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Ann Kenne - UST Archives/Special Collections
Leaving Berlin by
“Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment—to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? At betrayal? Survival? Murder?”
The Nightingale by
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.”
The Last Runaway by
“Ohio 1850. For a modest English Quaker stranded far from home, life is a trial. Untethered from the moment she leaves England, fleeing personal disappointment, Honor Bright is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in an alien, untamed landscape. Drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two exceptional people who embody the startling power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal cost. “
Talia Nadir - O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Fates and Furies by
From the publisher: “An exhilarating novel about marriage, creativity, art, and perception. …At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.”
One of the most talked about fiction titles of the year – for “right” or “wrong” reasons – decide for yourself. Regardless, I found it quite captivating.
Bad Feminist by
“A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay. In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture. Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.”
Especially thrilling after attending her reading at UST this spring.
Marianne Hageman - O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Enchantress from the Stars by
The Federation Anthropological Service would never officially have allowed Elana to be on this mission to the medieval planet Andrecia. If Youngling peoples found out that a supremely advanced and enlightened society like the Federation existed, it would irreparably damage their evolution. Stowing away aboard her father's ship, Elana suddenly becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back the invasion of Andrecia by an aggressive, space faring Youngling civilization. How can she possibly help the Andrecians who still believe in magic and superstition, against a force armed with advanced technology, without revealing her alien powers? Apprentice Medical Officer Jarel wishes that the planet the Imperial Exploration Corps have chosen to colonize didn't have a "humanoid" population already living on it. The invaders don't consider the Andrecians to be human and Jarel has seen the atrocious treatment the natives get from his people. How can he make a difference, when he alone regrets the destruction that is people bring? Georyn, the youngest son of a poor Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a terrible dragon on the other side of the enchanted forest, and he is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat it. In his mind, Elana is the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy of defeating the dragon and its powerful minions. Despite both Elana's and Jarel's inner turmoil, Georyn's burden is by far the heaviest. Ultimately, he must pit his innocent faith in the magic of his Enchantress from the Stars against foes who have come from a world beyond his comprehension.
My First Time in Hollywood by
Over forty legends of the film business recount their first trip to Hollywood. Actors, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and editors-half of them women-recall the long joinery, their initial impressions, their struggle to find work, and the love for making movies that kept them going. Drawn from letters, speeches, oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies-and illustrated with over sixty vintage photographs and illustrations-each story is intimate and unique, but all speak to our universal need to follow our passions and be part of a community that feeds the soul. This anthology is edited and annotated by award-winning author and film historian Cari Beauchamp, the only person to twice be named as an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar. Of MY FIRST TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, Academy-Award-winning film preservationist, historian, and author Kevin Brownlow writes: "What every film fan years for-first-hand, eyewitness accounts of a Hollywood none of us can remember and all of us wish we'd known. Completely fascinating." And film critic and historian Leonard Maltin writes: "What a priceless parade of evocative and highly entertaining memories. Once you start reading you won't want to stop."
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by
From Kirkus Reviews: “Wonder Woman, writes Lepore, ‘was the product of the suffragist, feminist, and birth control movements of the 1900s and 1910s and became a source of the women's liberation and feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s.’ " Long-legged, wearing short shorts and knee-high red boots, Wonder Woman burst into comics in 1941, the creation of William Moulton Marston, a Harvard-educated psychologist. Marston, a master at self-promotion, had failed as a college professor; colleagues scorned his publicity stunts. When he tried to market himself as a psychology consultant to the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover opened a file on him. Among the many topics on which Marston expounded was women's power….The creation, publishing history and eventual demise of the cartoon character are only part of Lepore's story, which uncovers the secret of Marston's startlingly unconventional family….Lepore mines new archival sources to reconstruct Marston's tangled home life and the controversy generated by Wonder Woman. It's an irresistible story, and the author tells it with relish and delight.”
Unnatural Creatures by
Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds—collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified. E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries contribute to the anthology. Sales of Unnatural Creatures benefit 826DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students in their creative and expository writing, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
Mark Ehlert - O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
1177 B. C. - The Year Civilization Collapsed by
In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen? In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages," Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries. A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age--and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.
Linda Hulbert - OSF Library, Retired
Mistress of the Art of Death by
This title combines my love of historical fiction and mystery. Taking place in 1171 during the reign of King Henry II our main character, Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, is a woman physician from Sicily enlisted to go to England with a Muslim eunuch and Jewish merchant to determine who is killing children. If you like this book it is the first in the series of 4. It was the best of the 4.
In preparation for a trip to Italy, I read Pompeii by Robert Harris. One of my favorite authors he blends fact and fiction giving us intrigue against a day by day report of Vesuvius's eruption. We sat in Sorrento with a view of what the Nepalese call the 'protagonist of our story.'
Jane Shriver - OSF Library, Retired
National Book Award Finalist. A new American classic from the Pulitzer Prizewinning author of Gilead and Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder. Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Robinsons Pulitzer Prizewinning Gilead and Home, a National Book Award finalist, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.
Becoming Wise by
"I'm a person who listens for a living. I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard. This book chronicles some of what I've learned in what has become a conversation across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations." Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from an array of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett's compassionate yet searching conversation. In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind.
Eva - Guest Reader
City of Bones by
Discover this first installment of the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly). When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know... Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
Clockwork Angel by
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still. Discover the riveting first book in the #1New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Donna Nix - Charles J. Keffer Library
Salt to the Sea by
Truth be told, I’m in the middle of reading this right now, but I must include it here. It is a gripping WWII story. Reviewers on Goodreads have given it an average rating of 4.39 out of 5. This is the Goodreads blurb:
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets. Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war. As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept. Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.
All American Boys by
This is a ripped-from-the-headlines story. Rashad is a black, clean-cut, ROTC, honor student and basketball player. Stopping at a convenience store for a snack after school, someone accidently bumps into him and he is brutally assaulted by a policeman who accuses him of shoplifting. The scene is witnessed by Quinn, a white teammate, whose father was killed in Afghanistan, and who happens to consider the policeman a close family friend.
Written from alternating viewpoints, Rashad’s story is told by Jason Reynolds, and Quinn’s is told by Brendan Kiely (black and white authors respectively). Given the current racial divide in this country, this is one of the best and most timely books to spark discussion of this subject.
Out of Darkness by
Set in the 1930s in the east Texas oil fields, the events of this story are loosely based on a school explosion that killed over 300 people. Naomi and her twin half-siblings are forced to move from San Antonio to live with the twin’s father who works in the oil fields. Naomi is part Mexican (not white, not black), so she doesn’t fit in the segregated community at all. She becomes friends with Wash a black youth whose goal seems to be to make the world a better place, in spite of the segregation rules he encounters every day. The characters face racism every day, and the women, including Naomi, face sexual abuse as well. It is a gripping example of historical fiction that will stay with the reader long after they finish the book.
Drowned City by
For a change of pace, I highly recommend this graphic novel.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage -- and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality. Don Brown's kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history.
Easy to read from a textual standpoint, don’t skip past the pictures, that’s where the real story is told.
Publication Date: http://clicnet.clic.edu/record=b5437792~S1
For another change of pace, check out this novel-in-verse. This is a fictionalized biography of Clara Lemlich, one of the early proponents of garment worker’s rights in New York City (before the Shirtwaist fire). As a Goodreads reviewer commented, “A riveting and illuminating story of incredible courage, endurance, persistence and fighting for a better tomorrow - not only for yourself, but for everyone.”
Difficult to summarize, I’m borrowing from the Goodreads blurb.
Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. It is 585 pages of historical fiction magic. Don’t miss it.
Eric Kallas - O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Dylan Goes Electric! by
"The day Dylan "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival, timed to coincide with the event's fiftieth anniversary. In Dylan Goes Electric!, Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political, and historical context of this seminal event that embodies the transformative decade that was the Sixties. Wald delves deep into the folk revival, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan's artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime-mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever. Breaking new ground on a story we think we know, Dylan Goes Electric! is a thoughtful, sharp appraisal of the controversial event at Newport and a nuanced, provocative, analysis of why it matters."
Cathy Lutz - O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
The Gods of Gotham by
One of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Mystery/Thrillers of the Year One of Kirkus Reviews' Ten Best Crime Novels of the Year One of Gillian Flynn's "Recommendations for the Season" on Today Edgar(R) Award Nominee for Best Novel ALA Reading List Award for Best Mystery 1845: New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two events will change New York City forever… Timothy Wilde tends bar, saving every dollar in hopes of winning the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams are destroyed by a fire that devastates downtown Manhattan, he is left with little choice but to accept a job in the newly minted New York City Police Department. Returning exhausted from his rounds one night, Tim collides with a girl no more than ten years old… covered in blood. She claims that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of Twenty-Third Street. Timothy isn’t sure whether to believe her, but as the image of a brutal killer is slowly revealed and anti-Irish rage infects the city, the reluctant copper star is engaged in a battle that may cost him everything…
Jane Steele by
The reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer that The New York Times Book Review calls "wonderfully entertaining" and USA Today describes as "sheer mayhem meets Victorian propriety." "A thrill ride of a novel. A must read for lovers of Jane Eyre, dark humor, and mystery." --PopSugar.com "Reader, I murdered him." A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre "last confessions" of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement. Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess. Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents--the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair's violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: Can she possess him--body, soul, and secrets--without revealing her own murderous past? A satirical romance about identity, guilt, goodness, and the nature of lies, by a writer who Matthew Pearl calls "superstar-caliber" and whose previous works Gillian Flynn declared "spectacular," Jane Steele is a brilliant and deeply absorbing book inspired by Charlotte Brontë's classic Jane Eyre.
Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse by
"Life could toss your sanity about like a glass ball; books were a cushion. How on Earth did non-readers cope when they had nowhere to turn?” Nell Stillman’s road is not easy. When her boorish husband dies soon after they move to the small town of Harvester, Minnesota, Nell is alone, penniless yet responsible for her beloved baby boy, Hillyard. Not an easy fate in small-town America at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the face of nearly insurmountable odds, Nell finds strength in lasting friendships and in the rich inner life awakened by the novels she loves. She falls in love with John Flynn, a charming congressman who becomes a father figure for Hillyard. She teaches at the local school and volunteers at the public library, where she meets Stella Wheeler and her charismatic daughter Sally. She becomes a friend and confidant to many of the girls in town, including Arlene and Lark Erhardt. And no matter how difficult her day, Nell ends each evening with a beloved book. The triumphant return of a great American storyteller, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse celebrates the strength and resourcefulness of independent women, the importance of community, and the transformative power of reading.
Silver on the Road by
A heroic fantasy by an award-winning author about a young woman who is trained in the art of the sinister hand of magic, but at what price? Isobel, upon her sixteenth birthday, makes the choice to work for the devil in his territory west of the Mississippi. But this is not the devil you know. This is a being who deals fairly with immense—but not unlimited—power, who offers opportunities to people who want to make a deal, and they always get what they deserve. But his land is a wild west that needs a human touch, and that’s where Izzy comes in. Inadvertently trained by him to see the clues in and manipulations of human desire, Izzy is raised to be his left hand and travel circuit through the territory. As we all know, where there is magic there is chaos…and death.
John Heintz - O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
North Shore by
Propelled by wings, fins, legs, and the wind, life has found a way to Minnesota's North Shore for more than twelve thousand years. Some plants and animals have taken up residence in the region's ancient mountains, others in its lakes and flowing rivers. Together, they weave a living fabric of sublime and fascinating beauty. These organisms come to life in North Shore, a comprehensive environmental history of one of Minnesota's most beloved places. The story of this region unfolds through the five interconnected areas of Minnesota's North Shore watershed--the meandering rivers of the Headwaters, the deep and dense forest of the Highlands, the rocky Nearshore, the drama of Lake Superior, and its mysterious islands, including Isle Royale and Susie Island archipelagos. Each section begins with an overview of the forces that have shaped the area, then the focus turns to a wide range of inhabitants, such as chorus frogs and star-nosed moles, butterworts and coaster brook trout, jeweled diatoms and pitcher plants, black bears and blue-spotted salamanders. Each chapter links to the region's broader history, from the sculpting of the land by mile-high glaciers to the role of scientific exploration, the advent of logging, the development of tourism, and the changing global climate. North Shore reminds us that the natural history of this extraordinary region is still being created and that each of us--individually and collectively--are the authors of this ongoing narrative. Compelling and accessible, the book will provide readers with a science-based knowledge of the Minnesota North Shore watershed so that together we can write a new, hopeful chapter for its inhabitants, both human and wild.
American Catch by
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS & EDITORS Book Award, Finalist 2014 "Greenberg's breezy, engaging style weaves history, politics, environmental policy, and marine biology." --New Yorker In American Catch, award-winning author Paul Greenberg takes the same skills that won him acclaim in Four Fish to uncover the tragic unraveling of the nation's seafood supply--telling the surprising story of why Americans stopped eating from their own waters. Using narrative case studies of oysters, shrimp, and sockeye salmon, Paul Greenberg proposes a way to break the current destructive patterns of consumption and return American catch back to American eaters.
I Am Pilgrim by
Critics are calling I AM PILGRIM: "Unputdownable." —Booklist "The best book of 2014." —Suspense Magazine "The next Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." —The New York Post A breakneck race against time…and an implacable enemy. An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan. A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity. One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey. Pilgrim.
Craig Grabitske, ITS
Dha Sceal by
Taken from Ó Cadhain's third collection of short stories, “Cois Caoláire,” the two stories presented here (in both English and Irish) are fine examples of his early work. Typical of his earlier writing, the setting for both stories is Connemara, the principal characters are rural women, and both are written with an astute psychological understanding, complexity, and empathy. The first story, “The Edge of the Bog,” explores the loneliness of a woman in her late thirties. The second, “The Stranger,” shows the gradual psychological breakdown of a woman when repressed memories of loss are triggered by the arrival of a stranger in her home.
A Manual for Cleaning Women by
Berlin’s work wasn’t especially well-known in her lifetime, having been published mainly by the Black Sparrow Press and other small and somewhat obscure publishers. Posthumously released to much acclaim, this collection contains the best of her short-story craft and shows she had been tragically overlooked by a wider audience.
The Visitor by
Written in the mid-40s, the manuscript for this was discovered in a university archive long after Brennan’s tragic psychological decline and death. While only a short novella, this book is a marvelous starting point for exploring Brennan’s literary work.
Olivia - Tech Desk Assistant
White Teeth by
Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own. At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.