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MaddAddam Book Cover

5 Books to be Excited About

One of the most wonderful parts of working at the library is hearing about exciting new authors and new releases of favorite authors. Hearing that one of my favorite authors is about to have a new book published is akin to a holiday: there's anticipation and excitement. And of course, I love hearing about new authors. A suggestion from a colleague or someone who stops to chat about books is always exciting. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but most of the time I find fabulous new books and authors. Unfortunately, I'm at a lull in my reading -- but I'm eagerly looking forward to a break between semesters.

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake, and its companion,Year of the Flood were complex, beautiful, heartbreaking, and uncomfortable. In these books, Margaret Atwood examines some of the most important issues of our day - genetic modification, cybercrime, biological terrorism - as well as the role of apathy in disaster. MaddAddam, the third book in Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy takes us back to Toby, the narrator of Year of the Flood picking up where Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood left off. (I'll not comment about the end of those books for the sake of those who still want to read the series.) Atwood, always a keen observer of humankind, forces us to confront conflict between self-preservation and self-sacrifice, and asks us to consider what's really worth saving. To be released September 3, 2013

Jewelweed by David Rhodes

David Rhodes caused a kerfuffle when he released Driftless in 2008. His first three books, released in the mid-1970's were greeted with enthusiasm from literary critics, proclaiming that he was "one of the best eyes in recent fiction." And then he disappeared for more than 30 years. Driftless was his return to publication, winning the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. Driftless follows former drifter, July Montgomery, and residents of his adopted hometown of Words, Wisconsin. Rhodes spins a rich tale with fleshed-out characters, skillfully picking up threads and overlapping narratives. In Jewelweed, David Rhodes takes us back to Words a decade after the conclusion of Driftless. He introduces us to residents we've never met before and allows us to look in on those first introduced in Driftless. Jewelweed is a beautifully written book, perfect for quiet, pensive evenings.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls by Anton DiSclafani

In DiSclafani's debut, we meet Thea as she is being taken to the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls after her role in a family tragedy. The country is in the midst of the Great Depression, and Thea, insulated by the school, struggles to adapt to its strict environment and the camp's social strata.

We, The Drowned: A Novel by Carsten Jensen

This novel has a bit of everything: heartbreak, power, poinancy, humor, and darkness. Spanning a century, this is the tale of a tiny town on the island of Aero in the Danish archipelago. A graceful, powefully written book about the birth of modern Denmark, Jensen skillfully uses a series of narrators to pick up the story and move it forward.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel by Jenny Wingfield

After the death of his father-in-law, John, Samuel Lake moves his family to rural Arkansas. Samuel's family is put in a unique position -- between two porches: Moses, a convenience store that stays open all day, and Never Closes, a bar, formerly run by John, that stays open all night. The book isn't about the two porches, it's about the family that lives in the house between them. Published in 2011, this is Wingfield's first book, and it's gotten quite a bit word of mouth recommendation.


MaddAddam: A Novel by Margaret Atwood
Amazon Says: A New York Times Notable Book A Washington Post Notable Book A Best Book of the Year: The Guardian, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, The Globe and Mail A GoodReads Read more...
Amazon Says: A New York Times Notable Book A Washington Post Notable Book A Best Book of the Year: The Guardian, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, The Globe and Mail A GoodReads Reader's Choice Bringing together Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, this thrilling conclusion to Margaret Atwood's speculative fiction trilogy points toward the ultimate endurance of community, and love. Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. Their reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is recovering from a debilitating fever, so it's left to Toby to preach the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb. Zeb has been searching for Adam One, founder of the God's Gardeners, the pacifist green religion from which Zeb broke years ago to lead the MaddAddamites in active resistance against the destructive CorpSeCorps. But now, under threat of a Painballer attack, the MaddAddamites must fight back with the aid of their newfound allies, some of whom have four trotters. At the center of MaddAddam is the story of Zeb's dark and twisted past, which contains a lost brother, a hidden murder, a bear, and a bizarre act of revenge. Combining adventure, humor, romance, superb storytelling, and an imagination at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Margaret Atwood—a moving and dramatic conclusion to her internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy. less...
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Jewelweed: A Novel by David Rhodes
Amazon Says: The beloved author of Driftless delves into the heart of rural America in this unforgettable portrait of community. When David Rhodes burst onto the American literary scene i more...
Amazon Says: The beloved author of Driftless delves into the heart of rural America in this unforgettable portrait of community. When David Rhodes burst onto the American literary scene in the '70s, he was hailed as “a brilliant visionary” (John Gardner). In Driftless, his “most accomplished work yet” (Joseph Kanon), Rhodes made Words, Wisconsin, resonate with readers across the country. Now with Jewelweed this beloved author returns to the same out-of-the-way community and introduces a cast of characters who must overcome the burdens left by the past. After serving time for a dubious conviction, Blake Bookchester is paroled. As Blake attempts to adjust, he reconnects with Danielle Workhouse, a single mother whose son, Ivan, explores the woods with his precocious friend, August. While Danielle goes to work for Buck and Amy Roebuck in their mansion, Ivan and August befriend Lester Mortal, a recluse who lives in a melon field; a wild boy; and a bat, Milton. These characters — each flawed, deeply human, and ultimately universal — approach the future with a combination of hope and trepidation. Jewelweed offers a vision in which the ordinary becomes mythical, the seemingly mundane transformed into revelatory beauty. less...
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Amazon Says: “This summer’s first romantic page turner.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journal and more...
Amazon Says: “This summer’s first romantic page turner.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly and USA Today, NPR, and People summer reads pick A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country. Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer. less...
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We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen
Amazon Says: In 1848 a motley crew of Danish sailors sets sail from the small island town of Marstal to fight the Germans. Not all of them return - and those who do will never be the same. more...
Amazon Says: In 1848 a motley crew of Danish sailors sets sail from the small island town of Marstal to fight the Germans. Not all of them return - and those who do will never be the same. Among them is the daredevil Laurids Madsen, who promptly escapes again into the anonymity of the high seas. Spanning four generations, two world wars and a hundred years, We, The Drowned is an epic tale of adventure, ruthlessness and passion. less...
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Amazon Says: Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at “the old home place,” a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samu more...
Amazon Says: Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at “the old home place,” a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. The children embrace the reunion as a welcome escape from the prying eyes of their father’s congregation; for Willadee it’s a precious opportunity to spend time with her mother and father, Calla and John. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core: John’s untimely death and, soon after, the loss of Samuel’s parish, which set the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change. In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But it is Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, who soon captures Swan’s undivided attention. Full of righteous anger, and innocent of the peril facing her and those she loves, Swan makes it her mission to keep the boy safe from his terrifying father. With characters who spring to life as vividly as if they were members of one’s own family, and with the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield emerges as one of the most vital, engaging storytellers writing today. In The Homecoming of Samuel Lake she has created a memorable and lasting work of fiction. less...
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Oryx and Crake: A Novel by Margaret Atwood
Amazon Says: A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize Margaret Atwood’s new novel is so utterly c more...
Amazon Says: A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize Margaret Atwood’s new novel is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so terrifyingly-all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. For readers of Oryx and Crake, nothing will ever look the same again. The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief. With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. less...
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Amazon Says: The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power. The times and species have be more...
Amazon Says: The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power. The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners—a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life—has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible. Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers . . . Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away . . . By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive. less...
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Driftless by David Rhodes
Amazon Says: David Rhodes's long-awaited new novel turns an unblinking eye on an array of eccentric characters and situations. The setting is Words, Wisconsin, an anonymous town of only a more...
Amazon Says: David Rhodes's long-awaited new novel turns an unblinking eye on an array of eccentric characters and situations. The setting is Words, Wisconsin, an anonymous town of only a few hundred people. But under its sleepy surface, life rages. Cora and Graham guard their dairy farm, and family, from the wicked schemes of their milk co-op. Lifelong paraplegic Olivia suddenly starts to walk, only to find herself crippled by her fury toward her sister and caretaker, Violet. Recently retired Rusty finds a cougar living in his haymow, dredging up haunting childhood memories. Winifred becomes pastor of the Friends church and stumbles on enlightenment in a very unlikely place. And Julia Montgomery, both private and gregarious, instigates a series of events that threatens the town's solitude and doggedly suspicious ways. Driftless finds the author's powers undiminished in this unforgettable story that evokes a small-town America previously unmapped, and the damaged denizens who must make their way through it. less...
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