Your monthly roundup of titles that library staff want you to know about!
Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home written and illustrated by Nicole Georges (2017)
In her newest graphic novel, famed zinester and graphic memoirist Nicole Georges focuses on her adult life and her connection to her dob Beija. Adopting Beija when she was a teenager, Beija seemed to mirror Georges' anxieties, afraid of strangers, unwilling to be touched. Georges grows and adapts with her companion, referring to Beija as both her horcrux and her familiar. The incredibly relatable experience of living your life so connected to another short-lived and flawed being radiates through these pages.
Waiting by Ha Jin (1999)
In Waiting, Ha Jin portrays the life of Lin Kong, a dedicated doctor torn by his love for two women: one who belongs to the New China of the Cultural Revolution, the other to the ancient traditions of his family's village. Ha Jin profoundly understands the conflict between the individual and society, between the timeless universality of the human heart and constantly shifting politics of the moment.
The Little French Bistro by Nina George, narrated by Emma Bering (2017)
Feeling unloved and repressed in her long marriage, Marianne decides to end it all by jumping off a Paris bridge. Sadly, she is rescued, and her husband's attitude ("how inconvenient!") convinces Marianne to ditch him and head to the coast of Brittany in order to walk into the sea and drown. Through a bizarre series of coincidences, she begins working at a seaside bistro and healing through the company of a diverse group of quirky locals. Translated from its original German, The Little French Bistro is as much about indulging the senses with succulent dishes and dazzling sights as it is about romance and second chances. This is fantastic in audio format with narration by Emma Bering.
Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb, narrated by Candice Thaxton (2016)
Sharyn McCrumb is a renowned storyteller and spins the extraordinary tale of Ellie Robbins who is suddenly thrust into the role of primary caretaker for her family following the death of her husband. She is appointed to serve out his term as sheriff of their rural Tennessee mountain town, partly out of charity and partly out of need. The year is 1936, and her role is largely symbolic, except for the one task only a sheriff can do: execute a convicted prisoner. Dark secrets come to light, and Ellie is subject to small town superstitions and the unusual connection she shares with the condemned killer. I particularly loved this story in audio format; Candice Thaxton does a marvelous job with the narration, and she truly created Ellie for me!
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, narrated by the author (2001)
Geraldine Brooks' first foray into historical fiction takes readers back to an English village in 1666, when the bubonic plague wreaks havoc among its inhabitants. The villagers, encouraged by their rector, quarantine themselves as an act of courage to avoid the spread of the disease. The novel is written from the viewpoint of a likeable young widowed mother named Anna Firth, and chronicles her year working to survive as the plague destroys her family and community. Brooks narrates the audio version herself, and extremely well. Her voice and accent transport the listening intimately into this plague village, and one feels as though they are hearing the account directly from Anna. This story is based on actual events in a town named Eyam, Derbyshire. Although the subject is bleak, the story is absolutely compelling and ultimately hopeful.
Borderline by Mishell Baker (Arcadia Project, Book 1, 2016)
If you like your fantasy coupled with a cynical main character surrounded by a diverse cast of folks who aren't always trying to do the right thing, this might be the book for you. Even if fantasy isn't your normal thing (I'm usually more of a scifi person), take a look. I was drawn in by the description of Millie being recruited for the mysterious Arcadia Project (which coordinates human relations with the fey of Arcadia in a parallel world) while recovering from a suicide attempt. She's a double amputee, she has borderline personality disorder, and now...mythical beings? Really? Millie navigates the new job she is thrust into along with its revelations about the world she thought she knew, in ways both amusing and insightful.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, illustrated by Jenn St-onge
If your heart melts at the thought of a story of love found and lost and found again, this is the book for you! If you don't believe that a graphic novel can convey all the wonder and angst and joy of life and romance, try Bingo Love. Two girls meet as teens while accompanying their grandmothers to the weekly bingo game. They become friends, fall in love, and eventually are torn apart. Many years later, after living long lives involving husbands, children, careers, and grandchildren, they meet again. What would you give up to have your one true love back in your life?
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams (2017)
If you are intrigued by the science behind Forest Bathing, this book is for you! While focused on the research, this book still manages to be engaging and upbeat. As you read, you will find yourself longing to spend more time in nature, but now you will have the scientific evidence to convince yourself to really do it! This is the perfect book to read outside while relaxing under your favorite tree this springtime!