Interested in reading reviews/comments about the books chosen for the Tournament of Books? Our Adult Services Librarians (Tournament Judges) will blog about their choice here on the Buzz Blog. In Round 1, Part 1, Ruth S. and Barb P. comment on their picks below.
Posts Tagged: Fiction
It seems almost everyone is compelled to close out the year with a list of Bests. Librarians are no exception, but this year we’re asking you to help us out.
What was the best book of 2013? We narrowed the field to 12 and fashioned the list into a bonafide Tournament of Books, starting on March 1.
The brackets will be posted on the Third Floor slatwall. Every week, paired books will go head to head. Our judges will select a winner to advance to the next round. Tournament books are available in multiple formats for your convenience.
Join in the fun by reading and voting for the best book. Ballots will also be on the Third Floor slatwall.
Here’s a list of this year’s Tournament of Book contenders vying to the title of 2013:
For distinguished fiction by an American author:
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank,” by Nathan Englander (Alfred A. Knopf), a diverse yet consistently masterful collection of stories that explore Jewish identity and questions of modern life in ways that can both delight and unsettle the reader; and “The Snow Child,” by Eowyn Ivey (Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown), and enchanting novel about an older homesteading couple who long for a child amid the harsh wilderness of Alaska and a feral girl who emerges from the woods to bring them hope.
Lord Crick has died. While convulsing. And turning yellow. And providing his family with a gruesome corpse. Although young Lord Crick had some health issues (i.e. the pox) and a rather nasty disposition, it really was a ghastly and horrific death. His sister Lady Lydia decides that there must be a further investigation. The gossip against her husband Captain Flynn, who is her brother’s heir, is becoming scandalous. On the advice of her cousin Francis, she travels to London to meet with Dr. Thomas Silkstone, an American physician who is working, studying and teaching with British anatomist Dr. Carruthers. Silkstone, who is quite taken with Lady Lydia, agrees reluctantly to exhume and examine the corpse and answer questions at the inquest.
When he is at the estate, he finds not just a house in mourning, but a household full of secrets. Silkstone uses his primitive forensic and toxicology skills to study the remains, but he finds more questions than answers, and his list of suspects in the household grows. The tension swells, and the plot twists, but will Silkstone (with some help from Carruthers,) find the answers with his scientific methods before there is another body found on the estate? Harris writes a layered tale of forensic mystery using engaging characters who struggle with the conventions of their time. Silkstone is wonderful as the outsider looking into their society. Can’t wait to read the next one in the series!
This book begins with Japanese “picture brides” on a boat to early 20th Century America to meet their husbands. These brides are young girls (some 12 or so) who have been shipped off by their parents with the intention of having them get married, have families and basically have better lives than they would in Japan. The end of the book covers the heart-wrenching years of the Japanese Internment Camps during the post-Pearl Harbor era in the Western USA.
I absolutely loved the story, the lyricalness, the lushness and the tone of this novel. Otsuka has a gift of being able to express series of complex emotions with just a few words. Her writing style seems natural, fluid, yet filled with power. She does a fantastic job of creating a scene with as few words as possible. Less, if definitely more here. After-all, the novel is around 120 pages.
Saying all of that, I still found myself wanting a little more. NOT more of the words…more of the individual characters and their own stories. This novel is told in the first person plural voice (or point of view). Meaning: WE did this, WE did that. With such powerful stories to tell, I wish Otsuka would have picked one or two women to focus on instead of the global “we.” This does not mean I did not like the book. I loved it. I just would have loved it even more had there been a little more individual detail.
But, I understand why she choose the plural voice to write it. The subject matter here is highly emotional…and by keeping it in the plural, both Otsuka and the reader are able to keep a fair and appropriate distance. Either way, a must read for all…
Anne Tyler once again captures the heart and soul of someone going through a trying time. This time, it’s Aaron…who lives an unremarkable life with an unremarkable woman…Dorothy. But, after Dorothy’s sudden death, Aaron’s period of adjustment offers more than just grief and depression. He simply cannot let Dorothy go. This is a touching, sweet book that is filled with heart and emotion. I found myself laughing at Aaron more than once…whether this was intentional humor on Tyler’s part… just the sad-sack, vulnerable ways of Aaron manifesting themselves as comic moments I do not know. I would like to think that Tyler wanted us to laugh at him a little…so he and her reader’s would try and take life a little less seriously. Tyler, who is known for her engaging and emotive character studies, really captures the soul of this wayward man. I would be hard pressed to say it is Tyler’s best work but it is one of her best.
A fire races though a London private school and a mother rushes to save her daughter’s life. How the fire started provides the backdrop for this suspenseful thriller with paranormal aspects and graced with lyrical writing.
This novel with its realistic portrayal of contemporary families is heartbreaking in its tragic elements but appealing in its devotion to the protective instincts that are the core of the love between mothers and children. The twists and turns in the thriller are so well done that the culprit is revealed deftly in the final pages.
Readers of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Broken Harbor by Tana French will devour Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton.
Well, for one, unlike many European cities, London is seriously multicultural. VERY multicultural. And I’m not talking tourists. I’m talking residents. All races, religions, socioeconomic levels are on view throughout most parts of London. Yes, in some of the swankier sections (Knightsbridge, Mayfair to name two), most of the people have more than their fair share of Pound Sterling in their pockets. But, London is a mammoth, vast city with section upon section of diverse areas. Take Kensington…which borders ritzy area Knightsbridge and is not far from the also ritzy Chelsea. Kensington has more Indian restaurants than British restaurants it seems. The Indian dish Chicken tikka masala, not fish and chips, is even London’s honorary national meal. When we think British, we think Protestant and white. In the countryside, maybe…but not in London.
Let’s move on to London’s fascinating history. Unlike our cities in this country, London has recorded history dating back thousands of years. Yes…thousands. From the Romans who founded the city as Londinium to the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors, every corner of London bears some history worth repeating. The formally-walled “City of London” is the present-day financial center of the capital and is one of the 32 boroughs of London. There are still places within The City, or Square Mile, as it is sometimes called, where you can see some of the London Wall, first built around The City by the Romans. Just to the east of The City lies Whitechapel, the former stomping grounds of that vicious deviant Jack the Ripper, who killed at least five prostitutes in the late 1880s. And on the other side of the River Thames (which throughout much of history, was wider than the present-day river running through London today), there is the George Inn in Southwark…a pub that can date it’s history back to the 17th Century. Yes, that’s right…the 1600s. No, the George we see today is not the exact same one from the 1600s, but there has been a pub on that site for almost 400 years! That’s a lot of pints!
Lastly, let’s look at London’s cultural side. Most major cities can boast opera houses and a smattering of theaters and maybe one or two concert venues. But, London is the HOME of the stage production…with its West End surpassing our Broadway in both longevity, history and profitability. Many famed Broadway productions began as West End productions…and many acclaimed actors and actresses got their start on the London stage.
As the Summer Olympics approach (the opening ceremonies are on July 27), we thought everyone might want to get into a LONDON frame of mind to prepare. Here are some books and authors that might fit the bill: