Reading Group Books 2012
Annotation:Maggie, an art curator who is Vietnamese by birth but who has lived most of her life in the United States, has returned to her country of origin in search of clues to her dissident father's disappearance. She remembers him only in fragments, as an injured artist from whom she and her mother were separated during the war. Maggie finds herself at a makeshift pho stall whose proprietor has survived decades of poverty and political upheaval, having once owned a shop that served as a meeting place for dissident artists. As Maggie discovers, this old man may hold the key to both her past and her future.
Annotation:Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent 20 hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Memories of an idyllic childhood were crushed with the dissolution of her parent’s marriage and her journey looking for that sense of belonging took her through many kitchens, often being fed and cared for by strangers. A gritty and gutsy exploration of the connections between food, family and compassion.
Annotation:World-renowned artist and sharp-tongued wit Clementine Pritchard has decided that she's done with life. Giving herself thirty days to tie up loose ends—finish one last painting, make nice with her ex-husband, and find a home for her cat—she plans to spend the month she has left in a swirl of art-world parties, manic work sessions, and outrageous acts. What she doesn't expect is to uncover secrets surrounding the tragedy that befell her mother and sister. In an ending no one sees coming, will we lose Clementine or will we find her?
Annotation:So as not to seem completely self-indulgent to his friends and family, Conor started his year-long trip around the world with a three-month stint volunteering in the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal. Little did he know that what began as a cover story would change his life. Discovering that many of the children were not actually orphans but victims of child trafficking, Conor dedicated himself to reuniting kids with their lost families in remote Nepalese hill villages.
Annotation:Sixteen-year-old Margo Crane, a beauty with an unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle, takes to the Stark River after the violent death of her father with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, intent on seeking out her vanished mother. But the river is a dangerous place for a young woman traveling alone and she must be strong to survive, using her knowledge of the natural world and her ability to look unsparingly into the hearts of those around her
Annotation:A darkly comic novel about the picaresque misadventures of two hired guns, the fabled Sisters brothers, set against the backdrop of the great California Gold Rush. Ordered by their boss, the Commodore, to kill prospector Hermann Kermit Warm, Eli and Charlie Sisters set off from Oregon City to Warm's gold-mining claim outside Sacramento. But their prey isn't an easy mark, and on the road, Eli begins to question what he does for a living–and whom he does it for. Paying homage to the classic Western, this tour through the underworld of the 1850s frontier beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.
Annotation:Adopted by a pair of diehard hippies, restless, marginal Jude Keffy-Horn spends much of his youth getting high with his best friend, Teddy, in their bucolic and deeply numbing Vermont town. But when Teddy dies of an overdose on the last day of 1987, Jude's relationship with drugs and with his parents devolves to new extremes. Sent to live with his pot-dealing father in New York City's East Village, Jude stumbles upon straight edge, an underground youth culture powered by the paradoxical aggression of hardcore punk and a righteous intolerance for drugs, meat, and sex. Jude tries to honor Teddy's memory through his militantly clean lifestyle, but his addiction to straight edge has its own dangerous consequences.
Annotation:It’s the winter of 1867 and a former voyageur for the Hudson Bay Company has been brutally murdered in Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory. A local woman stumbles upon the crime scene and reports the tracks leading from the dead man's cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. An investigation is launched; unfortunately, her 17-year-old son Francis has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect.
Annotation:A chronicle of the migration of almost 6 million black citizens who, between 1915 and 1970, fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life, changing the face of America. Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals, brilliantly capturing their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work.
Annotation:Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, a place where books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can't solve) and TV is something other people watch. The sisters have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents' frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them…
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Titles suggested by staff and patrons for lively book group discussions. WCLS purchases multiple copies of each to provide quantities that can accomodate most book group sizes.
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