Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

homegoing

This remarkable debut novel follows the stories of two half sisters, born in Ghana in the 18th century, and their descendants. One sister, Esi, is sold into slavery and shipped to America, while the other sister, Effia, is married off to an Englishman and remains in Ghana. Each chapter alternates and is told from the point of view of a different descendant from each branch of the family, one from each generation. In this way, the novel encompasses a broad history, including war and colonization in Ghana, American slavery, the Great Migration, and more. Gyasi is a beautiful writer, and her characters are well drawn and compelling. Many of these characters experience deep hardship, but the narratives are nuanced and not entirely bleak. A very impressive debut!

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Recommended by Amy W.

Riverine by Angela Palm and Half Wild by Robin MacArthur

riverine               half-wild

These two books by up and coming Vermont writers are exceptional. Riverine by Angela Palm is a memoir and the winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. Palm recounts her childhood experiences growing up in rural Indiana. As a teenager, a neighbor boy who was her first love is imprisoned for murder. This event affects her profoundly and sends shockwaves through her small community. In beautiful and lyrical prose, Palm reflects upon place and belonging, love, family, incarceration and criminal justice.

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Half Wild by Robin MacArthur is a poignant collection of short stories that feature a disparate group of characters from a rural Vermont community. MacArthur’s characters are complex and well drawn, lively and completely memorable. She paints a nuanced portrait of life in rural Vermont, taking up themes of class, race, homecoming, and community.

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MacArthur and Palm are talented writers to watch! They will visit the Hartland Library on Wednesday, October 5th at 7pm for a joint reading. The Norwich Bookstore will be here to sell copies of their books. Please join us!

Recommended by Amy W.

The Longest Night by Andria Williams

longest night

The Longest Night is an exceptional debut novel about a largely forgotten piece of American nuclear history – a fatal nuclear accident in Idaho in 1961. At the heart of the book is the relationship between main characters Nat and Paul, as they navigate the tensions and secrets within their marriage against a backdrop of nuclear disaster. Compelling, thrilling and deeply felt. You really come to care about these characters, with all of their flaws.

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Recommended by Amy W.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

sound of gravel

The Sound of Gravel is an engrossing memoir that recounts Ruth Wariner’s experiences growing up in a polygamist community. There are many hardships – basic living conditions, poverty, abuse, and siblings with special needs – but her narrative resists self-pity or sentimentality. This is an unforgettable, beautifully written memoir that is ultimately about the power of family love. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys memoirs.

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Recommended by Amy W.

Spotlight on Book Related Mysteries

If you enjoy book-themed mysteries, check out one of these series recommended by Theresa!

murder is binding
Booktown Mysteries by Lorna Barrett
Series featuring Tricia Miles, who runs a mystery bookstore called Haven’t Got A Clue in fictional small-town Stoneham New Hampshire, a town full of bookstores.

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cherry cola book club
Cherry Cola Book Club Mysteries by Ashton Lee
Series featuring librarian Mary Beth Mayhew and set in the small town of Cherico, Mississippi.

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by book or by crook
Lighthouse Library Mysteries by Eva Gates
Featuring librarian Lucy Richardson and set in the Outer Banks

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murder in the mystery suite
Book Retreat Mysteries by Ellery Adams
Featuring resort manager Jane Steward, who runs a resort tucked away in the rolling hills of rural West Virginia that caters to book lovers who want to get away from it all.

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september fair
Murder by Month Mysteries by Jess Lourey
Featuring assistant librarian and part-time reporter Mira James, and set in the small town of Battle Lake in Minnesota.

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booked to die
Cliff Janeway Mysteries by John Dunning
Featuring antiquarian bookseller Cliff Janeway

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