Niles-Maine District Library


Judge’s Zombie Pick: Vampires in the Lemon Grove


Below are books that were eliminated from the competition as the tournament progressed through Rounds One and Two. If a book did not advance it became part of the Zombie Pool to possibly rise again to compete in the Round Three.

Wool by Hugh Howey

In a ruined and hostile landscape, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

In this irresistibly imagined below stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage in the Bennet household. There is romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs and upstairs at Longbourn. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

The Son by Philipp Meyer

Comanche Indian captive Eli McCullough must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong — a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.

Benediction by Kent Haruf

A terminally ill cancer patient is attended throughout his final days by his wife and daughter. The trio contemplates their relationships with an estranged son.

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Catalyzed by a nephew’s thoughtless prank, a pair of brothers confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

Six short stories with subjects ranging from a dejected teenager who discovers that the universe is communicating with him through talismanic objects left behind in a seagull’s nest to two vampires in a sun-drenched lemon grove who try helplessly to slake their thirst for blood.

Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers.

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

Claire, a young wife and mother obsessed with the glamor of Jackie Kennedy, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage. Decades earlier in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. The surprising connection between these two women will change Claire’s life in unexpected and extraordinary ways.

Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Brothers Subhash and Udayan Mitra pursue vastly different lives, until a shattering tragedy compels Subhash to return to India, where he endeavors to heal family wounds.


Zombie Pick:

Our judges chose Vampires in the Lemon Grove to re-enter the competition in Round Three.


Cyndi’s Reason

A fan of short stories, I thought that these were well written, engaging and were delightfully unpredictable. I chose The Obituary Writer over this one as a first round pick, but thought it deserved another look in the Third Round. Enough other judges agreed.


Donna’s Reason

All of the stories are enjoyable and inventively written. Even the creepiest of the stories, “Proving Up,” is injected with a bit of humor. I love that in the grimmest of situations, Russell’s characters are able to mock themselves. This was one of the most memorable books I read in 2013.


Voting for Round Three runs March 18-23, 2014. Stop by the Niles Library 3rd floor display wall to cast a vote or email your choice to

Click here for the official Tournament of Books webpage!

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