As you must have figured out from yesterday's post, I have been working on our new book club brochure and accompanying display. I had been trying for a January-May-September cycle of updating, but as is true of so many things that need to be done, I ran a bit (two months) late in getting this together. Because this is a print marketing piece converted to a blog post, all our recs are sort of smooshed into digestible size.
The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize. “This novel is brilliant—Johnson has given us a story where culture and society has been crafted and stacked against the people and only imagination and courage can stand against such circumstances.”-Jason Kennedy
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain, National Book Critics Circle award winner. “Set in one day at a Dallas Cowboys game, this raucous and riveting novel, a modern Catch 22, is about selling sports, movies, and war.” -Daniel Goldin
Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver, The Nautilus Prize. “Her ability to put these silent, breathtakingly beautiful butterflies at the center of this calamitous and noisy debate (on climate change) is nothing short of brilliant.”
-Ron Charles, The Washington Post.
City of Bohane, by Kevin Barry, Impac Dublin award winner. “What an unforgettably wonderful novel: hilarious, unique, utterly believable. It's Joyce meets Anthony Burgess, and as funny as Flann O'Brien.” -Joseph O’Connor (author).
Three Strong Women, by Marie NDiaye. The first Prix Goncourt winner written by a woman of color follows three intertwined tales of French Senegalese immigrants. "NDiaye's storytelling approaches something of the power and simplicity of folklore." -Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe
The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers, Pen/Hemingway award. “At once a freshly imagined bildungsroman about a soldier's coming of age, (and) a harrowing story about the friendship of two young men trying to stay alive on the battlefield in Iraq.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
The Middlesteins, by Jami Attenberg. “A dysfunctional family must make a show of functioning in time for the grandkids’ bar mitzvahs. This amusing and insightful Chicago family portrait is one of the few novels I’ve read that tackled food addiction head on.” -Daniel Goldin
Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. A quadriplegic and his caregiver find love, despite his ultimate wish for her to assist in his suicide. “Me Before You is an unexpectedly touching novel that left me grateful for my own personal autonomy.” -Sharon K. Nagel
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce. “With surprising twists along the pilgrimage, this modern-day parable is not only thought provoking, but also tender and funny. I loved every mile I walked with Harold! “
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, by Emma Straub. “I didn't really appreciate Laura until things started to go south for her. Then, the reader learns what strength Laura possesses, and can appreciate her as a person, and not just a glamorous actress.” -Sharon K. Nagel
The Taste of Salt, by Martha Southgate. A marine biologist whose left her Cleveland family (and family problems) behind finds that not only her father and brother’s addictions, but her own, might pull her under.”
The Green Shore, by Natalie Bakopoulos. “The author humanizes the Greek “Regime of the colonels” of the last sixties through the eyes of one family--a widowed doctor, her three children, and her brother, a notorious local poet in this passionate story.” -Daniel Goldin
The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe. “It’s not exactly about the about the end of life at all, but about the beginning of a new life. Schwalbe accompanies his mother on her journey, and along the way, they read a great selection of books.” -Jane Glaser
The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande, NBCC finalist. “What makes Grande s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero’s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard. “ -Sandra Ciscneros (author)
Shakespeare Saved My Life, by Laura Bates. “If anyone needs proof that literature can change lives, here it is. This is an amazing story, beautifully told, of the impact Shakespeare's work had on one remarkable man, imprisoned for life, and his teacher.” -Anne McMahon
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. “Gritty and tough, Cheryl's story reflects the woman who came out stronger than she imagined possible at the end of the 1,100 miles she hiked alone. A memorable and engaging read”
-Stacie M. Williams
Brain on Fire, by Susanah Cahalan. “At 24, Susannah Cahalan was betrayed by her body. Memory loss and hallucinations were only a precursor to a complete neurological breakdown--Cahalan was losing her mind…truly a must read.” -Jason Kennedy
Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, by Florence Williams. “Williams uses sharp wit and fantastic prose to discuss these vital body parts, looking at their historical and scientific contexts, and analyzing aspects from bras to breastfeeding.” -Halley Pucker
Playing with Genre
The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny. “Penny’s complex characters and their multi-dimensional relationships, as well as the unusual setting, make this (a mystery set in a remote abbey) a fascinating reading experience.” -Anne McMahon (Note that we are hosting a launch party for the next Inspector Gamache book, How the Light Gets In, on Tuesday, August 27, 7 pm. Tickets available at Brown Paper Tickets).
The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller. This post-apocalyptic novel has been compared to Cormac McCarthy. “Heller has written a masterpiece full of language so beautiful it will break your heart and then fill it back up.” -Hannah Johnson-Breimeier
The Malice of Fortune, by Michael Ennis. “This tightly crafted murder mystery is set in the early sixteenth-century Italian Rennaisance of Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli. It calls to mind nothing so much as Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.” -Conrad Silverberg
This Bright River, by Patrick Somerville. “A puzzle of a story (set in small-town Wisconsin), its opening presents a mystery that even when we finish, we're not entirely sure what exactly happened, and yet, it's immensely satisfying.” -Stacie M. Williams
The Art Forger, by B. A. Shapiro. A literary thriller inspired by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Heist, “Shapiro's vast, intelligent, and extremely intricate exploration of the art realm, its history, and its darker, seedier corners (such as forgery) is the best part of this novel.” -Nick Berg. Don't forget about our event with B.A. Shapiro at the Charles Allis Art Museum, 1800 N. Prospect Ave. on Wednesday, July 24, 6:30 pm. There's a $5 admission charge for this one.)
The News from Spain, by Joan Wickersham. In this story collection where each entry plays off the book’s title in a unique way, “We are shown love from every angle, every painful, agonizing, wonderful, obsessive, well-worn look at love Wickersham could flawlessly fit into her characters' lives.” -Hannah Johnson-Breimeier
For book clubs that register their titles with us in advance, we offer a 10% discount on their book club selections, which also accrue Boswell Benefits points (a $5 coupon with each $100 purchase). It is requested that there be at least three folks in the group who will be buying print books from us.
Giving the Gift of Reading
3 days ago