Great Reads

Ruiz Zafon, Carlos. The Prisoner of Heaven

Ruiz Zafon returns to the Barcelona of his The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game in this short novel which connects the characters and time periods of the previous two installments. Daniel Sempere, the young hero of The Shadow of the Wind, is now a married man, assisting his father in running their small bookstore. Business isn’t good, which is why it initially seems a blessing when a disfigured stranger buys a rare and expensive copy of The Count of Monte Cristo.  However, the man leaves the book behind with a note addressed to Daniel’s friend Fermín Romero de Torres—“ For Fermín Romero de Torres, who came back from among the dead and holds the key to the future.”  This single sentence inspires Daniel to investigate the stranger and, by extension, Fermín.  What he discovers has wider-reaching consequences than he could ever have anticipated, touching on not only Fermin’s mysterious past and prior incarceration as a political prisoner but upon the death of Daniel’s mother Isabella and the writing of a strange book by the nearly forgotten author (and fellow prisoner to Fermín) David Martin—The Angel’s Game.

The storylines begun in Ruiz Zafon’s first two books of the Cemetary of Forgotten Books series begin to interweave here in exciting ways. While shorter and perhaps a shade less complex and rich than the previous two installments, Ruiz Zafon’s fans will not want to miss The Prisoner of Heaven.  An open ending promises more to the story.

Donoghue, Emma. Life Mask

Spanning the years between 1787 and 1797, this fictionalized account of a real-life scandal follows three figures in London’s beau monde society: common-born actress Eliza Farren, who has spent her life striving to reach the pinnacle of high society; famously ugly Lord Derby, who has spent years pursuing Eliza’s affections but must wait until his ill and estranged wife passes away before Eliza can be his; and Derby’s friend, the widowed sculptress Anne Damer, who strikes up a close friendship with young Eliza.  Politics are complicated in this time—the American Revolution has only recently ended, the French Revolution is about to begin, and liberal and conservative factions are going head-to-head for control of British government—but no more so than romantic and social relationships.  Casual (and often shocking to chase Eliza) multiple-partner relationships seem to be the norm among the indolent gentry, and Anne Damer has been fighting  rumors of lesbianism which now threaten the reputations of all those close to her as well. 

Deliberately paced, with much tension simmering beneath the surface, Life Mask is a compelling portrait of a fascinating time and three appealingly flawed characters. The fast-paced thrills of Donoghue’s bestselling Room are not on offer here, but for a reader of novels of manners, there is much to enjoy.

Just a Thought -- Readlikes for "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

On the waiting list for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn? You’re not alone! Every once in a while, a book takes us by surprise with its sudden popularity and the waiting lists skyrocket! We are buying multiple extra copies to make the wait time shorter, but if you’re looking for something fun to read in the meantime, we have some suggestions for you! Gone Girl is a twisty, complex thriller with unreliable narrators, slowly unraveling layers of deceit, and an unrelentingly suspenseful tone.  If that sounds good to you, you might like one of the following titles, all of which share some of these characteristics!

 

Barr, Nevada.  13 ½

LaPlante, Alice.  Turn of Mind

Lehane, Denis.  Shutter Island

Lippmann, Laura.  What the Dead Know

Lupton, Rosamund.  Sister

Unger, Lisa.  Black Out

Walters, Minette.  The Breaker

Watson, S.J.  Before I Go to Sleep

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Just a Thought -- New Additions to the Book Club Collection

Our Book Club Collection is a very popular offering, not only with book clubs but with all readers looking for a good book into which they can really sink their teeth.  In order to keep it fresh and as useful to our readers as possible, we update frequently, adding new and exciting titles! Since we have a renovation to the Adult Services Department on the horizon (see this page for more information) we thought it would be the perfect time to step up the pace and add more fresh fiction and nonfiction than usual.  We've already added three titles, with three more on the way; and we will be adding another six this fall.  So keep your eyes peeled and watch this space; we'll let you know as soon as the new books come in!  But in the meantime, here are the three we've already added:

 

Bryson, Bill.  At Home (non-fiction, 643.1 B916)

Green, John.  The Fault in Our Stars

Lupton, Rosamund.  Sister

 

 

Just a Thought -- Teen Books for Adults

Given the enduring popularity of Harry Potter and Twilight and the newer Hunger Games craze, not to mention the movie version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit due out this winter, it seems that more and more adult readers are crossing the generation gap and reading books originally intended for young adults—also known as teens. We already put together a list of great teen books for adult readers a few years ago (which you can find here) but it seemed like it might be time for an update! So while you’re waiting for the new Daniel Silva book or trying to get your mitts on Gone Girl, why not head on over to the YA shelves and try out one of these cross-over picks?

 

Armstrong, Kelley.    The Gathering

Cabot, Meg.     Abandon

Clare, Cassandra.    City of Bones

Condie, Ally.     Matched

Green, John.     The Fault in Our Stars

McBride, Lish.     Hold me Closer, Necromancer

Nix, Garth.    A Confusion of Princes

Ostlere, Kathy.     Karma

Reichs, Kathy.     Virals

Yolen, Jane.     Snow in Summer

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