Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Michael Murray is the best at two things: hacky sack and keeping secrets. His family thinks he's too young to hear grown-up stuff, but he listens at doors--it's the only way to find out anything. And Michael's heard a secret, one that may explain the bruises on his mother's face. When the whispers at home and on the street become too loud to ignore, Michael begins to wonder if there is an even bigger secret he doesn't know about. Scared of what might happen if anyone finds out, and desperate for life to return to normal, Michael sets out to piece together the truth.
Christy Says: “Lies make people happy, I think, and that’s why people tell them, not to hurt or anger anyone, but to keep them safe from the truth…” This turned out to be quite the page-turner. It took a couple chapters for me to become accustomed to reading from the point of view of an eleven-year-old boy, but after getting used to it, I found that it made the story more suspenseful and chilling. Set on a small island in Scotland, the language is distinctive and rich in metaphors. This book kept me wondering what the whispers on the other side of the closed doors were truly about.
Call Number: F ODO
The Pearl that Broke Its Shell
Synopsis: In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters. But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way. Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?
Call Number: F HAS
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Synopsis: Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life.
Elizabeth Says: Economists apply economic theory to social problems and it’s fascinating. The authors do wonderful job of using raw data and different theory to create some very thought provoking essays. Even though it was written in 2006 it doesn’t feel dated. Highly recommend.
Call Number: 330 LEV
Synopsis: This classic romance novel tells the true story of the love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family. Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption. This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untamable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954.
Megan Says: Exquisite and deeply captivating, Katherine is a must read for all historical fiction lovers. Anya Seton does a magnificent job of weaving in the historical events of the time without digressing from the action. They seamlessly flow together in this epic love story. I found myself completely engrossed in every line of this book. This truly is the classic love story of Medieval England. Bravo!
Call Number: F SET
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Synopsis: A.J. Fikry's life is not what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is failing, and his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. He is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island and from Amelia, the Knightley Press sales rep who refuses to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore that gives A.J. the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world.
Nina Says: Fikry reads like a fairy tale for grownups, funny, heart-warming, bittersweet and melodic. In the end, a cautionary reminder that we should enjoy our lives, be open to what our experiences teach us, and, most of all, see the worlds a good book opens to us.
Call Number: F ZEV
Synopsis: Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran's benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC's elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there's a job he's supposed to do a job Flynne didn't know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. The job seems to be simple: work a perimeter around the image of a tower building. Little buglike things turn up. He's supposed to get in their way, edge them back. That's all there is to it. He's offering Flynne a good price to take over for him. What she sees, though, isn't what Burton told her to expect. It might be a game, but it might also be murder.
Randall Says: In “The Peripheral,” Gibson returns to the big ideas and world-building that his readers have come to expect, while retaining the social commentary of the “Bigend” cycle. The narrative jumps between multiple futures (and protagonists), which Gibson uses to examine power, history, and economic inequality. There’s an underlying pessimism throughout, a sense that the future has already been decided by shadowy, incomprehensible forces. This one will stick in your head long after you finish reading.
Call Number: SFF G IB