Happy New Year! Thanks to our Adult Winter Reading Challenge, our staff and volunteers have been stuck with their noses in books all month long. Check out what we’ve included on our reading logs:
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Navigating between the Indian traditions they’ve inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In “A Temporary Matter,” published in The New Yorker, a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
In 1985, as Yale’s career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and the virus circles closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, the little sister of Yale’s best friend who was taken by AIDS. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the ’80s as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance–until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
1987: There’s only one person who has ever truly understood 14-year-old June, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. He is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies of AIDS, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together by Belinda Luscombe
In Marriageology, Luscombe examines the six major fault lines that can fracture contemporary marriages, also known as the F-words: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around, and finding help. A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness. Marriageology offers simple, actionable, maybe even borderline fun techniques and tips to try, whether the relationship in question is about to conk out or just needs a little grease and an oil change. The best news of all is that sticking together is easier than it looks.
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows.
Euphoria by Lily King
In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the lives of this strange couple and becomes totally enthralled. Within months the trio are producing their best ever work, but soon a firestorm of fierce love and jealousy begins to burn out of control, threatening their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives.
All book summaries were borrowed from Goodreads. Remember, it isn’t too late to sign up for AWRPL’s Adult Winter Reading Challenge!