Booklists · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (October 2011)
Only a few books reach the top of the fiction bestseller charts, but there are many more terrific new titles available at the Library. Here are some recent favorites.
Three mortals passing through San Franciscoï¿½s Buena Vista Park get caught in the web of resident fairies who are celebrating the longest day of the year in this retelling of Shakespeareï¿½s A Midsummer Nightï¿½s Dream. These fairies are not the Disney type and since Queen Titania is in a mood of despair, reeking havoc is more likely to occur than having wishes granted and dreams come true. This is a dark and unsteadying tale, written by one of The New Yorkerï¿½s ï¿½20 under 40ï¿½ authors to watch.
ï¿½Iï¿½d like to be the kind of person who can do something weird and not become weird because of it, but thatï¿½s out of reach for me ï¿½ I am what I do at this point, and if I do this Iï¿½m done for.ï¿½ The angst of adolescence is played out in Beardï¿½s small Midwest town where two teenage girls share the delights and horrors of high school in the 1970s--babysitting, the latest fashions, marching band with dorky uniforms, clueless parents--as boys and an invitation from the popular clique threaten their commitment to each other.
Having come to the US to work as a nanny herself, Brownï¿½s first novel is filled with ï¿½been there, done thatï¿½ insight as she presents a Manhattan/West Indies version of The Nanny Diaries meets The Help. Lying about her age, Grace Caton is hired as a nanny for a 4-year-old boy. The position that Grace hopes will lead to a green card turns out to be more of a live-in servant than a caregiver. Her off-hours and trips to the playground, both spent with other Caribbean immigrants, offer a different perspective of New York City.
Childrenï¿½s librarian Lucy Hull looks forward to sharing great works of literature with her favorite customer, 10-year-old Ian Drake. One day Lucy comes to work to find Ian camped out overnight in the library, packed up and planning to run away from home. The two lost souls set out on a drive together, and with each hour, each day, it becomes harder to say who kidnapped whom. Makkai interlaces the twosomeï¿½s adventures and tall tales with background on Lucyï¿½s Russian family and parodies of childrenï¿½s classics.
Having met the charming Jules Verne (The Alchemy of Murder, 2010), journalist Nellie Bly vows to best his fictional characterï¿½s 80-day trip around the world. Sheï¿½s made it as far as the Suez Canal when witnessing a murder puts her in danger, both personally and in probability of slowing her travels. The exotic lure of 1889 Egypt and the peculiarities of Victorian society manners combine to make a splendid story. Best of all, it sets up the possibility of tracing the real Nellie Blyï¿½s route as the series continues.
Millettï¿½s mystery series featuring Shadwell Rafferty, amateur sleuth and barkeep, with assistance from acquaintance Sherlock Holmes, has been a puzzlerï¿½s delight all along but this sixth entry is particularly enjoyable. As Millettï¿½s artistic eye for the period details the political and physical ambiance of 1917 St. Paul, Raffertyï¿½s mind is thirty stories above street level where paranoid local financier Artemus Dodge has been shot dead in a fortified vault of a room, locked from the inside and no evidence of intrusion.
ï¿½Last night, both of Elizabeth Bergamotï¿½s children had had parties to go to. Bad mother Liz! Sheï¿½d chaperoned the wrong one. She was going to mommy prison. Literally she was.ï¿½ When clueless, 15-year-old Jake forwards a sexy, come-on video made by a girl wanting his attention, the Bergamot familyï¿½s life becomes chaos. Already trying to find their social footing as they are adjusting to life in the Big Apple following the move from a small college town, Jakeï¿½s actions tilt the scale into a downhill slide.
Bestselling author Shaara intended to write a trilogy about World War II but found that he couldnï¿½t stop with just the European front. The intensity and authenticity that he has given to his previous novels is now taken westward to the Pacific, bringing the WWII plotline to a conclusion there. He is a master of blending historical figures and events with fictional ones, here presenting the story from both American and Japanese perspectives on the battlefields as well as remembering those Stateside.
Once the NYPDï¿½s ï¿½most highly decorated detectiveï¿½, Dave Gurney finds his futile attempt at retirement interrupted yet again (following the authorï¿½s highly charged debut, Think of a Number, 2010). The beheading of a society bride, now four months past, is intriguing, but the last case practically cost Gurney his life. This one turns equally gruesome and equally personal as Daveï¿½s wife, Madeleine, becomes a part of the criminalï¿½s equation. Gripping, compelling, a bit unsettling ï¿½itï¿½s all that and more.
The world of collapsing hedge funds and the egotistical men who run them are the subject of this financial thriller. When fund manager Jimmy Cusack loses his largest investor, he suddenly finds himself out of business and getting desperate for money. Feeling lucky to be taken in by Leeser Capital, an uber-successful company in unfavorable times, Jimmy doesnï¿½t really question the job as long as he can make his mortgage payments. Oh, how we love to see the snobby superrich get it in the end!.
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