.
|The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Díaz, Junot | Riverhead Books, © 2007 | FIC D
In the gritty streets of both New Jersey and the Dominican Republic, a sci-fi fan seeks love and acceptance while trying to escape what he believes is a family curse.
|by George: A Novel
Stace, Wesley | ; Little, Brown and Co., © 2007 | FIC S
Despite his eccentric family’s intractable silence about the past, young George Fisher finds his voice in a warmly imagined coming-of-age tale.
|Cheating at Canasta
Trevor, William | Viking, © 2007 | FIC T
Throughout a dozen stories of triumph and tragedy, Trevor masterfully reveals the extraordinary within the everyday.
|Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis
Harcourt, © 2007 | B Merian T
This arresting portrayal of an early German naturalist traces her life’s work discovering and documenting the hitherto-unknown wonders of insect metamorphosis.
|The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History
Ashenburg, Katherine | North Point Press, © 2007 | 391.64 A
Ashenburg provides a fascinating study of the history of personal cleanliness in the Western world, abounding in enlightening anecdotes and charming illustrations.
|The Door: Poems
Atwood, Margaret | Houghton Mifflin, © 2007 | 811 Atwood
Themes ranging from the weather to mortality are examined in this impressive collection of lucid poems.
Lee, Hermione | Knopf, © 2007 | B Wharton L
Through meticulous research, Lee paints a brilliant and uncompromising portrait of the secretive author.
|Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws’ Bloody Reign
Talty, Stephan | Crown, © 2007 | 972.904 T
This story of a buccaneer’s attacks on Spanish colonies in the New World is an adventure that reveals the dangerous realities of the golden age of piracy.
|Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain
Morano, Michele | University of Iowa Press, © 2007 | 946 M
Inspired by her time spent living and teaching in Spain, Morano’s intimately personal essays explore the ways in which language shapes experience.
|Heyday: A Novel
Andersen, Kurt | Random House, © 2007 | FIC A
Brimming with period details and satisfying coinci-dences, this picaresque novel follows an unlikely group of friends on a journey from New York City to San Francisco in 1848.
|Hotel de Dream: A New York Novel
White, Edmund | Ecco, © 2007 | FIC W
In this illusory meditation on love and art, a dying Stephen Crane dictates a tragic, scandalous novel about a young male prostitute.
|The Indian Clerk: A Novel
Leavitt, David | Bloomsbury USA, © 2007 | FIC L
A renowned English mathematician reconsiders ideas about himself and his country when he meets a civil servant from India who is a genius of equal stature.
|Man Gone DownLast Night at the Lobster
O’Nan, Stewart | Viking, © 2007 | FIC O
With a blizzard raging outside, Manny DeLeon and his staff endure the bittersweet last day of a Red Lobster restaurant fallen on hard times.
|Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name
Vida, Vendela | Ecco, © 2007 | FIC V
In succinct and beautiful prose, Vida tells the story of a woman who searches for the truth about her past and discovers more than she expects.
|Man Gone DownThe Man Suit
Schomburg, Zachary | Black Ocean | 811 Schomburg
Schomburg launches his first full-length collection of poetry, combining levity and gravity for darkly comic effect.
|Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present
Washington, Harriet A. | Doubleday, © 2007 | 174.28 W
Myriad examples of shocking abuses committed in the name of science are adeptly examined by journalist and bioethicist Washington.
|Man Gone DownOscar Micheaux: the Great and Only: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker
McGilligan, Patrick | HarperCollins, © 2007 | B Micheaux M
This illuminating biography depicts the little-known history of the early 20th-century homesteader, author, and maverick.
|Out Stealing Horses
Petterson, Per | Graywolf Press, © 2007 | FIC P
With poignant parallels between past and present, an elderly man recalls the formative summer of his childhood.
Crace, Jim | Nan A. Talese, © 2007 | FIC C
Thrown together by chance, a pair of travelers come to rely on one another as they make their way across a ruined future America in hopes of a better life overseas.
|Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
Michaelis, David | HarperCollins, © 2007 | B Schulz
Michaelis’s biography offers an insightful interpretation of the life of Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, the iconic American comic strip.
|A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation
Blight, David W. | Harcourt, © 2007 | 973.7115 B
These powerfully moving writings open a unique window into slave society and the complex struggles of life after escape.
|Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005
Hass, Robert | Ecco, © 2007 | 811 Hass
In this new collection, America’s former Poet Laureate contemplates the uncertainties of contemporary life while taking solace in the unchanging truths of nature.
|Tree of Smoke
Johnson, Denis | Farrar, Straus and Giroux, © 2007 | FIC J
The early days of the Vietnam War are experienced by American CIA agents in a novel in which thoughts are rendered with the same visceral intensity as actions.
Top 8 Books for Discussion according to Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust.
Top 11 Books for Discussion from 2007 from Reading Group Choices.
As well as a link to those books that haven’t worked out so well…
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