ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE BY GAIL HONEYMAN

0735220689.01.MZZZZZZZ

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who likes quirky, break-the-mold characters, who, despite their peculiarities, are completely endearing. Eleanor is quite okay with who she is: a no-nonsense person possessed of perfect logic, perfect manners, and perfect solitude. Her perfectly-ordered life, however, unexpectedly falters when she meets Raymond, the new IT guy, who both repulses and fascinates Eleanor with his kindness, lack of judgment, and utter lack of proper decorum. Sloppy, happy Raymond, new to the company, seems completely unfazed by Eleanor’s lack of social skills, not caring that she is very odd–maybe even crazy–and that he, like their other coworkers, might do better to avoid her. For better or worse, however, Raymond blithely breaks into Eleanor’s perfectly-ordered world, and Eleanor, to her chagrin, begins to find herself not only quite fine, but for the first time in a very long time, inexplicably hopeful.

“The book is wonderfully, quirkily funny. You both ache for Eleanor. . . and laugh with her.” –Seattle Times 

“That Eleanor’s social awkwardness is extreme, sometimes painfully and often comically so, is far more apparent to the reader than it is to Eleanor herself — and that we get this through Eleanor’s own narration is a credit to the author’s cleverness and craft. . . A touching, funny novel.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Debut author Honeyman expertly captures a woman whose inner pain is excruciating and whose face and heart are scarred, but who still holds the capacity to love and be loved. Eleanor’s story will move readers.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Eleanor Oliphant] happens to be among the most compelling and complex characters drawn in recent memory, one who is always peculiar, often infuriating, but funny and utterly endearing.” —The National (Scotland)

View the online catalog listing

Recommended by Dennise

MAGPIE MURDERS BY ANTHONY HOROWITZ

0062645226.01.MZZZZZZZ

Hi. My name is Katie. And I am addicted to British mystery shows. It’s true. I’ve seen them all: Endeavor, Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, Broadchurch, Happy Valley, Sherlock, Rosemary and Thyme, Poirot, Miss Marple, Grantchester, Wallander. You name the show. I’ve watched every episode. Probably twice. If you’re saying “SAME!” to yourself, then, like me, you will love Magpie Murders by New York Times bestselling author (and screenwriter of Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders) Anthony Horowitz.

Horowitz cleverly sets his mystery within another mystery. Our present-day heroine, Susan Ryeland, spends her weekend editing Magpie Murders, Alan Conway’s latest manuscript and the next addition to the Atticus Pünd mystery series. The manuscript adheres to the traditions of the golden age of whodunits, set in a quintessential English village with the typical cast of characters—the vicar, the detestable lord of the manor, the philandering lady of the manor, the respected doctor, the gruff mechanic, the outcast gardener, the lovely assistant, and so on. Yet, the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that the book contains clues to a mystery in her present-day world.

Magpie Murders is suspenseful, fast-paced, and just plain fun. It’s an easy weekend read. A perfect accompaniment to a glass of red wine and perhaps a red herring.

View the online catalog listing

Recommended by Katie

HEROES OF THE FRONTIER BY DAVE EGGERS

045149380X.01.MZZZZZZZ

What makes someone decide to leave everything and go to Alaska? With her two young children and $3,000 cash in a small cloth bag? In a rented RV that has seen better days?

Josie is a 40 year old dentist from Ohio who has just found out that the man she lived with and had two children with is getting married to someone else. Not her. He never wanted to marry her.  She’s tired of the drama of her life – and the pseudo-drama of the suburbs. She decides to leave her cellphone behind and take her children, eight year old Paul, and 5 year old Ana, on an adventure. She doesn’t want anyone to know where she is, especially her ex.

Josie has a stepsister of sorts who lives in Alaska and at first Sam is the North Star that she navigates the RV toward.

“Then there is happiness of one’s personal slum. The happiness of being alone, and tipsy on red wine, in the passenger seat of an ancient recreational vehicle parked somewhere in Alaska’s deep south, staring into a scribble of black trees, afraid to go to sleep for fear that at any moment someone will get past the toy lock on the RV door and murder you and your two small children sleeping above” From Heroes of the Last Frontier by Dave Eggers

Once Josie gets to Sam’s, she realizes that this wasn’t where she wanted to be and she takes off, driving through an Alaska of forest fires, breaking into abandoned cabins, riding a used bicycle down a campground trail while the owner of the campground watches her kids. Her parenting skills are a little quirky to say the least. But as they continue on their journey and have less and less, they learn to rely on themselves more and living becomes more about

The writing is beautiful, thoughtful, and intelligent. I found myself going back to reread paragraphs. This is a great pick for a book group. You could have some great discussions around our desire for the illusion of safety at all costs, and how much we have domesticated ourselves and numbed ourselves in order to function in our modern society.

View the online catalog listing

Recommended by Nancy

THE WOMAN IN CABIN TEN BY RUTH WARE

1501132938.01.MZZZZZZZ

Journalist Lo Blacklock is relieved to be leaving London after her flat was burgled.
She’s been chosen to review a new luxury cruise liner, the Aurora Borealis. It’s a
perfect escape from her anxiety and a potential career starter. In the middle of her
first night aboard, Lo awakes from a blackout, hearing a scream and a splash from
next door in cabin 10. The journalist in her demands she investigate, despite being
warned to stop digging.

The Woman in Cabin 10 is an easy weekend read: think Murder on the Orient Express meets The Girl on the Train. It’s absolutely binge- and beach-worthy. And it will have you double-checking your locks tonight.

View the online catalog listing

Recommended by Katie

NEWS OF THE WORLD BY PAULETTE JILES

0062409204.01.MZZZZZZZ

National Book Award Finalist 2016

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels from town to town in Texas reading the news of the world to anyone who has a dime to attend his readings. He stays away from local news because it’s just a few years after the Civil War and reading the local news could have dire consequences. Captain Kidd has served his time in two wars and is now older, a widower, and for the most part, happy with his life on the road.

At a stop in Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to return a captive girl to her relatives in San Antonio. The US government has been offering “perks” to native tribes if they turn over any captive children. Ten year old Johanna has been recently rescued by a Black man, who knows he can’t be seen traveling down south to San Antonio with a young white girl. He makes deal with Captain Kidd. Kidd gets his wagon and the $50 gold piece if he makes it to San Antonio with the girl.

But Johanna is a reluctant passenger. Her parents and siblings were killed during a Kiowa raid when she was four years old. Now she’s been torn from the only home she remembers and from her Kiowa family. She doesn’t remember how to speak English, she won’t wear shoes, and she tries to escape at every opportunity.

However, as they both face dangers and trials on their 400 mile journey, Captain and Johanna begin to trust each other and slowly form a bond of friendship and solidarity. When they reach their destination, all does not go as planned, and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd must make a precarious decision.

This little book – and it is small in size – is chock full of good story. Like when you say to someone, “Wow, that’s a good story.” It’s like that.

View the online catalog listing

Recommended by Nancy