Pittsburghers Who Love Reading Message Board › Book suggestions for January-March 2014

Book suggestions for January-March 2014

anu
user 13067661
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 14
I recommend listing a few books, with authors and titles.
anu
user 13067661
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 15
1. Straight Man by Richard Russo
2. In the Woods by Tana French
3. Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

(Blurbs from Goodreads)
1. The Straight Man: In this uproarious new novel, Richard Russo performs his characteristic high-wire walk between hilarity and heartbreak. Russo's protagonist is William Henry Devereaux, Jr., the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Devereaux's reluctance is partly rooted in his character--he is a born anarchist-- and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans. Straight Man is classic Russo--side-splitting and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down.

2. In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1)
As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones.

3. Native Tongue
Called "fascinating" by the New York Times upon its first publication in 1984, Native Tongue won wide critical praise and cult status, and has often been compared to the futurist fiction of Margaret Atwood. Set in the twenty-second century, the novel tells of a world where women are once again property, denied civil rights and banned from public life. Earth's wealth depends on interplanetary commerce with alien races, and linguists--a small, clannish group of families--have become the ruling elite by controlling all interplanetary communication. Their women are used to breed perfect translators for all the galaxies' languages.
Scott
user 10020481
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 10
I vote for # 1 (The Straight Man) and I'll add two suggestions:

1. Lies You Wanted to Hear
A deeply moving, beautifully-written picture of how the smallest crack in a relationship slowly, over decades, becomes a canyon too wide to bridge.

When Lucy meets Matt on a blind date, Matt is instantly hooked; he sees Lucy as the fun, sexy, and wickedly smart girl of his dreams. Although she’s still getting over an old lover, Lucy is won over by Matt’s sweet, thoughtful nature. But 20 years later, alone in an empty house trying to imagine the lives of her two young children, Lucy comes to realize that the little lies you tell can create more damage than the truth you’re hiding.

2. you probably want to read something else, but I'd happily read another Flavia de Luce book by Alan Bradley
Kristen P.
user 13964400
Group Organizer
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 6
Here are my suggestions:
1. The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult
It is rare that I really can't put a book down, but this is one of them. My favorite author and although she writes more 'popular fiction' this is one that I really thought covers many genres. It is a moral dilemna, and tackles some difficult subject matter in a way that is not a downer (to me).
Partial Description from Goodreads :
Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die. What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? If Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?

2. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
Not sure if someone who is not a 'dog person' like me would love this, but I would love to discuss with dog lovers and those who are not dog lovers. Also maybe I loved it because it was set in Seattle.
Description from Goodreads:
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it.

3. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
Haven't read this yet but it sounds so interesting, and also seems to be different from the books I have read for this group. I like her writing and am kind of into Appalachia lately - so with the seeming 'confrontation of her faith' thrown in, I am going to read this and so thought to suggest it in case anyone else is interested.
Partial description from Goodreads:
Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman's narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel's inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed. Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

Anna
user 102828282
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 3
I think the Storyteller would be a good book to discuss, yes it is by a popular author, but this book is wildy different from all the others she has written. I think it deserves a fair chance to read with an open mind.

I recommend, "We are water" by Wally Lamb. He's read several other books that were really great. Here's a summary of the book:
In middle age, Annie Oh--wife, mother, and outsider artist--has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. Annie and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora's box of toxic secrets--dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs' lives. We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs--nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art. With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss. We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb--a compulsively readable, generous, and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.
Powered by mvnForum

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy