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Fiction Reviews

CROSSING THE TRACKS by Barbara Stuber

Atchison, Kansas — November 1916. Iris, age 6, is under her mother’s coffin, surrounded by the drapes that hang down the side. She is glad that her Mom is no longer coughing so hard it hurt her. Iris’ Dad yells for her, and when she comes out, he pulls her up and tells her to be polite to the visitors. That’s his only communication with her. Fast-forward ten years, and Iris’ Dad has arranged for her to go work at another home, taking care of a country doctor’s elderly mother. He is going to set up another shoe store in Kansas City with his newest girlfriend, and there’s no room for Iris in the city. The rest of the story lets us know how new people, nurturing people, can have a profound impact on us, can inspire us to help others who may be in a worse situation, and help us realize our own value. The author, Barbara Stuber, is a finalist in the William C. Morris Debut Award of the American Library Association. She spoke about her book recently to Kansas Librarians, and though it is classified as “young adult” novel, grown people in their 80’s were relating to the tale. I highly recommend this book for a joint read by parents and youth, with a good discussion to follow. Recommended by Julie.
Crossing the Tracks Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781416997047
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Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - May 24th, 2011

At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts--no home, no family, no plan. Her mother died when she was six, and her father focuses on his new girlfriend and his shoe business and has no time for his daughter. Without consulting her, he hires Iris out as a companion to a country doctor's elderly mother.


THE ODDS: A LOVE STORY by Stuart O’Nan

The latest novel from Stuart O’Nan is yet another deeply satisfying examination of a strained relationship. Protagonists Art and Marion schedule a second honeymoon on their 30th anniversary, which may very well be their last weekend together. They’re gambling their life-savings and their marriage on this opportunity on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Extreme discomfort and poignancy abound. Recommended by Kelly.
The Odds Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780143122272
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Published: Penguin Books - September 25th, 2012

In the new novel from the author of Last Night at the Lobster, a middle-age couple goes all in for love at a Niagara Falls casino
Lokk out for City of Secrets coming from Viking on April 26, 2016


EMILY ALONE by Stuart O’Nan

The sequel to, WISH YOU WERE HERE, Stuart O’Nan’s critically acclaimed novel about a socially disastrous family vacation at a lake cabin, EMILY ALONE is a beautiful and meticulous portrait of the daily life of an older woman in Pittsburgh, PA. Rather than give in to fear when life changes force her to resume driving and take on additional responsibilities, she rises to the occasion.
Emily, Alone Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143120490
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Published: Penguin Books - December 27th, 2011

A bittersweet tale of love and longing from the bestselling author of Last Night at the Lobster.

O'Nan's newest novel, City of Secrets, is now available from Viking.


GARDEN OF READING by Michele Slung

One of the delights of working at the Raven is doing reviews. This collection of short fiction is about gardens and gardeners and includes some of my favorite authors: Garrison Keillor, James Thurber, Eudora Welty and Doris Lessing, among others. You’ll find humor, astute observation, and passion about flora and settings from those folks who have made gardening a love for many of us, as well as stories like the “Lawnmower Man “, one of Stephen King’s scary short stories. A great read for this in-between time of gardening. Recommended by Julie.
Garden of Reading: Contemporary Short Fiction about Gardeners and Gardening Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781590207277
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Published: Overlook Press - January 31st, 2012

Whether you've nurtured a solitary houseplant on a windowsill, acres of glorious blooming flowerbeds, or simply a bright gleam of imagination, The Garden of Reading will remind you of the magic and wonder of the world around us.


THE CHAPERONE by Laura Moriarty (Publication date June 2012)

The latest from Lawrence resident and best-selling novelist Laura Moriarty, THE CHAPERONE, takes readers into the diverse worlds of two women on the cusp of finding their authentic selves. One is 15-year-old, soon-to-be stage and silent film star, Louise Brooks, who is making her first trip to New York. The other is Cora, her proper, well-bred Kansas chaperone. The clash of lives and press of secrets throughout creates a truly compelling read. The best of Moriarty’s novels yet! Recommended by Kelly.
The Chaperone Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594631436
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Published: Riverhead Books - June 4th, 2013

Soon to be a feature film from the creators of Downton Abbey starring Elizabeth McGovern, The Chaperone is a New York Times-bestselling novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in the 1920s and the summer that would change them both.


PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie

Experiencing the timeless characters of PETER PAN in their original format brings the fantasy of Neverland to life not only for children, but for anyone who loves adventures. Giving the reader so much more than the Disney version, J.M. Barrie created an epic narrative that continuously brings the fairies, pirates, and thimbles of our dreams to life. Recommended by Caitlin.
Classic Starts(r) Peter Pan Cover Image
By James Matthew Barrie, Tania Zamorsky (Abridged by), Dan Andreasen (Illustrator)
$6.95
ISBN: 9781402754210
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Published: Sterling - March 1st, 2009

"All children grow up. All except one." That special child is Peter Pan, and since making his debut on the stage in 1904, this eternal youth has carried boys and girls off to magical, marvelous Neverland. It's a trip that all kids want to make, and with this easy-to-read version of the classic, everyone can fly "second to the right, and straight on till morning" with Peter.


THE LOTUS EATERS by Tatjana Soli

Every now and then I read a novel that sticks with me long after I’ve finished the last page. This is one of those books. The author’s richly described settings of Vietnam, both the countryside and the cities and villages, make you feel you are there. She writes like a painter, making the various shades of greens of the forests and mountains, the flat browns of the rice paddies, and the hand-embroidered silks of the rich women very real for you. The landscapes and the Vietnamese people are an important part of the story, for the exotic look of the tropical country and the impoverished huts and houses capture the eye of the main protagonist, Helen Adams. She is a young American photographer who comes to Vietnam in 1965 with large ambitions to become a famous war photographer and win a Pulitzer Prize. Her quest is tangled up in the horrors of the war and the part she is playing in showing the violence, which, with each repetition, becomes less powerful. Her life also gets tangled up in the ambitions of other photographers, one of whom, Sam Darrow, becomes her lover. And then there is the quieter, observant, and careful Vietnamese translator and assistant, Lindh, on whom both Helen and Sam depend. The title refers to the chapter by Homer in THE ODYSSEY that describes an island filled with women who feed the sailors such succulent lotus that they never want to return home. Many of the people in this novel can‚t bear to leave this ravaged and beautiful place. This is a fascinating novel about the war and the country, and it’s a riveting story of a young woman’s struggle. I highly recommend it. And as an added bonus there is an excellent bibliography from the author’s research. Recommended by Pat.
The Lotus Eaters Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780312674441
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Griffin - December 21st, 2010

- Winner of UK's James Tait Black Prize
- New York Times Notable Book of 2010
- American Library Association 2011 Notable Book
- Finalist LA Times Book Award
- A Kirkus Reviews Top Debut Fiction of 2010
- Bookmarks Magazine Best Literary Fiction of 2010


TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT by Robert Jordan

This 13th book in the Wheel of Time series continues to be absorbing, following the paths of Rand (The Dragon Reborn), Matt, Perrin, Egwene, and others from the Two Rivers village, who have become involved in stopping The Shadow, who threatens to destroy the world. This series began almost 20 years ago, and picking up the story line was difficult when there was a long break between books, but under the writing of Brandon Sanderson, who took over when Robert Jordan died, the books are coming closer together. I will say the first chapter of this book was daunting, reminding me too much of some of the damage we are seeing in our world, such as the BP oil spill, but the character of Rand has developed, and there is a sense of hope for redeeming this fantasy world. Another good read. Recommended by Julie.
Towers of Midnight Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780765364876
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - October 4th, 2011

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.


MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson

MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson is a delightful British comedy of manners, set in a small English village. A retired army major adjusts to village life, a snobbish, social-climbing son and finds himself attracted to the Pakistani woman who runs a small shop. Told with clever, dry wit and much insight, this funny, polished novel is a joy to read! Recommended by Rochelle
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812981223
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - November 30th, 2010

In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea.


THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler

THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler, a pseudonym for a literary couple who live in Sweden, isn’t just another brooding Scandinavian crime novel. It’s a worthy successor to Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. A family is murdered, but there is one survivor: a disturbed adolescent. The story switches to Erik Maria Bark, a well-known psychiatrist and hypnotist who stopped practicing hypnotism several years ago.
The Hypnotist Cover Image
By Lars Kepler, Ann Long (Translator)
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781250007582
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Picador USA - November 22nd, 2011

A Time Magazine Top 10 Fiction book for 2011
One of the Wall Street Journal's Top 10 Mysteries of the Year 2011

Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell


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