Sandi's Rec: This is the best book of the year! The story of a 16 year old Japanese girl told through her diary, which is found by a writer off the coast of B.C. Her longing for her lost American life, experiences of bullying from her classmate, and the kind and moving relationship she develops with her grandmother, a Buddhist nun, will keep you turning the pages long into the night!
Sandi's Rec: A wonderful read about a lost child who helps a woman come to terms with her own painful childhood.
Sandi's Rec: Another great book from the British novelist who has made it her life's work to chronicle the costs of WWI. This is a dark and painful tale of strained relationships between brother and sister, friends and lovers against the backdrop of postwar England.
Sandi's Rec: One summer in the life of 10 year old Helen as she deals with the death of her beloved caretaker + grandmother, the absence of her father and first love. Set at the end of WWII, this is a haunting coming of age story.
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Sandi's Rec: The extraordinary tale of 10 year old Judith and her father (told in her voice), Judith is certain she is an instrument of God after it snows on the day she was to be confronted by the school's bully. A moving story of a child trying to reconcile her beliefs with an often-harsh real world.
Sandi's Rec: You will both laugh and cry out loud, when reading this novel about this odd family of performance artists. A true novel about the 60s and 70s + Art.
Sandi's Rec: Everyone in Madison should read this! Great, practical guide to making your downtown a great place to live and work.
Sandi's Rec: This is a great resource for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. Great tips for maximizing your space--this is my go-to gardening book.
Sandi's Rec: Excellent short stories on the theme of science. Barrett is at her best.
The first book of Smiley's trilogy that follows the lives of an Iowa farm family from 1920 to the near future. All three of the books are now published in this trilogy so you can read them one after another. Since there are many charterers as the family grows over five generations, reading them together makes it easier to keep track of everyone. Smiley chronicles the history of the 20th century and early 21 century as wars, financial boom and bust and person crises challenge the Langdon family. Smiley is a great storyteller and you will not be disappointed with any of these books.
Is it safer to fly or take the train? How dangerous is skydiving? And is eating that extra sausage going to kill you? We've all heard the statistics for risky activities, but what do they mean in the real world? In "The Norm Chronicles," journalist Michael Blastland and risk expert David Spiegelhalter explore these questions through the stories of average Norm and an ingenious measurement called the MicroMort--a one in a million chance of dying. They reveal why general anesthesia is as dangerous as a parachute jump, giving birth in the US is nearly twice as risky as in the UK, and that the radiation from eating a banana shaves 3 seconds off your life. An entertaining guide to the statistics of personal risk, "The Norm Chronicles" will enlighten anyone who has ever worried about the dangers we encounter in our daily lives.
Robbed of her wallet and passport while on a trip to Morocco fleeing her past, a woman feels a strange freedom of being stripped of her identity. A chance encounter with a movie producer leads to a job posing as a stand-in for a well-known film star. Soon she is inhabiting the actress's skin off set, going deeper into the Casablanca night and further from herself. She finds herself moving further and further away from the person she once as she becoming entwined with the life of the actress. A funny look at the rich and famous but also a woman's search for who she wants to be.
In this novel, a mixed Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio has a favorite child, their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue-in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos. Not just another novel about a dysfunction family, but a study on dreams not fulfilled, racism and misunderstandings that lead to tragedy. An ambitious and complex novel.
A brilliant and very funny tale of Russian immigrant life. Having left Odessa for Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with a sense of finality, the Nasmertov family has discovered that the divide between the old world and the new is not nearly as clear-cut as they had imagined. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, returning is just a matter of a plane ticket, and the Russian-owned shops in their adopted neighborhood stock even the most obscure comforts of home. Pursuing the American Dream once meant giving up everything, but does the dream still work if the past refuses to grow distant and mythical, remaining alarmingly within reach? I have always loved Russian emigrant's stories and this is up there with my favorite PETROPOLIS by Anya Ulinich. If you haven't read that check it out also.
Set in a room house in Brooklyn a quirky group of physically and emotionally damaged tenants struggle to find security, self worth and love. A failed stand-up comic, a mentally disabled young man and his sister caregiver, a young artist recovering from a stroke and a beautiful agoraphobic are faced the possibility of loosing their only home. They all must face their fears and find the courage within them to cope with the changes they all face together and alone.
It is great to see a new novel by Hamilton. It is the story of Mary Frances "Frankie" Lombards growing up on her family apple orchard in Wisconsin. Frankie loves life on the orchard and wants nothing to change but of course that is not how life happens and Frankie must face her childhood fantasies and changes that growing up bring. Frankie's warm, funny and quirky family guides her through her coming of age with humor and compassion.