“Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story” by Wally Lamb
In this complex and emotional novel, fifth-grader Felix Funicello struggles with a pesky cousin during the holidays.
“Moon Over Manifest” by Alice LaPlante
This is a story about 12-year-old Abilene Tucker who learns about the town where her father spent time as a boy. This Newbery Award-winner (2010) may be considered a children’s book, but it’s rich enough in historical detail about the 1930s to appeal to adults.
“Turn of Mind” by Clare Vanderpool
This New York Times bestseller is a literary thriller about a retired orthopedic surgeon suffering from dementia and accused of killing her best friend. The novel brings us deep into a brilliant woman’s deteriorating mind, where the impossibility of recognizing reality can be both a blessing and a curse.
“The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht
In the war-torn Balkans, a young physician searches for tales from her grandfather’s past in an attempt to understand his mysterious death far from home. She becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As she looks for answers, she uncovers an extraordinary World War II era story of a deaf-mute woman in her grandfather’s boyhood village who befriended a tiger escaped from a zoo. Personal history, quest, myth, superstition and the aftermath of war combine to create a magical narrative in which characters and setting come vividly to life.
“Room” by Emma Donoghue
Narrator Jack and his mother live in a tiny soundproofed cell in a converted shed. A man visits at night, grudgingly doling out food and supplies. But Ma, as Jack calls her, proves to be resilient and resourceful—and attempts to change their lives.
Due to the July fourth holiday, our book discussion this month will be a week later. This month we’ll discuss books about our favorite or least favorite FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States). Come talk about a title of your choice.
“Stealing Buddha’s Dinner” by Bich Minh Nguyen
This book is a memoir of growing up in western Michigan as a Vietnamese refugee in the early 1980s. The publisher calls this “a unique vision of the immigrant experience and a lyrical ode to how identity is often shaped by the things we long for.”
“Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind” by Ann B. Ross
When Hazel Marie Puckett and her 9-year-old son, Little Lloyd, show up on Julia Springer’s doorstep in Abbotsford, North Carolina, Miss Julia receives the shock of her long and proper life. After 44 years of marriage to pillar-of-church-and-community Wesley Lloyd Springer, she discovers that while she had assumed he was working late at the family bank, he was engaged in other, more carnal, pursuits. For, as Hazel Marie shyly explains, Little Lloyd is Miss Julia’s late husband’s son. His arrival in Miss Julia’s life sets off a chain of events that involves a hypocritical minister, a violent beating, a crooked televangelist, a high-speed car chase, a kidnapping and a surprising revelation about her late husband’s will. Miss Julia not only speaks her mind but also comes to a deeper understanding of the meaning of love, friendship, and trust.
“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein
The novel follows the story of Denny Swift, a race car driver living in Seattle. It’s told from the point of view of his dog Enzo, a dog with a philosopher’s soul, who hopes to be reincarnated as a human. Enzo sets out to prepare for his death in a struggle to hone his humanness, to make sense of the good, the bad and the unthinkable.
“You Know When the Men Are Gone” by Siobhan Fallon
Hollywood and news outlets paint a graphic picture of war, but author and army wife Siobhan Fallon shows us what real families endure. In this collection of poignant and beautifully written short stories, the heavy burden of military wives becomes clear. The women left behind at Fort Hood are linked by absence and an overriding fear that they’ll become widows. From a Serbian war bride who is unable to cope with the loneliness of her outsider status, to a wife who must come to terms with her husband’s probable infidelity in Iraq, these stories ring heartbreakingly true.
“Now You See Her” by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
A successful lawyer and loving mother, Nina Bloom would do anything to protect the life she’s built in New York—including lying to everyone, even her daughter, about her past. But when an innocent man is framed for murder, she knows that she can’t let him pay for the real killer’s crimes. Nina risks everything she’s earned to return to Florida and confront the murderous evil she fled 19 years ago. In a story of wrenching suspense, James Patterson gives us his most head-spinning, action-filled story yet—a Hitchcock-like blend of unquenchable drama and pleasure. (Please note: This month’s book has been changed from “Factory Girls” by Leslie Chang.)
“Before I Go to Sleep” by S. J. Watson
After a terrible accident, 47-year-old Christine Lucas awakens each morning believing she is still in her twenties and single. She doesn’t recognize her husband, doesn’t remember that she had a son and is appalled by her wrinkled face and old-lady clothes. Slowly, Christine learns that she has amnesia and is unable to remember her past or retain new memories. Every night when she falls asleep, the slate is wiped clean.