Telegraph Avenue

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ISBN: 9780061493348
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Published: Harper - September 11th, 2012

Typical of Michael Chabon, this is a dense but highly pleasing novel centered around long time friends and business partners Nat and Archie, proprietors of Brokeland Records and their wives Gwen and Aviva who are midwives.  Brokeland is threatened by the pending arrival of a music megastore and the couples' personal lives are tested by the appearance of Archie's teenage son from a previous relationship. Clever, funny and engaging on every level.


Cures for Hunger

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ISBN: 9781571313317
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Milkweed Editions - May 15th, 2012

The prologue of this eloquent and haunting memoir describes the bleak circumstances of Becahrd's father's suicide in rural British Columbia when Bechard was only 20 years old.  Deni had spent much of his life torn by his father's rages and detached demeanor while trying to forge a bond with the adventurous and thrill seeking side of his dad who had robbed banks and spent time in prison before meeting Bechard's mother.  Heartbreaking and honest in its descriptions of the landscape, both emotional and physical.


The Way the World Works

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The Way the World Works: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416572473
Availability: Hard to Find--Contact us for More Info
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 7th, 2012

There are many gems in this wide ranging book of essays and they can mined in any order you please.  Among my favorites are "Sunday at the Dump" and "Why I Like the Telephone" in which Baker recalls the childhood delight he felt in being the person in the household responsible for calling the automated number sponsored by the local bank to get the current time and temperature.  The essay entitled "Inky Burden" is a brief but eloquent testament to the pleasure and the power of the printed page.


Faithful Place

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Faithful Place: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143119494
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 28th, 2011

Frank Mackey is a detective with the Dublin Undercover Squad and when a new clue is discovered in the case of his girlfriend who went missing 20 years earlier Frank reluctantly returns to his old neighborhood.  Although the landscape has changed slightly, all of the same families (including his) are still there with their rivalries, anger, and grudges still intact. If you are a reader who likes books by Dennis Lehane or Kate Atkinson, you will enjoy this one as well.

Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston

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ISBN: 9780393082654
Availability: Out of Print
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 6th, 2012

As the title implies, this novel is centered on the far-flung travels of the narrator who is puzzling out her relationships and path in life without staying in one place too long.  There are over 100 "chapters" in the book, some only a few sentences long, but they each identify with a particular place in the world.  Houston's writing is concise and poetic and I came away feeling like I'd just read a quirky, less self-serving version of Eat, Pray, Love.


The Train of Small Mercies

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ISBN: 9780399157288
Availability: It's Complicated--Contact Us for More Info
Published: Putnam Adult - October 13th, 2011

A snapshot of the lives of six people on a particular day forms the theme of this debut novel.  On June 8, 1968 as Robert Kennedy's funeral train makes its way from Penn Station in New York to Union Station in Washington DC, these six disparate stories are told as each character makes their way to catch a glimpse of the passing train.  The sadness and sense of history is beautifully woven into each person's tale, and the heat of the day and the anticipation of the train's arrival is palpable.



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