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Book Notes from Susan

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Our 2019 Favorites

There have been so many good books that it’s hard to narrow them down to a manageable list. Here are our top ten favorites — some new in 2019 and some newly discovered by us this year, with a few additional ones that we just couldn’t leave out. Remember that you can order online from us and shipping is free.

Fiction
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson
Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere. “A unique story about Appalachia and the healing power of the written word.” (Kirkus)

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
“Kadish positions two women born centuries apart yet united by a thirst for knowledge at the core of a richly textured, addictive novel stretching back and forth through time, from contemporary London to the late seventeenth century....Kadish has fashioned a suspenseful literary tale that serves as a compelling tribute to women across the centuries committed to living, breathing, and celebrating the life of the mind.” (Booklist)

The Overstory by Richard Powers
A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most “prodigiously talented” (The New York Times Book Review) novelists. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. A New York Times bestseller and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
Olive, Again continues the life of Olive Kitteridge (who first appears in Olive Kitteridge, which won the Pulitzer Prize). In Olive, Again Kitteridge struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but also the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
“A painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature....Owens here surveys the desolate marshlands of the North Carolina coast through the eyes of an abandoned child. And in her isolation that child makes us open our own eyes to the secret wonders—and dangers—of her private world.” (The New York Times Book Review)

Gardens of Consolation by Parisa Reza
Iranian French author Parisa Reza's stunning debut, The Gardens of Consolation, unfolds over decades of fascinating Iranian history and culture...The novel pulls you in like a waking dream. The writing is lush and evocative... this is not so much a story of history, of political upheaval, as a rich, intimate story of people. (Boston Globe)

The Parisian by Isabella Hamad
“Remarkably accomplished... Hammad is a natural storyteller. She sustains tension and suspends revelation skillfully, and interweaves character and theme, the global and the local, with the assurance of a much more experienced author. The writing is deeply humane, its wide vision combined with poised restraint... The Parisian teems with riches—love, war, betrayal and madness—and marks the arrival of a bright new talent.” (Guardian)

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
“This is nothing less than the story of Ireland over the past 70 years, expressed in the life of one man...highly entertaining and often very funny...Big and clever.” (The Times Sunday Review)

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
“In less than 200 sparsely filled pages, this book manages to encompass issues of class, education, ambition, racial prejudice, sexual desire and orientation, identity, mother-daughter relationships, parenthood and loss....With Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen—even further into the ranks of great literature.” (NPR)

Circe by Madeline Miller
“Ambitious in scope, Circe is above all the chronicle of an outsider woman who uses her power and wits to protect herself and the people she loves, ultimately looking within to define herself. Readers will savor the message of standing against a hostile world and forging a new way.” (Shelf Awareness)

and…

Small Island by Andrea Levy: Award-winning novel about Jamaicans and Londoners involved in World War II.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett: A moving story exploring the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi: First novel written in Arabic to win the Man Booker International Prize and the first by a female Omani Author to be translated into English.

Non-Fiction

Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts
A tour de force with a seemingly balanced view of Churchill—not covering over his failings. The book covers his complete life and has a good bit of information that will be of interest to people interested in great leaders and World War II.

George Marshall: Defender of the Republic by David L. Roll
“For a life that has been subjected to so much spilled ink, Mr. Roll has managed to encapsulate George C. Marshall’s inner voice better than any previous work. Mr. Roll’s literary monument to one of America’s most devoted soldiers is a powerful antidote to a Twitter-glutted era when political cynicism has reached its nadir and civic virtue has become a punch line.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall
“An absorbing tale . . . Running with Sherman is a highly engaging, deeply moving account of how fortitude, patience, love, and tenacity can heal physical and emotional wounds, and the amazing bond that can develop between humans and animals.” (The Santa Barbara Independent)

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sofia Purnell
“[An] excellent biography... if Virginia Hall herself remains something of an enigma— a testament, perhaps, to the skills that allowed her to live in the shadows for so long— the extraordinary facts of her life are brought onto the page here with a well-judged balance of empathy and fine detail. This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down.” (The New York Times Book Review)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781492671527
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - May 7th, 2019

The Weight of Ink Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781328915788
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 1st, 2018

The Overstory: A Novel Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780393356687
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 2nd, 2019

Olive, Again: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812996548
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - October 15th, 2019

The Gardens of Consolation Cover Image
By Parisa Reza, Adriana Hunter (Translated by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781609453503
Availability: Special Order
Published: Europa Editions - December 6th, 2016

The Parisian Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780802148803
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - December 17th, 2019

The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781524760793
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth - March 6th, 2018

Red at the Bone: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525535270
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 17th, 2019

Small Island: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780312429522
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - March 30th, 2010

Celestial Bodies Cover Image
By Jokha Alharthi, Marilyn Booth (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781948226943
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Catapult - October 8th, 2019

The Dutch House: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062963673
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 24th, 2019

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735225299
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - April 9th, 2019

Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781524732363
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - October 15th, 2019

George Marshall: Defender of the Republic Cover Image
$34.00
ISBN: 9781101990971
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Caliber - July 9th, 2019

Churchill: Walking with Destiny Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781101981009
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - October 15th, 2019