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Fiction Reviews

SCHOOL FOR LOVE by Olivia Manning

If you haven’t made the acquaintance of Olivia Manning and her fabulous BALKAN TRIOLOGY and LEVANT TRIOLOGY written abut an English couple caught in Romania and Greece and then Egypt during WWII, I highly recommend them. They were recently reprinted in a single volume. Another of Manning’s books, SCHOOL FOR LOVE has been recently reprinted by New York Review Books.
School for Love Cover Image
By Olivia Manning, Jane Smiley (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590173039
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Published: New York Review of Books - February 3rd, 2009

Jerusalem in 1945 is a city in flux: refugees from the war in Europe fill its streets and cafes, the British colonial mandate is coming to an end, and tensions are on the rise between the Arab and Jewish populations. Felix Latimer, a recently orphaned teenager, arrives in Jerusalem from Baghdad, biding time until he can secure passage to England.

FEVER CRUMB by Philip Reeve

Fever Crumb is a great character in a tough spot. In the London of the future, she’s one of the last remaining members of a sub-species of people the rest of the population had hoped they’d exterminated. An orphan with a mysterious scar on the back of her head, Fever has been raised in secret among the member of the Order of Engineers.
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ISBN: 9780545222150
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Published: Scholastic Press - March 1st, 2011

A stunning, new novel by master storyteller Philip Reeve.


This debut novel by Irish writer Peter Murphy is getting rave reviews in the UK and the U.S. It’s an atmospheric tale of a young boy, John, growing up in a small village whose life is altered by his friendship with a very free-spirited boy whom he meets. It’s filled with humor and energy, as well as a certain sense of mystery. Best of all is the old crone character, Mrs.
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ISBN: 9780547336909
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Published: Mariner Books - April 1st, 2010

This is the story of John Devine stuck in a small town in the eerie landscape of Southeast Ireland, worried over by his single, chain-smoking, bible-quoting mother, Lily, and spied on by the "neighborly" Mrs. Nagle. When Jamey Corboy, a self-styled Rimbaudian boy wonder, arrives in town, John's life suddenly seems full of possibility. His loneliness dissipates.


The subject of dysfunctional families is a cliche in literature, but with rich and diverse possibilities, when done right it can be a joy to read. THE LONELY POLYGAMIST taps into that realm with originality and empathy. I’ve been waiting for more from Brady Udall ever since reading his first novel, THE MIRACLE LIFE OF EDGAR MINT, back in 2001.
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ISBN: 9780393339710
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 29th, 2011

Golden Richards, husband to four wives, father to twenty-eight children, is having the mother of all midlife crises.

THE GATHERING STORM by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

THE GATHERING STORM by Robert Jordan is the 12th in “The Wheel of Time” series that I began reading about 15 years ago, following the recommendation of a KU student.  It’s pure fantasy, taking you into a world that speaks of strange, frightening creatures, as well as telepathic abilities.
The Gathering Storm: Book Twelve of the Wheel of Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765341532
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Published: Tor Books - September 28th, 2010

Now in development for TV

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time(R) by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters.

LUSH LIFE by Richard Price

A random murder is the catalyst to jump into New York City’s Lower East Side in Richard Price’s LUSH LIFE. The neighborhood in question is illustrated as a place of conflict between the young, hip, and mainly white artistic crowd with the socially marginalized rainbow of poor, project-bound immigrants and tragic youth.

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ISBN: 9780312428228
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Published: Picador USA - March 3rd, 2009

A National Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel

Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize, WOLF HALL is a complex, multi-layered novel about the time of religious tumult of the 1530s and a story of the life of a moderate, brilliant counselor and financier, Thomas Cromwell.
Wolf Hall Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429980
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Published: Picador USA - August 31st, 2010



DeLillo chronicles life in the United States during the Cold War. The story weaves through forty-plus years of lives private and public (including J.

Underworld Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684848150
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Published: Scribner Book Company - July 9th, 1998

A finalist for the National Book Award, Don DeLillo's most powerful and riveting novel--"a great American novel, a masterpiece, a thrilling page-turner" (San Francisco Chronicle)--Underworld is about the second half of the twentieth century in America and about two people, an artist and an executive, whose lives intertwine in New York in the fifties and again in the nineties.

20% off hardcover fiction through New Years

Hardcover fiction is 20% off through January 1 This snow storm that has come barreling through the Midwest is trying to tell you something -- it’s the perfect time to get a good novel to read.  Celebrate the official beginning of Reading Season (that’s what we call winter around here) by checking out some of the acclaimed and award-winning fiction from 2009. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LACUNA by Barbara Kingsolver ($26.99).  Kingsolver’s first novel since The Poisonwood Bible follows the life of Harrison William Shepherd from Mexico to North Carolina to Washington D.C.  Shepherd is the son of a failed marriage between an American man and Mexican woman.  He spends his younger days working in the household of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, where he also encounters Leon Trotsky.  Shepherd eventually moves to Asheville, N.C., where he has a successful career as a writer before he is investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee.  Kingsolver pulls the reader into these events intimately by using letters, journal entries and newspaper clippings as narration devices. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HALF BROKE HORSES by Jeannette Walls ($26.00).  This "true-life novel" tells the story of Walls’s grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who led an amazing, rough-and-tumble life in the southwest and midwest. Her resume included bootlegger, teacher, rodeo rider, marriage to a bigamist, and mother.  Walls brings the same storytelling that made The Glass Castle so engrossing to readers in yet another amazing story from her family.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A GATE AT THE STAIRS by Lorrie Moore ($25.95).  Tassie Keltjin is a 20 year-old student attending a Midwestern college who becomes the nanny of a recently-adopted child in this coming-of-age novel set in the post-9/11 world.  Publisher’s Weekly says of the book, "Moore’s graceful prose considers serious emotional and political issues with low-key clarity and poignancy."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel  ($27.00). Mantel’s novel, winner of the 2009 Man Booker prize is set in the 1520’s court of Henry VIII.  The story chronicles the King’s desire for a male heir, his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boylen, and the installation of himself as the head of a new church, the Church of England.  Told through the voice of Thomas Cromwell, the Man Booker Prize committee said of the book, "It probes the mysteries of power by examining and describing the meticulous dealings in Henry VIII’s court, revealing in thrilling prose how politics and history is made by men and women."

INFINITE JEST by David Foster Wallace

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ISBN: 9780316066525
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Published: Back Bay Books - November 13th, 2006

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need t


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