Literary Fiction
Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

“Lydia is dead, but they don’t know this yet.” That’s not a spoiler, that’s the opening line of Ng’s stunning debut. When this unexpected loss is discovered, the family begins to fall apart, and as they struggle to understand why it happened, they realize they don’t know their daughter at all. Ng’s use of the omniscient narrator is brilliant: she reveals what’s going on in her characters hearts and minds, allowing the reader to learn the truth of the tragedy, even if the family never does. An exploration of love and belonging, fraught with racial and gender issues. This is one that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Powerful, believable, utterly absorbing.

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Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer

$10.64$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Audible)

In this evocative follow-up to the masterful The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver returns to her native southern Appalachia. She follows three stories of human love as they unfold over the course of one life-changing summer: a wildlife biologist who returns to her home county to work, a widowed farmer’s wife at odds with her husband’s family, and a pair of feuding neighbors. Her emphasis on the natural world will feel familiar to lovers of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Verdant, lush, and vivid: this novel oozes sensuality.

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Crossing to Safety

Crossing to Safety

$12.99$5.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Audible)

This novel asks, "How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these?" The answer: just like this. Stegner weaves a compelling story out of four ordinary lives and their extraordinary, life-changing friendship as it spans across forty years, tackling themes of love and marriage, calling and duty. One of the best explorations of friendship in literature. This gorgeous, graceful novel will appeal to fans of Wendell Berry and Marilynne Robinson. Finish the book and go right back to the beginning—so much becomes clear on a re-read. With a deliberately paced, steady feel. in good hands.

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The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant

$10.99$5.99

Coming March 3. Readers with great taste are raving fans of Ishiguro's work. I'm looking forward to reading his new one, even though I still haven't read his best-known work The Remains of the Day.

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

A widower who was raised to believe in propriety above all falls hopelessly in love with someone who is completely wrong for him—at least by the standards of his small English village. A winsome story with an unlikely hero.

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Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone

I've heard to start this book with no preconceptions because the description doesn't do it justice. Suffice it to say that this novel has been recommended by fellow readers with great taste who describe it using my favorite adjectives: haunting, sweeping, gorgeous.

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The Brothers K

The Brothers K

$13.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Audible)

This one spent years on my TBR list, because so many friends with great taste called it THE best book they ever read. I'm so glad I finally read it. I don't remember what my expectations were about this book, but whatever they were, they were wrong. Duncan combines the Vietnam War, bush league baseball, Seventh Day Adventism, and family ties into an incredible, heart-wrenching story. The book is truly remarkable for the times when it reveals the deep joy present in a family's lowest moments.

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Ursula, Under

Ursula, Under

Katherine Willis Pershey raved about this book, calling it "one of the best, most memorable novels she has ever read." She has terrific taste (meaning: taste like mine) and that's enough for me.

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A God in Ruins

A God in Ruins

$11.99$2.99

I loved this one. Named one of the Best Books of 2015 by TIME, NPR, Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The Seattle Times, The Kansas City Star, Kirkus, Bookpage, Hudson Booksellers, AARP. Add Audible narration for $12.99.

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Lila

Lila

The much-anticipated prequel to Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gilead. You'll hang on to every word of this gorgeous novel—and you'll want to read everything else Robinson ever wrote when you're finished. Stunning. (Note: you can read these in any order.)

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

$10.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

I’ve heard my mom gush about this book for pretty much my whole life, and finally read it in January explicitly for this category in the Reading Challenge. Of course, my only regret was that I’d waited so long: I loved this story from page 1. No description I ever heard before made me want to read it, so I'll spare you the plot synopsis. I'll just say: read it. Wistful, haunting, satisfying. I listened to the audio version, which—barring some infrequent random jazz music—was quite good.

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Hannah Coulter

Hannah Coulter

I've talked about Hannah Coulter several times: the books I can't stop recommending, a book I've read more than once, what to read when you feel like the world is falling apart. Hannah's second husband Nathan Coulter (her first died in the war) was reticent to talk about his experience in the Battle of Okinawa. "Ignorant boys, killing each other," is all he would say. In this atmospheric novel, an older Hannah looks back on her life and reflects on what she has lost, and those whom she has loved. I adore Berry, who writes gorgeous, thoughtful, piercing novels, and this is one of his finest. Contemplative, wistful, and moving.

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The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

Southern Baptist Missionary Nathan Price heads off to the African Congo with his wife and 4 daughters in 1959, and nothing goes as planned. Though they bring with them everything they think they will need from their home in Bethlehem, Georgia--right down to the Betty Crocker cake mixes--the Prices are woefully unprepared for their new life among the Congolese, and they all pay the price.

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Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility

$12.99$3.99Audiobook: 9.99 (Whispersync)

This gorgeous novel can almost be categorized as literary fiction, which too many readers dismiss as inaccessible. Don't make that mistake. This Gatsby-esque novel pulls several shocking plot twists, and I definitely didn’t see that ending coming.

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Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow returns to his native Port William, Kentucky after the 1937 flood to become the town’s barber. There he learns about the deep meaning of community, the discipline of place, and what it truly means to love. This is a gorgeous novel.

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Gilead

Gilead

$9.99$4.99

Robinson’s story of the dying Iowa minister John Ames is one of the most beautiful books you’ll ever read, containing some of the most beautiful sentences ever put to paper. Read it. Read it slow. Wistful, reflective, and wise, this is a book you can read over and over again.

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

This French novel has been languishing on my TBR list for a few years. It was first published in its home country in 2005 and in the United States in 2008 (as a gorgeous Europa edition). The critics love it: notably, it was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award for Fiction in 2009. My readerly friends are split: some love it, some hate it, some say it's over their heads. I intend to read it for myself. (I've been warned to not give up until Mr. Ozu shows up.)

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Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

In 1967 Nigeria, the Igbo people of the East seceded to form their own nation of Biafra, inciting a bloody three-year civil war followed. This novel from the author of the wonderful Americanah tells the story of that conflict, known as the Biafran War—an event largely forgotten outside Nigeria—through the eyes of five diverse characters: a university professor, his privileged girlfriend, their servant boy, her twin sister, and her British journalist boyfriend. This is a story that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

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The Course of Love: A Novel

The Course of Love: A Novel

$13.99$1.99Audiobook: 11.99 (Whispersync)

"The Course of Love is a return to the form that made Mr. de Botton’s name in the mid-1990s….love is the subject best suited to his obsessive aphorizing, and in this novel he again shows off his ability to pin our hopes, methods and insecurities to the page." — The New York Times

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The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things

$10.99$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

Gilbert's sweeping novel follows the life of the enigmatic Alma Whittaker, a 19th century scientist (before that was even a word). A maker at heart, and very aware of her strengths and limitations, Alma struggles to develop her unifying "Theory of Competitive Alteration" to describe her findings. Gilbert brings the field of botany to life in this ambitious novel. (Who would have thought moss could be so interesting?)

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The Shape of Mercy

The Shape of Mercy

$12.59$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

A friend with great taste pushed this paperback into my hands and told me to read it as soon as possible, which is my favorite way to discover a great book. Publishers Weekly calls this novel "potentially life-changing," saying it's "the kind of inspirational fiction that prompts readers to call up old friends, lost loves or fallen-away family members to tell them that all is forgiven and that life is too short for holding grudges." That's hard to resist.

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The Mothers

The Mothers

From the publisher: "One of Buzzfeed's "21 New Books You Need to Read this Fall"

A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most."

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My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels Book 1)

My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels Book 1)

$24.473.95 (AUDIBLE DAILY DEAL)

This is the first installment of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, which revolves around the friendship between Elena and Lila. This book begins when the girls are in first grade and carries them through adolescence. I picked this up from my local bookstore's blind date with a book shelf: the bookseller had described it as "a masterpiece you probably haven’t read yet. (Three and a half years later, booksellers can no longer say that with confidence!) Originally written in Italian and beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein. (Hot tip: I LOVED this series on audio.)

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Joy in the Morning
The Wonder

The Wonder

$13.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

From the publisher: "Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels--a tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil." The The New York Times Book Review calls this “Sophisticated, provocative, and bracing. ”

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Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel

Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel

$9.99$2.99

From The Philadelphia Inquirer: "A rambunctious tour de force of inventive and intelligent storytelling . . . Foer can place his reader's hand on the heart of human experience, the transcendent beauty of human connections. Read, you can feel the life beating."

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My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton

From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout. This is a short, almost poetic, work—barely more than 200 pages—but Strout covers a lot of ground, from the perspective of a woman who's reflecting back on the time she spent in a NYC hospital in the 1980s: poverty, the AIDS epidemic, art and artists, and especially, the relationship between mothers and daughters. You could read this in an afternoon. Recommended for fans of Marilynne Robinson.

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The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

From the publisher: "Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood-where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned-Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted."

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The Engagements: A Novel

The Engagements: A Novel

$10.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

This novel traces the path of a diamond engagement ring from 1901 to 2012, and the four couples it links. The ring is lost, found, and stolen; it becomes a symbol of lasting love, and of betrayal. Woven throughout is the story of Mary Frances Gerety, the copywriter responsible for De Beer’s iconic slogan "a diamond is forever." An easy read with emotional depth.

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Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming

$10.993.95 (AUDIBLE)

Forget everything you've heard about this being an "important" book, and if you're not the poetry type, pretend you don't know this is a memoir-in-verse. All you need to know is this story is fantastic. Woodson tells the story of her childhood, moving with her family (or part of it) from South Carolina to New York City and back again, sharing her observations through a young girl's eyes with a writer's sensibility. If you don't think it's for you, read the first two pages—and then decide. National Book Award winner.

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